It happens every spring/summer – Everything is Growing! Everything turns green! We plant our Herbs (and this year some veggies/greens, too)!
It has been a nice spring, warm, wet and still a decent amount of sun. Now I was told quite a while ago, by a wise man with a green thumb (that would be Eric), that if you’re planting outside, the best approach is to wait until after Mother’s Day…before then, there is usually good chance that there will be a freeze and you may have to start over with some plants. I’m not always the best with patience, but I waited on that one and it was definitely worth it this year.
The mint, oregano, cilantro and thyme are going strong. This year, we also have orange chard, jalapeños and pak choy (a version of boy choy. It is new to me, so I am excited). This is just what is outside! Inside is basil, rosemary, parsley, dill, and cherry tomatoes. We are running out of room!
And to further enforce the green thumb, we have added a hibiscus tree to the deck this year. Although we didn’t grow that from seed. This deck with the green everywhere, the planter box, and all of the fun decor is my happy place…and where I happen to be writing this post right now.
Perhaps I should get to the food part of this post…
While I was out on the deck on a beautiful Saturday morning, I noticed that the oregano had really grown. Normally I don’t do a lot with fresh oregano, except the traditional Italian pasta sauce, and I had a strong desire to create and have some fun for an at home date night. So I started looking for ideas of things to make with oregano, while also searching our kitchen to see what we had on hand.
I found a few fun ideas, majority was still around Italian dishes and pestos (WILL be making one of those pestos later this summer) and then I just really got creative, developed a menu and ended up encorporating oregano in each dish … not including dessert, but including the cocktail!
The meal was a follows (and before anyone asks…there was only 2 of us):
- Oregano & Lemon Cocktails
- Toasted French Loaf with Oregano & Honey Compound Butter
- Crushed & Crispy Fingerling Potatoes on the grill with Lemon, Oregano & Thyme Aoili
- Seared Cauliflower with Corn
- BBQ Dry Rubbed Bone-In Porkchops
- 3 layer Chocolate Mousse Cake (we bought that part of the dinner)
The only thing that we had to run out and get was the propane for the grill and some bread for the compound butter. (Thank you Eric for that, too). The rest of the dish came naturally with our love of cauliflower and all things fresh with veggies and herbs.
I mentioned earlier that I’m not always the best with patience…that was true for waiting the right amount of time to add the corn. Make sure that you let the cauliflower sear to your liking before adding the corn. After that, you won’t get much more of a sear on the cauliflower with the added moisture in the corn.
This side dish will certainly be in our rotation. It was easy, fresh and most importantly, super delicious! Happy kick off to summer everyone!
Seared Cauliflower with Corn
- 1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces and rinsed
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbls butter
- 2 Tbls olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
- 2 cups corn
- Kosher salt
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup queso fresco
- 1 tsp lemon zest
Place cauliflower in a glass dish with a tablespoon of water and top with plastic wrap. Place in microwave and cook for 3 mins at 50% power two times, for a total of 6 minues. Checking in between for tenderness. Goal is to leave the cauliflower firm, but reduce the raw crunch.
In a cast iron skillet (I used an 8″ skillet), melt the butter and add olive oil over med-high heat until melted and a little bubbly (not browned). Add shallots for 1 minute on own and then add the cauliflower. Liberally salt and pepper the cauliflower. Sear the cauliflower on one side and then turn over to brown the other side, approximately 5 minutes per side.
Add fresh oregano, corn and mix in to sear the corn slightly as well. As the moisture cooks out, add the vinegar and continue cooking for another 8-10 minutes where the corn has a nice color and the most of the liquid has cooked off.
Top with a sprinkle of paprika, lemon zest, queso fresco and cilantro and serve straight from the cast iron (hot mitt recommended for handle).
Happy Vegetable Season!
*Experimental Spoon Original