Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Head of..............

From flip-flops and shorts to long-sleeves and dungarees in just a few short weeks-- how quickly it all changes. I recognize the signs and know wool is not far behind. Though there are others who are reacting to the gentleness of the light and briskness that descends at dark. My beloved tomatoes are clinging to dear life though their fate is sealed for another year as is corn, peaches and plums to name but of few of summer’s largess.

All is not as bleak as I might make out for there is still yet another round to go before sleep. Late summer’s abdication and the subsequent rein of autumn offers us a continued feast. Right now it is the hefty, gently cradled buds of the cauliflower that catches my eye. It is my unprepared-ness for the burnt umbers of hard skinned squash and the return of the leafy green that has me zeroing in on the purity of this-never-to-bloom flower. This relative of cabbage comes into its own once the searing intensity of the summer sun starts its southern trek.

I look for large, weighty specimens with an ivory snow complexion. If there are any bruises cut them off. Store the cauliflower in the refrigerator for up to a week in a paper bag or wrap in a clean, cloth towel.

It is the florets and attached stems that are eaten either raw or cooked.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower – yields 4 to 6 servings

1 whole cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower head, and then carefully place a few “X” on the bottom. Carefully core out the center stem from the bottom with a pairing knife being sure to keep the cauliflower intact.

Place the cauliflower on a baking tray, and drizzle the oil over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 1 cup of water into the baking tray itself. This will help stem the cauliflower as it roasts. Place in the oven and cook for 35 to 45 minutes.

Cauliflower and Potatoes with Onions Seeds - serves 6 to 8

1 large head Cauliflower
1 pound Russet Potato
2 onions - sliced thin
6 tablespoon canola Oil
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seed - ground
1 teaspoon cumin - ground
1 to 2 dried chili
2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard seed - ground
1 teaspoon dried ginger - ground
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoon black onion seeds
1/4 cup cilantro - leaves only

Discard the leaves and coarse stem of the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into 2" florets. Place in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Peel and cut the potatoes in 1" cubes. Hold in cold water until ready to use.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Over the a high flame heat a 12 inch cast iron sauté pan or another pan that can be placed in the oven. Place the spices except the black onions seeds into the pan, and toast until it just starts to smoke. Immediately add the onions and oil, and toss the combine. Add the cauliflower and potatoes along with a 1/2 cup of water and salt. Toss to mix thoroughly. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Just prior to serving mix in the black onion seeds and cilantro leaves.

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