Pan-Fried Cauliflower + Shishito Peppers + Marinated Olives

Eric and I just returned from a whirlwind, week-long trip through Texas. With stops in Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio, we managed to cover a lot of ground. One thing I learned in Texas: I can eat tacos every. single. day. So many tacos. We even tried San Antonio’s famous puffy taco. But now that we’re home, it’s time to detox and eat some vegetables.

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Shishito Peppers (5)

I went a little overboard at the grocery store when we got back and bought nearly every single vegetable in the produce aisle. I had to take stock yesterday of what we had in the fridge and come up with a plan to use it all. First stop: pan-roasted cauliflower with many good things on top.

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Shishito Peppers (6)

In other news, Eric and I were talking the other day about this whole gluten debate after watching this Jimmy Kimmel clip revealing the absurdity of the gluten-free trend. As always needs to be said, this absurdity does not extend to those who have celiac disease. Nonetheless, all this talk about gluten got me thinking about what a wonderful community of bacteria and enzymes I have in my gut. I am literally tolerant of everything. I eat street food in the most exotic of destinations, and I can eat anything under the sun that my little heart desires – without consequences. When I see the problems that others have with their guts, I realize how lucky I am with my little community in there.

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Shishito Peppers (4)

So, this recipe. We’ve got cauliflower, of course, but also shishito peppers (shishito peppers!!), radishes, red chiles, and even garlic scapes (garlic scapes!!). Shishito peppers are one of those foods… you know the ones… if I see it on a menu, I have to order it. If I see it at Joong Boo, I have to buy it. Same goes for garlic scapes, garlic chives, ramps, or any other iteration of garlic or its family members. Thus, put these things together and you get a real winner.

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Shishito Peppers (2)

Pan-Fried Cauliflower + Shishito Peppers + Marinated Olives

For the marinated olives:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced into thick chunks
1/4 cup garlic scapes, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
4-5 pieces of shaved lemon peel
7-8 sprigs of fresh thyme or 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1/2 cup castelvetrano olives (or any other variety)

For the rest:

2 fresh red chiles, finely sliced
1 small head cauliflower, sliced
15ish shishito peppers, or more or less according to your liking
handful chopped, roasted peanuts
5-6 radishes, finely sliced
juice of 1 lemon
salt + pepper to taste

To make the marinated olives, combine the olive oil, garlic, scapes, lemon peel, and fresh herbs in a large pan over medium-low heat. Let the oil warm and infuse the flavors for ~5 minutes. Add the olives, stirring to coat them. Turn off the heat and transfer the olives and oil to a jar or other container. You can keep all the flavoring ingredients in the mix if that’s easier.

Without washing the pan, turn the heat to medium-high heat and combine the chiles, cauliflower, and shishito peppers in the pan. Add more of the flavored olive oil if needed. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and allow the cauliflower and peppers to cook until the cauliflower is browned and the shishito peppers are blistered. When this happens, turn off the heat, top with radishes, peanuts, a bunch of marinated olives and fresh lemon juice. Taste and adjust for seasoning and serve.

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Indian Cauliflower and Potatoes

Some time ago – I can’t remember why – I took this cookbook from my mom. I can’t remember if she was offering it or if I outright stole it, but it sat up in a shelf that I could not reach for a good two years or so since.

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And that’s why moving once in a while is a good thing. I found this book when we were moving out of our old apartment and realized that I should be using it. I took this book even before I knew who Madhur Jaffrey was or that she was considered the “world authority on Indian food”, but tonight’s dinner confirmed her expertise.

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This book was published in 1981 and includes a collection of vegetarian recipes from East Asia. China, Japan, India, Korea, and even Indonesia are all covered. I started with an Indian recipe, though, since this realm seems to be her specialty.

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Of course, I tweaked it a bit. And even though Fenugreek is listed in the title in the book, I could not find any in my not-very-thorough search, so I just omitted it. The recipe is still great.

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Indian Cauliflower and Potatoes

adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking

1 small to medium head of cauliflower
2 medium-sized potatoes (I used russet)
6 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek (I omitted this)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 whole dried hot chile peppers
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic (my addition)
1 teaspoon fresh minced jalapeno (my addition)

2 ripe tomatoes, diced (my addition)

Chop the cauliflower into small, thin flowerets. Chop the potatoes into 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 cubes. Soak them in cold water for 30 minutes. When done, dry them in a dish towel.

Heat the oil in a large skillet on high heat. When the oil starts smoking, add the fenugreek (if using), fennel, cumin, and peppers. Stir for a minute, then add the garlic and jalapeno. Add the potatoes and cauliflower almost immediately and toss together all the ingredients.

Cook for a few minutes, then toss in the turmeric, coriander, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Stir around and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and let simmer on low for another 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Turn off the heat, then sprinkle in the garam masala and stir. Taste for seasoning. I needed to add a smidge more salt to mine.

Roasted Pumpkin and Cauliflower Salad

Last week was a great week. Wednesday I managed to snag a steal of a deal for dinner using Foodie the App (I think this is just a Chicago thing) – 2 tickets to a Locavore Dinner at MK restaurant for the price of one! And how much was one ticket? $85! Yes, $85 off our bill, basically. It was awesome, and dinner was awesome, and the service was awesome, and the beer pairings (yes, beer pairings included!) were awesome. What a fun night. Since Eric was in class, I brought my second husband Evan. We laughed and complained about work and sat in our food-snob corner devouring every last bite… when I finally looked at the clock, I realized it was way past my bedtime! That’s a good thing.

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It was also a productive week – booking flights in Colombia, finalizing bookings in Borneo, and even getting discounts for these bookings! We decided to splurge a bit on our accommodation in Borneo, but I was still feeling guilty about it when hostels are so cheap there. I decided to ask for a discount at the expensive places – and they all gave us one! Just like that. “Can I have a discount?” “Why yes, you can.” I mean, how great is that?

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Anyway, I made this salad Friday night. We received a bunch of squash and pumpkin in our CSA box; I have been bombarded by squash soups, so the last thing I wanted to do was puree these pretty orange veggies with my immersion blender. A shopping trip to Trader Joe’s inspired this salad – pomegranates, apple cider, and cauliflower all lent themselves to a nice late fall salad. Smoky pancetta, diced and crisped, and a sweet and tangy apple cider vinaigrette rounded it out and made it a pretty filling meal. It was so seasonal tasting and the pomegranate seeds added the perfect bit of sweetness and freshness.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Cauliflower Salad

a Wanderlust and Foodstuff original

1 pie pumpkin
1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup apple cider
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp granulated garlic
few sprinkles of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 pomegranate
pancetta, diced, as much as you like!
3-4 sage leaves
handful or more of spinach

Begin by roasting the veggies. Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds (but save them! roast them!), and roast the pumpkin halves for 30-40 minutes in a 450° oven. Meanwhile, prepare the cauliflower by chopping it up and coating it in olive oil and salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven for 25-30 minutes with the pumpkin.

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While those are roasting, prepare the dressing. Whisk together the apple cider, vinegars, olive oil, yogurt, cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, and salt and pepper. Crisp up the pancetta. About halfway through that process, toss in the sage leaves to crisp in the bacon fat.

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When the pumpkin is soft and you can pierce it with a fork, cut it into cubes. To assemble the salad, layer of a bed of spinach, pumpkin cubes, and cauliflower. Top with pancetta, pomegranate seeds, and crispy sage. Pour dressing over the entire salad.