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Archive for Vegetables/Salads/Herbs

TIP OF THE DAY: Add Cauliflower To Mashed Potatoes

If you’re working on a special mashed potatoes recipe for the holidays—or simply enjoy them on a regular basis—we present this mashup: a blend of mashed potatoes and cauliflower.

This combination has long been recommended for better family eating. Cauliflower adds moisture to mashed potatoes, so they can be rewarmed on the stove without drying out. Thus, you can prepare the dish completely in advance and then warm it up on the stovetop.

The added moisture enables us to reduce the amount of butter and cream typically needed for mashed potatoes.

Not to mention, the cruciferous superstar has more nutrition and fewer calories than potatoes.

The crispy fried tarragon is a garnish you can save for special occasions, or cook up in five minutes for any occasion. It’s a delicious garnish for any starch or grain recipe.


This recipe was developed by the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen. Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time is 25 minutes. You can make it a day in advance.
Ingredients For 6 Servings

For The Fried Tarragon

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 to 6 fresh tarragon sprigs (substitute basil or sage leaves)
    For The Mash

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and coarsely chopped, a few florets reserved for roasting
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Optional garnish: aleppo pepper flakes or red chile flakes

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F.

    2. FRY the tarragon. Add the vegetable oil to a large, wide pan over medium-high heat, to depth of about 1/2 inch. Heat the oil to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Add the tarragon sprigs and fry until the bubbling diminishes, about 30 seconds. Take care, as the oil will splatter.
    Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Let cool completely.

    3. MAKE the mash. Combine the potatoes and cauliflower in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.

    4. RICE the vegetables: Working in batches, pass the vegetables through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Alternatively, mash with a potato masher. Meanwhile…


    Mashed Potatoes & Cauliflower Recipe

    Mashed Potatoes

    Colored Cauliflower

    Fresh Tarragon

    [1] Mashup: mashed potatoes and cauliflower (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma). [2] Classic mashed potatoes (photo courtesy U.S. Potato Commission). [3] Cauliflower in your choice of colors. You can use green, orange or purple cauliflower to add a tinge of color to your mash (photo courtesy Melissas). [4] Tarragon: a perfect herb pairing (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    5. TOSS the reserved cauliflower florets in a bowl with the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

    6. USE the same saucepan from cooking the vegetables, and combine the butter and cream. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts and the cream just begins to simmer. Return the potato mixture to the pan, stirring it into the butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

    7. TRANSFER the potato mixture to a serving bowl. Garnish with the tarragon sprigs and roasted cauliflower and sprinkle with chile flakes.

  • Beet Mashed Potatoes, a vivid burgundy color for fall, Halloween and Valentine’s Day
  • Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
  • Creamy Low-Fat Or Non-Fat Mashed Potatoes
  • Low-Calorie Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes & Chives, with yogurt substituting for the butter and cream
  • Mashed Potato “Martini”
  • Portabella Stuffed With Mashed Potatoes & Bacon
    Halloween Mashed Potatoes

  • Mummy Mashed Potatoes
  • Spooky Shepherd’s Pie


    TIP OF THE DAY: Chestnuts, Briefly In Season

    Slicing Chestnuts

    Chestnut Soup

    Chestnuts With Brussels Sprouts

    [1] To roast chestnuts, cut an X on the flat side. [2] Chestnut soup, a don’t-miss seasonal treat. [3] Brussels sprouts with roasted chestnuts from


    While canned chestnuts, and more recently, ready-to-eat vacuum-bagged chestnuts, can be found year-round, fresh chestnuts season lasts for only about two months.

    Now is the time to enjoy their beguiling flavor and nutrients to the fullest extent.

    They don’t have to be roasting on an open fire, per our favorite crooner, Nat King Cole. Roast chestnuts (lacking an open fire, we use the oven—here’s how) are a treat, but so are the luscious preparations that follow.

    Long before they found their way onto holiday menus, chestnuts, which are tree nuts, were a dietary staple in the mountainous regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Because grains could not grow in those areas, chestnuts were a valuable source of nutrition.

    In fact, chestnuts are nutritionally more like a grain than a nut. They are low in protein and fat, but high in starch and fiber. Naturally gluten free, they are the only nut that contains vitamin C.

    Add diced, halved or whole chestnuts to:

  • Appetizers (wrap with bacon instead of the classic water chestnuts)
  • Breads, dressings, muffins
  • Cream of chestnut soup (recipe)—a must-have seasonal treat
  • Puréed into dips, pestos, and as a delicious side, especially with chicken, duck, pheasant, pork, turkey, quail and veal
  • Garnishes for mains, soups, salads, vegetables
  • With grains, pilafs, risottos
  • With seasonal vegetables: Brussels sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, turnips—also in casseroles, stir-frys and omelet fillings

  • Candied (marrons glacés recipe)
  • Puréed and added to hot chocolate or coffee
  • Puréed and sweetened as a bread spread
  • Chestnut ice cream—puréed, diced or both
  • In a sweetened bread spread Mousse or Mont Blanc, sweetened chestnut purée in a meringue shell, topped with whipped cream
  • Cakes, plain and fancy (here’s a chestnut loaf cake)
  • Chestnut soufflé and a multitude of other desserts

    This recipe is from Mary R. Wendt, MD, author of Waist Away: How to Joyfully Lose Weight and Supercharge Your Life. She is an expert on making the transition to plant-based nutrition.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • ½ pound chestnuts (fresh, approximately 2 cups), wiped clean
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half (approximately 5 cups)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • Optional additions: frizzled ham, sautéed leeks, sautéed wild mushrooms

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Use a paring knife to score an “X” onto the flat side of each chestnut.

