Posts tagged ‘cauliflower’

15.11.2011

Delectable Dinners

by marilynk

Last month, I was invited by my lovely friend Sarah to join a group of ladies to attend (and eventually host) a sort of rotating dinner party. The evenings are called Delectable Dinners and the first two evenings have been full of interesting women, great conversation, many photos of cats, and delicious food. The concept is quite low-key and very flexible to different people’s hosting preferences: the hostess gets to decide if she’d like to cook the full dinner, have a pot-luck, or even go out to a restaurant if that’s more her style.

So far, both Dinners have been pot-lucks and I’ve been really impressed with the interesting dishes these ladies bring. I brought a g-free apple pie to the first dinner (it turned out even tastier than the first one) and my contribution to Sunday’s dinner was Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Yoghurt. I stayed true to the recipe this time, but I used purple cauliflower from Riverbend Gardens. It was beautiful raw and the purple actually intensified when it was cooked. I quite liked the dish and I’ll definitely make it again, but I was really blown away by the rest of the menu: a guacamole with extra veggies, roasted beet hummus, stuffed mushroom caps, broccoli salad, a quinoa/tomato/parmesan bake, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloing (seriously!), and for dessert? Homemade cinnamon rolls and pavlova. Yeah, we eat like that.

I really love seeing (and tasting!) the creativity of the dishes, but the best part of these evenings is the conversation with a really interesting group of women. Most are people I didn’t know before Sarah’s first dinner and I am really happy to be getting to know such great people.

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11.08.2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Cauliflower Parmesan Cake & Green Beans with Bacon

by marilynk

Last night I had my first dinner party! Well, had a couple of dear friends over for dinner anyway. I’ve been slowly setting up my apartment since moving back in in 2009 and until recently didn’t have chairs on which people could sit for dinner. Now that I have chairs I’m trying to have people over often to use them!

I had a beautiful orange cauliflower from the market that I wanted to use, so I did a little internet searching and found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I’ve included my slightly modified version below. With the nice yellow cake, I decided green beans would make a good side and was happy I’d pinned* a recipe with bacon since the main ended up being vegetarian (and Mack is decidedly not vegetarian!). The cake was very filling and went nicely with the green bean side dish. Sharon brought a delicious blueberry buckle for dessert which was a lovely summery finish for the meal.

Cauliflower Parmesan Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen):

  • 1 medium cauliflower (from Riverbend Gardens)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 5 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 8 large eggs
  • Handful basil, chopped (I used lemon basil from Gull Valley Greenhouses)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 4 Tbs black sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) degrees. Break cauliflower into medium florets. Place floret in a pot with a teaspoon of salt, cover them with water and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until quite soft. Strain and let drip in the colander for a few minutes so they dry and cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Coarsely chop the onion. Heat all of your olive oil in a saucepan (I followed Smitten Kitchen’s suggestion and used the same pan as I did for the cauliflower) and saute the chopped red onion and rosemary together until soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whisk eggs and olive oil and onion mixture together. Stir in basil. Whisk flour, baking powder, cheese, 1 tsp salt, and many, many grinds of black pepper together in a separate bowl and add to egg mixture, whisking to remove lumps. Stir in cauliflower gently, so most pieces remain intact.

Smitten Kitchen recommends lining the bottom of your springform pan with parchment paper, but I didn’t have any so I used butter and black sesame seeds for the bottom as well as the sides. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan generously. Put the sesame seeds in the pan and toss them around so that they stick to the sides and bottom. Pour in the cauliflower batter and bake cake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Before you serve the cake, be sure to run a knife around the pan.

Green Beans with Bacon (modified from Savoury Sweet Life)

  • 3 Tbs maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (I used Sundried Tomato Mustard from The Jam Lady)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed (I used frozen…it’s ok, they’re just as healthy!)
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • salt and pepper

Put maple syrup, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and mustard into a jar and shake it to emulsify, then set aside. Blanch the beans by placing in a microwave-safe container (I prefer to use glass) with a little water and cooking on high for about 3 minutes. Drain the beans immediately and transfer them to your serving dish. Toss the beans in the dressing and top them off with the crumbled bacon. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

*If you’d like an invite to Pinterest, let me know.