You're going to hate me for this I know it!  Dangling a sweet corn risotto in your face in the middle of April.  I couldn't help myself, the last few days have been sunny, beautiful and yes I'm sorry to say, 85° F in our backyard.  I already have the makings of a nice Irish tan; what's red, white and burns all over?  I can't help it if mother nature decided to give New Jersey some early love this spring, we definitely deserve it that's for sure.  So I was outside playing with the boys, planting some sugar snap peas and dreaming about summer tomatoes when I realized, "what the heck am I going to make for dinner?"  Then it occurred to me:  I still have a small stash of last years summer sweet corn in my freezer.  Since I was in desperate need to use up some more of my homemade farmers cheese, there was no other option in my mind than to make risotto.

    Don't hate me because I have a stash of summer sweet corn in my freezer.  I have been performing the same ritual every year for a while now.  In the sticky summer heat of August I collect as much corn as I possibly can from a farm in upstate New York.  I then proceed to strip down every ear in a process that will cover my kitchen completely in corn juice.  It is all worth it though, because in the middle of April I can pull out one perfectly proportioned bag and use it to make fried corn, risotto or stir it into a chili.       
    Risotto in my mind is the perfect dinner, or lunch, or heck even breakfast (poach an egg and slap it on top of reheated risotto...YUMMERS!)  Seriously, what is not to like about creamy sticky rice with wine and cheese...nothing I tell you, nothing.  And if you are thinking, "there is no way I am standing around stirring rice for 25 minutes" you need to have a heart to heart with your stove top and get stirring.  Don't consider those 25 minutes as ones you have lost, look at them as 25 minutes you get to stand...still...in one spot (for a mother of two boys standing in one spot for any amount of time is a little mini vacation).          

Sweet Corn Risotto with Farmers Cheese

serves 2-4

4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup of sweet corn from 2 large ears (if using frozen, thaw beforehand)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced (or 3 spring onions)
1 1/2 cups of
arborio rice (aka -
risotto rice)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup crumbled farmers cheese (or other cheese of your liking)
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons of butter
scallion greens and micro greens for garnish


In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable or chicken stock to a boil.  Reduce the heat and keep the stock at a simmer.  In a larger saucepan heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat and add the diced onion.  Saute the onion until it is soft, about 2 minutes.  Add the arborio rice and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the grains become translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the white wine and cook, stirring, until the rice completely absorbs it, about 1 minute.  Add one ladle of the simmering stock to the rice and start a kitchen timer for 20 minutes.  Continue to stir the rice until the stock has absorbed, then add another ladle of stock.  Continue stirring and repeat this process until all the stock is used (it should take 20-25 minutes).  About half way through the process add the sweet corn.  After all the stock has been absorbed and the 20 minutes are up, remove the pot from the heat and add the cheese and butter.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to stir until the cheese and butter is melted.  Sprinkle on some chopped scallion greens, a little extra cheese and toss on a few micro greens.  Serve warm.

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”    - Rainer Maria Rilke

 
 
    The promise of warmth and fresh food after a long and dreary winter is launched by the celebration of Spring.  We may all observe this holiday season in different fashions, but there is always a similar correlation to quality time spent with family.  It was a special treat to see everyone and meet some new friends around the table as well.  This year I tried my hardest to relax and keep any holiday stress at bay by reflecting on the smaller things: new buds on the trees, a little time to myself learning to make cheese, and watching my children having fun with their relatives.  I don't let go of life's responsibilities often enough and just live in the small moments.  
    The food at Easter is always great no matter whose house we are at, and for some reason there is always more leftovers at this holiday then any other (at least in our family).  My refrigerator is stocked with enough meals for dinner this week, and enough brightly colored hard boiled eggs to handle breakfast and lunch.  There are many great dishes to make with boiled eggs, but my favorite by far is egg salad.  Most of the time my egg salad is quite dull and boring; a little bit of mayo with salt and pepper and call it done.  It is a typical lunch dish that normally doesn't get enough attention, but it can be so easily dressed up.  With the addition of some toasted slices of bread you could even use this as an appetizer or brunch dish.  Who says egg salad has to be boring, right?   

