Copper Onion Cauliflower Recipe

This is one of my favorite dishes at The Copper Onion in downtown Salt Lake (and actually, one of my favorite dishes in general). Caramelized cauliflower which is then covered in a rich, slightly tart mayonnaise-based dressing.

Here’s the recipe, graciously shared by The Copper Onion’s own Ryan Lowder

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
½ cup Best Foods mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. chopped capers
Splash Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. anchovy paste
2 garlic cloves minced
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Blanch the cauliflower in boiling salty water until just tender
2. Mix the mayo, capers, garlic, anchovy, salt and pepper in a bowl
3. Place a pan on the burner and get really hot
4. Add the oil, then cauliflower
5. Season with salt and pepper and caramelize as many sides of the cauliflower as you can
6. Toss the cauliflower in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well

The caramelization is key to this recipe, and really adds another dimension to the dish. When I made it, I got my sauté pan up to about 330 degrees, splashed in some grapeola oil, and tossed in the blanched broccoli. Sauteed until the cauliflower had touches of deep brown caramelization all over, then tossed in the dressing.

The Copper Onion

Margherita Pizza

One of my favorite meals is margherita pizza. There’s something about the simplicity of it all that really appeals to my taste buds. The fresh, creamy mozzarella, the acidic tomato sauce balanced perfectly with just the right amount of sweetness. The bright and fresh bits of basil, and the crunchy, chewy crust. Simple perfection.

I decided to give it a shot at home. I found a recipe at Epicurious and adapted a few items. I added thinly sliced tomatoes and about ½ cup of shredded parmigiano reggiano to the list of toppings. I also added the prosciutto-like coppa, made by one of my favorite local companies, Creminelli. Also, next time I’ll spend a little extra and buy San Marzano tomatoes instead of the normal canned stuff you find at the grocery stores. If you haven’t had San Marzano tomatoes, they’re sweet little red bits of heaven. If you have had them, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Very low acidity and a high level of sweetness.

Also, get the “real deal” mozzarella if you can. Avoid the powdery, shredded stuff. Ask your local grocer if they carry fresh mozzarella. Usually it’s ball-shaped and packed in liquid to keep it fresh. At my local grocer, Harmon’s, a ½ lb ball runs about $5. Or you can be really brave and make your own.

A few tips: get your oven as hot as it will go. 500 degrees is usually the max for most conventional ovens. You’ll want to plan plenty of time for the pizza stone to get hot. Just because the oven is preheated and ready doesn’t mean the pizza stone has reached the right temperature. So give it a good 20 minutes once the oven is preheated before you throw the pizza on the stone.

The recipe suggests parchment, but parchment is typically only rated up to 420 degrees, so you’ll be dealing with some seriously burned paper if you use it. Instead, I used generous amounts of corn meal, and slid the pizza from a baking sheet with corn meal to the hot pizza stone. It worked ok, but I had to wrestle with the floppy pizza dough to convince it to get off the baking sheet and move on to the pizza stone. I imagine a pizza peel is in my near future.

If you don’t have a pizza stone, do yourself a favor and get one. It produces beautiful, crisp crusts that you can’t get using baking sheets.

Give this recipe a shot and let me know how it goes! I know it certainly fed my pizza craving.

Sofrito and Green Beans

If you haven’t met my good friend Sofrito yet, you really need to. It goes well with just about anything. It can be served atop steak, on bruschetta, or in this case, topping green beans.

It’s a really easy thing to whip up. Total time took me about 10 minutes. What you’ll need:

About a cup of quartered tomatoes
Half an onion, quartered
One or two cloves of garlic, depending on how much you like garlic (I went with two)
Teaspoon oregano
Half teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste 

Put everything in a food processor, and pureé. Move to a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes.

It’s a great way to dress up just about any dish. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Easiest Bread Recipe Ever

I am a nut for crusty bread. I love the crunch that the caramelized brown crust provides. I found a super easy recipe that involves absolutely no kneading. Total prep time for this bread was around ten minutes.

3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water 

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the water, thenquickly mix the ingredients with your hand, just long enough to incorporate everything into a mass. It shouldn’t take longer than ten seconds to mix it. If you’re taking longer than that, you’re working the dough too much. I had to add a bit more water (maybe ¼ cup) to get the dough sticky enough.

Once incorporated, add a tablespoon of oil to the bowl (or spray the sides of the bowl with nonstick spray). Seal the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside for at least twelve hours. Seems like a lot, but you need to give the dough enough time for the yeast to work its magic and for the gluten to develop.

Once the twelve hours are up, lightly pat the dough down, then fold the dough in no more than four times (see the video link at the bottom of the post to see what I’m talking about). Cover the bottom of the dough with corn meal and the top of the dough with a light coating of flour. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees. Yes, 500. It needs to be blazing hot to make sure the dough develops a caramelized crust. If you have a cast iron enamel pot, like a Le Creuset, place it in the oven and allow it to pre-heat as well. Now, a word of caution: my Le Creuset discolored on the outside as it reached about 425 degrees. I’ve been told that they can comfortably go up to over 500 degrees, but you may want to do a little research to find out for yourself. I also covered my lifting knob with aluminum foil to prevent damage.

