Starchless Cauliflower, Goat Cheese and Almonds Bake

With a request to develop a “vegetarian, starchless bake”, the decision to use cauliflower as the main ingredient was quite obvious, as this vegetable’s texture when cooked is as close to that of potatoes.
In order to add color and different textures to the bake, while keeping preparation as uncomplicated as possible, I’ve added to it a mix of frozen vegetables, along with sliced almonds and two types of goat cheese. I then simply seasoned the mixture with freshly grated nutmeg and four peppers mix, and topped it with additional almonds and cheese, to create a tasty, crunchy topping. The result was a flavorful and aromatic bake that can be served on its own, as a light main course, or as a side dish. Try it and enjoy.

* Using frozen mixed vegetables makes for easier preparation. If you prefer to use fresh vegetables, steam them lightly before adding to the mixture.
* Due to the fact the bake contains no starches, a fairly long baking time is needed in order to stabilize it.
* If you can’t find wine soaked goat cheese, Pecorino or Parmesan cheeses can be used instead.
* The bake can be kept in the fridge, covered, for up to two days. To keep the crunchiness of the topping, make sure to reheat it in a toaster oven, not in the microwave.

Makes: 10
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour 20 minutes

1 large head of cauliflower
½ cup water
3 L eggs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp each: freshly grated nutmeg, four peppers mix
2 cups frozen mix of carrots, peas and corn, thawed
½ cup sour cream
½ cup almond flakes
½ cup wine soaked goat cheese, finely grated (see notes)
4 oz (115 grams) fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
For the topping:
½ cup wine soaked goat cheese, finely grated (see notes)
½ cup almond flakes

1. Trim the cauliflower, wash and place in a large flat pot, in one layer. Add the water, cover and steam over high heat, for about 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. Strain, if needed, and mash coarsely with a potato masher. Measure 4 cups and place in a large bowl.

2. Preheat the oven to 370F (188C). Line a 12” x 8” (20.5cm x 30cm) pan with baking paper.
3. Add the eggs, salt, nutmeg and peppers mix to the mashed cauliflower, and mix well. Add the frozen vegetables, sour cream, almond flakes, grated goat cheese and crumbled fresh goat cheese. Mix gently, so that the fresh goat cheese chunks will still be visible. Pour the mixture into the lined pan and level the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the grated goat cheese and almonds for the topping all over.

4. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the bake is set and the topping is golden.

A Few More Dishes with Tarragon Cashew Pesto

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for tarragon-cashew pesto (click HERE for the recipe), which is one of my favorites. I then mentioned that I use the pesto in numerous dishes. In the recipes here, you can find a few of these free-style dishes. Hopefully they will inspire you to use this, or any other type of pesto, in different, tasty ways. Try them and enjoy. Continue reading

Crispy Asparagus with Saffron-Garlic Mayonnaise

Fresh asparagus is always a delight, and when I saw this beautiful bunch at the store, I immediately grabbed it. Continue reading

Israeli Couscous with Mushrooms

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Caponata Ronit Penso

When I’ve found some ripe tomatoes, eggplants and peppers at the farm stand, I’ve decided it’s time to prepare a nice batch of Caponata – a tasty sweet and sour Sicilian eggplant dish.
Caponata is wonderful as a side dish, especially with fish and seafood, but also with chicken and other meats. It is also wonderful as a topping for Crostini, and can also be served as a dip, with crackers or toasted points. Continue reading

Spaghetti with Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Walnuts

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Feta and Scallions Stuffed Tomatoes * Tomato and Bread Salad

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Summertime means lots of salads with fresh ripe tomatoes. However, sometimes it’s nice to use the tomatoes for other purposes, such as in the recipe here, for tomatoes stuffed with a tasty cheese mixture.
This doesn’t mean we’ll skip the tomato salad option altogether. Quite the contrary, the scooped inner part will be a base for a quick and tasty salad.

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Pearl Onions Sephardic Style

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Granted, this is not a dish you would quickly make, but if you’re home on a cold winter’s day, just place it in the oven and wait for the wonderful results.

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Colorful Couscous, Lentils and Raisins Salad

One more post from the early days of the blog.
See you next week with a new post. :)

Tasty Eats

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Preparing traditional couscous from scratch is a labor intensive task; it requires mixing semolina with oil and water, passing it through a sieve, steaming it in a special pot, mixing it again, and repeating the process once or twice more… No wonder that up until modern times, when the instant couscous was created, this great grain product was not as popular as it is today.

The homemade couscous purists may snub the instant couscous, claiming it is not as tasty as the original. They may be right to some extent, just like those who are in favor of fresh homemade pasta versus dried pasta are. However, just as most of us will not start making fresh pasta for lunch, the same goes with instant couscous. It is extremely easy and quick to prepare, and when made properly, it is tasty and highly versatile. So don’t be deterred by the term…

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Baked mushrooms casserole is a favorite of mine, and as Thanksgiving dinner is approaching rapidly, I’ve decided to experiment with my original recipe, to make it more suitable for the holiday.

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Roasted Beets and Orange Salad + Savory Beet greens Cheese Patties

Roasted beets and Orange Salad Ronit Penso
When you see at the store a bunch of beets with the greens still attached to them, you know they are as fresh as it gets. Nevertheless, the fresh greens are not just an indication for the beets’ freshness; they are also edible and tasty on their own right, so it makes even more sense to buy the bunch.
Here, I have used the bunch to create two dishes: a colorful roasted beets salad and savory beet greens cheese patties.
Both dishes go great together, but you can, of course, serve each on its’ own.

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