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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Easy-easier-easiest: Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be a messy vegetable to prep.  I find the least untidy way to deal with it is to break the green leaves off by hand, then cut the whole head in half down the center, then cut the core and stem out in a U-shape.  Break large florets into bite-size pieces. 

I'm not crazy about raw cauli, but my son adores it.  To each their own.  Here are my favorite ways to prepare it.  As always, roasting tops the list because the cauli simply turns into a different creature under the influence of the Maillard reaction.  You really do need fresh cauliflower for this one.

Pureed cauli is very hip among the low-carb crowd, but the addition of horseradish gives it an unexpected depth without wicked heat...my younger veggie-avoidant son loves this dish.  This one can be made with frozen or fresh cauliflower.

The cauli curry is a more complicated recipe with flavors that can become too competitive as a side dish, but is absolutely worth being on the radar.  Serve the curry with plain baked chicken or a simple roast, or throw in some cooked lentils for a complete vegetarian dish.  Make this with fresh or frozen cauli, or leftover roasted cauliflower (plan ahead and roast 2 heads of cauli).

Easiest: Roasted Cauliflower
Makes 4 servings

1 head cauliflower, trimmed into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Toss florets with oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 400F for 25 minutes, shaking the baking tray once halfway through cooking. 

Easier: Horseradish Pureed Cauliflower
Makes 6 servings

See recipe here

Easy: Cauliflower Curry
Makes 4-6 servings

1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets (or 1 package frozen cauli)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded OR 1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup cilantro or mint
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup water

In a heavy stove-top casserole, saute cauli in oil over medium-high heat until browned, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally (or prepare frozen cauli according to package directions, or get the roasted leftover cauli out of the fridge).

Meanwhile, process onion, garlic, jalapeno and herbs in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add spices and tomatoes, and process until smooth. 

Add curry sauce to cauli along with water.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes until cauli is soft (or just until hot if using frozen or pre-cooked cauli).  Serve with rice.
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