Egg Salad with Herbs and Cheese

serves 2-4

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup of crumbled farmers cheese (or a firm goats milk cheese)
1/2 small red onion, minced (or one small minced shallot)
3-4 sprigs each of Dill, Chervil, and Tarragon, finely chopped (parsley and chives can substitute)
pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of powdered lemon peel (or some fresh lemon zest)
slices of toasted bread


Toast your slices of bread in the oven or toaster oven.  Peel the eggs and mash them with a fork, keeping some texture.  To the mashed eggs add, mayonnaise, farmers cheese, minced red onion, chopped herbs, salt, pepper and powdered lemon peel.  Mix everything together until evenly combined.  Spread on top of toasted bread slices. 


This is my first batch of homemade farmers cheese!  I could just stare at this picture all day.
 
 
    My skin is milky white, my cheeks are rosy red, my freckles increase in number daily and my hair curls just thinking about moisture.  I may only be a quarter Irish, but this fraction of my heritage is one I relate to more than others thanks to my appearance (And now thanks to a new last name from my half Irish husband).  Needless to say, in our family we avoid the sun like the plague, eat lots of potatoes, and can say in all honesty "Kiss me I'm Irish" on St. Patrick's Day. 

    One of the things I love about my family tree is that on a few branches I am able to trace my heritage back several generations, sometimes more.  My Great-Grandfather came to America from Ireland in 1925 on the SS Baltic when he was only 19 years old.  He made a new life for himself, found my Great-Grandmother and raised their family in Edgewater, NJ.  He helped to build roads along the cliffs of The Palisades during the depression, and eventually settled into a job as a postman.  Ironically enough, I hear from many family members that he was known for making everyone's favorite soda bread.    


    My recipe for Irish Soda Bread is actually not a descendant of his recipe, because what we currently know as "Irish Soda Bread" is actually not very traditional.  I normally call this bread a St. Patrick's Day Soda Bread because it has been more modernized with the use of eggs, butter and raisins (real traditional Irish Soda Bread is only made with flour, baking soda, salt, and soured milk).  The recipe below has also been modified to be Gluten-Free in keeping with our new lifestyle.  But, if any of my family is reading, fear not, my regular soda bread will most definitely be served alongside our corned beef and cabbage this weekend!  Happy St. Patrick's Day to all my fellow Irish-American's and to all the rest of you that get to be Irish for one day a year.   


St. Patrick's Day Soda Bread (Gluten-Free)

makes 1 small loaf

1 cup of raisins
2 cups Gluten-Free Soda Bread Flour Blend (Recipe below)

2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (I use Irish Kerrygold butter)
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk


Preheat your oven to 375° F
.  In a small saucepan place 1 cup of raisins and about 2 cups of water (enough to cover the raisins) and simmer for 5 minutes or until soft and plump.  Remove from the heat, drain the water and set aside.  In a large bowl whisk together the GF flour blend, sugar, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Using your fingers cut 2 tablespoons of butter into the flour mixture until it forms small crumbs.  Add the egg, buttermilk and slightly cooled raisins to the flour mixture and stir everything together with a fork until you can work it with your hand.  Gather the dough together (working it as minimally as possible, it can be a little crumbly looking).  Place the round of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Score the bread with an "X" (I read once that this was supposedly to release the devil).  Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and firm.  Remove the bread from the oven and brush on 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Allow to cool before slicing and spreading on lots of butter!

Gluten-Free Soda Bread Flour Blend

makes 3 cups

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/3 cup potato starch

Whisk all together.  Store extra in an airtight container.


Note:  Different flour blends are used for different types of baked goods when you are baking gluten-free.  This blend has worked great for me, and doesn't have any "beany" aftertaste that is found in some all purpose flour blends.  If you have a hard time finding the products listed above, try using your favorite brand of all purpose flour instead.
 
 
    Did you know that February is National Sweet Potato Month? Neither did I until just recently.  I'm not sure if this is an official or unofficial thing, but I am beginning to wonder if that is why my grocery store had an excess of sweet potatoes.  Either way, sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods that I equate with comfort.  I can't remember why I was thinking that I wanted some sweet potato biscuits, but I know that I wanted something warm from my oven (that was also gluten-free and vegan). 

