Tag Archives: cauliflower

Bright Lights/Big City

I had a dinner adventure set for the City. (By ‘the City’ I mean Boston).

One friend I knew, two new friends to meet.

It came together surprisingly easy – a couple of e-mails and we had a day, a time and a place.

Too easy.

Sooooo

I google a map, get on a bus and go.

Which is about when the plans started to unravel.

But I won’t know this for a while.

Not everyone has my cell phone number – and I have an old fashioned NOT-smart phone.

flip phone

flip, not smart….

No Facebook,

facebook

no Twitter

twitterimage

no e-mail….

email

Just phone…..

I got to the restaurant early….natch

They let me sit at the Lounge and served me water.

When I asked about the reservation for four at seven, they said:

We have no such reservation

Hmmmmmmm……..

Just then, my phone rings.

It’s the friend of my friend and I can’t hear a word she’s saying because  a police motorcycle goes by, sirens and lights. Then a police cruiser, also all sirens and lights. Followed by a fire truck and and then an ambulance…..

fire truck lights

Sooo – friend of friend will be right there – there’s been a last minute change of plans…..

As I wait I realize I don’t know exactly what she looks like….did I mention I’m in

THE CITY?!?!

I’m in the City, waiting for someone I don’t actually know. I’m getting really hungry now, too. Should I go  back to the South Station, grab a bite and get on the next bus out of town?

But who’s that? Friendly, quizzical…..could this be friendly friend of friend?

Two minutes later I have a new friend.

We walk down the street, stop at a place with tables on the sidewalk, talk and talk,  order:

Chicken Meatballs with tomato vinaigrette, garlic cream and pine nuts; Artichoke and Bacon flatbread with lemon-thyme ricotta and parmesan; Fried Soft Shell Crab with lemon-herb fromage blanc and frisee ; Falafel Pancakes with tzatziki, serrano and scallion  (falafel AND a pancake – Yes, please!),

eat, talk, laugh, talk, talk, talk, laugh……and in the end she offered me all the leftovers.

Yes, please and Thank-you!

Especially the  Roasted Cauliflower with beet hummus, pine nuts and golden raisins.

Time out for teachable moment:

 

  1.  Why are some golden raisins called sultanas?
    1. Golden raisins are made from WHITE GRAPES (DUH). Kishmish is another name for them made from  a  variety of large white grape.  We almost definitely had Kishmish because they were HUGE. Sultanas may be so named because they were originally from the Ottoman Empire.
Thompson_seedless_grapes

White grapes make lighter raisins.

And now on to Cauliflower.

Cauliflower

The first time that I roasted cauliflower, oh so many years ago,  it was for a soup. I had roasted the cauliflower  and as it cooled my son and I ate almost all of it. I wrote a note on the recipe to roast 2 cauliflower when making the soup…because we’d eat one before  soup. This winter, cauliflower has been so trendy that I never made snag of one at the mark-down bin.

caulifower who;le roast NYT

The New York Times had a Whole Roasted Cauliflower story and suddenly cauliflower is trendy.

At one point this winter, between the roasting trend and the drought in Cali,  cauliflower  were very pricey, indeed. The whole point of the cauliflower is it’s very not pricey-ness. Like it’s cousins, cabbages and collards, it’s meant to feed the masses. The hungry masses.People like ME!

When Cauliflower was common,. we ate a lot of it.

Botanical-Cauliflower-Italian-780x990

I had not one, but TWO ulterior motives for the leftovers.

Motive the first – find the roasted cauliflower soup recipe and make a single serve batch…

Motive the second – bring in the rest and create a little Lunch Envy.

Come lunch, I unpack ,

why THIS? Falafel pancakes???? mmmmmnom, and oh, yes, soft shell crab.……nomnomnommmmmm…

Then I am undone by homemade sauce and homemade meatballs and homemade garlic buns, which made the room smell divine as they re-heated in the toaster oven.

Karma got me good.

When I got home I couldn’t find the soup recipe, so I ate the leftover cauliflower pretty much as it was. Which was pretty darn good.

So there are days when plans can be made and plans can be undone and it’s still all good.

And there are plans for another night in the City.

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Filed under Soup, Supper

A Tale of Two Recipes

Recipe the First:

The Recipe not followed…….

‘It was the best of times, it was – not exactly the worst of times, but definitely a sub-prime, not all cylinders sparking, Dickens of time.

Travel back in time to earlier in January. This January.

Weather forecast says clear; next day it snows. Weather forecast says snow. Next day is sunny and warm. The weather is not going to be average, although the stats are going to ultimately read that. Even this week the temperature range is from -11 to +48. In One Week. Which will average out to average which is why: nothing is average and average is lie.

