Thanks, Mario

Thanks, Mario…

Mr. Batali saved me a trip to the grocery. And he can save you too if you have a head of cauliflower, pasta and a handful of pantry/fridge staples. I'll tell you flat out I reduced the pasta by 25% and could have done with even less. I also added 3 pinches of pepper flakes (much less) and had a free hand with the cheese (atrophied piave in my case but perfect for grating.).

Btw the recipe uses the whole head of cauliflower, stems included. Leave an hour for slow cooking. It's worth it. Vegetarian! Can be gluten free. Click here for the recipe.

 

Eat -B

 

Everything but the…Cauliflower



It's not a guarantee, but it's similar to high school yearbook status in my house. As in, "Vegetables most likely to be eaten..." If they're roasted and flavor dense or presented in a form residents are predisposed to like (i.e. puréed cauliflower and potato), I have a higher degree of success.

Thus the spiced and super roasted cauliflower is "most likely" or to be accurate, "more likely" to be eaten. I borrowed the high heat roasting technique from veggie guru Molly Katzen when she was in a phase.

Ingredients this time:

Cauliflower florets from one head
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 pinches cayenne

Preheat oven 425. Line baking sheet with baking paper unless you want a bigger cleanup. Combine spices-taste and adjust. Toss cauliflower with oil, then spices. Roast till golden brown or beyond - at least 15-20 minutes. We like it "burnt".

Eat - B

Note: spice combination is completely arbitrary according to personal taste.

 

A Letter to My Vegan Friends

In the spirit of “use it up” I found myself at lunch, eye balling half a head of cauliflower. In dollar terms it didn’t amount to much, but I’m still trying to find that perfect balance of using the food I buy. Plus it forces me (us) to sometimes eat vegetables that otherwise might be wasted. And I sort of like the challenge of matching recipe to whatever’s available, as opposed to the luxury of starting fresh and whole all the time. For the record, having re-read what I just wrote, I know for a fact, my 25 year old self wouldn’t recognize my not 25 year old self. Who is this person who feels compelled to use up cauliflower?!

Nevertheless, my weekday ode to vegans begins with half a head of cauliflower. The recipe can be scaled up…down won’t make too much sense. I hope you like curry…this is a down and dirty version, but tasty. Scale the seasonings to your personality.

Cauliflower & Chickpea curry

½ medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons veggie oil or ghee (clarified butter, non-vegan version)

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon turmeric

Pinch of cayenne or to taste

½ head cauliflower, bite size pieces

1 can or jar chickpeas, drained & rinsed

Small handful of parsley, stems removed and chopped (or spinach!)

Salt to taste

Add oil to large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until translucent. Add garlic, cook a minute or two. Add all of the spices. Toss in the cauliflower and coat with oil and spices. Add the chickpeas and ½ cup of water. Stir and put a lid on the pot for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium low. The water may need adjusting, there should be a little sauce. When cauliflower is soft, stir in parsley. Serve by itself or over rice.

Eat, enjoy – B

 

Cauliflower Fritters, A Work in Progress

 

Hot on the heels of puréed cauliflower success (see previous post), I put my mind to getting cauliflower back on the plate. Though it's not perfect yet, this version passed the muster of my most critical dining companions. Not that I ask for criticism and when I do I call it feedback, as in…aren't these “cauliflower” fritters great. The cauliflower is silent.

The much maligned white vegetable is almost never good steamed, at least for haters, so you have to work it. Roasting can do the trick, but really if you have a few minutes and a Ninja, throw some extra flavor and texture into it. AND if you are following Passover rules, or even if you aren't, this recipe fits the bill.

I will add one final caveat – next time I make this recipe, I'm going bold with a deep fry. The shallow fry here is way healthier and tasty, the deep fry will develop a bigger crunch.

Ingredients:

1/2 head cauliflower, processed

2-3 scallions, chopped

1/2 cup matzah meal

1 tablespoon potato starch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

A couple of sprinkles cayenne

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

Neutral veg oil

Mix vegetables with dry ingredients and spices. Stir in wet ingredients. Form into patties. Cover bottom of pan with thin layer of oil.

 

When it starts to shimmer, fry patties in a couple of batches. Don't overcrowd. Flip,when brown on one side. Sprinkle with salt.

Eat, enjoy – B

 

Mash Up

Swing…and… miss! It happens at dinner from time to time, especially if you cook often and take a few chances while you're at it. I'm not talking inedible dinner or anything, but let's just say I could live without a repeat of last night's soy ginger chicken. Ditto the “sweet potato fries”. How many times have I made these?! A crowd pleaser if you're looking for the junior set to eat orange veggies, but I'm as over it as I am winter story's that are named.

But even in the bleak late winter vegetable aisle I spotted a ray of white!

Cauliflower!

I will not roast you (again!), but I will make you look like a fam fave in the form of mash. So easy you don't need a recipe!

Cut up and steam 1 head of cauliflower with one russet potato. When soft, put in food processor with a dollop of olive oil and a splash of milk. Use just enough dairy to make a smooth purée. Salt to taste, adding white pepper if you have (I didn't).

It's delicious – B

Stand by for cauliflower fritters!