    2. ARRANGE the chestnuts in a single layer in a large baking pan, with the X facing up. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the “X” flaps on the shell begin to curl away from the nut. Do not overcook!

    3. REMOVE from the heat and partially cool until it’s comfortable to peel away and discard the shells. Chestnuts are easiest to peel when they are warm.

    4. WARM the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and garlic. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.

    5. ADD the chestnuts to the skillet and cook covered for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the Brussels sprouts are very brown. Stir in the salt and pepper and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes.

    6. GARNISH as desired and serve.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Beautiful Squash For Beautiful Recipes

    Stuffed Acorn Squash

    Stuffed Acorn Squash

    Acorn Squash Rings

    Kabocha Squash Bowl

    Butternut Squash

    [1] A conventional stuffed squash recipe: half a squash, stuffed to the brim. [2] Adding a rim of vegetables (photos #1 and #2 courtesy Chef Eric Levine). [3] Don’t want to serve large portions? Cut the squash into rings with this recipe from [4] Turn the entire kabocha squash into a filled “squash bowl.” Here’s the recipe from Sunset magazine. [5] Butternut squash (photo courtesy


    Certainly, a half of baked squash is attractive, not to mention delicious and good for you.

    But you can elevate baked squash to a work of art.

    The standard winter squashes in supermarkets are the acorn and the butternut. They have similar flavor, but the acorn is round while the butternut is boat-shaped.

    While the butternut can be cut into rings or halved into a “boat,” the round, ridged squash have a natural beauty benefit.

    Numerous types of winter squash are available in the U.S., in natural food stores and at farmers markets. But some species are particularly beautiful: acorn, blue hubbard, carnival, kabocha (buttercup), lumina (white with white flesh), pattypan, sweet dumpling and others (see more types of squash).

    Combine your palate and your personality into your stuffing.

  • Fruits: apples, dried fruits (apricots, cherries, cranberries, raisins), pears, pomegranate arils, quince
  • Grains: barley, breadcrumbs, croutons, quinoa, rice and wild rice, etc.
  • Herbs: parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
  • Nuts: halved, sliced or chopped as garnish
  • Proteins: bacon, mozzarella, tofu
  • Seasonings: cayenne, chipotle, coriander, cumin, flavored salt, nutmeg, pepper, ras-el-hanout, smoked paprika, zatar
  • Vegetables: brussels sprouts, celery, carrots and other root vegetables, mushrooms
  • Binders: broth, butter, nut oil, olive oil
  • Garnishes: dried cranberries, fresh herbs, shredded cheese (cheddar, gruyère, parmesan)
    Here’s a basic recipe that you can customize as you like.

    Squash is indigenous to Central and South America. It was introduced to the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico, spread via indigenous migration throughout North America, and was introduced by Native American populations to the English setters in Virginia and Massachusetts.

    Squash was easy to grow and hardy enough to store for months, providing a nutritious dietary staple throughout the winter (hence the name, winter squash). While there are many heirloom varieties, today the most commonly found in supermarkets are acorn and butternut squashes.
    Acorn Squash Vs. Butternut Squash

    Acorn squash (Curcubita pepo, var. turbinata) is so called because its shape resembles an acorn. The most common variety is dark green in color, often with a splotch of orange on the side or top.

    Some varieties are variegated (multi-color) and newer varieties include the yellow Golden Acorn squash and white-skinned varieties.

    Like the other popular winter squash, butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata), the skin of an acorn squash is thick and hard, and it is an effort to peel it. But either squash is easily cut in half with a large, sharp knife. It can then be baked, plain or stuffed with grain, meat or vegetable mixtures.

    Acorn squash are smaller than butternut squash (an acorn is one to two pounds, four to seven inches long), and half of an acorn makes a convenient individual portion. It is similar in flavor to butternut.

    Winter squash needs to be cooked.

    All winter squash can be baked, microwaved, sautéed or steamed.

    Don’t hesitate to add the cooked flesh to green salads, mixed vegetables, grains, omelets, and anyplace you’d like another level of flavor and color.

  • The seeds of the squash are toasted and eaten. Initially, the seeds were eaten instead of the flesh until plumper-fleshed varieties were bred.
  • The yellow trumpet flowers that are produced before the squash is fully developed are also edible. They are stuffed and considered a delicacy.
  • The green tops, about three inches’ worth from the end of freshly-harvested squash, are also edible (but not the prickly stem). The squash greens are a popular vegetable in the Philippines. Unless you grow your own or your local farmer doesn’t remove them, you aren’t likely to see them for sale in the U.S.
    Winter squash is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, with smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese. Surprisingly, because of the color of the flesh, it is not a good source of beta-carotene.

    There are three species of squash, all native to the Americas.

  • Curcubita pepo includes acorn, butternut, pumpkin, summer squashes and others.
  • Curcubita moschata, represented by the Cushaw, Japanese Pie, Large Cheese Pumpkins and Winter Crookneck squashes, arose, like Curcubita pepo, in Mexico and Central America. Both were and are important food, ranking next to maize and beans.
  • Curcubita maxima includes Boston Marrow, Delicious, Hubbard, Marblehead and Turks Turban, and apparently originated near the Andes, or in Andean valleys.

