Tag Archives: cauliflower

CSA #3: Cauliflower and Me

Garfield Community Farm must have known about my ongoing battles with cauliflower, because we got a nice big head of the stuff this week in our CSA. Well, cauliflower, I hope you’re ready for a culinary fight, cause IT IS ON.

We were head over heels wild about the mustard greens last week, so of course everyone else was as well and there were none left to be harvested this time around. No worries, though, cause we came away with more than enough lovage, oregano, tarragon, and mint (!) to keep our food flavorful for a week.

The most unexpected treat from this week’s CSA came in the form of a large head of bok choy. I admit, while I’ve eaten my fair share of it over the years, I have never cooked it myself, so this is going to be interesting. I suppose I could just wimp out and make a stir fry, and honestly, for this first go around, that might be more than enough adventure. Still, can I use an entire head of bok choy in one stir fry? Probably not. If anyone has any good ideas out there, please let me know.

From left clockwise: Russian kale, oregano, mint.

Cauliflower, bok choy, green onions.

Green kohlrabi, salad greens, sorrel, tarragon.

Kohlrabi and bok choy? What about a slaw? I am going to a picnic this week.

By the talk on the farm, the tomato plants are growing large and abundant, so I am (fingers crossed) looking forward to some tomato action come next week.

Good Morning, Cauliflower Cheese Soup!

Mollie Katzen, Mollie Katzen. Is there anything you can’t make delicious?

Some of you out there might know of my current quest to conquer cauliflower. I’ve long held the albino broccoli in disregard. Its pure whiteness, its bland nothing flavor, its weird not-quite-crunchy-enough texture… All I’ve ever known of cauliflower is that people tend to avoid it on vegetable trays. While their fellow tray-mates, the robustly orange carrots, the crunchy, stringy celery, the vibrant and tree-like broccoli, find better homes on small plates and napkins (to eventually be devoured and rest inside various digestive tracts), the cauliflower is left to an uncertain fate.

All that changed with a little dish from Tamarind Savoring India: Gobi Manchurian, dry, fried, crunchy, a little spicy. The cauliflower was more like Korean spareribs than that pale, lonely little vegetable left alone on the party tray. This cauliflower was savory, vibrantly colored, and extremely flavorful. I was completely turned around.

So I’ve made a little mission of coming to terms with  cauliflower. Considering the benefits of the vegetable itself – low in fat, high in fiber and Vitamin C – and the expanding possibilities of its taste capabilities, this seems like a fairly easy challenge.

But one cannot subsist on Gobi Manchurian and only Gobi Manchurian. So it’s up to other cooks to show me how to best utilize this former enemy. Enter lover of all things veggie and culinary genius, Mollie Katzen, whose Moosewood Cookbook has become a formidable weapon in this delectable battle of will, wit, and tastebuds.

My pal, Jackie, had a great recent find at Beyond Bedtime Books on Potomac Avenue. Seemingly moments after saying that she needed to pick up the Moosewood at some point, she found a used copy right there on the shelf. Flash to weeks later and she’s cooking us up a version of Katzen’s “Cauliflower and Cheese Soup.”

Recommended for this recipe: Do not over puree. A little texture keeps the soup from being to gruel-like. We also threw in some steamed asparagus, optional, of course, but it was the perfect crunchy counterpart to the creamy, mildly cheesy soup.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

– 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
– 1 medium to large cauliflower, cut or broken into florets
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 2 to 3 tsp salt
– 4 cups water
– 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
– 1 cup shredded Colby Jack
– 3/4 cup milk
– 1 tbsp fresh dill
– Black pepper to taste

– Set the water to boil and add the potato, cauliflower, garlic, onion, dill, and salt. Bring to boil, then simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Add milk.

– Puree about half of the mixture in a blender or food processor, then transfer back into the pot. Keeping on low heat, add cheese, then stir until cheese has melted completely. Season with black pepper to taste.

Optional: Take a pound of asparagus and chop off about two inches of the stem from the bottom. Steam asparagus and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until asparagus is bright green and tender, but still crunchy. Add a few stalks to the soup as a delicious garnish.

(Recipe adapted from “Cauliflower Cheese Soup” from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

Good Morning… Cauliflower

A recent post for Cauliflower gratin with mustard-sage cornbread crumbs over at the terrific So Hungry I Could Blog got me thinking once again about my on-going struggle to like cauliflower. When I mentioned this in a comment on the post, Caitlin replied that this year is dedicated to liking mushrooms, grapefruit, and fish. Pretty admirable to take on all three, I’d say. (My bet is that by the end of the year, she’ll have figured out how to work all three ingredients into a dish.)

Anyway, it’s perfectly reasonable to question why one would need to make any sort of food resolutions, especially if you’re the sort of person that can eat just about anything. It’s alright to have preferences, and it’s just fine to prefer not to eat something. And yet, many of the most open-minded diners I know continually struggle with disliking some food items. To someone who can eat nearly anything, is it just too restrictive to have anything that is out-of-bounds?

I’ve done battle with green beans, tomatoes, sauerkraut (which I now not only tolerate, but love), kidney beans. This past summer, sparked by my friend Jason’s suggestion to try the Gobi Manchurian at Tamarind, I decided that it was time to take on cauliflower. I’ve eaten it spiced and fried and pureed into a creamy soup. I have not, however, conquered raw cauliflower, which isn’t supposed to have much flavor, but still. Something about that albino broccoli freaks me out.

And yet, I’m forcing myself to eat it. Why? I could say it’s because I want to be able to eat anything and everything that is put in front of me, but that might be a bit too general. What I really want to know is if there is anything that I can’t like. So far, everything I thought I didn’t like, I learned to appreciate and, in some cases, learned to love. But maybe there’s that one thing, something I haven’t even thought to attempt, something that no matter how it’s prepared, how it’s served, how hot, how spicy, how sweet, how breaded, how smothered in sauce, a food item that no matter what is done to it, I still detest. And when I find that thing, you can rest assured that this is the one thing that I do. not. like.

Anyone else making a food resolution this year? (And don’t say to eat less of it, cause life is not worth living if your plate is half full.)