January – Whole Roasted Cauliflower

January – Whole Roasted Cauliflower

It’s the time for winter vegetables, and cauliflower is having its day in court right now. For those folks who are avoiding carbohydrates due to dietary reasons, cauliflower is the go-to vegetable. Cauliflower rice and cauliflower mashed potatoes, not to mention cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower tots, are having their moment. Here’s the amazing thing though, all those dishes are delicious! And, they are a wonderful way to sneak an extra vegetable onto your plate.

I usually roast cauliflower by breaking it into florets, tossing with olive oil and salt (maybe some urfu biber or chili flakes) and roasting at 425 degrees F for 40 minutes or so. That is long enough to caramelize the outside and soften the inside. If you are used to steaming or boiling cauliflower, you won’t recognize it as the same vegetable. Roasting brings out the most amazing flavor and sweetness.

Lately I have been hearing restaurant stories about a dish of whole roasted cauliflower (and carrots as well!), I wanted to try it.

Whole Roast Cauliflower

Whole Roast Cauliflower

Take a look at that! It could be the centerpiece of a vegetarian feast. I would recommend serving it with some kind of green sauce, maybe this roast garlic and arugula chimichuri or lemon salsa verde or try the following recipe from the New York Times for an almond herb sauce. I didn’t have time to make a sauce, but I have to say that it was delicious just as is.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Almond Herb Sauce

  • cup blanched almonds
  • 6 to 10 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for basting
  • 2 teaspoons wine vinegar (white or red), more to taste
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley, mint, tarragon, cilantro or a combination
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes(optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Cauliflower Preparation

  1. Place a heavy oven-proof skillet (I used a cast-iron skillet) or a baking sheet in the oven and turn the heat to 375 degrees. Place a small pan of hot water on the floor of the oven, to create steam.
  2. Break off and discard the outer leaves from the cauliflower. Cut off the bottom of the stem, and then use the tip of a small, sharp knife to cut off the leaves close to the stem. Carefully cut out the hard core of the cauliflower, near the bottom. Leave the main stem intact and make sure not to cut through any of the florets.
  3. Rinse the cauliflower (leave the water clinging to the outside) and place on a work surface, core side up. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to rub over the cauliflower until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Place the cauliflower on the hot pan in the oven, core side down, and cook until very tender all the way through when pierced with a knife, at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. During the cooking, baste 2 or 3 times with more olive oil. It should brown nicely. If you have a convection feature, use it toward the end of baking to brown the crust.

 Sauce Preparation

  1. In a small frying pan, toast nuts over low heat, shaking often, just until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. Soak anchovies, if using, for 5 minutes in cool water. Rinse and set aside on paper towels.
  3. In a food processor, combine almonds, anchovies, garlic and butter and pulse until smooth. Mix in oil, then vinegar. Mix in herbs and red pepper flakes, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. When cauliflower is tender, remove from the oven. (If desired, run it briefly under the broiler first to brown the surface; there is no need to do this if you used convection.)
  5. Serve cauliflower in the skillet or from a serving plate.
  6. Roasted Whole Cauliflower

    Roasted Whole Cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

I don’t have a picture of the sauce because I didn’t make it. I’ll post a picture next time. The cast iron skillet made a nice presentation. I cut it into wedges for serving.

This recipe came from the New York times.

Leftover Roasted Cauliflower made a delicious Roasted Cauliflower Soup the next day. Stay tuned for that VERY easy recipe which can be adapted to any leftover vegetable you might have available.

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #103. I’m late to the party but this will be good with the leftovers.  You will find the fiesta at the Novice Gardener hosted by Angie. The co-host this week are Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

May in the Kitchen – Roast Spicy Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

May in the Kitchen – Roast Spicy Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

I know, what is cinnamon doing on my cover picture when the title says cauliflower? It’s because this post is about the Oaktown Spice Shop, and roast cauliflower, and the spice Urfa Biber. You get three in one post this time.

Urfa Biber is a purple ripened chile from the Urfa region in SE Turkey, it’s also sometimes called isot chile. It’s carefully dried to retain its oils and has a deep, rich beefy flavor and low but complex heat. I found it to have a unique flavor that combines raisin, tobacco and hints of chocolate. So far I’ve used it in a rub for chicken (with cumin and honey) as well as in a simple dish of roast cauliflower.

