I love eating, cooking and especially reading about all different types of food. Every month I'll try recipes from some of my favorite culinary magazines and cook books, review restaurants and even share some of my own creations. I'll post pictures and let you know what works, how they taste and tips to make them better. I'll also enlist some friends around the country to tell you about some great food finds where they live.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Side Dishes - Spring Vegetable Ragout, Spicy Cauliflower

This weekend it was about sides, healthy sides.  Mr. Steele planned on making pork ribs, so I wanted to offset the meat with some healthy sides.  The ribs were great...

I found these two recipes in Body + Soul from April 2010.

Spring Vegetable Ragout
Spicy Cauliflower

As always, the team at Martha Stewart Omnimedia have left these recipes off their website.  So here is the first one:

Spring Vegetable Ragout

  • 3 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half moons (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 12 ounces  asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2.5 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1.5 cups)
  • 8 radishes, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as chives and tarragon
1. Soak leeks in cold water 5 minutes; lift out and drain.  Repeat until no grit remains on bottom of bowl.  Set aside. 
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add leeks and salt and sauté until leeks are tender, about 2 minutes.  Stir in asparagus then water.  Simmer covered for 2 minutes.  Add snap peas and radishes, cover, and simmer for 2 minutes more.  
3. Stir in mustard until well combined, then swirl in butter and herbs.  Serve immediately
This is a really delicious, quick side dish.  I'm really into radishes now and their bitterness almost becomes sweet when you combine them with the leeks and snap peas.  I, of course, left out the butter and it was perfectly fine.  Although, I'm sure if you used butter, it would have added a creaminess to the dish.  All the produce was fresh and organic, and I think that's why it was so addictive and flavorful.

The next side was the cauliflower. AMAZING PEOPLE.  This one you have to try. 

Spicy Cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seed
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded peeled ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, about 2 lbs., cut into large florets
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1-2 small red chiles, thinly sliced, seeds removed for less heat
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add spices and cook until fragrant and golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Stir in the onion, 3 tablespoons ginger, 3 tablespoons garlic, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are tender and golden at the edges, 4 to 6 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Wash and dry pan and return to medium high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon oil; heat until shimmering.  Add half the cauliflower and brown on one side, 3 to 5 minutes  Remove from pan, and repeat with remaining oil, cauliflower, ginger, and garlic.
3.  Combine batches of cauliflower in pan.  Add water and remaining salt.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in chickpeas and chiles; cook uncovered until chickpeas are heated through and liquid is gone, about 3 minutes.
4. Stir in onions and serve. 

Ok, a few things, you do not need 1/4 cup of ginger...it's overkill.  I only used about 3 tablespoons and it was perfect.  The flavors are really complex in this dish, I think you'll like it.

See you next week


  1. I'm trying this next! This could be a meal with a whole grain on the side and some whole wheat naan. Hmm, healthy Indian!

  2. substituted broccoli for cauliflower and it was delicious. i too used 3 tablespoons ginger and it was perfect. i only used 3/4 tsp salt as mentioned at the beginning and the dish came out perfectly to my taste. thanks for the inspiration! i am for sure making this one again and again. super easy and deeelish.