Tag Archives: Cauliflower

Shaved Cauliflower Salad

4 plates of saladAnybody else out there taking a break from cookies this week? Yeah, I thought so. We are too. Personally, I don’t like to use the “D” word (diet). I just prefer to take a break from certain foods for a while if my eating habits have been unbalanced. December has a way of unbalancing us.  I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions but this year I have promised myself to begin each day facing the bathroom mirror, flexing my arms and uttering the affirmation, “Damn, look at those chiseled arms!” 

This salad is sure to bring some balance back into your life. It is extremely flavourful and satisfying. The dressing is an umami bomb, containing both nutritional yeast and Parmesan. Nutritional yeast is not just for vegans. It adds a cheesy, nutty, savory flavour that can give any dish a zesty boost.

Now is the time to splurge on the green or orange cauliflower and those pretty artisan lettuces you see at the grocery store.cauliflower and lettuces-2I bought a 4 pack of Artisanal lettuces. The box contained sweet, crisp green little gem lettuce (the one that looks like mini romaine), mild and nutty red oak leaf lettuce and a zesty red tango lettuce. Arugula and some romaine hearts would be a fine substitute if that’s all you can find.

Whisk together some lime zest, lime juice, honey, dijon, nutritional yeast, parmesan and olive oil. dressing 2Cut your cauliflower into quarters, remove the hard core and thinly shave it. Use a mandoline or just a sharp knife and use this as a chance to work on your knife skills. I love my little knife sharpener. It’s so easy to use. slicing cauliflower

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Click here to print recipe for Shaved Cauliflower Salad.

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Roasted Cauliflower Tuna Melts

cauliflower tuna melt 1 625 sqApple orchards, pumpkin patches, haunted houses, whatever your version of autumn joy is, I hope you’re out there, savoring the season. Have you heard about leaf peeping?  My niece Rachel, who is up on all the latest trends, informed me about it. She lives in Seattle now, but grew up in Florida. I told her that those of us who live in the Northeast have been peeping for years!

As for me, my fall bliss involves cauliflower. I’m having as bit of a love affair with it this autumn. But who can blame me when stunning beauties like these keep popping up at the market. Three colours 2A tuna melt is my default go-to when I return home from holidays and the cupboard is bare. I always have some kind of bread in the freezer, a can of tuna in the pantry and a small wedge of cheddar in the fridge. Bonus points if the cheese is mold-free and the tuna is packed in olive oil.

Truthfully, even the humblest of ingredients are more special when served on toast, and this fact is celebrated in Jill Donenfeld’s new book, Better on Toast. I took her Cauliflower Melts recipe and tarted them up with the addition of Italian tuna in olive oil. brushing with olive oilSlice the cauliflower into slabs, brush with garlic kissed olive oil and roast until golden brown.
time to assemblePistachios add crunch and golden raisins add a welcome hit of sweetness. Tuna in olive oil just tastes better than water packed tuna. Look for a Spanish or Italian brand if you can find it. Unlike water packed tuna, which can be dry, olive oil packed tuna is exceptionally moist, so no mayo is needed. If you have access to some really good artisan bread, go for it. Slice thickly please and give it a light toasting before assembling.start with good breadstart with lightly toasted breadLay on roasted cauliflowergolden raisins and pistachiosI love the addition of nutty Gruyere cheese, but feel free to use cheddar or any great melting cheese. adding gruyere cheesemeltedHot and bubbly, these are hearty knife and fork sandwiches, that help soften that abrupt hard landing that inevitably occurs when coming home after a holiday.

Click here to print recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Tuna Melts.

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Flower Power

3 headsThey dubbed it “Snowicane”. With winds gusting at 56 kilometers per hour and the snow blowing sideways, it was quite the storm this week. Here in Ottawa we were “blessed” to be hit by this massive meteorological monster that originated in the U.S. Plains earlier this week. We are still digging out, and frankly, hearing my friends on the west coast gush about their early asparagus shooting out of the ground, is giving me a severe case of spring envy. But enough of that!

When life hands you snow, you simply must embrace the season and dig down deep to find something to give you joy. Ice skating, snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing simply won’t transport me to my happy place. Instead, I have found my winter bliss in cauliflower. I have always enjoyed roasted cauliflower, but leave it to Food 52 and their Genius series, to bring us roasted and pureéd cauliflower, all together in one glorious dish.

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These cauliflower steaks are the creation of Dan Barber. He is the chef behind Blue Hill, in New York City and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a farm-restaurant in upstate New York. He is a leader in farm to table education and practices “close to the land” cooking. When Dan Barber creates with vegetables, it is a wondrous and delicious event.