Once everything is preheated, throw the dough in, corn meal side down, immediately cover, and put it in the oven. The beauty of using the Le Creuset is this: the pot traps in the escaping moisture from the dough, which then circulates around the dough in the pot. This is what develops the beautiful crust on the bread. As the starches heat, they turn into both a gum and sugar, which then caramelizes. This is what gives bread crust texture, color, and wonderful flavor.

If you don’t have an enamel pot, another technique is to get a pizza/bread stone, place it in the oven to preheat up to 500 degrees, and place a pyrex pan filled with water either beneath the stone or to the side. Throw the dough on the pizza stone, and the evaporating moisture from the pan will help increase the humidity in the oven. I’ve done both methods, and the Le Creuset method is much superior, but you can still get decent results with the stone.

Bake until the crust is a very dark golden brown. It’s recommended to cook the bread for about 2/3 of the time with the lid on, and 1/3 of the time with the lid off. My small loaves only took about thirty minutes to bake, so doing the math gives me twenty minutes with lid on and ten with lid off. Ovens vary, so just make sure you start checking on it about fifteen minutes in. But don’t open the oven for at least the first ten minutes as the crust develops. You need to keep every last bit of moisture in the oven that you can.

Once baked, pull out and allow the bread to cool down. This is important and the crust will continue to harden and develop as it cools.

Get some bread and jam or some oil and vinegar, and you’re ready for a treat! Experiment with different additions like garlic, onions, cherries, etc. I think I’m going to try a cranberry white chocolate loaf next.

Check out this video which shows the above process. Especially take note of how little time he spends mixing the dough.

Rondos Recipe

Rondos are a little-known Dutch treat. My wife brought a few home from a friend’s house, and once I tried it, I had to figure out how to make them.

The Rondo is a rich, semi-gooey, almondy pastry that has just a hint of lemon zest. The middle half of the Rondo is filled with almond paste to make it extra gooey and rich.

Here’s the recipe:

250 g all-purpose flour
200 g butter, cold and diced
160 g confectioners sugar
½ egg (about 25 g)
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder

300 g almond paste (The easiest way is to buy it pre-made. Click here for Amazon link. But you can also make your own using this recipe)
25 g water
17 amarena cherries, drained (I didn’t put these in)
½ egg, beaten
Whole almonds

Mix the flour, lemon zest, baking powder, sugar and ½ egg in a bowl. Add the butter and knead this quickly into a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator until firm (overnight is best).

Preheat oven to 380 F. Mix the almond paste with the water until smooth.

Take dough out of the fridge and give it a short knead. Roll out about ½” thick and cut out circles that will fit into a muffin tin.

Place a dough disk on the bottom of the greased and floured muffin tin and scoop about a teaspoon of almond paste in the middle of the disk. You should have about ¼” of the dough disk edges visible. If you use cherries, you would also place a cherry in the almond paste. Put another dough disk on top. You don’t need to smash it on–just place it firmly. Brush the top with egg wash, place an almond on top, and brush again with egg wash. Bake for about 20-25 minutes (mine took about 17, but my oven runs hot) or until golden brown. Take them out of the molds at once and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

I doubled this recipe and it yielded about 13 Rondos. I used a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour. If you roll the dough out a little thinner than ½” you should be able to increase the yield quite a bit. If you make your own almond paste, be sure to blanch your almonds long enough to make it easy to remove the seedcoat. I only blanched them the first time for one minute and it was a tedious experience to remove the seedcoat. Turns out that 2-3 minutes in boiling water is much more effective.

I’m not kidding you when I say that these were one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten. Many of my friends felt the same way when they tried them.

Helpful links:

Thompson’s Chili

This recipe is courtesy of our friend, Brent. I’m not a big tomato fan, so I like to switch out the stewed tomatoes with diced. We also love cilantro, so we usually do two full bunches.

1 C. Black Beans
1 C. Pinto Beans
1 lb ground beef
2 cans of stewed tomatoes large
1 onion
4 -6 cloves of garlic
3-4 TB chili powder
2-3 tsp cumin
1 bunch of cilantro
Salt to taste

From Brent:

Soak beans in lots of water overnight then drain the beans of most of the water. Then add the tomatoes and let it simmer. Cook the ground beef in a separate fry pan, drain the grease and then add this to the beans. Then add the onion, garlic, chili powder, and cumin. I then let this simmer to fully cook the beans and to get the right consistency of soupiness. Once it is ready cut the cilantro, add this in to the soup and let it cook for only a few min. and serve. I like to serve it with some shredded cheese and sour cream.