Roasting vegetables brings out the most amazing sweetness in them, the charred crispy bits are carmelized and the center becomes meltingly soft. My favorites to roast (and those where I find the biggest change) include Brussels sprouts, potatoes, asparagus, cabbage, and cauliflower. Before I start with this very simple recipe, I want you to come along with me for a short walk through the Oaktown Spice Shop. It’s worth a visit if you come to the SF bay area.

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Roast Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

Roast Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

Simple Roast Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets, rinsed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon of Urfa Biber
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the cauliflower in a bowl and coat lightly with olive oil, toss with the Urfa Biber and sea salt.
  4. Spread on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, turning halfway through. The cauliflower should be toasty and crusty brown in places but soft in the middle.
Roast Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

Roast Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

Janurary in the Kitchen – Roast Cauliflower with Cumin and Sumac

Janurary in the Kitchen – Roast Cauliflower with Cumin and Sumac

Roast Cauliflower with Cumin and Sumac

Cauliflower is everywhere these days! It has been one of my favorite vegetables for years and I am pleased to see it finally getting the recognition it deserves. It can be used as a replacement for grains or pasta or pizza crust or potatoes. In many recipes it’s used to reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates; with the added benefit you are increasing the amount of vegetables in your diet. But cauliflower is delicious as a vegetable in it’s own right. Cauliflower cheese AKA cauliflower with cheese sauce is a classic. My favorite is a simple roast cauliflower. Cook it in a hot oven an it comes out with a crisp brown exterior and a soft interior.

Sumac is my new flavor passion. When I came across a recipe for roast cauliflower with cumin and sumac, I had to try it. The combination seems spot on. This recipe came from the blog Everybody Likes Sandwiches.

My usual method for roasting cauliflower is simle. Break an entire head of cauliflower apart into florets, coat them with olive oil and coarse salt, and bake it in a hot oven (400 degrees F) for about 40 minutes. That works well and highlights the vegetable. But, I was searching for a crunchier exterior and decided to try a method I’ve seen in several cookbooks. They call for steaming the cauliflower for 5 minutes so it is partially cooked, then roasting it at a much higher temperature (475 degrees F). I decided to try both and see which my faimily preferred.

Both start out the same.

Cauliflower coated with Sumac, lemon and cumin

Cauliflower coated with Sumac, lemon and cumin

Roast Cauliflower with Cumin and Sumac

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground sumac
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large pinch of kosher salt
  • Ground fresh pepper

Method 1

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl combine the olive oil, lemon, cumin, sumac, garlic powder and salt. Whisk to mix well.
  3. Add the cauliflower and stir to coat with the spices and oil.
  4. Remove the cauliflower to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, turning half way through to brown the other side.
  6. Serve, adding freshly ground pepper

Method 2

  1. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F
  2. Steam the cauliflower over boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and cool.
  3. In a large bowl combine the olive oil, lemon, cumin, sumac, garlic powder and salt. Whisk to mix well.
  4. Add the cauliflower and stir to coat with the spices and oil.
  5. Remove the cauliflower to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, turning half way through to brown the other side.
  7. Serve, adding freshly ground pepper
Cauliflower roasted two ways, method 1 (left) and method 2 (right)

Cauliflower roasted two ways, method 1 (left) and method 2 (right)

I found that the second method (2) produced a crisper exterior with a creamy interior. But, both were good. My family preferred the second but I think it would depend if you had other food in the oven. Cooking at 400 degrees lets you bake some chicken or other vegetables at the same time.

In both cases the mix of spices was delicious and very complementary to the cauliflower.

October in the kitchen – Tostadas three ways

October in the kitchen – Tostadas three ways

The Giants are in Kansas City for game 6 of the World Series. We are having friends over to watch the game, and I wanted to do something special. That lovely hot chili spread I made over the weekend is in the fridge; it has tickled my creative juices. I’m going to make tostadas. Any one of the following versions would be a suitable dinner by itself, but I can’t decide between them. So, I will make them all! Our guests will have their choice.

