A Sarcastic Appetite

Caramelized Cauliflower with Capers & Golden Raisins
May 5, 2013, 11:09 am
Filed under: Index of Recipes, Recipes | Tags: , , ,


It’s actually incredible how much of the food I make, whether it appears on this site or not, is dictated by the Nutritional Ninja’s dietary requests. Any time I tell my mother, “Oh, I can’t possibly make that – You-Know-Who won’t touch it,” she screeches, “You’re the chef! You get to make whatever you want and he can deal with it!”

But it seems counter-intuitive to mess up the kitchen making some elaborate dish only one of us is going to eat. And we all know that when left to my own devices, I’m much more likely to be found rifling through the fridge like a modern-day forager, putting together some bizarre-o combination like carrots, leftover chickpea salad, and some old rice crackers and calling it “dinner.”

So rather than complain endlessly in addition to complaining endlessly about his latest diet restriction (no nightshades), I’ve decided I’ll work within them. But it’s also meant we eat a lot of broccoli. And a lot of asparagus. A LOT OF BROCCOLI. Don’t get me wrong; I love that roasted broccoli recipe almost as much as I love a 3pm cookie. Sometimes, however, it’s important to expand one’s horizons. So I turned to broccoli’s less attractive cousin: cauliflower. I made a similar version of this on the site a while back; this is much, much simpler. And I think the end result is much, much better.

The process is pretty simple: roast a bunch of cauliflower. When it’s done, toss it in a sauce you made on the stove, consisting of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and the requisite capers and golden raisins. I added more olive oil and more capers and golden raisins because more is usually better. If you’re hesitant about the combination, don’t be. It’s salty and sweet – and delicious.

Caramelized Cauliflower with Capers & Golden Raisins

Adapted from Martha Stewart. Serves 2.

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into smallish florets

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil + 1/4 c. olive oil

lots of salt and pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

3 Tbsp. capers

3 Tbsp. golden raisins

Some chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the chopped cauliflower with the 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, flipping the pieces about halfway through. When the cauliflower has just a few minutes left, warm the olive oil (you want a good film on the bottom of the pan; don’t be stingy) over medium low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper – let it sizzle but don’t let it burn. Saute for 30 seconds or so. Raise the heat; add the capers and golden raisins and saute for another minute or so. Add the cooked cauliflower and toss together to combine; pull off the heat before adding the parsley. Serve.

Pasta with Chicken, Cauliflower & Mustard Breadcrumbs
November 30, 2010, 11:41 pm
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Sfoglia has a little gem on its menu right now – well, actually, many gems, but tonight I will concern myself with just one: “mezze rigatoni, cauliflower, truffle, taleggio.” There’s something magical about such a stinky cheese; remember Missy Robbins’ taleggio-filled pasta with chanterelles at A Voce Columbus? If this doesn’t ring a bell, get thee to a cheese shop. Buy a wedge, slather it on some crackers, and you’ll understand. Just crack open a window while you’re at it, so your neighbors don’t think you’re growing a dirty sock farm.

Anyway, Sfoglia’s rendition, with rigatoni and cauliflower, was as stinky and delightful as it sounds. The breadcrumbs added a crunchy layer and the sauce was creamy and highly caloric – just what I needed the night after Thanksgiving! Oh, wait.

I thought about recreating it at home, but procuring truffles is not so high on my to-do list these days. Luckily, I needed to look no further than the November issue of Bon Appétit: an updated version with mustard and lemon in place of truffles, and a simpler sauce that wouldn’t stink up the place. Taleggio, I’ll miss you….but I’ll see you at my next cheese plate, so I’m not too worried about it.

This recipe is also incredibly simple, and wins serious brownie points for requiring the cooking of two separate things (pasta and cauliflower in this case) in one measly pot. The pasta gets drained (save a bit of water!) and then thrown back in the pot, where it’s tossed with some cream, lemon zest, plenty of salt and pepper, and some cheese. Add some chicken for protein, but feel free to omit it if you don’t have a crazed dietician living with you who demands a balanced meal without excessive lactose. Unfortunately that eliminates stinky sock farms.

Penne with Chicken, Cauliflower & Mustard Breadcrumbs

Adapted from this Bon Appétit recipe. Serves 4.

8 oz. penne (about 2 1/2 c.)

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size florets

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. mustard

3/4 c. panko breadcrumbs

zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 c. cooked chicken, cubed (about 1 1/2 breasts)

1/2 c. heavy cream

3/4 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

(1/2 c. pasta water)

lots of salt and pepper

In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the mustard, then add the breadcrumbs. Cook, tossing occasionally and stirring to remove clumps, about 10 minutes, until they’re crunchy and golden brown, then set aside. Boil some water in a big pot and cook the pasta until it’s about 5 minutes away from being ready to go. At the 5 minute mark, throw the cauliflower in there and cook about another 5 minutes, until it’s all fork-tender and the pasta is cooked. Reserve 1/2 c. of the water, then drain the pot. Toss the pasta and cauliflower back into the pot with the reserved water, cream, chicken, lemon zest, and cheese. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Stir together until the sauce coats the pasta, then serve in shallow bowls with several tablespoons of breadcrumbs scattered across the top.