Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower

So Thanksgiving Day 2010 has passed and we are livin' on leftovers. This is a good thing! In our house we love leftovers. And Thanksgiving leftovers are the best ever!

This year I threw in a new side dish. To my amazement it was a tremendous success! See, my family (with me leading the pack) is adamant that Thanksgiving dinner is all about tradition. We must have a turkey; there must be dressing (made the same way my mother made it and don't even think about messing with the recipe); there must be mounds of mashed potatoes; and there must be copious amounts of gravy! In our family gravy is a beverage. In the last few years we've added an awesome smoked turkey, compliments of David Miller (Werner Meats), however there still has to be a regular turkey as well. In addition to all of the above we also have homemade noodles, cranberry sauce (that's another post), rolls & butter, and appetizers (oh yeah, yet another post). I figured that we might need a vegetable thrown in there other than a relish tray. So I kept my eyes open for something that might be interesting.

And I found it on Steamy Kitchen's blog. Remember how I said in my cauliflower soup post that I pretty much loathe cooked cauliflower? (Deborah, you're going to love this.) I found out I love roasted cauliflower! Really!!! 

Let me backtrack a bit. When I made the cauliflower soup I had a half head of cauliflower left. What was I going to do with it? Then lo and behold here comes Jaden from Steamy Kitchen with a post on roasted cauliflower. I saw garlic. I saw bacon. What's not to like? Okay, I can try this.

I made it as a side dish for dinner that night and Bob and I ate every last bite! We totally scarfed it down! Who would'a thought I like cooked cauliflower? But, I will insist that we say "roasted" rather than cooked. I do think that roasting transforms it into a whole different being. The cauliflower turns a gorgeous golden color and the taste is out of this world. The garlic roasts to a sweet nutty deliciousness and the bacon crisps up and gets all crunchy and incredible. This dish simply put, rocks!

So I slid the roasted cauliflower into the Thanksgiving line up and it was a total hit! Almost all of it was gone and everyone wanted some to take home with their leftovers.

I think I have found a new favorite vegetable. And I do believe we have a new "must" for the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Thanks, Jaden!

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Bacon and Garlic
Servings: 4 Prep Time: 5 Cook Time: 20


1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
6 cloves garlic, halved
3 strips bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375F. On a baking sheet, toss together the cauliflower, garlic slices, bacon and olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes until bacon is crisp and cauliflower is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Last Friday night I had dinner with two very handsome men. Aren’t I the lucky one! Bob, our friend Donald and I went to check out a new restaurant in Upper Arlington, Cibo. Carla Piolata (one of the owners of the now closed Davinci’s) and her sister-in-law Carrie Ciotola opened Cibo on October 7, 2010. Often they have live music, mostly jazz. As you all know there is a certain jazz singer here in Columbus that is near and dear to our hearts. And guess what … Dwight Lenox just happened to be playing there on Friday. Oh, this just keeps getting better and better!

When we walked in the door, I immediately loved the ambiance. There is a lovely fireplace that greeted us with the warmth from the fire. They have a full service bar with a wine list that according to Bob and Donald had some very good Italian wines. There are two rooms and we were seated in the “music” room so we could listen to Dwight when he began to play.

The restaurant seats about 100 people and is decorated in warm tones. The tablecloths are black and each table has a candle surrounded by coffee beans and a beautiful vase of fresh flowers, making it all feel quite cozy.

We started off with a few appetizers since the three of us were hungry enough to begin gnawing on the tablecloth if we didn’t get something soon. We munched on the breadsticks until they arrived. I was quite smitten with the breadsticks.

Here’s the thing … I can’t show you a picture of our appetizers because by the time I remembered I had my camera and that I wanted to take pictures … um, they were gone. Darn those boys, anyway. I really wanted to show you what we had. The arancini was made with saffron risotto and had a center of fresh mozzarella and prosciutto. The outside was crispy and the inside was creamy. The sauce was a perfect compliment. Oh, I could have eaten those all night. They truly were the best I have ever tasted … the best ever! Our other appetizer was the calamari. Those tasty little squids were absolutely perfectly cooked. The sauce that accompanied them had a little kick to it. We definitely made great choices!