    Despite my attempts to counter seasonal affective disorder with excess amounts of vitamin D, I still can't shake the chilly, wet drabness that has been lingering around lately.  I have been longing to see sprouting daffodils, robins bobbing around my yard and the grass growing a more vivid shade of green with every warm rain shower.  February may be sweet potato month, but if ever there was a color for a month I would give February "beige
."  As I was collecting my pictures for this post I realized that I was lacking great color, but sometimes you mirror how you feel in your environment.  Right now the interest is on texture, patterns, shadows and mood.  So therefore, I am trying to project warm, cozy, crackly and delightful thoughts to usher us through to those brighter and more colorful months ahead.

Sweet Potato Biscuits (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Adapted from Apple & Oat Biscuits by Green Kitchen Stories

makes 8-10 Biscuits

Sweet Potato Mash
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil, at room temp
2 large sweet potatoes
1 cup water
1 small apple, peeled and chopped * (optional - I find it adds a little extra sweetness)

Biscuits
2 cups gluten-free oat flour
1 cup sorghum flour

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons of arrow root or cornstarch

6 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, at room temp
1 cup of the sweet potato mash

1/4 cup maple syrup

Making the Sweet Potato Mash: Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and apple (if using).  In a saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil and toss in the sweet potatoes.  Give them one good stir and then cover and cook for 5 minutes (it is ok if they burn a little, in fact it is a good thing if they do).  Stir in 1 cup of water and the chopped apple then give it one more good stir.  Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.  Take them off the heat and mash them with a fork or a potato masher.  You can leave it a little chunky if you like.  Set the mash aside.  (This will probably make plenty of extra so you can either make two batches of biscuits or save the leftover mash and eat it with some brown sugar and a pat of butter)

Making the Biscuits:  Preheat your oven to 450° F.  Place a cookie sheet in the oven to warm while you prepare the biscuits.  In a large bowl whisk the oat flour, sorghum flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and arrow root starch.  Add the 6 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil and, using your hands, work the oil into the flour mixture until it resembles small crumbs.  Add 1 cup of sweet potato mash and 1/4 cup of maple syrup and use a spoon to mix everything together until you can gather it up in your hands.  Work the dough in your hands by pressing everything together, working the dough as little as possible.  Flatten out the dough into a round about 1-inch thick.  Using a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass (about 3-inches in diameter) cut out as many rounds as you can.  Gather up the dough and cut out the rest.  Take the warmed cookie sheet out of the oven and line it with parchment paper.  Place the biscuit rounds on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are hard and the bottoms slightly browned. 

*These are best eaten warm out of the oven with some coconut oil spread and a drizzle of maple syrup.  If you need to make them ahead you can always cut them in half and warm them in a toaster oven. 
 
 
    I am not really that big into Valentine's Day celebrations.  I have had my fare share of good Valentine's Days and bad ones too!  I contemplated coming up with some chocolatey sweet dish, but my husband gave me a little hint (I really hate surprises) that he was going to get me some chocolate.  That covered it for dessert so the only thing left to do was prepare a dinner.  Over the last month I have been working hard to develop the ingredients in this dish.  The reason why I've decided to post this just in time for Valentine's Day, is because making this meal was truly a Labor of Love.  

    I am not a vegan, but I do enjoy eating and making vegan dishes.  After seeing an article in VegNews Magazine for vegan cheese, I knew I had to make some.  One of the ingredients that is needed in most vegan cheese is Rejuvelac, which is a drink made from sprouted grains.  Rejuvelac takes a few days to make, and preparing and aging the cheese takes a few more (about 8-10 days in total).  Was it worth it? I would say it is definitely worth it if you live a vegan, diary-free, or RAW lifestyle.  The reason I decided to go with Aged Chèvre was because I love the combination of goat cheese and beets.

