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May 29, 2017
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VEGGIE FAKE-OUTS! Green Bean FRIES and Cauliflower POPCORN!
        IT’S MEMORIAL DAY! And it’s officially the unofficial beginning of summer. YAY! And what does summer always bring with it? Lot’s of outdoor parties and picnics. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to one where there weren’t a couple bags of potato chips, cheetos or some other crunchy, salty, fried treat on the table. We all love them, but how about venturing off the beaten path alittle bit and adding a few healthy food-fakes to the menu?
        First up: GREEN BEAN FRIES. You dry the beans really well, coat with some beaten egg, and then roll in some parmesan cheese and bake. What could be bad? These are delicious just like that. But from there, if you like, you can get creative. Sprinkle them with porcini powder, or maybe some smoked salt. Garlic or onion powder can be tossed into the parmesan cheese too. Myself? I like dipping them in marinara sauce.
        Next up, CAULIFLOWER POPCORN. These are even easier. Just toss the popcorn size pieces with some fruity olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast until tender. Here, you could add some finely minced herbs to the oil—thyme or tarragon would be delicious. Chopped garlic is always welcome, maybe some curry powder?
        And HOW CUTE would it be TO SERVE BOTH OF THESE IN LITTLE POPCORN BOXES OR BOWLS that you could carry around and munch on during your party?
        OK, so maybe you’ll still want to have a few bags of the junky stuff on the table. But who knows, I bet these guys may even give those bags of fritos a run for their money. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

LESSONS Learned:
1. If you line up all of the green bean stem ends together, it makes easy work of cutting them all off.
2. Make sure to completely cut that out the cauliflower’s thick core. That way, it’s easy to break the flowerettes into popcorn size pieces.
3. Dry the veggies well so all of the other ingredients stick. The best way to accomplish that is to spread a couple of sheets of paper towels onto a rimmed baking pan, add the veggies, and roll the veggies around on the pan allowing the towels to absorb any excess water. (This is a great way to dry berries too!)

Green Bean French FRIES!

1 lb fresh green beans, stemmed and dried well
2 large eggs beaten with 2 Tablespoons water
½ -1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
¾ cup grated parmesan
salt for sprinkling
marinara sauce for dipping, optional

Make the fries:
        Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, and preheat to 425 degrees F. Cover 2 rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
        In a large shallow dish, beat the egg with the water, salt, pepper and garlic powder, if using. In another shallow dish add the grated parmesan. In batches, add the green beans to the egg mixture and then transfer to the cheese and roll back and forth to coat as evenly as possible.
        Transfer to the baking pans, placing them so that they don’t touch. Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown and tender. Bake the shorter amount of time if you like some of the raw crunch, longer to completely cook them through.

Makes 4-6 servings.      YUM!

Cauliflower POPCORN!

2 heads cauliflower about 4 lbs, core removed and flowerettes broken into popcorn size pieces
4-5 Tablespoons fruity olive oil
½ -3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste.
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste.
A pinch of turmeric, optional
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese. ( I always use parmegiano reggiano)

Make the popcorn:
        Space 2 racks in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients, except the cheese. Toss well to coat. Divide the cauliflower between 2 half size rimmed baking pans, spreading them out on one layer.
        Bake for 20-30 minutes, tossing once or twice during the baking time.
        Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and gently toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4-6 servings.      YUM!
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