About Lauren

Posts by Lauren :

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

This cauliflower… I’m getting weak in the knees. Who thought I would ever be exclaiming such things about some cauliflower?

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

There are several things that this dish has going for it. One is that the cauliflower is roasted in the oven. Almost every vegetable on the planet automatically tastes amazing when you oven roast it. See proof here, here and here. Then there is the inclusion of lemon, which always brightens up a dish.

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finally, there is the Parmesan. This recipe doesn’t call for a lot of cheese, but the nutty and melty Parmesan topping adds just the right balance to the roasted cauliflower.

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

Did I mention that you get to put this right in the oven then forget about it? Always a bonus in my book. So make this cauliflower tonight, but make sure you invite me for dinner.

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into small & medium sized florets
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan
  • Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Line a large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Spread the cauliflower florets in the prepared roasting pan then drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice. Top with the garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, making sure to stir 1-2 times during cooking.
  4. Remove from the oven and place in a serving dish. Immediately top with the Parmesan and chives.

Recipe from The Food Network.

New England Classic Quesadilla

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m going to jump right to the point here with this post. It is the last post in my apple series and I wanted a recipe that would blow your socks off. My alma mater, Boston College, has some unbelievable sandwiches. They spark constant debates, long lines and even extensive blog posts.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

However, there is no denying that the New England Classic Panini is among the top contributions to society that this New England college has ever shared. Turkey breast, slices of Granny Smith apple, creamy honey mustard and sharp cheddar cheese come together in sandwich perfection. The sandwich is pressed until the cheese is gooey, which is of course the best way cheese can be consumed.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

Boston College’s version, and the reason it is so remarkable, is the special cranberry-apple bread they serve it on. I do not have their amazing bread so instead of trying to completely replicate the New England Classic I decided to make my own spin on it. This quesadilla brought me right back to the dining hall and I was so absorbed in how delicious it tasted I devoured it with unusual speed.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

The crispy fried tortilla envelopes the turkey, apple, honey mustard and cheddar cheese perfectly. Tartness from the Granny Smith, saltiness from the cheddar and creaminess from the honey mustard come together in sweet lip-smackin’ harmony. If you really want to get fancy with it you could grab some cranberry sauce for dipping. Okay fellow Eagles, it’s your turn:  what do you crave the most from BC dining?

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

New England Classic Quesadilla
 
Yield: 1 quesadilla
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard, plus more if desired
  • ⅓ cup shredded yellow extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices deli turkey
  • ¼ Granny Smith Apple, peeled & thinly sliced
Directions
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat.
  2. Spread the honey mustard all over one side of the tortilla then place in the skillet, honey mustard side up. Evenly sprinkle the cheese all over the honey mustard so it’s completely covering the tortilla. Place a lid or splatter screen over the skillet to help the cheese melt.
  3. Once the cheese is melted evenly place the turkey slices so they are covering the whole tortilla. Evenly place the apple slices on one half of the tortilla. Carefully use a spatula to fold the tortilla in half.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium-high to crisp the exterior of the quesadilla. Watch carefully, this should only take a minute or two. Once browned, flip the quesadilla to crisp up the other side. When the quesadilla is browned on both sides remove from the heat. Let sit for a minute or two then cut into sections before serving.
Notes
To make your own honey mustard mix together 1 tablespoon honey, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons dijon mustard. Adjust honey-mayo-mustard ratio according to taste.

Baked Apple Chips

Baked Apple Chips  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s apple time again! After Tuesday’s slightly involved, albeit delicious and deceptively easy, dish I wanted to share something that required minimal effort and ingredients. I’m talking three ingredients and three steps. Boom! How exciting is that? We could all use a few more minimal effort recipes in our lives.

Baked Apple Chips  |  Lemon & Mocha

Homemade apple chips are a great on-the-go snack. They are also enjoyable on top of salads, in spiced sweet potato and apple soup, and by themselves for Netflix marathons. Thin apple slices are lightly coated with spiced sugar then left to bake in the oven. Staying in the oven for so long on a low temperature takes a lot of the moisture out of them leaving you with a nice crunchy chip-like texture. But, they still have the taste of apple. Thus apple chips. You probably got that by now, but I figured I would point it out anyways.