Donald had the bucatini all ‘Amatriciana. Bucatini is a long hollow spaghetti-like pasta. The sauce is tomato with pancetta and usually chili or chili flakes. I tasted the dish and I’m thinking this might be what I get next time. It was really delicious.

Bob’s entrĂ©e was the pan roasted free range chicken. The skin was a gorgeous brown and crispy. The meat was moist and succulent. The chicken was finished with a caramelized garlic sauce that I found to be exceptional. As in, I could drink this stuff with a straw! The dish included asparagus and butternut squash puree with rosemary. The squash puree totally worked for me. It was scrumptious.

My dinner was divine. I had the spaghetti carbonara. Cibo’s carbonara sauce is made with egg and no cream. According to Carla, no one in Italy would consider making carbonara with cream. The pancetta was crispy crunchy and oh so good. I fell in love with this dish. (I did share a bit of it with Bob so that I could pirate some of his squash. Hey, I’m not entirely unreasonable.) I would so order this again in a heartbeat. It was awesome.

We moved on to dessert. Each of us ordered something different and we tasted all around.

Donald’s choice was the lemon mascarpone cheesecake with blackberry compote and basil syrup. Not only was the presentation gorgeous but the taste was divine. This was everything a cheesecake should be; creamy, rich, light and decadent.

Bob chose the triple chocolate torte. I don’t have the particulars on this. I remember that it had three different chocolate layers with three different kinds of liqueur. This is was I distinctly remember; when I put a small bite of the torte on my tongue and let it melt, it was almost like the chocolate wrapped itself around me and each flavor became singular and yet combined all at the same time. Whoa … it totally was a sensual experience. I kid you not.

My dessert was the bonet ala piedmontese. This is a baked custard-like piece of heaven made with espresso, cinnamon and chocolate sitting atop a amaretti cookie crust with caramel sauce. I know. I know.
And when I didn’t think it could get any better, Dwight Lenox and the trio began playing. Dwight’s voice never fails to thrill me. Simply no one sings jazz better than Dwight. And then, Lee Savory joined him on the flugel horn. Oh my goodness. Then to my delight, who should walk in but Carl Sally, toting his sax! The music was unbelievable!!!

I also had the pleasure of meeting Chef John Beck. What a charmer! His use of ingredients and execution of Italian specialties is a true thing of beauty. And he told me he makes the desserts himself. I was so impressed. Chef Beck previously was in the kitchens at Abbracci, RJ Snappers, Capital Club and Hyde Park. He is most definitely talented.

I do want to note that Carla makes the gnocchi herself. I didn’t have the opportunity to taste them this trip but I plan to soon.

A trip to Cibo needs to be given high priority on your list of restaurant visits. I suggest you call for reservations because the place was hopping! Let them know you read about them here at Dishing-it-Up Columbus!

One more thing; don’t forget to finish your dinner off with a glass of Sambuca (with three espresso beans). Carla will totally appreciate it and you will definitely be glad you did!

4740 Reed Road
Upper Arlington, OH 43220
Mon – Thur: 5-10pm
Fri & Sat: 5-11pm
Closed Sunday

Cibo on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dine Originals Week November 8-14, 2010 – Shoku

Well, Dine Originals Week is over and I only made it to one restaurant. I am absolutely ashamed of myself! But it just wasn’t happening. And I’m pretty sure you’ll forgive me. Especially when I tell you about the one that I did go to! It was my first time ever to Shoku ... and it rocked my world!

I was pretty certain that I was only going to make it to one place this round, so I wanted it to be somewhere I hadn’t been to before. My dining buddy Jane, and I checked out the lunch offerings and decided upon Shoku. They were offering 3 different lunches for $10 each. So off we went.

I have seen Shoku often when Bob and I go to Stauff’s (in Grandview) for coffee. And I have to tell you that while I knew where it was, I hadn’t really heard much about it. I am smitten! We walked in and I immediately loved the ambiance. It is modern but had a real “home” feel to it. We sat down and right away we were offered beverages. We both ordered hot tea. The green tea arrived piping hot and was absolutely delicious!

While we were perusing our lunch choices, I placed an order of the Tempura Green Beans for us to share. They were so good! I’ve had fried green beans before, but these were on a whole different level. The tempura batter was so light and crispy. The dipping sauce was just perfect. Yeah, these little guys were addicting. We finished off that platter before we knew it. We were left wanting more. However, our lunch was on its way and we were excited about that.

