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Roasted Hasselback Potatoes

Last Friday on Alice + Waldo, I paired the herb and spice crusted pork with one of my favorite potato recipes. Often referred to as Hasselback Potatoes, baby gold potatoes are sliced at thin intervals crosswise almost but not all the way through and rolled in olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. These potatoes are cooked in a hot oven until they are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Roasted Hasselback Potatoes

(inspired by the specialty food shop Ottolenghi in London)

Serves 2-4

  • 16-24 ounces baby gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400℉.

Prepare the potatoes by cutting a small slice from the bottom. Place a potato on a wooden spoon and slice crosswise at ⅛ inch intervals leaving a ¼ inch at the bottom. Do not cut all the way through the potato; the potato should remain together in one piece. Prepare all of the potatoes in the same manner.

Place the potatoes in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to combine.  Arrange the potatoes on a parchment lined sheet pan with the cut side up. Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the potatoes. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy.

 

Slicing Potatoes on a Wooden Spoon | Roasted Hasselback Potatoes

Slicing Potatoes on a Wooden Spoon | Roasted Hasselback Potatoes

In December, we celebrated the holidays by inviting two good friends to dinner. We started the evening with champagne, smoked salmon, and caviar with the traditional accompaniments of hard boiled eggs and sour cream served on buckwheat blini. My daughter and I prepared the roasted potatoes to accompany a grilled beef tenderloin with horseradish cream for dinner. While writing the recipe for these roasted potatoes, I thought about the start to our meal in December.  It occurred to me that the roasted potatoes would be delicious served with caviar for a special occasion. I had to try it…

Roasted Hasselback Potato with Osetra Caviar

Roasted Hasselback Potato with Osetra Caviar

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Winter Citrus | Blood Oranges

My husband, daughter, and I are enjoying the abundance of citrus fruits available at the market during the winter months. Although there are several varieties of blood oranges, the variety that is easiest to find in Chicago is called Moro. These blood oranges have colorful flesh ranging from orange with hints of pink and red to dark crimson; the rind is orange with a slight blush. In a typical week, we may drink blood orange juice for breakfast, eat blood orange and fennel salad with coppa for lunch, tomato blood orange soup for dinner, and blood oranges with cinnamon for dessert. The Moro is available from late December until early April.

Blood Orange and Fennel Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 fennel bulbs
  • 3 blood oranges

In a large bowl, make the vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut off the stems from the fennel bulbs and remove any damaged outer layers. Holding the fennel by the feathery fronds, slice the it as thinly as possible with a sharp knife or mandolin stopping when you reach the fronds. Add the fennel slices to the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Roughly chop ¼ cup of the fennel fronds and set aside.

Segment the blood oranges by removing a ½ inch slice from the top and bottom. Set the blood oranges upright on a cutting board and carefully remove all of the peel and the pith following the curve of the fruit. Working over a small bowl to catch the juice, use a paring knife to slice along the membranes of each blood orange to separate the segments from the pith. Add the blood orange segments and 1 tablespoon of the juice to the bowl with the fennel and the vinaigrette and toss gently.

Transfer the salad to a serving platter and garnish with fennel fronds.

 

Fennel | Blood Orange and Fennel Salad with Coppa

Fennel | Blood Orange and Fennel Salad with Coppa

Warm tomato and blood orange soup is the perfect beginning to a winter meal and is especially appealing when served in Lilith Rockett porcelain cups.

Tomato and Blood Orange Soup

(inspired by Elephant’s Delicatessen in Portland, Oregon)

Serves 4

  • ¼ cup ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 (14 ½ ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups blood orange juice

Heat the ghee or olive oil in a large pot over medium low. Add the onion and cook stirring often for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and baking soda and stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. When the soup has finished cooking, allow it to cool slightly. Blend the soup until smooth in a blender. Strain the soup through a fine sieve or food mill to remove any seeds and return it to the pot. Add the blood orange juice and stir to combine. Heat the soup and add additional salt and pepper to taste prior to serving.