    *If you are not a vegan or you don't want to spend a week or two preparing nut cheese you could always make substitutions.  Swap out the cheese and make roasted lamb, wild caught salmon, or dare I say filet mignon (which is what I would put with it, if we were being "grass-fed and pasture raised" carnivores that day). You could even just use regular goat cheese if you want, but whatever you serve make sure to add some horseradish to it because it goes great with the beets.   

Roasted Beets, Vegan Chèvre and Sautéed Beet Greens

serves 2

2 bunches of organic beets with tops (about 6-8 small beets)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
grey sea salt (Sel Gris)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Aged Chèvre with horseradish (For the recipe - Click Here)
Micro-greens for garnish


Roasting Beets
Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Scrub the beets until all the dirt is removed.  Cut the tops off, leaving about 1-2 inches of the stem attached.  Lay down a layer of aluminum foil and lay down a layer of parchment paper on top.  Place the beets in the center of the parchment lined aluminum foil, drizzle them with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt to taste.  Close up the beets, bundling them with the parchment lined aluminum foil.  Place the package in a roasting pan to collect any drippings and place it in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until tender.  To serve the beets, peel them (or if they are organic, I just leave the skins on) and cut them in half or keep them whole.  You can drizzle a little extra extra virgin olive oil and salt on top if you prefer.

Sautéed Beet Greens:  About 10-15 minutes before the roasted beets will be done, start to prepare the greens.  Start a large pot of water on the stove top and bring to a boil.  Thoroughly rinse the beet greens under running water to remove any dirt or sand attached to the leaves.  Cut off the stems and discard them.  Prepare a bowl full of ice water and place it on the counter top close to your stove.  Once the water on the stove is boiling, place the beet greens in the water and blanch for 2 minutes.  Take them out of the boiling water and transfer them right away to the ice water bath.  After they have cooled drain them and squeeze all the water out of them.  Roughly chop them.  Heat 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick skillet and add the minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant.  Add the chopped beet greens and saute for a few minutes and toss them around to coat.  Season them with salt and pepper and then serve warm. 

Serve your sauteed beet greens and roasted beets alongside slices of Aged Chèvre with horseradish and garnish with micro greens to make it look all fancy! 

 
 
    I am very excited to share this recipe.  If you want to impress at your next brunch this is definitely the dish to go with.  It is not difficult, has a minimal amount of ingredients and it looks absolutely beautiful set out on a flat plate.  Here in the northeast USA we are in the middle of winter, which means LOTS of lovely citrus fruits.  The grocery stores are packed with all sorts of varieties, so grab a handful, taste them all and see which ones you like best.  Then chop them all up and sprinkle on a few things and you have the most beautiful breakfast or brunch salad to serve to your guests. 

    If you are thinking, "yeah right" I can't make that.  Let me tell you, that you most definitely can.  Just make sure you have a sharp knife.  Peeling citrus with a knife always looked tricky to me but it's really not as bad as it seems.  My slices were by no means even, but lay them out on a plate and no one will know.  You never know what you can do until you try.

    The cheese used in this recipe is called Halloumi.  I was introduced to this cheese when I started learning more about vegetarian meals.  Halloumi is a sheep and goats milk cheese made with non-animal rennet so it is acceptable for most vegetarians.  This cheese is firm, salty, and instead of melting when heated it can be grilled or fried until it browns.  When it is browned in a skillet it tastes divine over salad or just on its own as a snack.  The saltiness of the Halloumi goes perfectly with the sweetness of the citrus fruit and topping it with some shallots and spicy micro-greens will satisfy all your taste sensations in one bite.  I never knew that Halloumi was hiding in my local grocery store cheese section until I found it one day.  If you can find some in your store give it a try, it is amazing!   

