Monday, November 14, 2011

Cauliflower with Brown Butter, Pears, Sage & Hazelnuts

Ok I know the combination of pears and cauliflower sounds a bit odd...but I promise this was delicious!!  Cauliflower is not a vegetable that I typically serve at Thanksgiving, but I was very intrigued by the ingredients in this recipe.  The pears added a perfect crisp texture and a slight sweetness that was delectable.  I heard a rumor that my aunt recently picked around all of the pears in a salad so I don’t think this dish will make my Thanksgiving menu, but it would pair perfectly with other Thanksgiving flavors!  

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I promised a few people that I would post a sample of my Thanksgiving itinerary so I’ve included it below.  Some may mock me for this display of compulsive organization, but it helps me visualize all of the steps to avoid complete chaos.  This is especially important for a dinner that includes so many dishes that need oven space.  The cauliflower would actually be a great addition since it can be done at the last minute on the stove and doesn’t require time in the oven.  In order to free up even more oven space this year I will be cooking my turkey on the grill!  I have very high hopes for the outcome.  

As you think about your turkey plans, I would like to make a case for the benefits of brining.  The salt in brine draws out the blood, cleansing the bird and seasoning the meat down to the bone.  Sugar adds depth of flavor and helps the turkey brown to perfection.  Most grocery stores carry brine mixtures and I usually use those.  Just dissolve the brine in boiling water, cool, and add a bottle of dry white wine.  Then submerge the bird in the liquid for 2-4 days.  Using a very large pot works well.  It also helps if you have two refrigerators since it takes up a bit of space.  Make sure you dry it thoroughly before roasting.

Recipe from Fine Cooking
makes 8-10 servings
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets about 3/4 inch wide
1/2 cup toasted, skinned, chopped hazelnuts
8 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives (original recipe called for parsley but I think chives add more flavor)

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter until light brown and bubbly. Add the cauliflower, hazelnuts, and sage. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is browned and crisp-tender, 6 to 7 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the pear slices and chives. Gently toss to combine and warm the pears. Season to taste with more salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Thanksgiving Agenda 2009

Assemble Stuffing
Dress Turkey

Emily & Mom
Mash Potatoes
Prepare Butternut Squash, and pine nut mix

Emily & Mom
Turkey in Oven
325 Bottom
Cranberry Sauce

Both Stuffings in Oven (1 hour covered, 10 mins uncovered)
Make Biscuit Batter
350 Top

Erin, Lizzy, Aunt Suzi
Caramelize shallots, add green beans


Heat Potatoes
Drink a glass of wine at the bar and talk to chef

 Aunt Suzi & Mom
Turkey out of oven
Make Gravy
Roast butternut squash (35-35 mins)
425 Bottom

450 Bottom

Biscuits in Oven (14-16mins)

Sauté pine nuts and garlic for squash
425 Bottom
Erin, Lizzy, Aunt Suzi
Carve Turkeys
 Assemble and Dress Salad

Mom & Emily
Biscuits, Stuffing, Squash out of Oven
Add squash to garlic and pine nuts


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