Roasted Cauliflower with Pancetta, Olives and Crisp Parmesan over Fettucine

This might be the best pasta recipe I have ever made. It’s based on one from Melissa Clark. I made a few changes which I note below.

Melissa writes: “Studded with salty olives, pancetta and Parmesan that gets golden and crisp at the edges, this is roasted cauliflower at its brightest and most full-flavored. You can serve the caramelized florets either as a vegetable-based main dish or a hearty side to roasted meats or fish, or big bowls of pasta. The recipe calls for using a package of finely diced pancetta that practically melts into the sauce. But if you prefer a chunkier texture, you can dice it yourself into 1/2-inch cubes, and add them with the cauliflower. Or, to make this vegetarian, just leave the pancetta out.”

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 1 3/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets (about 8 cups)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • cup olives, crushed, pitted and chopped (I used Castelvetrano olives.)
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely grated or minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more as needed
  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin or caraway seeds (I used cumin seeds.)
  • ½ cup shredded (not ground) Parmesan
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or mint leaves and tender stems, for serving (I didn’t have so I used fresh chives.)

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet (I used a cast iron pan) and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until well coated. Roast for 15 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olives, garlic, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt. Drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, whisking well.
  3. After the cauliflower has roasted for 15 minutes, add pancetta and cumin seeds to pan and gently mix to combine. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, until cauliflower is tender, the pancetta rendered, and cheese is golden brown and crunchy. (I added #4 to the cast iron pan for a few minutes.)
  4. Spoon olive dressing all over roasted cauliflower while still hot and toss to combine. Taste, and add more salt, red-pepper flakes or lemon juice, if needed. Scatter parsley over the top before serving. (I used fresh chivies.)

A Favorite Poem; “Kicking the Leaves”

This is a favorite poem. “Kicking the Leaves” by Donald Hall.  

Kicking the leaves, October, as we walk home together
from the game, in Ann Arbor,
on a day the color of soot, rain in the air;
I kick at the leaves of maples,
reds of seventy different shades, yellow
like old paper; and poplar leaves, fragile and pale;
and elm leaves, flags of a doomed race.
I kick at the leaves, making a sound I remember
as the leaves swirl upward from my boot,
and flutter; and I remember
Octobers walking to school in Connecticut,
wearing corduroy knickers that swished
with a sound like leaves; and a Sunday buying
a cup of cider at a roadside stand
on a dirt road in New Hampshire; and kicking the leaves,
autumn 1955 in Massachusetts, knowing
my father would die when the leaves were gone.
2
Each fall in New Hampshire, on the farm
where my mother grew up, a girl in the country,
my grandfather and grandmother
finished the autumn work, taking the last vegetables in
from the fields, canning, storing roots and apples
in the cellar under the kitchen. Then my grandfather
raked leaves against the house
as the final chore of autumn.
One November I drove up from college to see them.
We pulled big rakes, as we did when we hayed in summer, pulling the leaves against the granite foundations
around the house, on every side of the house,
and then, to keep them in place, we cut spruce boughs
and laid them across the leaves,
green on red, until the house
was tucked up, ready for snow
that would freeze the leaves in tight, like a stiff skirt.
Then we puffed through the shed door,
taking off boots and overcoats, slapping our hands,
and sat in the kitchen, rocking, and drank
black coffee my grandmother made,
three of us sitting together, silent, in gray November.
3
One Saturday when I was little, before the war,
my father came home at noon from his half day at the office
and wore his Bates sweater, black on red,
with the crossed hockey sticks on it, and raked beside me
in the back yard, and tumbled in the leaves with me,
laughing , and carried me, laughing, my hair full of leaves,
to the kitchen window
where my mother could see us, and smile, and motion
to set me down, afraid I would fall and be hurt.
4
Kicking the leaves today, as we walk home together
from the game, among the crowds of people
with their bright pennants, as many and bright as leaves,
my daughter’s hair is the red-yellow color
of birch leaves, and she is tall like a birch,
growing up, fifteen, growing older; and my son
flamboyant as maple, twenty,
visits from college, and walks ahead of us, his step
springing, impatient to travel
the woods of the earth. Now I watch them
from a pile of leaves beside this clapboard house
in Ann Arbor, across from the school
where they learned to read,
as their shapes grow small with distance, waving,
and I know that I
diminish, not them, as I go first
into the leaves, taking
the way they will follow, Octobers and years from now.
5
This year the poems came back, when the leaves fell.
Kicking the leaves, I heard the leaves tell stories,
remembering and therefore looking ahead, and building
the house of dying. I looked up into the maples
and found them, the vowels of bright desire.
I thought they had gone forever
while the bird sang I love you, I love you
and shook its black head
from side to side, and its red eye with no lid,
through years of winter, cold
as the taste of chickenwire, the music of cinderblock.
6
Kicking the leaves, I uncover the lids of graves.
My grandfather died at seventy-seven., in March
when the sap was running, and I remember my father
twenty years ago,
coughing himself to death at fifty-two in the house
in the suburbs. Oh how we flung
leaves in the air! How they tumbled and fluttered around us,
like slowly cascading water, when we walked together
in Hamden, before the war, when Johnson’s Pond
had not surrendered to houses, the two of us
hand in hand, and in the wet air the smell of leaves
burning:
in six years I will be fifty-two.
7
Now in fall, I leap and fall
to feel the leaves crush under my body, to feel my body
buoyant in the ocean of leaves, the night of them,
night heaving with death and leaves, rocking like the ocean.
Oh this delicious falling into the arms of leaves,
into the soft laps of leaves!
Face down, I swim into the leaves, feathery,
breathing the acrid odor of maple, swooping
in long glides to the bottom of October —
where the farm lies curled against the winter, and soup steams
its breath of onion and carrot
onto damp curtains and windows; and past the windows
I see the tall bare maple trunks and branches, the oak
with its few brown weathery remnant leaves,
and the spruce trees, holding their green.
Now I leap and fall, exultant, recovering
from death, on account of death, in accord with the dead,
the smell and taste of leaves again,
and the pleasure, the only long pleasure, of taking a place
in the story of leaves.

