Cooking with the Daring Librarian

Hello dear readers!  I'm in the mood for a break from the usual, and with the holidays coming, I'd like to share a few cooking ideas! Some of the ideas I've posted before, but I thought I would put them all together here, in one blog post for ease! Disclaimer:  I'm not a chef and most all of these recipies I've gotten from other people or places, put my spin on it,  results are not guaranteed & your mileage may vary! LOL

I think I found this while I was lost in a forest of Pinterest pins - or drowning in a Pinterest pool - you know, you go check on something on Pinterest (or YouTube or BuzzFeed or Awkward Family Photos) and you get "lost" and stumble upon things that are super cool! This recipe was one of them that I HAD to try! 
Baked Cauliflower Buffalo Bites - the best of the buffalo wing taste but with yummy cauliflower all baked in the oven and served with bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks. I know this sounds hard to believe that this could give wings a run for their money, but they do!

A full head or already chopped cauliflower florettes (In a hurry? You can buy them in a bag or get them at the salad bar), 2 tbs butter, Frank's hot sauce, flour, garlic powder, paprika, milk, and blue cheese dressing & celery sticks (for serving). See photo above.

Mix up the batter (just milk, flour, paprika and garlic powder).

Dip cauliflower in batter and shake a little bit to get rid of the excess batter & place on a baking tray covered with (my fav!) nonstick aluminum foil.

Melt the butter & add Frank's hot sauce to taste - stir and set aside

425ºF until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from cooking sheet, place on wire rack so they stay crispy, make another batch - toss this batch with the sauce or have it on the side for dipping (so they don't get mushy) and serve with bleu cheese dressing & celery sticks. YUM!  

Inspired by Caulifower Buffalo Wings
from The Tasty Kitchen

When I was kid I didn't like Brussels sprouts - probably because I had them cooked from frozen or canned but when I got older & I had them roasted - WOW! They're like crack! (Not that I know what that's like - sorry Walter White -I've always been straight edge!) Add in your veggies of choice - roast them in the oven and whammy! You've got a great side dish, served either hot or cold and a great addition to all kinds of meals! Nom nom! 
1 bag of Brussels sprouts cleaned (cut off the bottom, pull off any wilted leaves, & I cut them in half)
1 large sweet onion sliced, 
6-8 garlic cloves sliced in half (I love roasted garlic!)
1lb. Asparagus cut into 2" lengths, and whatever hearty veg you like
Simple vinaigrette: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices, and a squeeze of lemon juice
Salt (I use French grey sea salt) - and add only at the end - cooking w/ salt will leach out the natural juices of the veggies
Want a spicy kick? Sprinkle Chef Paul Hot Sweet Pizza Pasta Magic (SO Amazing!) on it!  

I've also added sliced mushrooms (see above - cooking at the beach!) and, being of Welsh descent, I've of course added leeks!

Preheat oven to 375 F. Trim the tough stem off of all of the Brussels sprouts and discard. Cut the smaller sprouts into halves and larger sprouts into quarters. Remove any loose leaves as well. Just set
View a bigger size for full Nom Nom effect
the loose leaves aside; they will be roasted also.  Place all of the sprouts and leaves onto a rimmed non-stick or olive oiled baking sheet or Pyrex casserole dish. Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar and any seasonings you like in a small bowl or measuring cup - pour over veggie and toss to coat.

Roast covered with aluminum foil for 20 min, remove foil, stir and turn the veggies and check to see if they're done. Roast uncovered another 10-20 min. When they are done, the loose leaves will be crispy and browned and the sprouts will be fork tender. Ovens vary, I have a Kitchen Aid convection oven so I always have to adjust.
When done, sprinkle with the salt, toss, and serve! Nom, nom! I take a big container to school for lunch and I also keep one at home for dinners.

Dinner Ideas: 
What to make with this? You can top a Trader Joe's frozen pizza (this can sometimes fool picky nephews to eat some veggies) --- sometimes!
You can also add the veggies to corn & shrimp chowder, Maryland crab, or any kind of soup
You can toss them chilled with a light vinaigrette & serve with crispy bacon pices for a picnic
Add them to an omelet with cheddar cheese
Toss them warmed up with pasta, parm, & herbs
What would YOU do with them?
Drunken Sugared Nuts & Brie
Great for a holdiay party!
14-ounce round of Brie
1/4 cup of brandy
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans or better yet, a mix of the two! (see photo)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Mix the sugar, nuts, and cover with the brandy all together in a covered container and chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours up to a week (or 2!)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the brie on an ovenproof dish or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts and gets all awesome bubbly!

On Town House Crackers or with apple or pear wedges. Enjoy! 
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe
Easy Sausage & Onion App! 
Here's my favourite, easy to make and always popular party appetizer recipe! My friends like it, my nephews fight over it, and it only takes about 10 min from start to finish...and you can make it days ahead of time, it just gets better! (originally posted last Christmas)

1 half onion, sliced - yellow, white, or sweet Vidalia!
2-3 tbs (to taste) Maile grainy mustard
2-3 tbs (to taste) Dijon mustard
2-3 tbs (or more) Brown sugar
2-3 tbs water
1 package Smoked sausage, whatever is on sale, regular beef or turkey  - sliced into rounds
Combine first 5 ingredients into a microwave-safe container or dish and microwave about 4 min- stir well before and after.
Add sausage slices, stir to combine coating all as best as possible, add maybe a couple extra tablespoons of brown sugar over the top & microwave 4 additional min.
Take to party or refrigerate overnight. You can even make it a day or two ahead of time - it just gets better!

Zap in the microwave to warm through, stir from the bottom up to get the now savory sweet sugar sauce, and serve!

For presentation you could, right before serving, sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top for a nice cover.
Serve with tiny silver appetizer forks (used in seafood, too) or toothpicks!

Turkey in a Blanket?
You can also take these slices & onion slices wrap them up in 1/4th of a crescent roll triangle and bake for a type of pig in the blanket.  Enjoy!

All my cooking pictures on Flickr

What are your favourite recipes? Please comment with your ideas, feedback, or if you have a "go to" easy app or recipe to share!  


  1. OH, yummy! It's almost lunch time and I'm hungry! I always roasted brussel sprouts and asparagus. Even my kids love it! Great ideas.

    1. Roasted veggies are the BEST! Thanks Annette for your comment!

  2. I want those Buffalo Cauliflower Bites in my belly.

    Go to app #1: my mom's infamous chili dip (3 layers: bottom=cream cheese, middle=can of Hormel chili, top= shredded cheddar. Layer them all in a pie plate, microwave until melty, eat with tortilla chips. Possibly end the evening with a cardiac event). #2 (much healthier) the spinach chop recipe from Heidi Swanson's Supernatural Everyday. It involves spinach, garlic, almonds, hard boiled eggs, and harissa and is eaten with pita chips.

    1. Your Mom's dip sounds delish! Heart attack worthy, but yummy! LOL
      I have another one (no pics right now) that involved asparagus wrapped with prosciutto then wrapped with phyllo dough baked and they're wonderful!


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