Here they are:

  • Tostada with black beans, roasted cauliflower and avocado
  • Tostada with black beans, spicy meat, and avocado
  • Tostada with black beans, fried egg, and avocado

Two of the versions are vegetarian (cauliflower and egg), the roasted cauliflower tostada can easily be modified for vegan.

The first steps are the same for all three of the recipes. For the beans and tortillas you will need:

  • 6 Corn tortillas
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Cups drained and rinsed canned, or freshly made, black beans
  • 2 Scallions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin – toasted
  • Low fat sour cream – or coconut cream for vegan version
  • 2 avocados
  • Salt
  • Green chili spread or thick salsa (drained if using commercial salsa)
  • Grated cheddar cheese – about 1 cup
  • For garnishing (optional) – chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, lime wedges, sliced romaine leaves, and thinly sliced red onion 

 To prepare the tortillas –

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Brush the tortillas with olive oil, place on a baking pan, and toast for 5-10 minutes, turning them half way through. You want them to be brown in spots.
  3. Remove and cool slightly, they will continue to crisp.
  4. Can be made several hours ahead, reheat in a low oven

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For the black beans –

  1. Toast the cumin in a small skillet until it smells toasty, careful not to burn it
  2. Pour the black beans into a saucepan and heat on medium
  3. Add ¼ water, ½ cup sour cream (or coconut cream), the scallions and toasted cumin
  4. Mash together leaving some chunky bits (I used my potato masher)
  5. Cook on low heat until thick, you may need to add a bit of additional water
  6. Cover and leave on the back of the stove until you are ready to assemble the tostadas

IMG_0145

 

Tostada with black beans, roasted cauliflower and avocado

(Vegetarian and vegan if you leave out the cheese)

Additional ingredients:

  • ½ Cauliflower, sliced into “steaks” ½ inch thick through the center leaving the core intact
  • Olive oil
  • Mild chili powder
  • Chili Aleppo – crushed
  • Salt

 Increase your oven temperature to 425 degrees F

  1. Brush the slices of cauliflower with olive oil, sprinkle with the chili peppers and salt
  2. Roast for about 35-40 minutes until brown in places, then turn them and roast the other side until soft and browned (about another 10-15 min)
  3. Assemble the tostada, spread two tablespoons of the black beans over the tortilla, top that with a good tablespoon of chili sauce or drained salsa, then a warm cauliflower, sprinkle with cheese, garnish with sliced avocado and chopped cilantro

IMG_0144IMG_0148

Tostada with beans and roast cauliflower steak

Tostada with beans and roast cauliflower steak

Tostada with black beans, spicy meat, and avocado

Additional ingredients:

  • ½ lb. lean ground beef
  • ½ lb. bulk ground sausage
  • 1 Tablespoons chili powder (your choice of heat, I used mild)
  • 1 Teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  1. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet on medium-high heat
  2. Brown the ground beef and sausage, breaking it up as it cooks
  3. When brown, add the chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook on medium-low for another minute or two to blend the flavors
  4. Assemble the tostada, spread two tablespoons of the black beans over the tortilla, top that with a good tablespoon of chili sauce or drained salsa, then a generous spoonful of meat, sprinkle with cheese, garnish with sliced avocado and chopped cilantro
Tostada with beans and spicy meat

Tostada with beans and spicy meat

 Tostada with beans, fried egg, and avocado (would make a lovely brunch dish) Vegetarian

Additional ingredients:

  • Eggs (1 for each tostada you intend to make)
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Salt
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat
  2. Break as many eggs as you will need into the skillet (you may need to do this in several batches depending on the size of your skillet and number of eggs you are cooking)
  3. Fry on medium heat until the edges of the egg white turn opaque
  4. Add a tablespoon of water to the skillet and cover
  5. Continue to cook until the egg white is completely opaque but the yolk is still runny, monitor this carefully as it is easy to overcook the yolk
  6. Assemble the tostada, spread two tablespoons of the black beans over the tortilla, top that with a good tablespoon of chili sauce or drained salsa, then a fried egg, sprinkle with cheese, garnish with sliced avocado and chopped cilantro
Tostada with beans and fried egg

Tostada with beans and fried egg

Well the Giants didn’t do so well and will be back for game 7 tomorrow. But, the tostadas were a great success!