 

Tomato and Blood Orange Soup

Tomato and Blood Orange Soup

Blood oranges served with a sprinkling of cinnamon is a refreshing dessert. It is the perfect finish to a Moroccan feast of traditional salads, tagine, and couscous.

Blood Oranges with Cinnamon

Serves 3-4

  • 3-4 blood oranges
  • ¼-½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon rose water or orange flower water (optional)

Peel the blood oranges by removing a ½ inch slice from the top and bottom. Set the blood oranges upright on a cutting board and carefully remove all of the peel and the pith following the curve of the fruit. Cut the blood oranges into ¼ inch slices. Arrange the orange slices in a circular pattern on a large plate and sprinkle with rose or orange flower water if desired. Just prior to serving, sift cinnamon over the oranges.

 

Blood Oranges with Cinnamon

Blood Oranges with Cinnamon

Blood Orange Mimosa

Serves 1

  • 2 ounces blood orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • French Champagne, Italian Prosecco, or Spanish Cava, chilled

Pour blood orange juice into a champagne flute. Slowly fill the flute with your choice of sparkling wine.

 

Blood Orange Mimosa | Blood Oranges

Blood Orange Mimosa | Blood Oranges

I hope these recipes will encourage you to add blood oranges to your breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.

m[orange]

 

 

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Andrew Carmellini: Urban Italian and The Dutch

Several years ago, I purchased a cookbook entitled Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini. Favorite recipes from the cookbook include an eggplant agrodulce with the perfect balance of sweet from the honey and sour from the vinegar, a flavorful chicken marinated in a vinaigrette spiked with lemon, oregano, and red chili flakes, as well as a crispy, herb and spice crusted roast pork. These recipes inspire dishes often served for dinner in my home.

Last week, I purchased a Berkshire pork roast from Catalpa Grove Farm at Publican Quality Meats. I prefer to buy pork grown locally for quality and freshness and I often make a special trip to the butcher once or twice each week. To prepare this roast, I referred to the recipe for Pork Arrosto in Urban Italian. The pungent aroma of garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, and fennel seed and pork filled the kitchen as it roasted in the oven.

porkarrostoandpotatoes

 

Herb and Spice Crusted Pork Roast

(adapted from Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini)

Serves 4-6

  • 2-2½ pounds pork loin roast
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 10 sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°.

Prepare the herb and spice paste by placing the garlic, fennel seed, thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper in a mortar and pestle. Grind all of the ingredients and add the olive oil to create a paste.

Rub the pork loin roast with the herb and spice paste covering all sides. Please the roast on a roasting rack and bake for 45 minutes until a meat thermometer registers 145°. Remove the pork loin roast from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes prior to serving.

 

Herb and Spice Crusted Pork with Roasted Potatoes

Herb and Spice Crusted Pork with Roasted Potatoes

I hope the recipe for herb and spice crusted pork will encourage you to try one of the restaurants created by chef Andrew Carmellini the next time you visit New York. My husband and I dined at The Dutch on our last trip. The Dutch is a restaurant, bar, and oyster room located on Sullivan Street at the corner of Prince Street. We shared a variety of East Coast oysters to start, followed by an appetizer of truffled beef carpaccio and cauliflower with rye croutons and an entree of barbecued pork. For dessert, we enjoyed a crispy funnel cake with corn pudding and caramel.

In November, Andrew Carmellini opened a new restaurant named Little Park in the Smyth Hotel in Tribeca. Little Park offers a seasonal farm to table menu with organic vegetables, free-range poultry, and grass-fed meats from local farmers and ranchers . I look forward to dining at Little Park on my next visit to New York.

 

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Winter Citrus | Mandarinquats

The mandarinquat is a hybrid of the mandarin and the kumquat. Mandarinquats and kumquats can be eaten whole, peel and all; the peel is sweet and the flesh is sour. They are delicious raw in salads such as shrimp, pork, and citrus salad with tamarind dressing and served as an accompaniment to cheese. Mandarinquats can be preserved into homemade jams and marmalades with or without the addition of other fruits such as cherries, passion fruit, or strawberries.