Also – when I shop, I go to the back of the Produce section and check out the markdown rack, and fill my cart out after that. In the last few years (decades) I’ve been able to score cauliflower galore for very very little money. Once upon a time there was a soup recipe that called for roasted cauliflower, before the world had discovered roasted veg….maybe Gourmet or Bon Apeptit. We were living on Pleasant Street. I had my discount cauliflower, broke it apart, tossed it with oil, a little S&P, popped it into a hot oven, let the heat do it’s magic. It came out to be added to the rest of the soup fixin’s but as it was cooling…..I re-wrote the recipe to start by roasting 2 cauliflower, one to snack on and one for the soup.

Cauliflower

And NOW since everyone is roasting veg ALL THE TIME AND there’s a drought in California, cauliflower is now puny and rather sad looking and as expensive as beef…..

I don’t eat as much cauliflower as I have been the last few years/decades.

Which brings me back to broccoli. Broccoli was the standard green veg on our table growing up. Green Beans had their place, but broccoli was the Jolly Green Giant of the supper tale. Boiled and served with lemon and butter. The lemon is what made the difference. We all ate it all the time.

Which meant it was sometimes leftover. Cold, with a little more lemon, great on a lunch salad. When my son was little, leftover broccoli was chopped and added to the next night’s mac and cheese, or sometimes the chopped broccoli and olive oil was the macaroni sauce.

So, when the January 13th, 2016 NYT had a Recipes for Health column headlined:

Broccoli’s Saucy Side

I said YES, I remember that, I used to do that!!!!. I could do it again!

Sidebar – This is the way I generally feel Martha Rose Shulman’s column, and I have several of her books and always get distracted when I dip in. I do so wish that the column weren’t called Recipes for Health which sounds like more heavy lifting and less fun then it is. Why not call it Recipes for a Life Well Lived?

Back- … so I got some nicer looking, more my price range broccoli.

Saucy Broccoli, here I come!

The first part of cooking from a recipe is reading the recipe from start to finish.

Then – gather your ingredients and batterie de cuisine

Do not, in other words, put the water on to cook the broccoli BEFORE you’ve read the recipe the whole way through.

And thus begins the ‘not followed’ portion of the program.

It called for broccoli and I had broccoli – so far, so good. Although I hadn’t weighed it and it was….markdown broccoli. Trimmed and ready to go.

 

It called for fusilli and I had pipettes. In the pasta world, they’re same family, similar enough form and therefore function.

 

fusili

fuselli

pipettes

pipettes

It called for garlic, I got out the garlic.

It called for anchovy fillets and I ….

I often have anchovy in the house, and if I did, where would they be? Or are anchovies one of those staples that I current don’t have? And why didn’t I look at this before I went to the store earlier?

BUT

WAIT

I was just this afternoon reading something something and it called for anchovies and it said, “To make this vegan, substitute chopped capers for the chopped anchovy”

YES. Capers, olives, vinegar and hot peppers are all part of my

Fridge Door Pantry Collection.

Open the Fridge – mustards, rooster sauce, leaf lard, fresh ginger, Parmesan cheese….what, no pickled condiments??????Not even giardiniera? Quel dommage!

giardianero jar

Not even an empty jar…..

Now the pot of water is boiling, so I throw the broccoli in. Two minutes to come up with a B plan…..

Open the fridge, open the freezer, open the ONE cupboard that had foodstuffs in it…….

Hot pepper flakes? Yes. Mise those in place.

Olive oil? Also yes, ready to go next to the hot pepper.

Garlic?

garlic

Garlic? Garlic? Bueller??? Where did I put the garlic?

Fine garlic, play hide and seek….wait, beside the olive oil is the fancy flavored olive oil ….Orange Olive Oil….with some raisins in the cupboard and hot pepper and some almonds…..that’s impromptu sorta Sicilian style. Works for me.

So – put the Orange Olive Oil in a pan, toss in the chopped broccoli, add the chopped almonds, toss in a handful of raisins, sprinkle with the hot pepper flakes towards the end. Save some of the pasta water before I drain the pipettes…..pulling a little pasta water is my new fun thing to do with macaroni. I really helps to keep it loose and doesn’t just water down the flavor. It’s a secret magic ingredient, especially if you can remember to do it before you pour it all down the drain.

Mix the macaroni with the hot veg, toss like crazy. Add a little of the pasta water if you need it. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

And this is how I didn’t make Broccoli’s Saucy Side.

As for the garlic….it was in the other room with the car keys near the door…somethings are best not questioned too closely.

to be continued…..

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Filed under Recipe, winter