As I left today for work with my new borrowed book in tow, Mama said she wanted a picture of me reading this vegetable book (insert gasp here). I beat a hasty exit, stage left.
That’s right, a vegetable book. And a darned good one too. I’ve been wracking my meat riddled mind for new things to try, do and experiment with. Up until this last weekend, I haven’t been inspired enough to do anything, at all.
Friday evening Jlee offered up her Chez Panisse Vegetable book, yay!
Oh shaddap, yeah I know Alice is living in her own little world and gets a lot of flack for it. But this is an excellent book, even if I don’t know anything about vegetables. I like it cause the recipes are arranged by vegetable and at each entry you’re told what time of year to expect it. Very handy for us novices, I must say.
Wanna see my version of what Alice originally called, “Whole-wheat Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts, and Ricotta Salata?
Well, she said I could substitute the Ricotta for Feta, awful nice of her. I decided to substitute for some Spring Hill Quark cheese that I’d picked up at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market on Saturday. Quark is a soft, spreadable German cheese with a tangy flavor, sounded fine, gets all melty.
Here’s what I ended up using in the recipe:
Cauliflower – 2 heads – floret it
Onion – 1 medium – thinly sliced
Garlic – 4 cloves – smooshed then minced
Red Pepper Flakes – a pinch
1/2 fresh lemon juice
Toasted Walnuts – 1/2 cup
Quark Cheese, Ricotta or Feta – 4 ounces
I was going to use the pasta, but lost interest. Having that rich & tangy cheese in there seemed like a perfect match for the cauliflower. Adding the pasta made it all too heavy a side for my taste.
I crunched up the walnuts a bit in the mortar first, then toasted in a dry cast iron skillet. Use a toaster oven if you don’t have an appropriate skillet, set aside.
Saute the florets in extra virgin until a little soft, add the s&p to taste. Add the thinly sliced onions and saute until brown and happy. They should still retain some crunch, so use medium to high heat.
Add the garlic and remove from heat, stir!
Squeeze in the lemon and toss in the walnuts, stir again.
Serve with cheese over top of cauliflower.
Both Mama and I loved the dish, this will become a standard here at Meathenge Labs. I’m continually amazed at the cauliflower, I never thought I’d enjoy it this much. I’m a little remorseful that I’d only tried it the first time last year. Oh boy, what’s next?