Shrimp, Pork, and Citrus Salad with Tamarind Dressing

(adapted from Cracking the Coconut: Classic Thai Home Cooking by Su-Mei Yu)

Serves 2-4

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 3 mandarinquats or 5 kumquats
  • 3 blood or navel oranges
  • 8 ounces shrimp, cooked
  • 8 ounces pork, cooked and sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup crispy shallots
  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely ground
  • 20-30 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced

Prepare the salad dressing by combining the light brown sugar and fish sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low, add the tamarind paste, and stir to combine. Simmer for an additional 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, add the chile powder, and stir again. Set aside to cool.

Cut the mandarinquats in half lengthwise and slice thinly into half circles. Place the mandarinquats in a small bowl. Segment the blood oranges by removing a ½ inch slice from the top and bottom. Set the blood oranges on a cutting board and carefully remove all of the peel and the pith. Working over the saucepan of dressing to catch the juice, use a small paring knife to slice along the membranes of each blood orange to separate the segments from the pith. Add the blood orange segments to the bowl of mandarinquats. Stir the dressing to incorporate the blood orange juice.

Combine the shrimp and pork in a large bowl. Add the tamarind dressing to the bowl with the shrimp and pork and mix well. Add the mandarinquats and blood oranges and mix again. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with shallots, peanuts, and mint.

Crispy Shallots

  • 1/2 cup shallots, sliced thinly into rings (5-7 shallots)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • sea salt

Heat the canola oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until hot but not smoking. Separate the sliced shallots into individual rings and add to the pan. Cook the shallots for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until they are golden brown. If the canola oil becomes too hot during the cooking process and begins to spatter, lower the heat and sprinkle in a pinch of sea salt. When the shallots are finished cooking, turn off the heat and remove them from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and place on a few layers of paper towels to cool. The crispy shallots can be kept at room temperature for several weeks in a glass jar with a lid.

 

Mandarinquats | Shrimp, Pork, and Citrus Salad with Tamarind Dressing

Mandarinquats | Shrimp, Pork, and Citrus Salad with Tamarind Dressing

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Wild Mushroom Soup and Little Gem Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

The winter weather and snow arrived in Chicago at the beginning of January. On cold evenings, I like to serve wild mushroom soup as a healthy and delicious dinner with a simple salad of Little Gem lettuce.  I prepare this soup with an assortment of mushrooms including cremini, trumpet royale, alba clamshell, velvet pioppini, and maitake frondosa. All of these mushrooms are available at Whole Foods.

Wild Mushroom Soup

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 32 ounces mixed fresh wild mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 cups mushroom stock
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook stirring often. After 2-3 minutes, add the red onion and thyme to the pot. Season the mushrooms, red onion, and thyme with salt and pepper. The mushrooms will release moisture as they cook. Continue to cook for 20 minutes until most of the moisture evaporates. Add the mushroom stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. When the mushroom soup has finished cooking, allow it to cool slightly. For thicker soup, blend half of the soup until smooth in a blender and return it to the pot with the unblended half. Return the soup to the heat and add salt and pepper to taste prior to serving.

 

Trumpet Royale, Alba Clamshell, Velvet Pioppini, and Maitake Frondosa Mushrooms | Thyme

Trumpet Royale, Alba Clamshell, Velvet Pioppini, and Maitake Frondosa Mushrooms | Thyme

The Little Gem lettuce looks like a smaller Romaine lettuce; it has a crisp texture and a slightly sweet flavor. I like to allow the flavor of this lettuce to shine. My favorite preparation is to separate the leaves by cutting off the bottom and drizzling with a red wine vinaigrette. The vinaigrette settles into the beautiful curves of the lettuce. I buy Little Gem lettuce at Eataly in Chicago. If you are unable to find Little Gem, you can substitute Romaine or Butter lettuce.

