Craving Cauliflower

IMG_2857

I feel as though cauliflower has been far too under appreciated as a brassica in the vegetable kingdom.  It has taken the back burner for far too long. I often see it as a side addition on the standard party vegetable tray, along side raw broccoli, the trusty stand-ins of carrots and celery, with the occasional radish and, of course, commercial ranch dip.

IMG_2856

Cauliflower, though, is worth so much more.

Cauliflower has a long history. François Pierre La Varenne employed chouxfleurs in Le cuisinier françois. They were introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century, and are featured in Olivier de Serres’Théâtre de l’agriculture (1600), as cauli-fiori “as the Italians call it, which are still rather rare in France; they hold an honorable place in the garden because of their delicacy”, but they did not commonly appear on grand tables until the time of Louis XIV.

Even more fascinating, which is a fact so commonly neglected and even unknown by the vast majority of Americanites:

There are hundreds of historic and current commercial varieties used around the world. A comprehensive list of about 80 North American varieties is maintained at North Carolina State University. (80 varieties ~ WOW!)

White:  White cauliflower is the most common color of cauliflower.

Orange:  Orange cauliflower (B. oleracea L. var. botrytis) contains 25% more vitamin A than white varieties.This trait came from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada. Cultivars include ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Orange Bouquet’.

Green:  Green cauliflower, of the B. oleracea botrytis group, is sometimes called broccoflower. It is available both with the normal curd shape and a variant spiky curd called Romanesco broccoli. Both types have been commercially available in the U.S. and Europe since the early 1990s. Green-curded varieties include ‘Alverda’, ‘Green Goddess’ and ‘Vorda’. Romanesco varieties include ‘Minaret’ and ‘Veronica’.

Purple:  The purple color in this cauliflower is caused by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanins, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine. Varieties include ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Purple Cape’. In Great Britain and southern Italy, a broccoli with tiny flower buds is sold as a vegetable under the name “purple cauliflower”. It is not the same as standard cauliflower with a purple curd.

As a lover of all things culinary, I have sampled, devoured, and noshed on all of the above varieties, and find the differences both incredibly and irresistibly fascinating.

IMG_2860

I can prepare, eat, and enjoy a RAINBOW of gorgeous flowering buds: the cauliflower.

My favorite, though ~ purple, of course.

Coconut Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Fresh Rosemary

1 large head purple cauliflower, washed, trimmed, and broken into small flowerets
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
2 Tbs. extra virgin coconut oil (Gold Label Virgin from Tropical Traditions)
2 tsp. Himalayan sea salt

3 c. fresh baby spinach
4 large sausage links, cooked

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss all ingredients together in a glass baking tray.  Cover tightly with foil and roast 30-35 minutes.  Stir to evenly distribute oil (now melted).  Return to the oven, uncovered, stirring every 3-5 minutes, allowing the coconut oil to create a perfect caramelized crust.

IMG_2861

Immediately toss with fresh baby spinach leaves, allowing the leaves to wilt ever so slightly.  Toss in sliced sausage links.  (Turkey-kale sausage from Whole Foods Market worked wonders this time around).

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Lavender-Orange and Basil Asparagus

I feel as though I’ve been in a bit of a rut in my foodie consumption as of late ~ a “chicken stink,” or “kitchen sink” rut, as the case may be.  Sure, I often switch up the items thrown in the pot, but overall, the mish mash tends to be pretty much true to character.

In a bit of a whim, however, I choose a different way.

photo 1

Lavender Orange Asparagus.  Oh my.

photo 3

I dove into my giant vat of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.  I’d heard this was the Gold Standard of coconut oils – the cream of the crop.  Boy is that the truth!  The flavor and texture is a combination of coconut butter and coconut oil, reminiscent of the finest “butterinutness” of the true cream of the crop – grass fed Kerrygold.

photo 4

I’ll take this finger-lickin,’ lip-lickin’ delight any day of the week.

And, when paired with fresh, bright green asparagus, the subtle flavor of both lavender and orange peel, along with generous portions of fresh basil ~ my eternal source of intoxication ~ high quality sea salt, and freshly ground pepper, along with a bit of grilled chicken, this is a meal worth saving (or savoring)!

photo 6

Lavender-Orange and Basil Asparagus

Serves 1

1 large bunch fresh asparagus (yes, one WHOLE bunch), trimmed and chopped into thirds
1 Tbs. Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
2 Tbs. fresh basil, finely minced
1 tsp. dried lavender
1/2 tsp. dried orange peel
1/4 tsp. red sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 large grilled chicken breast, season with salt and pepper while grilling

Steam the asparagus for 3-5 minutes, until bright green.  Transfer to a serving bowl (just for you – this is yours, and yours alone ~ remember, serves ONE).  Add the coconut oil, fresh basil, lavender, and orange peel, crushing the lavender and orange peel between your fingers.  Add the salt and pepper.  Toss well and let the divine liquid coconut melt all over the asparagus and seasonings.  Top with grilled chicken.

Enjoy every last morsel as it drips over your satisfied lips.

photo 5

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Fabulous Finishing Fridays

Marriage is a FABULOUS gift.

Love.  Eternity.  Together.

I am yours.  You are mine.

heart

10 Awesome “Things” About Marriage

  1. You get to have a sleep over with your best friend every night.
  2. You always have someone with whom to share your best moments.
  3. You have someone to hold you at your worst moments.
  4. If no one else in the whole world “gets” you – you know your partner does.
  5. You don’t have to go through that whole “are we Facebook official?” debacle.
  6. You have a person who motivates you to be better, even when you don’t want to be.
  7. You learn to compromise.
  8. You can be a dweeb and not worry about it.
  9. You don’t have to stress out about composing texts. Like, Did I sound crazy in that last text? or He put a period at the end of that sentence – is he mad? 
  10. You don’t always have to be the one who does the dishes.

Okay, so I can definitely think of many, many far superior reasons to have married the love of my life.

BUT, let’s face it.  I don’t have time for this right now.

I’m ON MY HONEYMOON!!

True-Love-with-a-Happy-Marriage

1 Comment

Filed under Awesome Ending Fridays