  • The word “squash” comes from the Wampanoag Native American word, askutasquash, meaning “eaten raw or uncooked.” This may refer to the summer squash varieties, yellow squash and zucchini, which can be enjoyed raw.
  • Summer squash, which belong to the same genus and species as most winter squash, are small, quick-growing varieties that are eaten before the rinds and seeds begin to harden.
  • Before the arrival of Europeans, Curcubita pepo and Curcubita moschata had been carried to all parts of North America that were conducive to growth.
  • Many Native American tribes, particularly in the West, still grow a diversity of hardy squashes and pumpkins not to be found in mainstream markets.
  • Squash was unknown in the Old World until the 16th century, brought back by the returning conquistadors. The oldest known prin record of it is dated 1591.
  • Much of canned pumpkin consists of Curcubita moschata squash, not from the jack-o-lantern variety of pumpkin. The best commercially canned varieties are Boston Marrow and Delicious varieties.The flesh of these varieties is much richer and more nutritious than that of pumpkin.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Fall Salad, Fall Cheese Course


    Pear & Endive Salad

    [1] Make a fall salad with brussels sprouts, squash, and seasonal garnishes (photo courtesy Sweetgreen). [2] Another popular fall combination: endive, pear and maple-candied walnuts (photo courtesy Barrel and Ashes).


    With each change season, change your perspective on food. Look for seasonal ingredients in everything from salad ingredients to beer styles.

    For inspiration, check the websites of salad cafes like Fresh & Co., Just Salad and Sweetgreen

    At Just Salad, the fall menu includes:

  • Autumn Caesar: romaine, grilled chicken, bartlett pears, shaved parmesan, dried cranberries and multigrain croutons.
  • Sweet Mama: baby spinach, apples, sharp cheddar, turkey bacon and honey maple walnuts.
  • Thanksgiving Salad: turkey, roasted green beans, baby spinach, roasted acorn squash, dried cranberries, almonds.
    At Sweetgreen, a fall highlight is:

  • Apples, Pears + Organic Cheddar Salad: mesclun, shredded kale, apples, pears, cheddar, pecans, basil and balsamic vinaigrette.
    Other favorite fall ingredients:

  • Beets, raw or roasted
  • Roasted sweet potato slices (slice, then roast)

    Here’s a another yummy idea from Sweetgreen: the Chicken + Brussels salad with roasted brussels sprouts, chopped romaine, mesclun, roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and cranberry vinaigrette.

    You can serve it with or without the protein, the former as a lunch salad, the latter a side salad with dinner.

    We didn’t have cranberry vinegar, so used pear balsamic vinegar—another fall touch (so is fig balsamic vinegar).

  • Your favorite greens
  • Grilled or roasted Brussels sprouts and acorn/butternut squash
  • Apple, diced (substitute grapes)
  • Grilled sliced chicken or other protein
  • Other ingredients: beets, mushrooms
  • Optional garnish(es): dried cranberries/cherries/raisins, nuts and/or seeds, shaved Parmesan, toasted nuts


    If you like balsamic vinegar, try flavored balsamics. They add sweetness without significant calories.

    Here’s a sampler of organic balsamic vinegars in fig, pear, pomegranate and raspberry; and another sampler of apple cinnamon, blood orange, mango and pomegranate balsamics (not organic).



    Turn your salad course into a cheese course with the addition of…cheese. In France, a salad with cheese is a popular follow-up to the main dish.

    This one, from the Oyster Club in Mystic, Connecticut, is perfect for fall, with a delicious balance of flavors. Bloomy-rinded cheeses can have a subtle mushroomy undertone: perfect for fall.

    Just roast the vegetables, toast the nuts, make the vinaigrette (olive oil and lime juice) and assemble the plate (see photo #3).

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • Bloomy rind cheese* (brie, camembert, triple-crème, some chevrès)
  • Diced roasted beets or squash
  • Artisan honey, drizzled over the beets/squash
  • Toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 cups mâche (lamb’s lettuce), mesclun or other interesting salad
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Optional garnish: lime salt (purchased or made with recipe below)
    If you’re not a fan of bloomy rind cheeses, any hearty cheese is fall-appropriate: aged cheddar, blue cheeses, Comte, real Swiss cheeses, washed rind cheeses.

    Much as we love them, leave the fresh goat cheeses for spring.

    Check out the different types of cheeses in our Cheese Glossary.
    *Bloomy rind cheeses have soft, often fuzzy, edible rinds that are a result of the introduction of molds like Penicillium candidum. They are known for the white color and mushroomy flavor of the rind. The two best-known examples are Brie, Camembert and triple-crèmes. Bloomy rind cheeses are generally aged for two weeks, which produces a mild flavor and subtle aroma.

    With a triple crème, cream is added to the milk to create the richest, most buttery group of cheeses. Triple crèmes are a type of bloomy rind cheese and also are aged about two weeks. In order to qualify as a triple-créme, the cheeses must have more than 72% butterfat content, which provides the smooth texture. As with other cheeses that have short aging periods, the flavors are mild and the aromas are subtle. Examples include Brillat-Savarin, Explorateur and St. André. This group of cheeses pairs well with Champagne and other sparkling wines.

    It’s easy to make flavored sea salt at home. This recipe is from

    While you can buy lime sea salt, it lacks the fresh lime zest which adds a punch of flavor and color.

