Roasting broccoli is so easy, tastes delicious and is very healthy. I think it’s silly when I read a recipe that over-complicates roasted broccoli. All you need to do is cut the florets off of the head of broccoli give them a quick rinse and toss with olive oil and some salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes and you’re done. I like when the the broccoli gets a little char on it. The broccoli remains crisp but tender.
In this recipe I decided to give the broccoli a little kick. I wanted a little more heat in the dish and some more color so I decided to add Jalapeño, Sweet Twister Peppers and Garlic. I sautéed the peppers and garlic in Extra Virgin Olive Oil before tossing with the broccoli. This step allowed the peppers and garlic to flavor the Olive Oil before tossing it with the broccoli. I was having a couple of friends over for dinner and was serving a buffet dinner. I prepped the whole dish ahead of time so all I had to do was pop it in the oven 15 minutes before I wanted to serve dinner. I love recipes that don’t require you to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when your guests have arrived. You should be enjoying your company, not sweating it out in the kitchen.
Maitake mushrooms are also known as Hen of the Wood mushrooms. I absolutely love the large floral shape of these mushrooms. It has a very earthy flavor. The word ‘Maitake’ means dancing in Japanese. It is said that the mushroom got this name because people started dancing around it when it was first discovered. This mushroom is typically found in the Fall months and it not only tastes great but is also very healthy for you. The Maitake or Hen of the Wood mushroom is considered a medicinal mushroom because it is full of antioxidants, vitamin B and C, potassium and fiber. The mushroom is being tested to see its effectiveness in regulating cholesterol. A 2013 study found that the Maitake mushroom reduced cholesterol levels in mice which lead researchers to believe that there are benefits to eating these mushrooms. The mushroom is best used the same day you buy it but if you need to store it you should put it in a paper bag in the refrigerator. They are very delicate and crisp up on the edges when roasted or fried. I have tried this recipe by frying the mushroom in oil and of course it is delicious but I really wanted to keep this recipe a little healthier so I think roasting the mushroom is equally as good. Ok, maybe not equally, but definitely a close second. If you want to try frying the Maitake you will need to put it on a skewer so you can gently place it in the vegetable oil. Fry the mushroom until crispy and then sprinkle with salt and pepper after you remove it from the oil and place it on a paper towel to drain. Remove the skewer and serve with the garlic aioli. The garlic aioli adds a lot of flavor to this dish and works well with the earthy flavor of the mushroom. It’s simple to prepare and can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Making it ahead of time will give the flavors time to blend. Always use fresh lemon juice and garlic when making the aioli. I like to put the aioli on the side so people can use as much as they want.
A fresh squeeze of lemon is essential to brighten the aioli and give it a little zing. Regular lemon is fine but use Meyer if you can find it.
This Maitake mushroom recipe is super easy to prepare and pairs well with many main dishes. Serve it with seafood, chicken or meat. It makes a great side dish to serve family style or you can serve it as an appetizer before dinner.
My family loves Caesar Salad. There are many caesar salad dressing recipes out there, some are thick others are thinner. I do not like the dressing to be thick like mayonnaise but I do like it to be creamy. The trick is to whisk the egg, mustard, anchovies and garlic together before slowly adding the oil while continuing to whisk. Caesar dressing should have lots of flavor. Do not be concerned with the anchovies in the recipe, they are there to add salt and a different layer of flavor. I like to use anchovy paste instead of fillets. I think that it blends better in the dressing and is much easier to work with. The anchovies will not make the dressing fishy, they are essential in making a true authentic caesar salad.
It is much better to make your dressing rather than buying one in a bottle. The freshness of the ingredients adds to the overall flavor of the dressing. Caesar dressing has quite a few ingredients but most of them are probably already in your pantry. I always keep garlic cloves, anchovy paste, eggs and parmesan cheese in my fridge. You can always whip up something to eat as long as you have these staples in your refrigerator.
This Caesar dressing recipe will work well with romaine lettuce but I love it with warm brussel sprouts. I serve the Warm Brussel Caesar Salad as a side dish at dinner but you can also serve it as an appetizer. You can make the dressing ahead of time and keep it in your refrigerator for up to 5 days. Just store in a glass jar.
Cheesy, Creamy and Delicious Homemade Mac and Cheese
Thanksgiving is coming up and I wanted to share a great mac and cheese recipe to complement that delicious turkey you are going to make. Homemade macaroni and cheese is the perfect dish to serve at your dinner. This recipe is simple and quick to prepare. The results are infinitely better than any boxed mac and cheese you can buy. Mac and Cheese must be cheesy and creamy with just the right amount of crunchy buttery bread crumbs on top. This is a decadent dish and needs have the right ratio of sauce to macaroni. You don’t want it to be too soggy. I like to use sharp cheddar cheese in my macaroni and cheese but you can feel free to experiment with other cheese that you like. Try mixing in gruyere or mozzarella for an added layer of flavor. You can also mix in some crumbled crisp bacon into the macaroni right after adding the cheese sauce. This will give the dish a little smoky flavor. My recipe calls for a bit of evaporated milk. I think that the evaporated milk really helps make the sauce creamy and delicious. Mac and cheese can be baked and eaten right out of the oven but is also great reheated the next day. I recommend making a big dish so you can enjoy it now and later. Try serving leftover mac and cheese with a big salad the next day. In many of my recipes I pair arugula salad when I am serving a dish that is creamy. The peppery bite of the arugula helps to cut the creaminess of any dish. The two compliment each other. I think that this is the best mac and cheese recipe. It’s a great pot luck dish and perfect if you are feeding a larger group and want to be able to make something ahead of time.