This dish is a real celebration of cauliflower. What I found amazing was that 3 simple ingredients, cauliflower, milk and olive oil could be transformed into something so incredible.

The process begins with cutting 2 cauliflower “steaks”. Two thick slices from the center of the cauliflower are brushed with olive oil and seared in a hot skillet for several minutes, until golden brown.

slicing cauliflower steaks

The cauliflower florets are boiled in a pot in milk, water, salt and pepper, until soft. The cauliflower steaks are brushed with some olive oil and browned in a skillet until golden. They get baked in the oven for a further 10 minutes to get the insides tender.

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The pureed cauliflower has an earthy creaminess that comes from the natural pectins that cauliflower contains. The roasted cauliflower is nutty and crispy around the edges and the contrast to the luscious silken purée is quite special.

You could add a garlic clove or bay leaf to the milk and water when cooking the florets, to get some additional flavour, but it really does not need it. The first time I made this I topped the dish with a couple of fried eggs for a simple but very satisfying dinner. It makes this never-ending winter almost bearable.

Click here to print the recipe for Dan Barber’s Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree.

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Crispy Cauliflower with Capers, Raisins and Breadcrumbs

Roasted cauliflower recipes are a dime a dozen these days. It seems that everyone is embracing roasting as a cooking method for all kinds of vegetables. It’s true, roasting really does bring out some very special flavours. It mellows cauliflower’s pungent qualities. So, with all that being said, does anyone really need another roasted cauliflower recipe. The answer is a resounding YES!If I needed proof that this treatment of cauliflower is the ultimate, I need look no further than my own kitchen and dining room.  The first time I made it, it was just my husband and I for dinner. The recipe says it feeds 8. The two of us almost finished it all! I made it again this past weekend for a family dinner. I served grilled rib steaks, roasted parsnips and rainbow carrots, spicy-sweet green beans and this cauliflower dish (I made a double recipe!). The cauliflower was the first to go and there were no leftovers.

The NHL All-Star game was in Ottawa this weekend and our family came to visit from Toronto. Several members of our Toronto family are diehard Toronto Maple Leaf fans. My brother-in-law is what I consider to be an ultimate fan. I remember one winter weekend they were visiting when the Leafs were playing the Sens. They stayed at the same hotel as the Leafs and my brother-in-law, used his one year old son as “bait”.  He dressed the baby  in Maple Leaf  pyjamas and took him down to the hotel bar at 11:00 p.m. The plan was to meet the players as they were coming into the bar after the game. And it worked. They all fell upon this adorable baby in his footed Leafs p.j’s!

To say that my dining room resembled an episode of The Hatfields and The McCoys, would only be a slight exaggeration. Here in Ottawa, our NHL team is the Ottawa Senators. While we are not rabid Sens fans, there is a healthy amount of hate going on for the Leafs! It is a fairly intense rivalry that all members of the family have embraced. To further fan the flames of discord, I baked two varieties of gingerbread cookies and set them on the table on alternating plates. Great fun was had by all, especially when it came time for my sister to help her sons brush the blue food colouring from their teeth and tongues!

The flavour profile of this dish is Sicilian inspired. The recipe hails from the November 2011 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. I have some words of advice for you before you tackle this recipe.

1. You may be tempted to leave out the anchovy paste. DON’T! It adds a depth of flavour, that you can not get from anything else. The finished dish will not taste fishy, I swear!

2. You may be tempted to substitute dried breadcrumbs from the grocery store, for the fresh ones called for in this recipe. DON’T! Take the time to cut some stale good quality bread into cubes and buzz them in the food processor until you have coarse crumbs. You will be rewarded, I promise you.

There are several steps in this recipe, but all can be done ahead of time, so when it comes time to serve it, it’s a simple matter of assembly.

Make sure you give the cauliflower ample room on the roasting pan. Don’t crowd it. The original recipe called for slicing the garlic thinly and then cooking until golden. I had a really hard time from preventing it from burning, once I added the other ingredients and kept cooking it, so I recommend just smashing the whole cloves and gently frying them in the oil. Once they turn golden, remove them and discard. They will have imparted their garlicy goodness into the oil and you won’t run the risk the bitter taste that results from burnt garlic.

Resist the temptation to eat the toasted breadcrumbs and fried capers, if you can!

Click here to print the recipe for Crispy Cauliflower with Capers, Raisins and Breadcrumbs.