    If it seems like too much work for just a sprinkle: Lime sea salt is a terrific Margarita glass rimmer, a real step up!

  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup coarse sea salt

    Fall Cheese Course


    Lime Sea Salt Recipe

    [3] A fall cheese plate (photo courtesy Oyster Club). [4] Bloomy-rind cheeses (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese). [5] Lime sea salt (photo courtesy


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 200°F. Combine the sea salt, lime juice and zest in a small bowl Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

    2. BAKE for 15-20 minutes, until the salt looks dry but not brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

    3. BREAK up any clumps that may have formed. Store in an airtight container.

    4. SPRINKLE a bit on the plate as a colorful element.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Purple Potatoes

    Just a few years ago, purple potatoes were hard to find, especially for our Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (here’s a bonus recipe), popular fare for Memorial Day and Independence Day.

    Thankfully, things have changed. Once called purple Peruvian potatoes, they are now grown worldwide in response to consumer demand, so are much more readily available.

    Millennia ago, many potato varieties grew wild in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, in what is now Peru.

    Along with many other varieties of potatoes, they were cultivated around 3000 B.C.E. by the Incas.

    Imagine European cuisine without potatoes! But they were unknown until the Spanish conquistadors reached the shores of Montezuma’s empire (modern-day Mexico) in 1519. Potatoes sailed back to Spain a few years later.

    See the history of potatoes and the different types of potatoes.

    In addition to the vividly colored flesh—some purple, some blue—purple potatoes* have a creamy texture and are rich in flavor. Their starch level is medium, so purple potatoes are an all-purpose potato.

    Creamy and earthy-tasting like russet potatoes, the color is very dramatic. Depending on their species, some varieties have a nutty flavor, some varieties become a lighter lavender shade after cooking.

    There’s also a purple-fleshed “Okinawan” sweet potato, a staple in Hawaii. Look for it in Asian markets. decreasing the risk of stroke and macular degeneration. †Purple potatoes are now grown around the world.

    Try them baked, broiled, fried or mashed to add color and style to your meals. Make purple potato chips as as a beguiling snack, side or garnish.

    As with all potatoes, blue/purple potatoes originated in Peru, where the Incas cultivated many varieties of potato (see the history of potatoes). The color can become lavender when cooking. The starch level is medium, so purple Peruvians are an all-purpose potato. They are moist and earthy-tasting, sometimes with a nutty flavor; and the color is very dramatic. Purple potatoes are not only prettier, they have higher levels of polyphenol antioxidants to protect body cells against free radical damage (see this article from NBC News). They can help lower blood pressure, without causing weight gain: guilt-free potatoes!

    A purple-fleshed sweet potato used extensively in Hawaiian cuisine, your best bet to find these are in Asian markets or online.

    The skin is tan, similar to the familiar russet potatoes; but the flesh is a bright magenta color. The Okinawa purple sweet potato has a delicate, slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture.

    The Okinawa is a member of the sweet potato family: order Solanales, family Convolvulaceae, genus Ipomoea, species, I. batatas. Its subspecies is Ipomoea batatas cv. Ayamurasaki.

    The white potato is of the same botanical order, Solanales, but diverges from the sweet potato at that level. The taxonomy of the white potato is: order Solanales, family Solanaceae, genus Solanum, species: S. tuberosum.

    Okinawa potatoes can be cooked like any sweet potato: baked, boiled, candied, mashed, roasted, scalloped or steamed.

    The Okinawa sweet potato is not related to the purple yam, ube, which is popular in Filipino cuisine and creates dishes of intense purple color.

    The term “yam” is often used incorrectly in the U.S. Yams are not members of the potato order, family, etc., but are from a totally different order. Be is from the order Dioscoreales, family Dioscoreaceae, genus Dioscorea, species D. alata.


    Purple Peruvian Potatoes

    Blue Potatoes

    Okinawa Sweet Potato


    [1] Purple potatoes—in fact, all potatoes—originated in what is now Peru (photo Mona Makela | IST). [2] Some varieties have blue flesh, a result of the soil pH and other factors (photo courtesy Burpee). [3] Okinawa sweet potatoes (photo courtesy Melissa’s). [4] Ube are not potatoes (photo courtesy

    *The blue or purple color comes from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that create red, blue and purple colors, depending on the pH of the soil and other growing factors. These antioxidants may help with everything from fighting heart disease and prostate cancer to lowering blood pressure.


    Purple Peruvian Potato Croquettes

    Purple Potato Chips

    Purple Potato Soup

    [5] Purple potato croquettes (photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission). [6] A fancy hors d’oeuvre, purple potato chips with caviar (photo Bethany Holdhaus | Wedding Edibles). [7] Purple potato soup (photo © Family Spice).



    Try this recipe from, made with Idaho Purple Potatoes.

    A croquette is a small portion of fried food coated with bread crumbs. It can be made from cheese, fish and shellfish, ground meat, mashed potatoes or vegetables, variously seasoned.

    Filling Ingredients

  • 4 pounds purple potatoes
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup herbs (parsley, thyme), chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt (more to taste)
    For The Breading

  • All-purpose flour
  • 5 egg yolks, whisked
  • Coarse bread crumbs (we prefer panko)

    1. BOIL the potatoes until fork tender. Carefully peel the potatoes while warm, discarding the skins and placing the meat of the potato in a food mill or a food processor with the paddle attachment.