Little Gem Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

(adapted from Michael Psilakis‘ How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking)

Serves 4

  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons shallots or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons black pepper, coarsely ground
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 heads of Little Gem lettuce

Combine the vinegar, mustard, shallots or onion, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small jar. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Place the lid on the jar and shake well just before dressing your salad. Separate the leaves of the lettuce by cutting the bottom of each head. Wash and dry the leaves and add to a large salad bowl. Drizzle the lettuce with the red wine vinaigrette.

Extra vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. Remove the vinaigrette from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to use.

 

Little Gem Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Little Gem Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

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Potato and Leek Soup

After a holiday season filled with decadent meals and endless desserts, I look forward to eating a simple meal of seasonal vegetables. Potatoes and leeks are bountiful in the fall and winter. Every time I make potato and leek soup I am amazed to taste the wonderful flavors created from simple ingredients. I like to garnish the soup with crispy shallots or thinly sliced serrano ham or proscuitto. The soup is delicious served alongside Kale Salad with Pickled Carrots, Pistachios, and Pecorino Romano. Alternatively, 4 ounce cod fillets can be simmered in the soup for 6 to 8 minutes prior to serving as in the original recipe.

Potato and Leek Soup

(adapted from Made in Spain by José Andrés with Richard Wolffe)

Serves 4

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white only, cut in half lengthwise and cut into ½-inch pieces, rinsed well*
  • 2-3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • crispy shallots or thinly sliced serrano ham or proscuitto to garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for 10 minutes until soft and golden but not browned. Add potatoes to the pot with the leeks and stir to combine. Pour 8 cups of water into the pot to cover the leeks and potatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Allow the soup to cool slightly and blend in batches in a blender until smooth. Strain the blended soup through a medium mesh strainer back into the pot and add ¼ cup of the olive oil. Bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the soup in bowls with a drizzle of the remaining olive oil and garnish with crispy shallots or thinly sliced serrano ham or proscuitto.

*Rinse leeks in a large bowl of water to remove dirt and grit. Lift the leeks from the water leaving any dirt and grit at the bottom of the bowl of water and place on a towel to dry.

Crispy Shallots

  • 1/2 cup shallots, sliced thinly into rings (5-7 shallots)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • sea salt

Heat the canola oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until hot but not smoking. Separate the sliced shallots into individual rings and add to the pan. Cook the shallots for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until they are golden brown. If the canola oil becomes too hot during the cooking process and begins to spatter, lower the heat and sprinkle in a pinch of sea salt. When the shallots are finished cooking, turn off the heat and remove them from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and place on a few layers of paper towels to cool. The crispy shallots can be kept at room temperature for several weeks in a glass jar with a lid.

 

Russet Potatoes and Leeks

Russet Potatoes and Leeks

Whole Shallots | Crispy Shallots

Whole Shallots | Crispy Shallots

 

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Damask Pattern: Needlepoint and Custom Fabric

I love to experiment with colors and patterns. Recently, I created two needlepoint canvases from a vintage damask print I acquired at Jayson Home and Garden. The print adds a touch of color and pattern to the gallery wall in our library. Although damask fabric is traditionally woven with elaborate floral or geometric designs, I prefer to recreate the geometric damask pattern slightly off center or incomplete. The ivory and black damask needlepoint above features the damask in the bottom left corner of the canvas with an incomplete pattern. The ivory and brown needlepoint below features a complete albeit off center damask pattern.

Vintage Damask Print | Ivory and Brown Damask Needlepoint

Vintage Damask Print | Ivory and Brown Damask Needlepoint

Library Gallery Wall

Library Gallery Wall

I would like to custom-print fabric with the same vintage-inspired damask. A great resource for designing your own fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap is Spoonflower. I hope to create handmade napkins from the custom-printed organic cotton satin fabric. Although traditional woven damask is reversible, printed fabric only has a pattern on one side.

spoonflowerswatch

Spoonflower Gray Swatch | Spoonflower Blue Swatch

 

 

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Spicy Chicken Salad

Sunday afternoons in the fall often include a marathon of football games and a tasty lunch. Yesterday, the kitchen was filled with the smell of chicken as it roasted in the oven. I adapted the spicy tuna salad recipe in César into a spicy chicken salad. Although tuna creates an exceptional salad, my daughter is not a fan. If you prefer to prepare the salad with tuna, you should use a high quality tuna packed in olive oil. I served the salad on a bed of chopped romaine lettuce and radicchio with lemon vinaigrette and crackers.