Citrus Salad with Halloumi

makes a platter that will serve 2-4 people

An assortment of citrus fruit such as:
1 dark red grapefruit
2 honey tangerines
2 sunburst tangerines
1 navel orange
1 pomelo

(you could also try blood oranges, mandarins, tangelos, Valencia oranges, pink or white grapefruit.   Just keep the tart citrus to a minimum.  You want the salad to be comprised mostly of the sweeter citrus varieties)
1 small shallot, minced
Coarse grey sea salt from France, Sel gris (or any coarse sea salt) to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 (8 oz pkg) Halloumi Cheese (made with non-animal rennet)
Daikon radish micro-greens (or a
spicy mesclun or baby lettuce mix) SEE NOTE BELOW

    Peel and slice the citrus using a sharp pairing knife.  Slice off the ends of the citrus and stand it up on one of the sides.  Carefully cut away the sides of the citrus with the knife trying to remove as little flesh as possible.  Then slice the peeled citrus into rounds (You can see a picture of this above) removing any seeds as you go.  Lay the slices of citrus out on a flat serving plate.  Sprinkle the shallots, salt and pepper over the top, using as much as you would like depending on your taste.  Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil and rice vinegar over the citrus as well, again using as much as you would prefer.  At this point you could *pan fry the Halloumi and serve it right away or place the citrus plate in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it and right before it goes out, top it with *pan fried Halloumi.  Sprinkle some micro-greens over the whole thing and watch the eyes of your guests widen in admiration.

    *To pan fry the Halloumi you need to make 1/4-inch slices and lay them in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  As they start to fry you will see alot of liquid, keep frying over the same heat until this liquid evaporates.  Check the undersides for browning and once they are browned to your liking flip them over and brown on the opposite side.  Place on-top of the citrus salad and serve right away.  (As the halloumi cools it will become a bit rubbery and chewier, which is why it is best served right after frying.) 

    Note:  I like to grown my own micro-greens in my kitchen, which I have never known anyone else to do? (If you do too please let me know so I don't feel so weird)  I have heard of a few places that sell micro-greens but if this is something you just can't find I would suggest using baby lettuce in a spicy variety like a mesclun mix.  Put a layer of the lettuce down first and place the citrus on the top.  Another idea for a party would be to place a large bowl of baby salad greens next to the citrus platter and encourage people to top their salad greens with the citrus salad.  Hope this gives you a few more options for serving!

"Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder." -Eberhard Arnold

 
 
    These fragrant saffron buns are traditionally served on December 13th, in honor of St.Lucia Day.   This tradition is popular in Scandinavian countries including Sweden, which is where some of my ancestors hail from.  As a young woman I would dress in all white with a red sash around my waist, and a wreath of candles on my head.  I would wake up early on December 13th and serve these buns along with some milk or hot chocolate to my brother and sisters.  I looked forward to this small celebration every year, and these buns have become a nostalgic treat for me now that I am raising my own children.
   
    This year my oldest son became very interested when I started making them, and I figured it would be a fun task that he could help me with.  Making bread, though difficult, is actually great for kids to participate in.  My son helped mix the batter, kneed the dough, roll it out and place the little raisins in each of the swirls.  I can't help but hope that making these St. Lucia Buns with me will one day become a great memory that he will always look back on.
  
     I consider these a special treat that only comes once a year, so I didn't try to make them gluten-free or vegan.  Instead, I tried to make them a little more healthy by using white whole wheat flour and unrefined sugar.  Great served as a quick breakfast or even as dessert after dinner.  The smell of saffron buns baking in my oven will always be a warm reminder of my childhood, and now the promise of memories yet to be made.   

St. Lucia Saffron Buns

makes 12 saffron buns

1/3 cup of milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 water (heated to between 110-115° F)
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup pure sugar cane (unrefined)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron (or crushed-up saffron threads)
2 3/4 cups of white whole wheat flour (or regular all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon olive oil (or cooking oil)
egg wash - 1 egg whisked with a little water
48 raisins


    In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the milk and butter.  Once the butter is melted take it off the heat and set aside to cool.  In a large bowl put the warmed water and dry yeast and set the bowl aside for about 5 minutes or until the yeast is activated.  Check the milk and melted butter with a thermometer to make sure it is not above 115° F.  If the temperature is right, add it to the yeast along with the sugar, egg, salt, and saffron.  Whisk everything to combine.  Then, with a wooden spoon stir in 1 and 1/2 cups of the flour until smooth.  Add in the remaining flour a little at a time until you can form the dough into a ball (With the whole wheat flour I only used an additional 1/2 cup).  Place the dough on a floured surface and kneed the dough for about 5-10 minutes or until it is smooth and it springs back when you poke it.  Place the dough in a large bowl and coat it with the olive oil.  Place bowl in a warm place covered with a kitchen towel to rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

