Cauliflower: A Love Story

Kaki,

Cauliflower.  My word, it is SO good.  And this past week I proved it to myself all over again.

Exhibit A: Cauliflower and Green Onion Stir-Fry

I haven’t made too many stir-fries recently, and that is about to change.  I LOVED this, though I naturally made some changes from the linked recipe.  I didn’t have rice wine, so used white wine.  Didn’t have a wok, so just used a big saute pan.  Doubled the ginger.  Frankly, I think this is a great base recipe, to which you could substitute many different roasted vegetables in place of the cauliflower.  The sauce with the green onions and caramelized onions would be so good with pretty much anything. (Oh, and, um, maybe I eat like a crazy person, but I got 3 servings out of this, not 4.)

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Exhibit B: Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

Okay, so this did take a while to make.  Should have guessed that when it was adapted from a slow-cooker recipe for a Dutch oven.  And I had put off making it forever because wilted spinach just isn’t my thing.  So instead of fresh spinach, I just added some frozen chopped spinach at the end of cooking time.  SO, so good.

Exhibit C: Crispy Cauliflower Leaves

So, I prepped the two cauliflower heads for these recipes at the same time, and for one reason: that meant I had double the cauliflower leaves leftover.  Kaki, if you’ve never roasted  cauliflower leaves, now is the time.  It’s just a toss-in-oil, salt-and-pepper method; I roasted them while roasting the florets for the stir-fry (so, also at 450*F, and for 30 minutes).

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Let’s make up some cauliflower goodness the next time we’re together, okay?

Until then!
-Caitlin

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Recipe Recap

Kaki, my word, I’ve done so much cooking lately!

And then no cooking.  And then a ton of cooking.  It has been a serious season of hustle and bustle, in the kitchen, out of the kitchen, all over the place.

Cooper got me a Cooking Light subscription for Christmas, and I’ve been really enjoying reading through each new magazine.  Far and away the winners have been a phenomenal gin punch and this salmon with an orange glaze and an orange and arugula salad.  Oh my word.  Also, apparently neither of these have been posted to Cooking Light’s website yet.  Huh.  Well, that’s not cool.  Check them out!

I’ve made a fair number of misses lately, alas.  There was a shrimp dish with peppers and potatoes and kidney beans and a Cajun barbecue sauce that was really tasty at the grocery store sample station, and only meh when I made it.  There was a kale and meatball soup that tasted fine, but also, very iron-y.  Maybe too iron-y.  There was a decent stab at making my own savory crust for this spinach pie, but even so, I’ll be sticking with puff pastry going forward.

And I’ve re-made a lot of old favorites, as well.  I subbed baked tofu for the grains in this hearty greens salad with tahini dressing, and it was a very welcome taste of spring.  Cooper and I roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes, made up a great miso-dressing, and ate it all on top of savory green-onion-and-parmesan pancakes one evening.  And I had a hilarious muffin-loaf moment when I tried to make this great pear-and-ginger quickbread that I’ve made several times before, and didn’t let it bake long enough BY A LONG SHOT.  Like the whole center of the dish was basically still batter.  And you know what, Kaki?  Never have my co-workers raved over something I’ve brought to the office the way they raved over that disastrous quickbread.

And last week I made this lovely veggie and sausage tomato sauce to go over some pasta.  Only I didn’t have any pasta in my house.  None.  So I cooked up the tiny amounts of quinoa and brown rice I did have in my pantry, and just plated the sauce over the grains.  It was… Well, it was good, but I bet it would have been better over pasta!

The one discovery I must, must, MUST share with you, though, are these chocolate-cherry date balls from Oh She Glows.  I know you’re already an OSG devotee, and I know that you, as a runner, love you some dried cherries.  Well, whip out your food processor, girl, because these could not be easier or tastier.  Or healthier.  Pretty much.  Unless you took out the chocolate.  Which you wouldn’t do, surely.

See you sometime soon I hope? Choir is busy as all get out right now, but I’d love to squeeze in a visit with you!

Until then, sending warm wishes from my kitchen to yours,
Caitlin

Recipe Recap

Kaki, your last post… so many things:

  • It reminded me of the song from My Fair Lady, that starts, “Words, words, words!  I’m so sick of words!”  (Yes, you should watch it, and the Julie Andrews version, naturally.)
  • You made a shaped cake.  You iced it in more than one color.  That is commitment.  I told Cooper I’d make this adorable monkey-shaped cake for her daughter’s first birthday, but I’ve never done this “Make a ridiculously cute cake” thing, so, um, tips would be much appreciated.
  • Yogurt raisins for teeth.  Inspired.
  • I didn’t know you were a Shark Week fan!  I can’t say I am.  Something about, um, fear?  But Rob Lowe’s commercial for it this year was a hoot.

Here’s what I’ve been cooking up these days myself:

Breakfast Pizza

I’m a huge cold-pizza-for-breakfast fan, but sometimes pizza dough is on sale at the store and you have some extra sausage and eggs to use up and breakfast pizza is the most logical use for all of these things.  This recipe, though I only used it as a jumping off point (mostly for temperature and baking times), worked great.

