Buffalo Cauliflower

Our new pet, Roomba, is noisily but dutifully roaming the house right now. Talk about a quality-of-life improvement. I am constantly in awe of how much cat hair this little robot picks up, even after we’ve cleaned. If robots end up taking over the world, I’ll be ok with it as long as its Roomba.

Sadly, our other pets – the ones producing said cat hair – have not taken to Roomba. It’s not exactly an antagonistic relationship, but it’s not the riding-on-Roomba one I was hoping for. Alf will not be playing DJ Roomba anytime soon, unfortunately.

In other random musings… how did I not know that Ace of Base released more than a single – mind-blowing, but single (or so I thought) – album? I think we all remember our very first compact disc, and mine, my friends, was Ace of Base, The Sign. With the recent release of The Sign – Remastered, I was looking through the entire (huge!) Ace of Base collection on Rdio. Wow. It all sucks besides The Sign, by the way, but I still dig that album.

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Ok, food now, yes? As many of you probably know – mostly because Eric loves talking about it – I gave up vegetarianism a few years ago in a weak, influenced-by-alcohol moment after twelve years of strict non-meat eating. Eric loves this story because his beloved Jim’s chicken finger sub broke me. So it’s pretty clear by now that the sweet sweet vinegary hot flavors of Frank’s Red Hot and blue cheese have some sort of ungodly force over me. But Frank’s Red Hot combined with shit tons of roasted garlic? It’s crack, I tell you. Crack.

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And that’s how we eat our veggies around here, folks. Crack-laced veggies.

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Buffalo Cauliflower

inspired by Lottie + Doof

1 whole cauliflower
1 whole head of garlic, roasted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot
2-3 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled
2-3 tablespoons peanuts, roasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 400. Trim the cauliflower of any leaves and cut in half. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and coat it with oil. You can throw the head of garlic on the same baking pan. Roast the garlic until it is soft inside the papery skins (approximately 20 minutes, depending on the size of the cloves). When the garlic is soft, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Continue to roast the cauliflower until crispy brown on the outside, approximately 40 minutes.

Once cooled, remove the soft garlic cloves from the skins and mash into a paste using a mortar and pestle. Add a touch of olive oil to keep it from sticking. Add the Frank’s Red Hot and combine until smooth.

To serve, crumble the blue cheese over the roasted cauliflower. Smother with the Frank’s sauce and top with peanuts.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gochujang Tahini

Happy New Year! Eric and I rang in 2015 playing a dreidel drinking game (which I – the only non-Jew in the room – won) and dancing to the Phil Collins Pandora station at our new-to-me, old-to-Eric friend’s apartment. And maybe it was Phil Collins, or perhaps it was the coffee I drank after dinner, but I managed to stay awake until 3am – a real feat for me considering my propensity for falling asleep at 9pm.

Brussels-Gochujang-Tahini

On New Year’s Day, I felt some of the first pangs of missing Chicago. Tired, slightly hungover, and craving some comfort food, Eric and I set off on a search for good, authentic Mexican. Having lived for years around the corner from at least five taquerias in Chicago, we were used to rolling out of bed and being mere minutes away from Eric’s beloved carne asada tacos at Guanajuato Carniceria. And perhaps we haven’t found our spot yet, but sadly, the bland carnitas topped with cheese – yes, cheese – just didn’t do it for us. After that, we made our way to Xi’an Famous Foods for something that actually is done really well – Chinese food.

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Anyway, on the healthier, new-year’s-resolution appropriate end, here is a nice little roasted veg dish that is pretty filling and flavor-packed. My brussels sprouts went perhaps a little over – I’m still getting used to the erratic temperatures in my new oven – but the crispy, burnt ends were actually kind of good with this spicy tahini, which is the real star of the show here. This sauce would be good over so many vegetables and noodles, so don’t feel brussels sprouts are the only way to go here. Make a big batch and use it all week.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gochujang Tahini

2 cups or so of brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small daikon, peeled
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup tahini
1 heaping teaspoon Gochujang
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 leaves fresh basil

Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl, combine the brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a bit of salt. Spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until crispy, approximately 15 minutes or so.

Thinly slice the daikon and place in a bowl with the white vinegar. Fill with water until all the daikon is submerge. Place in fridge.

In a bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, tahini, Gochujang, and rice vinegar. Stir well and set aside.

In a pan, dry roast the pine nuts over low heat. In a mortar and pestle, smash the basil and olive oil together with a pinch of salt, then add to the dry-roasting pine nuts. Stir for another minute until fragrant and just warmed through.

To serve, smother the brussels sprouts in the Gochujang-tahini and top with pickled daikon and basil sunflower seeds.