Wednesday, February 11, 2015

culinary cuts blogger event

Nothing re-invigorates my blogging mojo like a sponsored blogger event. When done well, these include my 3 favorite things about having a blog: friends, food and free stuff! Yep, the ol' "F Trifecta." Last night I attended a class/demo/meetup at Kitchen Conservatory hosted by Mann's vegetable company and Serena of A Teaspoon of Curry. They are introducing two new products (in the St. Louis area only, for now) that home cooks might find pretty cool. Culinary Cuts is a line of pre-cut vegetables, never frozen, no preservatives, in recyclable packaging. The first two are Sweet Potato Ribbons and Crinkle-cut butternut squash. 
I know I know, normally I don't fall for such convenience items. Cutting vegetables is one of my favorite activities! These two however, are the kind of cuts that are pretty time-consuming. I've made ribboned veggies before, and usually it involves taking a chunk of thumb off with the mandolin. The crinkle-cuts would require additional kitchen equipment that I just don't have room for. After some discussion, the rest of the bloggers (my buds Kelly, Kimberly, Stef, Stacey, Dee, and some new friends!) and I decided these would be worth possibly losing some culinary street-cred. Here are some of the things the Kitchen Conservatory chefs made with these 2 cuts:

Pizza with butternut squash crinkles, leeks & Gorgonzola.
This was my favorite of the night!
Sweet potato ribbon Alfredo. It tasted much better
than the photo might suggest.
Smartass (but super-talented) photographer Jonathan Pollack kept
telling me to just take photos of his photos instead of
trying to get my lame phone photos. He had a point.

Sweet potato ribbon, chicken and mushroom skewers
(and some other random vegetables leftover from our
cutting lessons)

Sweet potato ribbon gratin. Reminded me of the
parsnip gratin I posted here.
To round out the vegetable-centric evening, we all received a copy of the Vegetarian Flavor Bible. Whoa! This tome is impressive. I've seen the original Flavor Bible, but don't have a copy (must amend that). The author, Karen Page, joined us for a bit via Skype. It was great hearing her and Andrew's story and their passion for flavors and food. I could spend hours in this book, flavor daydreaming. So fun! For those not familiar, it's basically like an atlas for flavors... you look up an ingredient you want to use and it lists all of the ingredients/flavors that go best with it. After the list of singular flavor matches, it also lists "flavor affinities" which are groupings of 3-5 flavors that work beautifully together. It's a damn gold mine of inspiration.


This will live IN my kitchen.
I found my favorite page already!
So, yes, a night of the "F Trifecta" and I am inspired. Get ready, 2015, there is gonna be so much flavor!

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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

roasted cauliflower and chick peas with lemon and truffle salt


I have been going HAM on the combination of truffle salt and fresh lemon lately. They make any meal taste a little bit fancy and lot bit bright and fresh. Roasted vegetables have been the main target. Here, I roasted cauliflower and chick peas, adding the truffle salt and lemon both before and after cooking. The flavors are both deep and bright. A great winter meal that's vegan (oops!). (Seriously, though, if you're trying to get into a vegan's pants, this dish just might do it. Super sexy.)


Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Peas with Lemon and Truffle Salt 
-1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
-1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
-1 head of garlic, separated and peeled
-about 2 teaspoons truffle salt, divided
-zest and juice from 1 lemon
-2 Tablespoons olive oil 
preheat oven to 450ยบF. Toss the cauliflower, chick peas and garlic cloves with the lemon zest, about half of the truffle salt and the olive oil in a large glass baking dish. Roast until starting to brown, then stir and roast until nice and brown, about 30 minutes total. Squeeze the lemon juice on just out of the oven and sprinkle with the rest of the lemon juice. Serve with crusty bread.