My husband and I have decided to preemptively strike our New Year’s resolutions to reduce the size of our waistbands so I have been making an effort to make healthier dinners. To me that means more veg, less heavy meals but since it has finally turned cold here, I struggle with balancing a desire to be skinny with a desire for warm thigh-sticking comfort food. Not sure there really is a lot of balancing to be had between healthy and satisfying (in that rich chocolate cake kind of way) but dammit I am going to try to find it. I don’t equate “full” with “satisfied” but I do think you can tart up your healthy food a little so it feels like you’re being bad even if you aren’t. So tonight I hit the store and picked up a few goodies like a really nice bunch of swiss chard (above), some cauliflower and some decent tilapia filets.
I prowled the Food Network website- can that site be ANY SLOWER?!? – for ideas while I should have been working and I came across an Emeril recipe for roasted cauliflower – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/oven-roasted-cauliflower-recipe/index.html which sounded both tasty and easy. Perfect! I followed it to the letter except for two things: 1. Instead of adding garlic at the end, I used garlic salt to season the cauliflower before roasting and 2. In our oven, at 375, after 30 minutes it wasn’t even close to being done, so I upped it to 400 and it took almost another 30 mins to get good and toasty like in the photo below.
While that was in the oven, I threw some pine nuts into a saucepan with some olive oil and let them brown before I took them out. Then I added 2 large cloves of garlic sliced and some more olive oil to the pan and let the garlic get a little toasted and fill the kitchen with garlic perfume (best comfort food smell in the world except maybe the smell of meat sauce cooking). Once the garlic was toasted, I tossed in the chard leaves, some salt and let the leaves cook down until they were good and sauteed. Added the pine nuts back in (nuts make everything taste better!) and shut off the heat.
When that was done, I took the fish out of the fridge and doused it with lemon juice, olive oil, white wine, parsley and some Old Bay (Yeah BALLMER!) and put it in the oven when I thought the cauliflower had about 10~15 mins left to go.
I should mention that I have a FREAKISH addiction to acidic and/or sour flavors (like Sour Patch Kids are not sour enough for me, not even close), so though both the cauliflower and the fish were coated in lemon juice when they went into the oven, I still went through another half of a lemon while I wolfed down my meal. I shall never succumb to scurvy.
In the end, was it better than a big bowl of creamy, steamy mac ‘n cheese? Helllllls no! But the toasty bits on the cauliflower, the subtle kick of the Old Bay, and the toasty nuttiness of the chard concoction weren’t too bad. And I am rewarding myself with some roasted chestnuts for dessert.