On Quick Eats, Part II

…and the cauliflower obsession continues. I cannot seem to leave the market without a head of cauliflower in my basket these days – sincerely. My most favorite method of preparation is to roast until golden and nutty and serve alongside some dal and pita. This afternoon, however, I was thumbing through my Jerusalem cookbook when a lovely recipe for cauliflower salad caught my eye. A few minor variations and voilà!
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Pomegranate Molasses

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Pomegranate Molasses

It’s a relatively straight-forward recipe that comes together quickly, and can easily be made more substantial with a bit of grated, hard-boiled egg, or served alongside some dal or a filet of roast salmon.
Enjoy, and much love.
J
 —
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Pomegranate Molasses
 
Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower; trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
coarse sea salt and pepper
1/3 c parsley leaves (I prefer Italian flat-leaf)
1/2 c chopped toasted almonds
sm. handful chopped dried cherries or 1/4 c pomegranate arils (seeds)
1/4 tsp flaked red chili
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
Method:
Preheat oven to 400. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Roast for ~40 minutes or lightly charred, stirring about halfway through.
Allow to cool slightly and then combine with remaining ingredients.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Puréed.

Lately, I find myself craving cauliflower soup.

Oh, and chocolate. 

photo 1
  • I’ll explore that later.
Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables. I love it roasted; enhanced with a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg, or chopped fine and added to a fragrant lentil dal, or baked with parsnip in a cheesy, creamy gratin. Most recently, I’ve been puréeing it with sautéed leeks to make a light, yet satisfying soup.
photo 4Apparently I am not alone; the weekly reader Notes from the Test Kitchen came out with a recipe for cauliflower soup just this last week. I found striking similarities in the components, as it is such a simple soup, however the Cooks Illustrated version was prepared sans herbs and featured a lovely garnish of browned cauliflower. To my soup, I add sweet, aromatic nutmeg and spritely thyme to complement the mild flavor of cauliflower.  I’d made it a couple of times over the past month or so, and never bothered to post, since it seemed so common. However, when I was suffering a terrible cold last week, I naturally gravitated toward this soup. See, cauliflower contains an incredible amount of vitamin C, as do leeks; not to mention a boatload of other nutritents. Both thyme with nutmeg have germ-killing properties. My body must have intuited the need for immune-boosting elements.
Needless to say, I am feeling better.
You can pretty up this soup with a bit of toasted bread in butter (aka: croutons) and a drizzle of olive oil, or serve unadorned. Either way, it’s delicious on it’s own, or as a first course in a larger meal.
Cauliflower Leek Soup

Cauliflower Leek Soup

Cauliflower Leek Soup

Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
2 leeks, washed
2 tbsp butter
Splash olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp fresh thyme
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Heat butter and oil in large stockpot over low-medium heat.
Add leeks; sauté until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Monitor closely and turn down heat if they start to burn.
Add cauliflower, broth, nutmeg and thyme; turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a summer and cover.
Cook for about 20 minutes, then purée in batches.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and croutons, if desired.

Roasted.

What one can do with a tray of roast vegetables? I recall an article in the NYT reviewing this book titled An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler. It seduced me with its practicality and how a bit of advance prep and cooking in the kitchie yield several days’ worth of meals. I don’t know about you, but my tastes can change quite dramatically within the course of a day or so. Exactly how many things can one do with roasted squash and cauliflower? In actuality, quite a bit! I was pouring though my food photos and discovered a bevy of dishes I’d created doing just that.

Roasted veggies, greens, egg and sriracha sammie

Roasted veggies, greens, egg and sriracha sammie

salmon:delicata

Salmon with delicata squash and greens

Egg and delicata squash on arugula

Egg and delicata squash on arugula

I’ll never cook a week at a time; I’m too compulsive. I feel the need to eat it all at once and will perseverate over what to eat first. I found myself doing just that thing last week, with a tray of roasted vegetables, a vat of soup, cooked quinoa and the like.

Melissa Clark’s NYT article on creamy carrot and cauliflower soup was the seedling that tied it all together. I made a simple soup of pureed roast vegetables and coconut milk. Adding curried spices seemed appropriate, as they marry well with the delicate sweetness of squash and cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of chili flakes and top with a dollop of creme fraiche or…Greek yogurt – I won’t judge.

Having the veggies already roasted on hand makes for a quick meal, however I’ve included roasting instructions, if you’re so inspired. This soup would also work well with fresh vegetables, however they won’t have the caramelized flavor and complexity that roasted vegetables provide.

Roasted cauliflower and delicata squash soup

Roasted cauliflower and delicata squash soup

Curried Delicata Squash and Cauliflower Soup

For the vegetables:
1 medium-sized delicate squash, halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch crescents
1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
olive oil; about 2 tablespoons
a generous teaspoon of sea salt
freshly grated pepper nutmeg

Method:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Toss all of the ingredients together; the vegetables should have a light coat of olive oil so that the spices can adhere.
Roast for ~40-50 minutes, giving a toss about half-way through to ensure even caramelization.

For the soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 tsp Madras curry powder
3-4 cups of roasted cauliflower and squash
2 1/2 cups broth (vegetable, or chicken)
1 cup coconut milk
salt, to taste
chili flakes, for garnish
creme fraiche, or Greek yogurt, for garnish

In a large pot, sauté onion in olive oil for ~5 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Add curry powder and sauté for about 30 seconds, then add vegetables, 2 cups of the broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower to a simmer for ~15 minutes. Remove from heat and puree, adding additional water or broth as needed to bring to desired consistency.

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