    2. WARM the cream and butter and add to the potatoes and add all filling ingredients except the eggs. Completely blend until the potatoes are smooth and then add the egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated.

    3. SPREAD the potatoes out on a cookie sheet or a one-inch sheet pan and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and cool overnight in the fridge.

    4. CUT out the desired size of the croquettes with a cookie cutter or ring. Set up a breading station of flour, the whisked eggs and the bread crumbs. To bread: Coat the croquette in the flour, brushing off the excess. Completely coat with egg and transfer to the bread crumbs. Repeat this process for a double breading.

    5. FRY the croquettes in oil until golden brown, finishing in the oven until hot and ready to serve.

  • Fashionable Niçoise Salad
  • Purple Potato & Red Beet Salad
  • Rainbow Pizza


    TIP OF THE DAY: Whole Roasted Cauliflower

    Yesterday, Meatless Monday, we went one step beyond the meaty cauliflower steaks and cabbage steaks we’ve become so fond of.

    We remembered a recipe from Frieda’s Specialty Produce that we had tucked away in anticipation of the glorious fall cauliflower harvest.

    We love farmers market cauliflower. Not only is it fresher, but you can find the splendid colors of purple, orange and pale green, as well as the exotic-looking, lime green romanesco (bottom photo). Whatever you choose, look for a dense head with a thick center stem.

    Roasting a whole cauliflower is simple; you just have to allow 90 minutes for it to roast. To see just how easy it is, check out this video from Frieda’s.

    “The crispy, nutty crust and sweet, tender core are the stuff dreams are made of,” they aver (and we agree).


  • 1 whole cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed to sit flat, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt or seasoned salt
  • Optional: fresh-ground pepper
  • Optional: chutney, herb butter, olive relish, pesto or sauce of choice

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Place the cauliflower on a plate and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, using your hands to coat the cauliflower all over.

    2. SEASON all over with salt and transfer the cauliflower to a small roasting pan or cast iron skillet, floret-side up. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

    3. BAKE for 30 minutes; remove the foil and roast 1 hour until the florets are golden (larger heads can take longer). Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.

    4. SLICE as desired: in wedges (our preference) or vertical, in 3/4- to 1-inch slices. You can also cut the cauliflower into individual florets, but why spend the time?

    Use your favorite international flavors as seasonings and sauces. Here are some simple replacements:

  • Chinese seasonings: Eliminate the salt, brush with soy sauce instead of lemon juice, top with minced garlic; garnish with fresh chives. A dab of hoisin sauce? Why not!
  • Indian seasonings: Season with ground cumin, coriander and optional curry powder instead of salt and pepper; garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with raita or other yogurt sauce.
  • Italian seasonings #1: Use garlic-flavored olive oil and top the cauliflower with minced garlic before roasting. Place the slice atop pesto, or marinara sauce seasoned with oregano. Garnish with sliced black olives.
  • Italian seasonings #2: After roasting, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Japanese seasonings: Use 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 toasted sesame oil or wasabi oil, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds, grated fresh ginger and/or fresh chives. Serve with ponzu sauce.
  • Mexican seasonings: Replace the lemon juice with lime juice and sprinkle with lime zest and red chile flakes. Serve on a bed of black beans or pinto beans and top with warmed salsa. Garnish with cilantro and optional crumbled queso fresco.

    The plant genus of cruciferous vegetables, Brassica, contains nutritional powerhouses that are packed with potent, cancer-fighting phytonutrients (antioxidants). It’s easy to eat a cup or more daily from the long list below.


    Roasted Cauliflower

    Roast Cauliflower

    Purple Roast Cauliflower

    Romanesco Cauliflower

    [1] A tricolor roasted cauliflower feast (photo courtesy San Francisco Chronicle). Here’s the recipe, which includes garlic breadcrumbs and fennel-olive relish. [2] Roast cauliflower Indian style, with a rich Mughlai sauce of tomato, cashew nuts, milk, cream and butter. Here’s the recipe from [3] This cauliflower is garnished with a mint-parsley sauce. Here’s the recipe from[4] You can do the same with an exotic romanesco, often called romanesco cauliflower but it’s actually its own cultivar (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    There are more than 30 wild species of Brassica, plus numerous cultivars* and hybrids of cultivated origin. The best-known Brassica members include:

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Horseradish/wasabi
  • Kai-lan/gai-lan (often called Chinese broccoli in the U.S.)
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard greens
  • Radish
  • Rapeseed/canola
  • Rapini (broccoli rabe)
  • Romanesco
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
    Eat up!
    *A cultivar is a plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Favorite Green Bean Salad

    Green Bean Salad Recipe

    Green Bean Salad Recipe

    Petite Potatoes

    Colored Green Beans

    [1] (photo courtesy Keys To The Cucina). [2] Green beans with petite potatoes and basil (photo courtesy [3] Petite potatoes, grown in Idaho, are the size of a cherry tomato (photo courtesy Potato Goodness).[4] Check farmers markets for specialty green beans, and pull together a rainbow of colors (photo courtesy The Pines | Brooklyn).


    For the big weekend, you may be making potato salad, macaroni salad or cole slaw.

    We’d like to suggest a substitute: a delicious, crunchy and good-for-you green bean salad.

    As a constantly-dieting college student, it was one of the first recipes we perfected (perfection meaning exactly what we like).