Spicy Chicken Salad

(adapted from César: Recipes from a Tapas Bar by Oliver Said and James Melligren with Maggie Pond)

Serves 4

  • 12 ounces chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, and shredded
  • 10 green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Place the shredded chicken in a large bowl. Add the olives, red onion, capers, parsley, chili flakes, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

spicychickensaladandolives

Spicy Chicken Salad | Olives

spicychickensaladsandwich

Spicy Chicken Salad on French Roll

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Transcendent Objects Exhibition: Ryota Aoki and Lilith Rockett

I adore handmade ceramics; each object is unique and beautiful due to slight imperfections and variations in size, shape, and color. At the end of September, I visited Room 406 to view an exhibition called Transcendent Objects featuring the work of American ceramicist Lilith Rockett and Japanese ceramicist Ryota Aoki. The exhibition is open until October 31, 2014. I recommend Transcendent Objects to anyone living in Chicago who loves handmade objects. If you are unable to visit the exhibition, both artists have websites with extensive photographs of their work.

lilithrockettcupsandpedestal

Lilith Rockett Porcelain Cups and Pedestal

The clean lines and minimal unglazed surfaces of the porcelain cups and pedestal perfectly represent Lilith Rockett’s work. Although the handmade porcelain forms a beautiful still life, the simple fluid shapes are intended to be more than art; the pottery is intended to be used in everyday life.

transcendentobjects

Ryota Aoki Dura Cups | Transcendent Objects

Ryota Aoki created the Dura cups in porcelain as a tribute to the iconic Picardie tumbler created by Duralex. Both the Dura cup and the Picardie tumbler are intended for use with hot and cold beverages and are conveniently stackable.

ryotaaokiwhiteplates

Ryota Aoki Plates

Although Ryota Aoki is known for the delicate white porcelain cups and plates photographed, his recent work has included black pottery glazed with silver, gold, or platinum.

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Marinated Cauliflower Salad with Capers and Golden Raisins

I first tasted the salami with marinated cauliflower and bitter greens sandwich from ‘wichcraft during a trip to New York. Each March and September, I traveled from Portland to buy clothing for my boutique named Aubergine. One of my favorite showrooms offered delicious lunches often catered by ‘wichcraft. The marinated cauliflower on this salami sandwich is salty from the capers and sweet from the golden raisins. I recall my excitement when the ‘wichcraft cookbook published the recipe. I love the marinated cauliflower and I pair it with a variety of ingredients; it is delicious as an accompaniment to salami on a charcuterie board, or served for lunch with roasted pork and baby arugula.

This summer, I found artisan Tuscan Salami to pair with this salad from Underground Meats, a vendor at the Green City Market. Undergound Meats handcrafts salami and cured meats in Madison, Wisconsin. The selection available for sale at the farmers market often includes Finocchiona, Saucisson Sec, and Spanish Chorizo.

Marinated Cauliflower Salad with Capers and Golden Raisins

(adapted from ‘witchcraft: craft a sandwich into a meal – and a meal into a sandwich by Tom Colicchio)

Serves 4-6

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup capers, drained
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, toasted
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower and quarter. Slice the cauliflower quarters thinly using a sharp knife or the slicing attachment on a food processor. Place the cauliflower with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Allow the salad to marinated for at least one hour prior to serving.

 

cauliflowerandsalad

Locally Grown Head of Cauliflower | Marinated Cauliflower Salad

tuscansalami

Tuscan Salami from Underground Meats