by Barbie Butz

I’ve mentioned that we are moving from our bigger house to our smaller house (or granny house) on our property. It’s not easy, believe me. We’re going from around 3,000 square feet to 1500 square feet after 37 years and an accumulation of a lot of “stuff.” I know those of you who have already scaled down are laughing and probably enjoying our misery.

Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at barbiewb@hotmail.com.

Along with great physical help from friends and family members, John built a small trailer to hitch onto our golf cart, so we load up the cart and the trailer, drive some 300 feet and unload. I bet there aren’t many folks who can say they moved with a golf cart! And did I mention that we moved some things with our John Deere?

To add to the challenge of our move, our son and his wife sold their house in San Miguel faster than predicted, so they are moving into our bigger as we are moving out of it. It’s like a 3-ring circus around here. Thank goodness I can sit down for a minute to write this column.

Have you noticed that side dishes often compete with the main course of a meal? This week’s recipes could offer fair competition.

Spicy Lemon Cauliflower

Ingredients:

2 heads cauliflower, sliced 1⁄2-inch thick

5 garlic cloves, chopped

3 red Fresno chiles, sliced

1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced

5 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

Parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss together cauliflower, garlic, chiles, lemon, and oil on two rimmed baking sheets. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring vegetables and rotating the pans once, until cauliflower is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Serves 8

Shaved Brussels with Country Ham

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2/3 cup chopped country ham

2 shallots, sliced

11⁄2 pounds Brussels sprouts, root ends trimmed and sliced

1⁄2 cup golden raisins

1⁄2 cup chopped roasted pecans

1tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions:

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ham and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and raisins, and cook, stirring occasionally, until warm and just beginning to wilt, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in pecans and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8

Green Beans and Fennel with Tarragon

Ingredients:

1 pound haricots verts, trimmed

Kosher salt and black pepper

1⁄4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, plus 1/3 cup chopped fennel fronds

1⁄2 cup chopped roasted almonds

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

Directions:

Cook beans in large pot of salted water until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool, drain well. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Add beans, fennel and fennel fronds, almonds, and tarragon and toss to combine. Serves 8

Last but not least, how about a Spicy Bloody Mary?

Combine 46 ounces vegetable juice, 1 cup vodka, 2 tablespoons each lemon juice and chopped dill, 1 tablespoon each prepared horseradish, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, and 3⁄4 teaspoon each black pepper and celery seed. Serve over ice with dilly beans, lemon wedges, and celery for garnish.

Cheers!