Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cauliflower and dead cows

Guten tag. First, news: I don't really want to talk about Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin. I don't think I even have it in me right now. If you don't know to what I'm referring, just google 'aborigine russian figure skaters'. You will soon find out.
More news: “Local farmers buried the cows outside the barn Friday. They would not discuss Pierson or what had happened, but one of the men said these are hard times to be a farmer.” This is taken from an article I read this morning. I guess a farmer in upstate New York shot fifty-one of his dairy cows before turning the gun on himself. The story makes me very sad, partly because it's true: it is tough being a farmer in this day and age, when you are being overtaken by factory farms who receive government payouts and think nothing of crushing their tiny local competitors to death. Literally. It's capitalism, right? It's also the fact that people are just starting to care about local farmers again, after fifty-odd years of singing the praises of factory beef, eggs, chicken and milk. The other part of the story that really makes me sad is that I happen to really like cows. I grew up with them. They're benign. They're also dumb. No, I'm not an animal rights activist or even a vegetarian, but I can only imagine the terror and blind panic that occurred in that barn. Animals shouldn't be shot because their owner can't deal with life anymore. What a waste.
Still more news: I have found out that I will be headed for China either February 24th or March 5th. I don't even know if I mentioned in my last blog that I've been planning on going to China. I am actually traveling with my sister and brother-in-law, who are adopting for the second time. Caleb (their first son) is coming with us to get Asher (their new son), who will be about a year and a half by the time we're there. I can't wait! The Wall and fried donkey. Those are my two main concerns. (Oh yeah – and Asher. :) ) I also really want to visit a fish market. We will be spending our time in Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Woo hoo! Rest assured I will take a lot of pictures and share as many as I can when I return.
Now that I've dispensed with all the pressing news, let's move on to the food portion of today's show. I've still been vegging out (literally and figuratively). Remember that head of red cabbage that I had a couple of weeks ago? Well, at the beginning of this week, it was still hanging around my fridge! (Darn the loitering veggies... ) What is a single person supposed to do with a whole head of cabbage? That's one of the conundrums of my life. I decided to make it into a slaw, which turned out to be pretty tasty! It's also very easy – just about as easy as boiling cabbage. But who wants nasty boiled cabbage? (Unless you have an unnatural desire to be the poor char girl in a Dickens novel, or relive Roger Waters' youth. [I always imagine that they ate boiled cabbage at that terrible school. “Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone! And stop feeding them boiled cabbage!”])
Here is the recipe:
1 c halved cranberries (you know you've still got some in your freezer)
¼ c sugar
4-5 c shredded red cabbage
¼ c sliced green onions
¼ c red wine vinegar
½ c white vinegar
½ c sugar
1 t celery seed
1 t salt
½ c vegetable/canola oil
Toss the halved cranberries with the ¼ cup of sugar and let them sit for a few minutes. Combine the dressing ingredients (both vinegars, ½ cup of sugar, celery seed, salt and oil), then toss with the cabbage, green onions, and cranberries. I also threw in some broccoli stalks that I had shredded, because those were still in the fridge too. In fact, you can use whatever you want. Instead of red cabbage, you could opt for regular green, but in that case I would suggest using white wine vinegar instead of red wine.

Simply red....

The best advice with any type of coleslaw is to make it the day before you plan to eat it, so the veggies can get softened up in the dressing, and the flavors can mingle. (Ah... mingling.... I used to do that sometimes....)
Today I made myself a super healthy lunch of roasted cauliflower, kale and garlic on top of quinoa. I don't want this to be too long, so I'm not going to get on to the subject of quinoa right now. Let's just say that it's very healthy.
I had never roasted cauliflower or kale before, so this was a new enterprise for me. And the results were great! I roasted the cauliflower florets with several cloves of garlic for about thirty minutes (until the cauliflower is starting to brown, and the garlic cloves are getting soft). Then I added my washed kale leaves and continued roasting for about fifteen minutes more. All of the veggies were tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper before hand. The kale gets a little crispy on the edges, but that's okay – kind of a pleasant texture distinction, actually.
While the veggies were roasting, I cooked up some bacon to crumble over the top. The smell of roasting garlic is probably one of the best you'll ever come upon (smells, that is). The combined smell of roasted garlic and frying bacon? Heaven.
I also made a warm vinaigrette of white wine, white wine vinegar, saffron, mustard, and a bit of sugar. It was definitely a nice bright contrast to the heavier flavors of the roasted veggies.
All in all, a pretty decent meal. I'm not sure if I need to make it again, but it certainly gave me a good dose of veggies and was not boring. And here are some pics:

White on white

Oooo... saucy!

Washed kale

The finished product

One last thing: I apologize for some of the awkward paragraph spacing in these posts. I can't figure out how to remedy it. And you have no idea how much it grieves me. Until next time....


  1. Do you come up with these recipes all on your own or do you find them somewhere? I wish I were as creative as this!

  2. why wouldn't you make that again? it looks deliciously delicious.

  3. Meg - Well, the coleslaw recipe was modified quite a bit from one that I saw on the internet. The original used regular cabbage and had a mayo dressing. The cauliflower/kale thing came about partly from a suggestion from Steve, and partly out of my own brain. So, I guess the answer is that I come up with some on my own, but I also use a lot of inspiration from the internet and friends who are good cooks!

    Steve - Thanks for being a good cook (and a friend). It was pretty good, but I wouldn't say deliciously delicious. More like only slightly delicious. :)