Thursday, October 8, 2015

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

I am literally obsessed with dressing cauliflower up in different ways.  My absolute favorite is to recreate a version of Chinese take-out Orange Chicken.  I have blogged about this and posted a recipe in the past.  Over the years, I have made this (a lot) of different ways, each time getting just a little bit better (honestly, I make this at least once a week).



I have found that the absolute best way to achieve that crispy coating on the cauliflower is to batter and roast it and then deep fry it (yes, deep fry).  I enjoy cauliflower so much prepared this way that I batter it and roast up a whole head of it and then keep it in the fridge during the week so I can grab it and fry it up whenever I like.  The little chunks of cauliflower are so versatile, they go great with all sorts of sauces, not just orange.  I sometimes do buffalo, sesame or sweet and sour.

I usually serve it with sliced green onion, on the day I took the photo I did not have any so I used some chopped cilantro for garnish. Either work equally well.

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

For the orange sauce:
1 cup vegetable stock
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
1/2 cup organic, unbleached sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup tamari sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water

 For the cauliflower:
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup non-dairy milk (I use So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
1 tsp garlic powder
Oil for frying
Sesame seeds for garnish
Cilantro, chopped for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix the flour and non-dairy milk together and add the garlic powder.  Stir until a thick batter is formed.  Dredge the cauliflower in the batter and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment or pan lining paper.  Roast at 450 degrees for 18 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

While the cauliflower is roasting prepare the sauce by mixing together the vegetable stock, orange zest and juice, sugar, apple cider vinegar, tamari sauce, garlic, sriracha and pepper in a bowl.

Whisk the cornstarch and water into a slurry.

Add the sauce to a saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes until warmed.  Add the cornstarch slurry, and continue to cook the sauce, stirring frequently until the desired consistency is reached.

As the sauce is cooking  place the oil in a deep sauce pot or deep fryer.  Heat over medium-high heat. When oil is hot drop the roasted cauliflower florets in and allow to fry until a deep golden brown- no more than a couple of minutes.

Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel.

To serve, place the cauliflower on a plate, top with sauce and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.

This can be served over rice (as pictured).

Note: the sauce recipe is a minor variation of this one that I found online.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Savory Chickpea Flour Muffins

These beautiful little muffins are great as an on the go breakfast or snack.  They can be made ahead, frozen or refrigerated and grabbed as your running out the door for a quick  meal. They are fiber and protein rich, filling, healthy and most importantly, delicious.



There are similar recipes online for similar muffins (including one of mine), most of them referred to as vegan "quiche".  While there is certainly a similarity to quiche, I am trying to steer clear of recipe titles that indicate a "fake" version of something else. The fact is, these are delicious in their own right and really don't need a comparison to an egg based dish. They stand up on their own quite well.



There are endless flavor combinations that can be done with these; just by choosing different vegetables to mix into your muffins. I chose spinach and red pepper this time. I think asparagus would be amazing as well.  I find it preferable to use cooked vegetables from a texture perspective, making this a great way to use leftovers to create unique flavor combinations.

Savory Chickpea Flour Muffins

2 1/2 cups chickpea flour (besan)
3 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package frozen spinach (10 oz. box), thawed with water removed
1/2 red pepper (I used the kind from a jar), chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl mix the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and pepper and stir until smooth (you may use a whisk to ensure the flour and water is well incorporated).  Add the garlic, spinach, thyme, and parsley and stir again.

Prepare a twelve cup muffin pan with cooking oil spray. Ladle the batter into the muffin cups filling them nearly to the top. The batter will seem quite watery; this is how it should be.

Place the filled muffin tin in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Open the oven, allowing steam to escape.  Close the oven door and continue to cook another 15 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.   Run a butter knife around each muffin prior to removing from the tin to ensure easy removal.

Enjoy.