middle eastern roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower is such a versatile and easy ingredient.  Mashed into potatoes or pureed into a soup, these hearty stalks are usually just happy to be eaten.  I rarely enjoy them in their whole form, but this recipe is so easy and tasty, it would be a shame not to.  These Middle-Eastern Roasted cauliflower are roasted to bring out their nutty goodness, then dressed with tahini and date syrup.  The result?  One of the most incredible veggie sides I’ve had to date (thanks to BB’s uncle in LA!).  Try this for a non-traditional Turkey-Day side or with a quick chicken curry.

You’ll need:

2 heads of cauliflower (I used one white and one mix of purple, green & yellow cauliflower)
3 tbs olive oil
4 tbs date syrup
4 tbs tahini
s&p

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Roughly chop your cauliflower into 2-inch pieces and spread them out in a baking dish.  Toss in olive oil and salt & pepper, then roast for 45 minutes, until they’re golden and crispy.

When they’re out of the oven, cover the roasted florets in tahini and date syrup.  Don’t have date syrup on hand?  Click through for this recipe!  Pop them back into the oven for a few more minutes to let all of the flavors come together.  Serve warm!

basics: homemade date syrup

When Boston Boy & I visited LA, his uncle whipped together this incredible middle eastern cauliflower dish.  And when he explained how easy it was (tahini + date syrup + cauliflower = wow), I had to try it as soon as possible.  just one itsy bitsy problem- there is no date syrup to be found in the DMV!  I searched high and low, and once I had come to terms with the Great Date Syrup Shortage of 2k12, I knew what i had to do…

Make my own!  

So, this “syrup” didn’t really turn out syrupy in the maple sense.  It was actually more the consistency of tahini.  But it tasted delicious and was the perfect substitute for date syrup in the absence of the store-bought stuff.

You’ll need (for two cups of syrup)

36 dates, pitted and diced
2 cups water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Blend the mixture in a food processor or blender and let cool before using.

Ta da!  Date Syrup.

xoxo

the hungry texans

jalapeno honey butter

jalapeno honey butter

combine 1 tbs honey, 1 tbs diced jalapeno & 4 tbs softened butter. spoon onto plastic wrap, roll into a cylinder, and wrap in parchment paper. place in your freezer for 1 hour, until hardened. serve over biscuits, cornbread, potatoes … Continue reading

favorite things: and we danced edition

1. Bottomless Brunch at Zengo in Chinatown.  For $35, you get to nosh on the yummiest eats and sip some delicious drinks.  We ordered…everything.  Favorites included these lobster-chipotle grits, the crispy tofu with roasted corn-potato salad, shrimp-vegetable potstickers, short rib hash with poached egg and the angry zengo roll.  We literally stayed from open to close.

2. Crafty Bastards in Union Market!  Admittedly, the crowds pushed one of these Hungry Texans indoors to the Rappahannock oyster bar, but we scored a couple of good finds nonetheless.  (pic)

3. Seven thousand people outfitted in neon & music for miles?  Count us in!  We had such a blast at the LivingSocial Glow-in-the-Dark 5k at RFK Stadium.  One of us ran the distance while the other volunteered with the video crew behind the scenes, but a good time was had by all.  Highlights were the step performance at the post-5k dance party and the 1000 Solar Lamps that were donated by LivingSocial to Somalian school children.

4. Why on earth would you wake up at 5am when it’s so blistery cold outside?  To make 24 dozen eggs for breakfast service at Miriam’s Kitchen, of course!

5. Thanks to our frayands John & Julia, we’re lovin’ Macklemore this week.  Sure, his thrift shop threads are bumpin’, but his power ballad “And We Danced” makes us…well…dance. (pic)

6. And finally, happy Bijoulais Nouveau to all you mediocre wine enthusiasts out there.  The celebration is far stronger than the vino, but it gave us a chance to make these French Onion Soup Dumplings, so laissez les bons temps rouler!

xoxo,

the hungry texans

le nouveau est arrive! french onion soup dumplings

a happy bijoulais nouveau to y’all!

bijoulais nouveau is really a cute little holiday.  i only learned about it since moving to DC- the closest I’ve ever come to speaking french in texas is “laissez les bons temps rouler!”  the young french wine is actually quite un-tasty.  it’s aged for only a few weeks, but brilliant marketing has awarded it an entire midnight celebration- brava!  french law prohibits the young red from being uncorked until 12am on the second wednesday of each november, so francophiles wait in anticipation.  a few classic dc bistros, like 1905 and Bistro du Coin, were throwing their celebrations  last night, but who were we fooling- 2am on a school night?

so i hunkered down with Boston Boy in my kitchen, while my roommates set some serious mood lighting and french music, and embarked on a journey into these french onion soup dumplings.  there are recipes for these little succulent pouches of magic all over the internet (ever since making their Cooking Channel debut), so i glanced at all of them and then decided on my own approach.  and here it is!

for 20 dumplings, you’ll need: 

20 wonton wrappers
2 onions (mix of red and yellow)
1/2 bouillon cube
1 tbs flour
10 sprigs of thyme
2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups shredded gruyere or swiss cheese
1 french baguette
Optional: a cut of beef (we used new york strip)

1. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Thinly slice your onions and add them to the oil.  Give the whole thing a stir, then cover and let them cook for 10-15 minutes without messing with them.

2. While the onions are softening, dice your beef into 1/2 inch cubes (if you would like to make this vegetarian or if you don’t want beef in your dumplings, then omit this step and just heat your beef broth over low heat on the back burner).  Season with salt & pepper, then sear on each side over medium-high heat until they are caramelized.  Add your beef broth and dry white wine and a couple sprigs of thyme, then reduce the heat to low and let the broth & beef simmer.

3. Remove the top from the onions and stir in 1 tbs flour, leaves from 5 sprigs of thyme, 1 tsp salt & pepper, and 1/2 bouillon cube.  Re-cover and let simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.

4. When the onions are ready, you’re ready to start building your dumplings.  Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and dip each wonton wrapper in the beef broth (this makes the wrappers easier to work with and more flavorful).  Drop a tablespoon of the onions onto each wonton and wrap the sides up into a little onion purse.  Since you’ve dipped these into the beef broth, the dumpling edges will stick perfectly.  I preferred the more traditional onions, but Boston Boy added a cube of beef to each of his- man hunger!

5. Place the dumplings into an oven-safe dish, ladle the broth over your dumplings, and top with (a lot of) shredded gruyere and swiss cheese.  For that delicious crouton (arguably the best part of french onion soup), poke a toothpick through a cube of french bread and into each dumpling.  In addition to being delicious, these are like little buoys to mark where the dumplings lie.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, then broil for a minute or until the cheese is golden.

We had tons of broth and onions left since we only made a few dumplings, so we ended up just combining everything for a delicious french onion soup- hello leftovers!   And full disclosure: we popped the Bijoulais cork about an hour before midnight.  BB says we’ll be cursed with bad french kisses for a year… I haven’t noticed yet.