Purple Cauliflower Salad & Thanksgiving Flowers

purple cauliflower salad
Marinated Purple & White Cauliflower Salad
Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Kalamata Olive, Scallion
Olive Oil, Lemon, Oregano, Parsley

thanksgiving flowers
I asked the florist to make 8 petite arrangements for my Thanksgiving table. This year in softer hues ~ focusing on green, yellow, brown and pink.  For no other reason than I wanted a change from bright orange & red, and I happened to have candles in those colors. They were just delightful! And in looking through my holiday photos, the flowers looked curiously like the purple cauliflower salad…

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Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

saffron rice recipe, cardamom eggplant recipe

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins
Roasted Eggplant with Cardamom Oil
Pine Nuts and Sliced Scallion Garnish

Faith said, “If you have time to make the Saffron Rice, please feel free to do so and share your thoughts on the dish and what you served with it.” Well Faith, I’ve made your saffron rice recipe several times since you sent it to me back in September. It rocks. I’ve served it topped with curried chicken salad for lunch, as a side dish to grilled halibut with tomato lemongrass sauce, and over roasted eggplant with cardamom oil. Each time I made the rice, I followed your recipe exactly ~ it’s perfect, balanced, delicious.

An Edible Mosaic

saffron rice eggplant mosaic, how to make a mosaic
Saffron Rice Mosaic in Honor of Faith’s Cookbook

My friend Faith Gorsky from An Edible Mosaic blog just had her first cookbook released: An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair. It is my pleasure to be participating in her Virtual Book Launch Party and sharing a terrific recipe from her book.

The book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East. Faith has a pretty unique story…after getting married Faith spent six months living in the Middle East, where she fell in love with the culture and cuisine. Subsequently, she returned four more times for visits, each time delving deeper into the cuisine and deepening her passion for and appreciation of the region.

Recipes in her book are authentic Middle Eastern, taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar but streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today, with unique ingredients demystified and cooking techniques anyone can follow. The book is available to order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

After you check out the recipe below, please head over to Faith’s blog to check out her virtual book launch party to see the other bloggers who are participating. Also, as part of her virtual book launch, Faith is hosting a giveaway of a fabulous set of prizes.

saffron rice, cardamom eggplant with shrimp

Faith’s recipe for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts is vegan. Her mother-in-law likes to serve the Saffron Rice with an aromatic shrimp dish in tomato sauce (a recipe also in the book). I took her mother-in-law’s advice and served it with shrimp tossed with cardamom oil, salt, and pepper.

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Vibrant Collards & Spinach Salad, Black-Eyed Peas, Peanut Vinaigrette

collard greens salad

Chiffonade of Collard Greens & Baby Spinach
Black-Eyed Peas, Carrot, Serrano Chile, Hard Boiled Egg, Cilantro
Peanut Vinaigrette

The girl who hails from Chicago and has lived in LA for decades is obsessed with collard greens. Last week’s Southern Greens Pasta, this vibrant salad, and a collard greens panini sandwich yet to share… Here collards are served fresh and raw along with baby spinach, the two greens’ textures complement each other. This salad, featuring a classic pairing of the greens with black-eyed peas and peanuts, was inspired by one published in Sauver. Smoked paprika and spicy chiles add a kick, carrot ribbons and eggs add contrast, flavor, and color. Serve this vivacious composed salad with a side of cornbread.

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roasted japanese eggplant with pomegranate, pistachio, garlicky cream sauce

japanese eggplant pomegranate pistachio
roasted japanese eggplant with fresh thyme
garlicky yogurt cream sauce
pomegranate & pistachio

I wasn’t shopping for another cookbook. I was actually at Anthropologie shopping for some kind of platform or stools on which to display some my overflowing unruly cookbook collection. But there on the shelf along with some darling Morrocan tea glasses and heavenly spiced candles was PLENTY, Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi. On the cover, a bejeweled eggplant dish…I was smitten.

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Pappardelle ~ Apple, Fig, Pistachio, Mint, Saffron Cream

Pappardelle with Saffron Cream
Apple, Fig, Pistachio, Mint

  • Our 5 Star Makeover Cooking Club is featuring apples for the fabulous September event.
  • My family and friends are celebrating the Jewish New Year 5773. And I’m thinking about noodle kugel. Kugel is a sweet Jewish casserole. I bake mine with egg noodles, golden raisins, cottage cheese, cinnamon, and apples. I was also thinking about my saffron matzoh balls…
  • My little guy Wilson needed some tests. When I dropped him off, his awesome veterinarian gave me a big basket of fresh figs from her garden.

These three events cosmically intertwined. Apples & figs collided with noodles & saffron. And the result was a delightful vegetarian pasta with a luxurious saffron cream sauce. It was an exotic marriage of sweet & savory, creamy & crunchy. The colors were glorious ~ golden yellow saffron, pale green granny smith apples, pink salmon-hued figs, and bright green mint.

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Construction Dinner

Orecchiette, Avocado Pasta Sauce
Orecchiette with Warm Avocado Cream

The dilemma was how to add more kitchen counter space for prepping, cooking, and cleaning while keeping the integrity of the 1951 style, leaving the character of the original design unchanged without knocking out any walls. My friend Kirk had a brilliant idea to convert the adjacent room, which had been used as a bar, into an extension of the kitchen.

My home is a unique style for Southern California, the charming Cape Cod is an East Coast design – a style adapted to the stormy New England weather. Common features include: a steep sloping roof, chimney with fireplace, dormers, multi-pane double hung windows, shutters, constructed of wood and covered in wide clapboard, having a symmetrical appearance with the door in center, center-hall floor plan, and hardwood floors.

This remodeled room may have originally been designed for use as a breakfast nook sixty years ago. Now, it is an extension of the cooking area, with a stainless steel sink and 9 extra feet of counter space!

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