roasted cauliflower with brown butter & pepper

While I was at the coop doing my weekly shopping trip, I couldn’t decide what vegetable to serve with one of our meals. While I plan all meals ahead of time, I often leave a “vegetable” open to see if there is anything on sale, something new I want to try, or that looks particularly good at the time. As I was aimlessly wandering around the produce section I remembered the cauliflower, sage & brown butter I made and also remembered a tip in Saveur Magazine that suggested to include fresh pepper in the cooking process, instead of just adding it at the end. It makes the pepper very fragrant and SO flavorful.

So this dish was born and as with most of my vegetables, simplicity is key. I prefer to let the vegetables shine through – they are delicious just as they are.

Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter & Pepper

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp butter (I used earth balance)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • salt

Pre-heat oven 400° F. Slice cauliflower in 1″ slices (some will crumble apart, that is fine) Add to sheet pan or glass pan sprayed with cooking spray. Season with salt. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Meanwhile heat butter and olive oil in large pan. When hot, add fresh ground pepper and continue to heat until it turns brown. Drizzle over cauliflower.

roasted vegetable cheese spread

With a baguette at home and the need for a quick, but delicious topping, an idea came to mind at the Whole Foods Hot Bar. They’ve got roasted veggies that look incredible, I’ve got a food processor at home and could easily whip up a roasted vegetable and cheese spread that would be perfect on some toasted baguette slices.

The combination of the tangy cheese with the sweet vegetables was delicious on bread and crackers. I’m sure the taster will be requesting this again soon – it might just be the new staple in our house.

Roasted Vegetable Cheese Spread

  • 2 cups roasted vegetables (my mixture had peppers, red onion and eggplant)
  • 8 oz soft cheese (I used quark, but goat or cream cheese would also work well)
  • baguette, sliced and toasted or grilled

earth day 2010

I like to be thoughtful of our earth year round, but I must say that the warm, spring days we’ve been having as of late make me appreciate mother nature so much more than blistery, below-zero days.  Springtime in Minnesota is really a sight to see, I swear the population increases by about 75%, but possibly it is just everyone returning to the outdoors after many months of  hibernation. ;)

My parents were “green” before it even turned into an everyday term and maybe, just maybe, I’ve picked up some of my “green-ness” from them. Because it was basically instilled in me, I had no other choice! I have very fond memories of my little brother taking the compostable garbage out to the compost pile – which he considered the WORST possible job on the planet. (It took all of 2 minutes to complete) But they did (and still do) everything they can to keep as much out of the landfills as they can.

I do the everyday “earth friendly” things like recycling, bringing my own bags to the store with me, buying organic (and local when possible), walking instead of driving as much as it allows and just being aware of what resources I’m using in general. Unfortunately, my 10th floor downtown apartment doesn’t quite allow for a compost pile, but all in good time, I do what I can right now.

I am a strong believer that little changes add up – just as I believe little changes in the foods we eat and movement we get can change our bodies and ourselves for the better – no matter how small the changes are, they are worth it!  Because of this, I’m willing to spend more money on food and household items that go the extra mile in either using or producing products that help protect the planet.  A few years ago I started replacing my cleaning supplies with more natural versions without the harsh chemicals – I love reading the 7th Generation packages that share things like this:

Doesn’t that just make you want to make the switch right now? Another small change that I recently implemented was bringing a water bottle with me to our trip to Colorado. I rarely buy drinks in plastic bottles at home, but never think twice about it while traveling. (I need water, right?) This little change saved at least 10 plastic water bottles from ending up in a landfill and if that doesn’t count for something, I’m not sure what does.

What small changes can you make?

focus on: cherimoya fruit

Always on the lookout for new and interesting fruits and vegetables and not always as aware of the prices that go along with it – does anyone else have trouble estimating prices by pound? – I came across the cherimoya, a hybrid fruit of sorts with flavors reminiscent of papaya, pineapple and guava. Cherimoya’s are native to Chile, Ecuador and Peru, which makes me feel a tinge of guilt and a glimmer of hope that mine didn’t travel that far.

While Mark Twain described it as “the most delicious fruit known to men,” I’m not sure I share that same enthusiasm. The texture was a bit grainy and it wasn’t as juicy as I would have liked. Perhaps it wasn’t quite ripe, but at $6/piece, I’m not sure I want to try again. The guava taste was the flavor that stood out for me and while it was enjoyable, it just isn’t enough to justify this purchase again.

Nutritionally, they are good sources of calcium, Vitamin C and niacin but don’t eat the rind or the seeds – they can be poisonous!

Have you seen or tried cherimoya?