   
    Punch down the risen dough and cut it into 12 equal pieces.  Cut each of the 12 pieces in half (now 24 pieces of dough).  Roll out each half into a long rope (6-8 inches) and cross two ropes in the middle.  Coil each of the ends of the rope toward the center in a circular clockwise pattern as seen below.
    Shape the rest of the dough the same way and place them with plenty of space between each other, on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Cover the buns with a kitchen towel and set them aside in a warm place to rise again for about 30-45 minutes or until they double in size again.  Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Whisk together an egg with about 1 tablespoon of water.  Brush the egg wash over each of the buns and place a raisin in each of the four corner swirls, and push them in.  (A great task for a small helper).  Bake the buns for about 15-20 minutes or until they are golden and browned slightly on the bottom.  Move the buns to a plate or wire rack to cool.  Enjoy!
 
 
    We all know that it is important to eat a variety of foods with "color" for good health and to prevent cancer.  There is also something to be said about eating the "non-colors" or white vegetables (even Dr. Oz recommends it).  One random night for dinner I grabbed what I had in my refrigerator and root box to prepare some roasted vegetables.  The only vegetables that I could gather were lacking in a little of that "color" that we are all supposed to look for when preparing meals.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the combination of all these ingredients came together quite perfectly.  My husband, who loves when I make roasted vegetables, took his first bite of this combination and quickly changed his gaze toward me.  He asked, "what did yo do?" "why is this so good?"  I really don't know why it is so good, perhaps these vegetables are ideal for roasting, or maybe they ban together to support each others' neutral complexion.  Whatever the reason, now is the time to be roasting vegetables.  I look for any excuse to fire up the oven and leave it on for hours during the cold winter months.  This just happens to be a more healthy reason to turn on the oven and keep your home toasty warm and smelling wonderful.  Roasting vegetables is also a great way to cut down on dishes to wash because you can do everything in one large roasting pan.  Next time when you are at your grocery store as you survey the produce isle look past the bright oranges, reds, yellows and purples, for the knobby roots and plain hues of white, green and brown.

Roasted White Vegetables

Serves 4

1 knob of Celeriac (aka celery root or knob celery)
small bunch of parsley root (about 5 or 6 roots) *Not parsnips, these are a different vegetable
1 small head of cauliflower
1/2 head of green cabbage
1 whole bulb of garlic
1 white onion
1 bulb of fennel *reserving some of the fronds for garnish

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
roasting spice mix (seen below)


Roasting Spice Mix
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon powdered lemon peel (see note below)
pinch of ground cloves (for a pinch grab a tiny amount of the ground cloves between your thumb and index finger)


    Preheat oven to 375° F. Peel and roughly chop the celeriac and parsley root.  Cut the cauliflower into small bite size pieces.  Shred the half a head of cabbage.  Peel the cloves of garlic and leave the small ones whole and slice the larger ones in half if you prefer.  Quarter and roughly chop the white onion and fennel bulb.  Reserve some of the fennel fronds to use as a edible garnish before serving.  Place all the vegetables in a large roasting pan and drizzle the olive oil on top.  Combine all the ingredients for the roasting spice mix in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of vegetables and toss well, making sure all pieces are coated.   Roast in a 375° F oven for 45 minutes, tossing the vegetables once, half way through the cooking time. 

Powdered Lemon Peel:  I get my powdered lemon peel from Penzeys Spices.  This is an important staple in my kitchen because this product gives a dish a strong bright lemony flavor without having to grate a fresh lemon.  It saves on time, and I like to use it when I want a strong lemon flavor without the small chunks of peel.  It is really great for baking and I'll even use it to supplement fresh grated lemon peel in things like lemon bars, cookies and cheesecake.  If you don't have access to a Penzeys Spice Store (I used to drive 3 hours to get to one, now they are only 20 minutes away) you could order it on their website or just stick with the regular fresh grated lemon peel.  If you choose to stay with the fresh lemon peel I would increase the amount used to 1 teaspoon.