Baked Apple Chips  |  Lemon & Mocha

They are quite addictive. However, I must share one warning with all you soon-to-be-apple-chip-makers:  they sit in the oven for a long, long time. This is not a make it in 20 minutes kind of snack. We’re talking almost 2 hours in the oven. So just make sure you read the recipe thoroughly, all four lines of it, long before you plan to actual create this treat so you aren’t disappointed or late for your Netflix marathon.

Baked Apple Chips  |  Lemon & Mocha

Baked Apple Chips
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Pink Lady apples
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cut each apple in half (make one cut through the apple halfway between the bottom and the stem, do not cut from the stem downward). Thinly slice the apple using a mandolin. You can core the apple, but then you won’t get the pretty stars in the middle.
  3. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a large bag. Add the apple slices and shake until they are completely coated. You may have to open the bag up to separate some of the slices. Lay the apple slices evenly on the prepared baking sheet then bake for one hour.
  4. Remove from the oven, flip over, then bake for another hour. When the second hour is up, remove the pan from the oven then carefully move the apple chips to a cooling rack. The apple slices will continue to fully crisp while they are cooling.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Five minutes into making this soup I knew I had a winner sitting on the stovetop in front of me. Intense smells swirled around me while the softening onions took on a rich color from all the spices. I don’t get cravings for soups unless they pack a lot of flavor and this sweet potato and apple soup hits the mark so I am extremely pleased to be posting it for as the second post in my fall apple series.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

This soup does take a shortcut by using applesauce instead of whole fresh apples, but you could easily turn your apple picking finds into an impromptu applesauce by peeling, coring then crushing them. And then making this soup of course.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The original recipe uses curry powder, but since I didn’t have any on hand I substituted with what was in my cabinet. Feel free to use my version or substitute with curry powder according to the notes in the recipe. The soup has that delicious warming quality that all fall soups should have as well as an exciting complexity of taste.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finishing the soup with a splash of curry butter really deepens this complexity. You might think, “Oh, it’s just a garnish, I’m going to skip the curry butter,” but do not make this mistake my friends! Although it’s just a simple concoction of butter, spices and apple cider vinegar, it adds a final richness and tang to the soup.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The apple chip pictured in the soup photos is the perfect crunchy texture addition and I’ll be sharing the recipe later this week in my third apple post.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1¼ cups applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Directions
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl then set aside.
  2. Place the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once warm add the onions and garlic then cook until the onions are soft, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger, additional nutmeg and 1¼ teaspoons of the spice mixture that was set aside in the first step. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and vegetable broth then cover and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the applesauce then let simmer, covered, on medium-low for 20 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are tender, puree the mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while you prepare the spiced butter.
  6. In a small skillet over medium heat melt the butter then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of the spice mixture. Stir over the heat until browned, just a couple minutes, then remove from the heat. Mix in the apple cider vinegar then drizzle over each serving of soup.
Notes
If you are using curry powder instead, substitute 1.5 teaspoons curry powder for the first 5 ingredients.

Recipe adapted from September 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

To celebrate fall I am doing a series of four posts featuring a quintessential fall ingredient: apples! Every year Matt and I go apple picking with his parents at an orchard near their house. For us, this annual ritual signifies the official transition out of summer. In typical New England fashion, some years it is still sunny shorts-weather while other years we have three different layers on trying to stay warm. But what is always the same is the overwhelming fresh smell of apples.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although we haven’t had a chance to go yet this year between other people’s weddings and our own exciting planning, I wanted to provide some inspired recipes for all you fall apple-pickers out there. Whether you’re an apple-picker, seasonal farmers’ market shopper or price-savvy grocery store buyer, this caramelized onion and apple dip is a mouthwatering start to the season’s freshest produce.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

Caramelizing onions mellows their taste while breaking down the natural sugars leading to a browned and slightly sweetened result. True onion caramelization takes around 35-40 minutes, however I used a semi-caramelized quick version in this recipe. The end result is just as delicious.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

The onions are combined with tart Pink Lady apples, creamy herb cheese, salty shredded Parmesan and Gruyere before baked until bubbly. This hot dip is addictive on warm baguette slices, salty pretzel chips or grilled pork chops.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 medium sweet onions, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 2 sweet-tart apples, such as Pink Lady, peeled and diced
  • 2 ounces soft herb cheese, such as Boursin or herb goat cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet then add the onions and chives. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and have started to brown about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the apples. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the soft herb cheese then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Evenly sprinkle the shredded cheeses over top then bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cheeses are bubbly and browned. Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes before eating.

Recipe slightly adapted from October 2014 Issue 107 of Cuisine at Home.