Cauliflower in Tomato Sauce

IMG_0818Cauliflower. The vegetable you either love or hate. As I child, I was a fan of its doppelgänger, the broccoli. I believed that broccoli is to Stephanie as spinach is to Popeye the sailor man. Hence, broccoli was practically the only vegetable I would eat and I thought that it was what made me strong. When it came to cauliflower, the smell would turn me away but I was intrigued by its familiar appearance to my dearly beloved broccoli. Yet it wasn’t green like broccoli, nor green like spinach, so I wouldn’t become as strong as Popeye.

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My only recollection of cauliflower ventures as a child was eating my grandmother’s “Gratin au Chou Fleur” (Cauliflower Gratin). But I also remember sitting at her table on the “banquette” in the dimly lighted yellow wallpaper room eating her Gratin au Chou Fleur with the faint smell of Cauliflower lingering in the room. It wasn’t until recently that I began to make new POSITIVE memories with cauliflower.
IMG_0834It all happened when my mom did a cleanse and cauliflower rice was a recipe that was featured. My grandmother (Mamie for those who don’t know her yet) was visiting during this time and  fell in love with the cauliflower stir-fry. Flash forward a few months later when I spent my summer with her in France. She lives in a small town and her family is still based there. Her younger brother spends his days taking walks throughout the town visiting people and tending to his garden. At the end of the summer season, he had an abundance of cauliflower. Every time I would visit him, I would get a garden tour with an update of what he was harvesting and leave with a cauliflower. And every time he would stop by Mamie’s house while on his walk, he would bring more veggies and yet another cauliflower. IMG_0840Mamie’s recipe book was very limited when it came to cauliflower. Her recipes included the gratin and the stir fry. I wish this wasn’t true for me but sadly it was…until now! My mom recently added this recipe to our growing collection. This version gives the cauliflower a bite; no more soggy bites and no more stench. Yup, you heard me right! NO MORE STENCH! So with Thanksgiving just around the corner, bring in more veggies (to make up for all that pie) to your diet in a way that will please everyone.
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  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 ½ cups pureed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth, plus extra for cooking
  • 3 large pinches red pepper flakes, more if you like spicy
  • salt, to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Put the cauliflower on its side on a cutting board. Core the base of the cauliflower ( insert a small sharp knife about 1 inch into the base of the stem, make a circular cut to loosen the cone-shaped core, then pry it out and discard).

In a deep, heavy ovenproof pot with a lid (I used a lodge cast iron pot), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower cored side up; it should sizzle. Brown the exterior, turning it occasionally with tongs for even browning, 5 minutes. Turn over and lightly brown the other side,  2 minutes.

Remove the cauliflower and add garlic and rosemary into the pot. Stir until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, chiles and salt. Bring to a simmer. Return cauliflower to pot, cored side down. Baste with the tomato liquid and pile some of the solids on top. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes to thicken the tomatoe puree.

Cover the pot, place in the oven and roast until tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Check on the tomato sauce every 10 minutes or so. If it becomes too thick, add a bit more of vegetable broth.

Transfer the cauliflower head to a serving plate and spoon the sauce from the pot over the cauliflower. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

 


Bon Appétit,

-Stephanie

Recipe inspired by the New York Times

Kale and Baked Eggs

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As some writers may know, there are somedays that you are more inspired to write than other. And it’s certainly difficult to get yourself to sit down at a table and write when you need to but don’t want to. Trust me, I love this blog but days like today, I’m lacking a bit of inspiration…so just bare with me because by the end of the post, you will have learned something 😉

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I do a lot of babysitting for people in my neighborhood. And every time I go visit a family again, their child is attached to a new toy. One family I know would give their child a toy to play with. Their daughter would be obsessed with that toy for weeks. Once she lost that connection, they would hide it from her and give it back to her a few months later. Little did their daughter know that it was the same toy. Thus, she would fall in love with the toy all over again. Well, that’s me when it comes to cookbooks.

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For Christmas, I got the Green Kitchen Travels cookbook and was attached to it for weeks. Once I had recreated half of the recipes in the cookbook, I was still in awe of the recipes and flavors but had less of an attraction because I got so use to it. I unintentionally stored it away for 3 months and as time went by, I started falling in love with it all over again. So for the past week, I’ve flip through the book over 100 times to see what recipes I haven’t tried yet and can recreate with what I have.

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The Green Kitchen Travels Cookbook contains many recipes based off of the writers travels around the world. They create their recipes using wholesome ingredients to make astonishing vegetarian recipes. And one Saturday morning, I needed a breakfast that would fuel me for a day full of adventure and their Mushroom and Spinach Baked Eggs en Cocotte was just what I needed.

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For my recipe, I had to make a few minor changes because I didn’t have all the ingredients, such as mushrooms and pine nuts. You may add them if you have them but I thought my breakfast was just as divine.

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Kale and Baked Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small bunch of kale, coarsely chopped, can be replaced by spinach
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 tablespoons creamy goat cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • oil/ghee, to grease

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a small skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil or ghee. Add the garlic clove and cook until golden.

Add the kale and let it wilt down, 3-5 minutes. Add the cumin and mix in.

Oil three ramekins with oil or ghee. Evenly distribute the kale between the three ramekins. Place 1 tablespoon of goat cheese in each ramekin. Placed a cracked egg on top of each goat cheese ramekin.

Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until egg white is just set.

Serve warm.


Bon Appétit

-Stephanie

Farmers Market Friday: Ramp Frittata

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Every Sunday, a handful of farmers make the trek to Westover for the weekly market. Crowds begin to fill the area as people swarm the vendors to see what fresh produce they all bring. But on a chilly Sunday morning, the farmers at Bigg Riggs brought out their Wild Ramp, a vegetable that’s similar to spring onions but has its own little tang. One week later, many other vendors brought out their Ramp. This calls for a Ramp recipe in need.

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Ramps are becoming very popular this season because of its uniqueness. People can’t tell whether they taste more like leeks, garlic or spring onions but if you ask me, I find it’s easier to say that they are like spring onions. Anyway, if you are just as excited to see Ramps at your market as I was when I saw this new-to-me vegetable, you’ll be excited to see what I’ve got cooking for you.

IMG_7264While traveling in Costa Rica, I indulged in a frittata that had flowers in it. When I think of frittatas, I usually think of one with tomatoes and onions, maybe a bit of spinach, but nothing more than ordinary. After trying the flower frittata, I rekindled my relationship with frittatas by realizing that there are endless possibilities for dressing up a simple dish and make it dinner worthy.

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At the Westover Farmers Market last week, I was looking for something special to put in my own dish and within a couple of minutes, my eyes were lingering on a bunch of ramp at the Bigg Riggs Farm stand. The next evening, a warm, golden Ramp Frittata came out of the oven and was ready to be served.

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Ramp Frittata

Farmers Market List (depending on your location, ingredients may vary): Ramp, Eggs, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Feta Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of Ramp
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, can use oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup Sun-dried tomatoes,
  • 1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

On a lined baking sheet, toss the ramp with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake your ramp for 3-5 minutes, until just wilted and crunchy. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a cutting board. Chop up the ramp.

  • Note: Leave the oven on 350F.

In a small bowl, crack the eggs and whisk them.

Heat up a skillet over medium high. Grease with ghee. Add the whisked eggs to the skillet. TIrn down heat to medium low and let sit for 2-3 minutes, until the bottom is set but the top is still liquidy.

Garnish the eggs with the sun dried tomatoes, feta and ramp. Remove from heat and place in the oven. Let it bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top is firm.

Remove from the oven and serve warm.


Bon Appétit

-Stephanie