Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thing From Another World

I was going to remark on the lovely cauliflower I came across at a farmer's market in southeast Portland last Thursday, but found the topic pretty unsexy. So I googled "scary cauliflower," trying to give my culinary report an interesting National Enquirer tabloid edge. Surprisingly, I couldn't dig up much more than this clip from an old 1950's cult film. So, for you dear reader, a before-its-time film that hints at the sinister potential of bioengineered produce and a recipe that celebrates those pretty (and reassuringly organic) little purple, yellow and snowy white heads of cauliflower from your local farmer's market that are just happy being a delicious dinner ingredient...

curried cauliflower and peas
(from deborah madison's vegetarian cooking for everyone)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. toasted ground cumin*
1/4 tsp. asafetida*
1/4 cup peeled and finely diced ginger
4 tsp. toasted ground coriander*
1 tsp. ground mild red chile or 1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. turmeric*
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 large cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces, including the stems
1/2 lb. sugar snap peas, strings removed
2 tsp. ground amchoor (green mango) powder*
1 tsp. garam masala*
*Or, be lazy as I am and use premixed curry powder

In a wide pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and asafetida and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the ginger, coriander, chile, and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the onion, lower the heat, and cook until limp, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Next add the cauliflower and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Mix everything together, then pour in 1/2 cup water, cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about ten minutes. Add the peas and cook for a few minutes more, until they're bright green. Add the amchoor powder and garam masala, stir together, taste for salt, and serve.


Sarah said...

No one gets bludgeoned to a bloody pulp with a head of cauliflower? That's crap. Thank god I didn't live in the '50s.

Tai said...

The best cauliflower (and food in general) in the world is the roasted cauliflower that is dipped in a creamy tahini sauce at Ya Hala Lebanese restaurant in the Montevilla neighborhood of Portland.

janb said...

You will not believe it, but I was just going to sit down and look for a new, imaginative recipe for how to fix cauliflower (the only one I know is the one in the South Beach book where you cook it up and mash it and pretend that it is mashed potatoes.) Thanks! (Boring as my life sounds....)