Cauliflower Au Gratin (Baked Cauliflower)

1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets, soak in cold water, then drain leaving a little water in the bowl with the cauliflower to dilute the mayo...

¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ + ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp dill
1 tsp paprika

1 cup fine Panko crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish with a spray of Pam.

In a large bowl add cauliflower, mayonnaise, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, dill, salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.  Use your bare hands.

Place the coated cauliflower evenly in the prepared and greased 9” x 13” casserole dish (scrape all the coating out and pour on the cauliflower) then top with the Panko crumbs mixed with ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese and paprika.

Bake until golden brown and the cauliflower is fork tender, about 35 minutes. Finish the last 3 minutes under the broiler element to darken the topping, DO NOT BURN!!!!  Serve immediately.


I am a meat eater. Almost any non-weird meat is fair game for me. I need some sort of critter to supply me with the protein I desire. So vegetarian foods normally leave me wanting in one way or another. Hummus is something I always considered a vegetarian food and avoided it at all costs.

The hummus avoidance came about through my long held belief that only sandal wearing, long hair, bearded, hemp weaving, placard carrying, non employed, liberal whiner-without-a-cause types ate hummus and if I was to eat it I would become one of "them".

However I tried a little bit of hummus one day and I liked it. I mean - really, really liked it. After eating it for quite a long time now, I am confident when I say that I did not turn into one of "them" after all. However I will not eat granola, because I know that once I do it will be sandal wearing on a protest march against the world for me...

I had always purchased hummus and then I decided to take up the challenge of making it. How difficult could it be I asked myself. So self said to self, "Self, give it a try. Your mama didn't raise no genius fer sure, but it looks simple enough that even you could do it!"

"Thank you self! I did try it and it was wonderful and how dare you talk to me like I'm the village idiot!"

               Hummus (ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna) or Chick Peas with Tahini

1 -19 oz can chick peas (garbanzo beans), liquid reserved and set aside

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3 Tbsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp tahini

2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
black pepper to taste

Place the chick peas, tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, salt and ¼ cup of the reserved liquid in a food processor or blender.

Pulse or blend until it is a smooth creamy paste.  If not smooth enough add a bit more of the reserved liquid.

Add pepper and more salt if you wish and pulse or blend to mix well. Taste, and add more of the lemon juice if you think it needs it as well. Pulse a few seconds again.

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and drizzle the olive oil over the top.

Garnish with some chick peas or parsley.

Serve with baked pita crisps, crackers, fresh pitas or just sit down at the bowl with a spoon like I do…

Snowy Palms Resort

Tabbouleh - Tabouli

Back when the Earth was cooling I traveled to Europe and spent a few months panhandling, mooching, touring and chasing girls. Not necessarily in that order mind you but I engaged in all the aforementioned activities to greater or lesser degrees of enthusiasm, depending on my need at the time. The late 70's was a great time to be a 20 year old in Europe. Forgive me Father for I did sin. A lot...

When I came up for air to gather sustenance in order to aid my strength and continue the pursuit of girls from the four corners of the world, I normally ate at establishments frequented by the 'locals' or at least sought out places where I could buy inexpensive food.  The quest for inexpensive normally took me to places that nary a camera toting tourist could be found.

It was somewhere "over there" that I had my first taste of tabouli, or tabbouleh as some like to correct me. I can't remember what country I was in when I first sampled it but I loved it immediately. When I came back home to Canada I left the taste of tabbouleh behind and did not sample it again for nearly thirty years. Why? I guess because where I lived for many years there was a dearth of restaurants or stores offering such "exotic" fare. I did live in the barren hinterlands for 3 decades ya know...

I don't know why it took so long to find that wonderful flavour again but now that we have been reacquainted I look forward to our every meeting.  With the aid of a Google search, recipes are available for every kind of tabbouleh version and I have settled on this one.

Living in the Edmonton area offered the opportunity to buy all manner of ethnic food staples to aid in the preparation or location of the foods of my dreams. My dreams are lovely things indeed - though sometimes filthy, dirty, depraved and debauched they may be, they are all mine to enjoy. My dream today was tabbouleh and hummus.

I chuckle when I read any book, magazine or web site that proclaims the recipe being offered is the only one that offers an "authentic" version of the dish being prepared.  By whose measure or irrefutable opinion is their recipe deemed the only way to make an authentic version? Some Divinely ordained food snob? Some professor of history that has the original recipe for the dish so proclaimed in his or her possession, and it is written on papyrus in some long dead language?

To make a claim that any dish is "authentic" is laughable at best and insulting to many cooks in countless kitchens around the world. Like pasta sauces, stews, casseroles and many other food offerings, every cook will render their own spin on it and it will become the only "authentic" version of the dish known to the people that grew up on that cooks version and they will insist their mama's or daddy's is the only authentic version.