    Over the years we’ve tried different dressings we enjoy on other salads—herb vinaigrette; balsamic, lemon or lime vinaigrette; yogurt dressing—but we still return to our original Dijon vinaigrette—and anchovies.

    Ideally this salad should be made with haricots vets, the thin French green beans; but they tend to be pricey. So use whatever you find.

    We like to go to the farmers market for mixed beans in green, purple and yellow (photo #4). We also spring for Idaho petite potatoes (sometimes called marble or pearl), bite-sized cuties that are have even more flavor than standard sizes (photo #3).

    If your crowd loves anchovies, top the salad with them. Otherwise, set the anchovies or tuna next to the platter so people can help themselves.

    You can make this recipe four hours ahead or overnight, for the flavors to blend.

    Ingredients For 8 Side Servings
    For The Salad

  • 2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 1/2 to 1 pound baby/petite potatoes, or larger red new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 small bulb fennel, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, shredded (chiffonade)
  • 1 cup Mediterranean black olives (kalamata, niçoise, picholine), ideally pitted
    For The Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed in a garlic press or finely minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Platter Garnishes

  • Anchovies or Italian tuna
  • Baby arugula
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • Tomatoes, quarters or eighths depending on size; or cherry tomatoes, halved; or grape tomatoes

    1. COOK the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until fork-tender but not overly soft (remember that the potatoes will continue to cook a bit from their internal heat). Drain and set aside to cool.

    2. COOK the beans in large pot of rapidly boiling salted water to al dente crisp. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, drain and transfer to bowl. If you use larger potatoes, cut them in half after they’re cool.

    3. COMBINE all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and make the vinaigrette: Add the garlic to the olive oil, then whisk in the mustard, followed by the vinegar. Season to taste. Taste the salad right before you serve it and adjust seasonings if desired.

    4. REFRIGERATE, covered. Bring to room temperature 2 hours before serving.

    5. PLATE. We like to serve this on a platter or large serving plate, rather than in a bowl. Mound the salad in the center of the platter, and rim the perimeter with the sliced eggs and tomatoes. If using anchovies, place them on top of the salad or on a separate small plate.



    You can make this up to 3 days in advance, and store tightly covered in the fridge.


  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, drained in fine sieve about 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, shredded (chiffonade)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed in a garlic press or finely minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional tablespoon olive oil or lemon juice to thin

    1. PLACE the yogurt in a medium jar or a bowl with a lid. Add the lemon juice and shake or whisk to combine. Add the garlic and stir or whisk.

    2. CHIFFONADE the mint leaves: Stack them, then roll them lengthwise into a tight bundle. Cut the bundle crosswise with a sharp knife. For a dressing, cut the strips in quarters or thirds.

    3. SEPARATE the pieces with your fingers (we pick them up and drop them a few times). Then stir the mint into the dressing.


    Green Bean Salad Recipe

    With a yogurt dressing instead (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF).

    4. ADD salt and pepper to taste, and add more lemon juice or olive oil to thin the dressing to taste. You can do the thinning just before serving if you prefer.

    5. SHAKE or stir thoroughly before serving.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Create A Signature Niçoise Salad

    Niçoise (nee-SWAHZ) refers to something from the city of Nice, on the French Riviera in the region of Provence.

    You can find the following popular Niçoise dishes in restaurants around the U.S., and they’re easy to make at home (except for the truffle omelet, which is easy to make if you can afford the truffles):

  • Aïoli, a garlic mayonnaise used as a spread, dip and condiment with potatoes, shellfish and vegetables (aïoli recipe).
  • Alcohol: The local favorites are pastis, an anise liqueur and apéritif; and rosé wine.
  • Bouillabaisse, the signature dish of Marseille. It’s fish stew with vegetables, garnished with croutons and rouille*).
  • Daube, beef stew braised in red wine and served with polenta or gnocchi (influences from neighbor Italy).
  • Fromage de chèvre, goat cheese, fresh and aged.
  • Nougat, the chewy white confection made from egg whites and almonds.
  • Omelette aux truffes, made with black truffles harvested in Provence from November through March.
  • Ratatouille, a casserole of tomatoes, onions, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, garlic and herbs.
  • Tapenade, a spread made from anchovies, capers and black olives.
  • And then, there’s Salade Niçoise (Niçoise Salad in English).

    The classic Salade Niçoise recipe is a composed salad (i.e., not tossed, but placed) of tomatoes, tuna (cooked or canned), hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives and in season, young haricots verts (French green beans). It is served with a Dijon vinaigrette, and can be served with or without a bed of salad greens. It is an entrée salad.

    Each cook can customize the salad to his or her taste. We’ve included optional extra ingredients below.

    This take on the classic Niçoise salad from McCormick uses two twists: a poached egg and a zesty seasoning blend (the recipe is in the footnote below).
    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning blend†
    For The Tuna

  • 1 rectangular piece (6 ounces) sashimi-grade ahi tuna loin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, coarse grind
  • 4 teaspoons seasoning blend†
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    For The Tuna & Salad

  • 6 each baby yellow, red and purple new potatoes
  • 1/2 pound fresh French green beans (haricot verts), trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup assorted grape/teardrop tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced baby cucumbers

    Salade Nicoise
    Nicoise Salad

    Kale Nicoise Salad

    Deconstructed Nicoise Salad

    [1] A classic Salade Niçoise from French chef Jacques Payard. [2] McCormick’s version substitutes a poached egg for the traditional hard-boiled. [3] Trending in America: Kale Niçoise (photo Williams-Sonoma). [4] Deconstructed Niçoise at the Seafire Grill.