A Garden Needs Weeding

Yellow Tiger Swallowtail
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
In my garden
I am
Weeding
I know not the names of the weeds
They surround my plants
I do know my back and leg muscles
Will ache the next day
I am on my knees
Two hours on my knees
I think this  is a form of prayer
Man On Knees Weeding
There is
The smell of basil
The smell of tomatoes
The smell of mint
Parsley
Thyme
Oregano
This all happened
On Saturday, late morning
Cloudy and breezy
I am filling a pail with weeds
My heart fills with Joy
I sing a new song
“You will be like a well-watered garden,
Like a spring whose waters never fail”
My hands are full of weeds
The garden grows more beautiful
This is why I worked
In the garden, to see
Myself weeding, letting go
Letting God direct me
This is a story about love
This is a story about growth
This is a story about beauty
Stay a bit longer
Listen
To wings of the butterfly flapping
The wings of the hummingbird whirling
Do you hear
Do you see
This all happened
On Saturday
On Sunday I rested

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Honey Mustard Cilantro Baked Chicken Thighs with Veggies

This is based on a recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats. She called for using thyme which I have growing in my garden but it was raining cats and dogs and I had a bunch of cilantro in the fridge so I used that instead. A big plus; this is a one pan dish!

Ingredients

  • 4 bone boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 cups cut green beans
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 red pepper, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper to season

Honey Mustard Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon course stone ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. To a large bowl roasting pan add green beans, sweet potato, red onion, red pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat everything with seasoning.
  3. To a small bowl add course stone ground mustard, Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic clove, fresh cilantro, salt and pepper. Whisk to mix everything together.
  4. Pat chicken dry. Then season with salt and pepper on both sides. Using a pastry brush, evenly brush the the honey mustard mixture across all 4 chicken thighs.
  5. Place seasoned chicken thighs in roasting pan and spread veggies out around the chicken breasts. Be sure to put them in a single layer and not to crowd the pan.
  6. Place the roasting pan bake for 45 minutes. Stir veggies at 25 minutes.
  7. Serve.

Delicious!

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

God’s Tiny Flying Ballerinas

Thursday morning
A hummingbird
At the feeder
I imagine
It is God’s
Tiny flying ballerina
Dancing from feeder to flower
The garden of zinnias
Pink and yellow and red and orange
I must hurry
To photograph
The tiny ballerina
The tiny dancer
Moves so quickly
Here then gone
Not like the swallowtail
Spending all morning
In the garden
At the purple butterfly bush
And hovering at a zinnia
Gifts this morning
Beauty
I wait
In the garden
To see
To contemplate
New ways
To extend my voice
And bring beauty to the world

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Asparagus And Potato Salad

As Susan was heading out the door on her way to buy Shetland Salmon and Shrimp, she called out to me and said  “Bruce, while I am gone why don’t you make a potato salad to have with our salmon?”

I found a recipe online and adapted it to my liking.

Ingredients

  •  7-10 small potatoes (We buy these at our local grocery store; brand name is The Little Potato Company.)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 Tbs minced red onion
  • 2 Tbs minced parsley
  • 1 large handful of walnuts, chopped
  • 3-4 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  •  6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  •  1/2 cup roasted sweet red peppers, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut off tough ends of asparagus and then slice asparagus into one inch pieces.
  2. Slice potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a slow boil and cook for 12 to 15 minutes – until almost fork tender. Add asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Prepare vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic and black pepper. Add onion, parsley, walnuts, tomatoes, and peppers.
  4. Drain the potatoes and asparagus when ready, add to a bowl, add the vinaigrette to the warm potatoes and asparagus. Toss to coat the potatoes.

We served this with Grilled Shetland Salmon. The Shrimp Cocktail we had while watching The Belmont Stakes.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Mother’s Day

Although my mother has passed on, her love still lives in my heart and her wisdom continues to inspire me. I am grateful for the many ways my mother has blessed me. I also feel deep appreciation and tender affection for all those who have blessed me with the selfless gift of motherly love.

There Is A Balm In Gilead

There are pages in a book I am reading
Dog-eared. I don’t know why.
There is a photograph too.
People say it is amazing. Beautiful.
Spiritual. A Japanese print.
Joyous. The year is 2020.
May 1. Susan says we are skipping
Spring and running right into Summer.
The forecast is for increasing clouds.
A chance of afternoon showers.
A rumble of thunder.
In class this morning we learn
About the Balm of Gilead.
With patience, blossoms are sure to come.
I, too, am ready to blossom
In the garden of life.
A storm is on the horizon.
We open our hymnals and we sing:

There is a Balm in Gilead
to make the wounded whole;
There is a Balm in Gilead
to heal the sin-sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain.
But then the Holy Spirit
revives my soul again.

Don’t ever feel discouraged,
for Jesus is your friend,
who, if you ask for knowledge,
will never fail to lend.

If you cannot preach like Peter,
if you cannot pray like Paul,
you can tell the love of Jesus,
who died to save us all.