Sunday, February 6, 2011

February 6, 2011: Cauliflower Is In Season

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When you’re a dyed-in-the-wool home cook like I am, you tend to prefer seasonal ingredients for the freshest dishes. And I guess Gordon Ramsay's influence is rubbing off on me. I simply adore Gordon and the way he revitalizes failing restaurants by creating a new menu filled with fresh ingredients and simple, nouveau cuisine. What I wouldn't give to meet the man in person! *sigh*

Anyway, February is one of those months when there’s not a lot of fresh produce in season. But one vegetable that you can find in abundance is cauliflower, as well as other cruciferous veggies such as brussels sprouts, and some harder-to-incorporate ones like leeks, chicory, and parsnips. I've got a personal thing against brussels sprouts but that's the topic of another post.

There are two ways that I cook cauliflower and my husband (somewhat of a veggie-phobe) will eat it. Enjoy these two recipes!

Roasted Cauliflower

Half head of cauliflower, broken up into medium-sized florets and large pieces of stem cut off
Half white onion, cut into quarters
1 small sweet potato or large carrot, cut into large dice
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. curry powder

Throw the cut-up veggies into a baking dish (an 8” x 8” metal pan works fine). Drizzle with olive oil – just enough to coat the veggies (about ¼ cup or so). Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste (start with a pinch if you’re not sure of the amount; you can always add more later but can’t take it back out) and the pepper and curry powder. Toss to coat.

Roast in a 425 degree oven about 30 minutes, stirring/flipping occasionally so the vegetables don’t burn.

Serves two.

Mashed Potatoes

Use your favorite recipe for mashed potatoes but substitute one-third to one-half of the potatoes with cauliflower (cut off woody stems and boil large chunks with the potatoes until tender). Prepare as usual.

I actually prefer mashed potatoes made with cauliflower because they’re creamier and lighter – plus they’re packed with more nutrients and less calories.

These two recipes should get you started. These are my family's favorites, but cauliflower is extremely versatile because the flavor isn't overpowering, so feel free to experiment and add them into your regular recipes for a healthy variation.

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