Jane chose the Tempura Shrimp Wrap. This was described as “Shrimp tempura rolled with rice and vegetables in spinach tortilla served with candied sweet potatoes and mixed vegetables”. It was gorgeous. The presentation was just beautiful. The candied sweet potato cubes were wonderful. There was a crunchy outside with a lovely sweetness, and inside was the creamy goodness of a good sweet potato. The vegetables consisted of broccoli and carrot strips and were topped with a few of the tempura green beans. The wrap was really good, too. The tempura shrimp was crunchy and it was accompanied by rice and strips of carrots and others veggies. The dipping sauce finished with just enough heat. This was a great dish.

However, the show stopper was my Shoku Salad. The description was, “A mixture of iceberg lettuce and spring mix; comes with a vegetable eggroll, Japanese noodles and an egg with choice of beef skewer, chicken skewer or grilled shrimp skewer. Served with carrot miso dressing”. The plate was stunning. It was magnificent. The riot of color on the plate just made me smile. The salad had the promised mix of iceberg and spring greens topped with strips of carrot, and white and purple cabbage. It was accompanied by a hardboiled egg. The eggroll had a sweet chili sauce for dipping and it was very tasty. I chose to go with the beef skewer because it seems I usually gravitate to shrimp and I wanted something different. Boy, am I glad I did. The beef was so tender and so moist and so yummy! I love noodles of any kind, and the little dish of noodles was no exception. What made this salad such a standout was the carrot and miso dressing. I am generally so-so about miso. But this dressing? Well, this dressing I could just drink, it was so good! I ended up pouring it on the noodles and dipping my beef into it. The gal serving us told me, “Mama makes it herself”. She inclined her head to a woman sitting at a back table wearing an apron and having her own lunch. I was just blown away by this dressing!

What a great experience! I can’t wait to return to Shoku. I saw quite a few other items on the menu that I’d really like to try. Needless to say, Jane and I commented that we think we’ve found yet another “favorite restaurant”!

1312 Grandview Ave
Grandview, OH

Shoku on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ree's Cauliflower Soup


Here's the deal...I cannot stand cooked cauliflower. I love it raw. But when cauliflower is cooked, it becomes a whole different animal. And it stinks. So no way, no how, am I cooking cauliflower in this house.

Okay having said that, I can now admit to a few deep dark secrets that I have kept hidden behind closed doors ...

First, I love to shop at Aldi's. If you hit it right you can get some really awesome produce at prices that will just have you dancing in the aisles. A few weeks ago I found the biggest, fattest head of cauliflower that I simply could not walk away from. I'm not even going to tell you what I paid for it because it was obscenely inexpensive (and I can't actually remember what is was because my memory has gone to hell). Yep, Aldi's is one of my guilty pleasures.

Second, I cooked it.

I know, I know! But honestly, on a technicality I didn't really cook it. I used it to make soup. And why I even did that, I cannot tell you. Except to say that I was reading and she made her mother's cauliflower soup sound so good that I craved it. And after all, I had that honkin' big head of cauliflower in my fridge. There's only so much raw cauliflower that a girl's husband will let her eat!

So I followed Ree's incredibly easy step-by-step instructions and made the soup. Then I swooned. Then Bob swooned. I gave some to Donald & Kathy and I think they swooned. Even if they didn't, let's pretend they did. They said they liked it ... a lot. So I'm thinkin' they swooned. (That's just how my mind works.)

I'm going to give you the original recipe and the link to Ree's blog page because her photographs are incredible. In fact, the above photograph is hers, not mine. Why mess with perfection? (Also, the fact is we ate ours before I could take a picture of it.) I did adjust mine to make it Weight Watcher friendly. I'm trying, I'm trying.

Cauliflower Soup


• 1 stick butter, divided
• ½ whole onion, finely diced
• 1 whole carrot finely diced
• 1 stalk celery, finely diced
• 1 whole (to 2 whole) cauliflower heads (roughly chopped)
• 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried parsley (chopped)
• 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth or stock
• 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 cup half-and-half
• 2 teaspoons to 4 Teaspoons salt, to taste
• 1 cup (heaping) sour cream, room temperature

Preparation Instructions

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown.

Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.

Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.

Serve immediately. Then, SWOON!