Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rancho La Puerta 2014 Spa Cooking

One of my favorite places on earth to teach cooking is at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico. The spa sends me a the seasonal list of what is growing in their gardens at the cooking school. It takes about a month to prepare 24 new recipes. My days are spent shopping, chopping, and  dreaming about what I will be teaching the students who attend the cooking classes at La Cocina que Canta.
These photos are just a few of the fine people I've met at the spa.  They are all very special.

    Lemon-Rosemary Cauliflower Couscous

2 medium cauliflower, trimmed, stemmed and cored
Olive oil or cooking spray
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh dill
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
Salt and white pepper to taste

Process the cauliflower in 4 batches in the work bowl of the food processor using the grating blade. Place the grated cauliflower in a large bowl.

Heat a large sauté pan over a medium flame with 1 tablespoon of oil or cooking spray and sauté the garlic till softened about 5 minutes then add the cauliflower in 2 batches and sauté till the cauliflower is cooked, remove each cooked batch to a bowl while you cook the second batch, then return all the cauliflower to the sauté pan and add the rest of the  herbs and lightly season with salt and pepper as needed.

Divide the cauliflower mixture into 6 small molds and press lightly with the back of a spoon. Unmold each on the dinner plates or on a serving platter.

                          The Director of the cooking school,
                                                     Denise Roa, the assistants and a birthday cake
                                                    Happy Birthday to You
             Roasted Roots and Avocado                                                                                                            
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 heaping cups mixed chopped herbs, parsley, chives, basil leaves
¼ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound medium-size carrots, multi-colored with 1 ½ inch of top
6 parsnips, peeled and cut in ½ length-wise
2 sweet potatoes, evenly cubed in ½ dice
2 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut in thin wedges
1 ½ cups packed radish or other sprouts or baby frisee

 Heat oven to 400F.  In the food processor pulse the garlic with the cumin, thyme, mixed herbs, chili flakes, 1 ½ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon of salt, vinegar and oil and pulse to make a paste.

Arrange carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes in a roasting pan and spread half of spice paste on top. Place orange and lemon halves, cut side down on top of the roasting vegetables. Roast until vegetables are tender and well browned, about 1 hour.

With a dish towel to protect your hands, squeeze juice from the roasted orange and lemon halves into the remaining herb paste. You should have about ½ cup of pulp and juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the carrots, parsnips and sweet potato with the spears of avocado and drizzle with sprouts and some of the reserved sauce.

Dahlia Haas

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