  • 1/4 cup pitted Niçoise olives, halved (substitute picholine, kalamata or other flavorful black olive)
    Serve With…

  • Plain sliced baguette with olive oil for dipping (add herbs to the oil)
  • Garlic bread
    *Rouille (roo-EE, the word for rust in French) is a sauce made from olive oil with breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and red chiles, which give it the rusty orange color. It is served as a garnish with fish and fish soup, and is an essential with bouillabaisse, the signature fish stew dish of Marseille.

    †Substitute another spice blend or some lemon zest. McCormick’s spice blend recipe is 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 2 teaspoons grated lime peel, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder. Blend and store tightly capped in the fridge. Makes 2-1/2 tablespoons.



    [1] L’isolo D’Oro, a fine Mediterranean used in Nice in the best salads in Nice. [2] Anchovy lovers: layer them on (photo courtesy Flavor Your Life).


    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Place the oil, vinegar, mustard and sea salt in a blender container; cover. Blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into a small bowl. Stir in the seasoning blend. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

    2. SEASON the tuna with salt and pepper. Coat with the seasoning blend, pressing firmly so the mixture adheres to the tuna. Grill or sear: Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the tuna and sear 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on all sides. Remove the tuna to a plate; set aside to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    3. COOK the potatoes. Add them to a large saucepan with simmering salted water to cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain on paper towels to remove the water. Meanwhile…

    4. COOK the green beans in a large saucepan of simmering salted water to cover, 3 to 5 minutes or until tender-crisp (don’t overcook). Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well on paper towels. Place in large bowl with green beans. Add 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette; toss to coat. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

    5. CUT the potatoes in half or quarters, depending on size. Add to a bowl with the green beans.

    6. POACH the eggs. Fill a large, deep saucepan with 2 inches of water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Bring to boil and reduce the heat to medium. Break 1 egg into a small dish and carefully slide it into the simmering water (bubbles should begin to break the surface of the water). Repeat with the remaining eggs. Poach the eggs 3 to 5 minutes or until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken. Carefully remove eggs with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.

    7. SERVE: Slice the tuna into thin slices. Divide the potato mixture, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives among 6 plates (aim for an attractive presentation). Top each with tuna slices and a poached egg. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the tuna slices. Sprinkle the egg with additional seasoning blend.


    Make it your own with added ingredients or substitutes. Just keep the five basics: tuna, tomato, egg, green beans and olives, plus the vinaigrette.

  • Cooked vegetables: broccoli florets, broccolini or broccoli rabe.
  • Greens: arugula, bell pepper, carrots, celery, cress, cucumber, fennel, fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley), frisée, kale, radicchio, radishes.
  • Tomatoes: Substitute halved cherry or quartered larger tomatoes (in the off season, substitute sundried tomatoes in olive oil or roasted red pepper).
  • Onions: green (scallions), grilled onions, red, shallot, sweet onions.
  • Proteins: anchovies, bacon, beans or lentils, canned or grilled salmon or other grilled fish, sardines.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Ratatouille Pizza

    Ratatouille (rah-tah-TWEE) is a vegetable side dish that originated in the Provence region of France. The classic recipe consists of sautéed eggplant, onions, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini plus garlic and herbs.

    It is traditionally summer dish, when tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash are plentiful and at peak.

    Ratatouille is delightfully colorful when you use red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers and tomatoes/cherry tomatoes. To make ratatouille as a side dish, check out this recipe.

    Ingredients For 1 Large Pizza

    You can save time by purchasing the dough or a prepared crust (we sure did—and saved half the steps in the preparation). But Lisa, of Flour De Lisa made hers from scratch, using a pizza dough recipe from Bobby Flay. She adapted the ratatouille from Smitten Kitchen; we further adapted it.

    This can be a vegan recipe; but we adapted it by adding both ricotta and mozzarella. We put the mozzarella under the vegetables to showcase the colors. We also created a breakfast pizza version by adding eggs, which bake on top of the pizza.

    Without the cheese, the recipe is dairy free and low fat. Use a whole wheat crust and skim-milk cheeses and you have a pizza that’s on the “better for you” list.
    Ingredients For The Dough

  • 1-3/4 to 2 cups flour (bread flour for a crisper* crust, all-purpose for chewier)
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (around 100°F)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    For The Ratatouille

    Slice the vegetables to a width of 1/8 to 1/16th inch.

  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 Japanese eggplant
  • 1 long red bell pepper or 6 mini red bell peppers
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 yellow or red onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Red pepper or chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste
    Optional Garnishes

  • Capers and/or olives
  • Small or medium eggs
  • Herbs: fresh basil*, rosemary, thyme, other
    For The Optional Cheese Layer

  • 2 cups whole or part skim ricotta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 handful† flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella or provolone
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup, shredded


    Fried Egg Ratatouille


    Tian Recipe

    [1] Ratatouille pizza (photo courtesy [2] Bake eggs on top of the pizza, or fry or poach them in a pan to turn a ratatouille side into a main (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers. [3] courtesy [4] A tian, also from Provence, is another way to enjoy ratatouille ingredients (All-Clad gratin pan photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.)

    *You can scatter 10 medium basil leaves or 1/2 cup shredded basil atop the pizza when it comes out of the oven.