Rosemary Nuts

I bought that huge container of almonds you guys had purchased in San Antonio.  You inspired me.  But then I also had some fresh rosemary and decided to make these nuts.  They were super tasty just out of the oven.  However, once they’d cooled they suffered that all too common fate of nuts: all of the seasonings just fell off.  Sigh.  Do you have any tips for keeping flavorful tastiness on roasted nuts?

Smoky Spicy Sesame Coconut Nuts

These, however, kept their seasoning just great.  Only problem was (as it continues to be) my oven, which didn’t really crisp up the coconut in the baking time indicated.  Should I go longer and cooler next time, or hotter and quicker?  That coconut can burn in an instant.

Nectarine Pistachio Bars

Not that we need further proof that Deb is a genius, but, um, here is further proof.  These were inhaled at book club, even with the substitution of over-ripe nectarines for the suggested apricots.  Kaki, I adore apricots, but have never used fresh, only dried and in jam form.  But I swear there were fresh apricots in my grocery store for a week, tops.  Do they have just a crazy short season?  Well, next year I’ll be prepared.

Roasted Cabbage

I really like this recipe.  It uses up any leftover cabbage one may have laying around, it’s super flavorful, and it’s a vegetable, so, obviously it’s healthy*.  And I used up the last of a vinaigrette I’d mixed up a while ago that was languishing in my fridge for this recipe, so it used both leftover cabbage and leftover vinaigrette.  Make sure to just coat the cabbage in dressing, though; any dressing that pools on the bottom of the cookie sheet will cause the cabbage to braise instead of crisp up and roast.  Then you’ll be trying to gently pour 425* liquid down your sink with the oven door open and cabbage sliding almost off of your cookie sheet one afternoon.  It’s not a cute scene.

Manhattan

I have to look this recipe up every time I make one, but man, this is such a tasty cocktail.  In fact, I may or may not be writing this blog post after having consumed just such a beverage.

 

I’m missing you these days, my dear!  I hope there are fabulous late-summer vegetable dishes in your weekend plans.

–Caitlin

 

*Yes, yes, we all know it’s not actually obvious.  And that vegetables can be cooked in unhealthy ways.  But still, go with  me on this, it’s cabbage with dressing.

P.S.  I finally picked up House of Cards: Season 2.  And have been promptly obsessed all over again.  It has meant I’ve been up very late and been very sleepy at work this week.

Ways to Use Caramelized Onions

Kaki, I really enjoyed making those Oven Caramelized Onions this past week.  So little work to turn something so humble into something so tasty!

So now I need to decide what to do with these babies!  I already made a quick pizza at Cooper’s place the other night; Boboli pizza crust, a little tomato sauce, some fresh mozzarella, some caramelized onions, and some fresh basil.  Delicious.

After a ton of internet searching I came up with the following other options:

  • Pissaladiere – this turns out to be a traditional Italian focaccia recipe with caramelized onions, olives, and anchovies.  Olives aren’t really my thing, but I’d never heard of this dish before, so that was interesting.
  • Poulet Yassa or Poisson Yassa – and this is a traditional Senegalese recipe!  I love food from other cultures.  I don’t know if one could actually make this dish using the already caramelized onions, since the raw onions are a part of the marinade, but even so one could either make a neat take on this dish with them, or maybe I’ll just file this away under “to make later”.
  • in a grilled cheese – we’ve made these before, so we both know they are change-your-life levels of amazing.
  • in a dip – I needed something savory for book club this week.  Done and done.  (See below!)
  • in a cold salad – who just happens to have walnuts and feta and arugula in her kitchen?  This girl.
  • in a warm salad – peaches and green beans and caramelized onions!  Genius.
  • on top of a burger – duh.
  • in pasta – I’m thinking cook spaghetti, and then dress in butter, olive oil, parmesan cheese and caramelized onions.  Maybe add some toasted bread crumbs?  Too much?  I’m leaning towards no.
  • for French Onion Soup – a classic.  Too bad I don’t keep beef broth on hand!
  • added to a stew – how freakin’ good does barley and beans and spinach and caramelized onions sound?!
  • added to beans – yes, this could be quite a nice side dish, indeed.

 

Here’s the dip I ended up making for book club:

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It’s just one 8 oz. container of whipped cream cheese (I like whipped because then it makes stirring it all together so much easier), a couple tablespoons of really finely chopped caramelized onions, and maybe a tablespoon or so of finely chopped fresh parsley.  Really tasty.  And I think I’ll use the leftovers to make a creamy pasta sauce like I’ve done before.

Also, the internet keeps saying I can freeze caramelized onions, and since you only need a little at a time (read: I still have so much of this, and do not want it to spoil), I’ll be doing just that to have some at the ready whenever I want!

Have a lovely Memorial Day, Kaki!

–Caitlin

 

P.S.  I feel like I’ve use a ton of exclamation points in this post!  And I’m not going to edit that number down!  Because I am a rebel, a punctuation rebel, and we all know it.

P.P.S.  Okay, I edited one out.  Even I thought that was overkill.