The food snobs on TV are the biggest sinners when it comes to making an "authentic" proclamation on any dish. They deride any version that isn't of their own making and insult the rest of us with their bombastic ramblings suggesting their version is the ONLY one worth making. Unless they have time travel capabilities that will allow them to go back to the first version in some far away place, anything they say is typically bullshit when claiming theirs as "authentic".

The ingredient lists of many recipes thus named authentic may be similar, or exact, but often times that is not true.  There may be a common thread to them but the total list and the proportions of endless recipe versions will vary by region to region and in every home kitchen in those regions. Tabbouleh is one such recipe.

One tabbouleh may have more or less bulgur in it than another. One may have more mint, or lemon juice. Others will implore you to add cucumber, while another decries the addition of cucumber as heretical. Italian or flat leaf parsley is the ONLY one to use some will proclaim, and by using just the regular parsley familiar to all of us we are told we're akin to being trailer trash married to a sibling.

Anyway, just ignore those self appointed food snobs on TV and make this recipe, because I promise you, this one IS AUTHENTIC. I have the sandstone tablets to prove it (see top of page). Trust me. Would I lie to you????

2 bunches (6 oz) parsley (flat leaf or regular is fine)

1 cup (2 oz) fresh mint leaves

1 cup medium or coarse bulgur (I like coarse, but you can use fine or medium)

2 -3 large tomatoes, chopped to a ¼” dice

1 cup diced cucumber, seeds removed

3 green onions, minced fine

¼ cup extra Virgin olive oil, or grapeseed oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice or lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Clean bulgur by placing it in a bowl and adding cold water to it.  Stir gently. Drain well by pouring off the liquid to get any “floaties” out of it. Place in heatproof bowl.
Add 2 cups of hot water (or chicken/vegetable stock) to the cleaned bulgur and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain in a sieve or fine mesh collander, set aside.  The bulgur should be ‘al dente’ and not mushy that’s why only 20 minutes.  It will continue to soften on the tabouli and take up more flavour once dish is prepared.

Prepare the mint by removing the leaves from the stems.

Prepare the parsley by cutting the leaves from the thick stems, leaving leaves and tender stems only.

Place the prepared parsley and mint in a food processor and pulse to a medium mince. DO NOT PUREE!!!

Place minced parsley and mint in a glass or stainless steel bowl.

Add bulgur, chopped tomatoes, cucumber and chopped green onions, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stir well.

Season with salt and pepper and add the olive oil. Stir well. Place in fridge for 1 hour.

You can add more oil and lemon if desired, or no oil at all. Be daring.

Serve chilled with romaine lettuce, pita wedges or other lifting mechanism of your choice.

For a gluten free version use quinoa in place of the bulgur. Prepare per package directions.

Butter Chicken

2 lbs skinless chicken legs, see procedure below

1 cup plain yogurt

¼ cup liquid honey
1 tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated

2 Tbsp lemon juice (1/2 fresh lemon)
2 Tbsp garlic (4 cloves crushed or pressed)
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp garam masala

Butter Sauce
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes

1 cup water
2 green chilies (Serrano, jalapeno or habanera) chopped fine (remove seeds for less heat)

1 cup cream

1 Tbsp ginger paste
1 Tbsp garlic paste
1 Tbsp red chili powder
2 - 3 tsp garam masala (I like lots).
3 Tbsp honey

2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
3 Tbsp butter
Salt to taste

Prepare chicken legs. I prfer to cook with bone in when the meat is in a sauce. The bones add to the flavour and it is worth the effort on taste alone.

Remove skin from the leg.

Cut drumstick from thigh.

Remove hip bone from thigh.

Remove drumstick end.

Cut thigh in half.

Wash prepared chicken paying attention to the bone cuts to remove any shards of bone

Mix yogurt, red chili powder, salt, ginger paste, garlic paste, lemon juice and 1 tsp garam masala, mustard powder, honey, paprika in a bowl add chicken and marinade for 4 hours or overnight.

Place chicken on a tray and broil 10-12 minutes or until almost done, turning over at halfway time, remove from oven and set aside. For a really great taste I will often times grill them on the barbeque for added yumminess.

Heat olive oil in a pan. Place ginger-garlic paste and cut green chilies and sauté for two minutes.  Mix in tomato puree, red chili powder, garam masala, water, honey/sugar, cumin and turmeric. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove mixture from heat and let cool for 20 minutes, place in blender or use an immersion blender, puree until mixture is smooth and creamy.  

Add cream to sauce.

Return pureed mixture to pan and heat until bubbling add cooked chicken pieces and butter. Add salt to taste.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with naan bread and basmati rice.

Snowy Palms Resort