    †A handful is one of those imprecise measures that says: Use how much you want. More or less of the ingredient is not critical to the recipe’s outcome.

    1. MAKE the pizza dough: Combine 1-3/4 cup flour with the yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the oil and water, i.e. slightly warmer than your body temperature. Mix until the dough starts to form a ball. scraping down the bowl. If the dough is too wet, slowly add more flour. If dough becomes too dry, slowly add more water.

    2. TURN out the dough onto a lightly floured or oiled surface. Knead for a few minutes until it is smooth and elastic. When you poke it, the dough should spring back readily; when you hold the ball of between your palms, it should hold its shape. Lightly oil a clean bowl, place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Set aside in a warm place to rise for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. While waiting for the dough to rise…

    3. MAKE the ratatouille. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, minced garlic, sliced onion and a dash of red pepper flakes on the bottom of a 8- or 9-inch diameter springform pan. Alternatively, you can cook the ratatouille on top of the rolled out pizza dough, but the vegetables won’t be as tender or flavorful due to the significantly less cooking time.

    Optional cooking method: We steamed the vegetables separately to al dente, and then were able to pick them up with fingers and layer them perfectly, as in the photo.

    4. LAYER on top of the tomato paste mixture the zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and bell pepper, alternating the colors. Start with the inside perimeter and move inward. If you have extra vegetable, save them for a salad, omelet, etc. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the assembled ratatouille. Season with a dash of salt and pepper and thyme or rosemary. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes, increasing the temperature of the oven to as high as possible (450°F or 500°F on most ovens) within the last 5-10 minutes. While the ratatouille is baking…

    5. TURN back to the pizza dough. When the first rise is completed, turn out the dough onto a large sheet of lightly floured or oiled parchment paper. Punch out the air and form a disk. Roll out the dough into a circle about 10-12 inches in diameter. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

    6. MIX the ricotta with the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

    7. REMOVE the finished ratatouille from the oven, uncover the pizza dough and place it on a baking sheet. Parbake the pizza dough for a minute or two and remove from the oven. If using ricotta, spread it over the crust, followed by the mozzarella. If you prefer, use the mozzarella to top the pizza.

    8. RELEASE the springform pan carefully—it can be hot! Use one or two spatulas two to gently slide the ratatouille onto the center of the pizza. If you can do it evenly, great. If not, it will still taste delicious. Lightly brush the exposed pizza crust with olive oil.

    9. BAKE the pizza for 8-12 minutes, until the pizza crust is a golden brown. Slice and serve.

    Many people use the adjective crispier when they mean crisp.

  • Crisper is the comparative of crisp, i.e., “The crust is crisp but I’ll make it crisper next time.
  • Crispier is the comparative of crispy, i.e., the crust was nice and crispy but could have been even crispier.
    It’s a small difference, but a difference nevertheless.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruits & Greens Salad

    Spinach & Strawberry Salad

    Sungold Kiwi

    [1] Spinach with kiwi, grapes, strawberries and pecans (photo courtesy Pampered Chef). [2] SunGold kiwis from Zespri are sweeter and juicier than green kiwis—and other yellow kiwis, too (photo courtesy Zespri).


    We eat green salads, we eat fruit salads. But why don’t we mix them together more often?

    We were inspired by this easy recipe from Pampered Chef, which does just that.

    A spinach salad with strawberries (and feta) is not news, but it’s a good place to start. This one has some added twists, and there are other fruit and greens combinations below.


    Ingredients For 8 One-Cup Servings

    For The Salad

  • 1 package (8 ounces/227 g) fresh baby spinach (wash if not pre-washed)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) red seedless grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh strawberries, hulled and halved (substitute other berries)
  • 1 large kiwi, peeled, sliced (look for our favorite, Zespri’s SunGold® kiwi)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) pecan halves, toasted
  • 1 kirby or Persian cucumber (Persians don’t need to be peeled)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup crumbled cheese—blue, feta, goat
    For The Dressing

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) raspberry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt

    1. TOAST the pecans (how to toast nuts). Pampered Chef simply heated them in the microwave without toasting, using a Small Micro-Cooker. Microwave the nuts, uncovered, on HIGH for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cool completely.

    2. PLACE the greens in a large serving bowl. Add the fruit and top with the pecans.

    3. MAKE the dressing: Combine the ingredients and whisk until well blended. Drizzle ¼ cup (50 ml) over the salad and toss lightly just before serving.

  • Citrus salad, with blood oranges and pink grapefruit, butterhead lettuce (Bibb, Boston) and optional red onion.
  • Gourmet salad, with fresh lychee or rambutan, red and golden raspberry mix, fennel, radicchio and watercress.
  • Herb salad, citrus or stone fruits with basil or mint, butterhead lettuce, cilantro, dill, flat-leaf parsley (de-stemmed), mâche or purslane.
  • Melon salad, with melon balls or cubes, baby arugula, butterhead lettuce, celery, cucumber, large basil leaves.
  • Spicy salad, with citrus or berries, baby arugula, mizuna or other mustard greens, radish.
    Dressing Variations

    You can use a standard vinaigrette of oil and vinegar, but fruit and greens salads shine with:

  • Lime vinaigrette: lime juice and zest, olive oil and a teaspoon of honey.
  • Fruit-flavored vinegar or oil.
  • Fruit-flavored vinegar and chile-infused oil, for a bit of heat.


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