Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

This recipe is so simple and so satisfying.  Oh, and good for you too!  I recently read an article published by John Douillard on his site lifespa.com titled “Eat Fat, Beat Sugar Cravings”.   Everyone, I mean everyone, right up until a few decades ago, knew that sugar and carbohydrates tend to make you gain weight and that healthy fats are essential.  When I was growing up there were all these new ‘diet foods’: low fat or no fat was the supposedly ‘healthy’ way to go.  Because fats make you fat, right?  I can’t believe I bought that crap!

Fat makes you feel full and satiated.  It protects your organs, it’s necessary for proper brain function.  It’s an important part of digestion.  When you eat sugar or carbohydrates you may find yourself continually wanting to have more, never quite full in the long run.  And have I mentioned that there is no such thing as an essential sugar?  There’s no essential carbohydrate either.  We need fats and proteins to function but humans can live without the sugar.

Give it a try, eat a high fiber, high fat food and see how it compares to a low fat, high carbohydrate food.  For example, try making low fat mashed potatoes as well as the following recipe for Creamy Mashed Cauliflower.  Have a serving of mashed potatoes for an afternoon snack one day.  Write down how you feel when you finish eating, and how full you feel an hour later.  The next day do the same thing with the mashed cauliflower.  I bet you’ll be surprised how the same serving of food can be so much more filling!  And how you won’t be craving cookies half an hour later.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup of creme fraiche (the BEST!) or any of the following: heavy cream, coconut cream, full fat yogurt
  •  salt and pepper
  • optional: herbs, spices, grated cheese

Method:

Remove leaves, core and chop a head of cauliflower into large chunks

Steam the chopped cauliflower until tender.  About 10-13 minutes.

Blend the steamed cauliflower in a Cuisinart or using a wand blender along with 3/4 cup, give or take, of the creme fraiche plus salt and pepper to taste.

You can eat it now or add some paprika or other herbs and spices.

Save it for later by storing the whipped cauliflower in an over safe dish.  When you are ready to eat, sprinkle the top with some grated cheese and pop it in the oven to reheat.  Great as a pot luck dish or make ahead side dish.

Definitely eat this with meatloaf!

Best Hot Breakfast

Around this time last year I made a bunch of sauerkraut with my dad.  And then Dana and I discovered that it made an awesome compliment to fried eggs at breakfast.  So the sauerkraut went quickly.  When we planned our garden last spring, cabbages were on the top of our list.  Yesterday we harvested about a third of our crop: 22.5 pounds of cabbage.  Shredding it in the food processor went quickly and I layered the cabbage with 3 Tablespoons of salt for every 5 pounds of cabbage in one of our large pots.  Here’s the sauerkraut doing it’s lacto-fermentation under the weight of a big lid and some ball jars full of water.

Over 22 pounds of shredded cabbage turning into sauerkraut, this should last us a few months!

For a hot breakfast, how about a big handful of sauerkraut, plus eggs fried with onions, cumin seeds and paprika?  Try it as an alternative to a veggie omelet and get all the benefits of eating raw, naturally fermented food.  Then check out Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon!

Start your day off healthy with a big serving of fermented veggies at breakfast.

Ingredients:

A big handful or two of Sauerkraut, excess liquid squeezed out.  Set aside while you cook the onions and eggs to let the sauerkraut come up to room temperature.

Farm fresh eggs

Fat for frying: olive oil, butter or lard

Chopped onion or leeks (leeks are lower in sugars)

Whole cumin seeds

Paprika

Salt

Procedure:

Heat the fat in your skillet on medium.  Add the chopped onion or leeks and saute for a few minutes.

Add a generous sprinkle of the whole cumin seeds and let them cook for about a minute before adding the eggs to fry.  Cook your eggs, sprinkle with paprika and lightly salt, the sauerkraut will be plenty salty.

Onions and cumin seeds frying in lard from pork chops we cooked recently.

Serve the fried eggs and onions on top of the sauerkraut and serve immediately.  Dana likes his with 100% rye sourdough toast from these guys!

Smokey Cilantro Romanesco

Romanesco, the cruciferous family's model vegetable!

Romanesco is similar to broccoli and cauliflower and so you can substitute either of those vegetables in this recipe.  Dana and I have a lot of romanesco growing in our gardens and will be selling some to local restaurants in the coming weeks. This very cool looking plant was first discovered in Italy in the 16th century.  It has a mild flavor similar to cauliflower but it certainly sets itself apart from the rest of the cruciferous veggies with its’ chartreuse coloring and cool growth pattern that makes a logarithmic spiral.

A head of romanesco chopped in half. You can see the individual branches that make up the spiral head.

For this easy roasted meal you’ll need a head of romanesco or cauliflower, chopped into 2-3 inch pieces.  Set your oven to 365.

Then, on a large, shallow baking sheet, mix the chopped romanesco pieces with enough olive oil to coat, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, hot paprika, ground chipotle pepper and salt, to taste.

Use your hands to mix everything together.   Make sure to lick your fingers when you are done mixing, if it tastes good, pop the tray in the oven.  If not, adjust the seasonings and repeat!

Oven ready: well oiled, seasoned and tossed.

While the Romanesco roasts in the oven at 365, roughly chop a handful of fresh cilantro.

Grate some cheese, I used smoked Grafton cheddar from the Berkshire Co-op, the smokey cheese went perfectly with the hot smokey chipotle and the paprika.

The Romanesco can take anywhere from 20-35 minutes, so cook it til it’s done and finish it under the broiler if it needs more browning but not much more cooking.  You want it to be browned on the outside but with a bit of crunch left inside.

The addition of shredded smoked cheddar really makes the dish!

Finally, toss the finished romanesco with the chopped cilantro, a splash of fresh lime, and the shredded cheese.  Eat immediately and enjoy any leftovers hot or cold the next day.

One Hour in the Kitchen: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Eggplant Spread and Flax Bread

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, much busier than I like quite frankly and I was happy to have an hour free this morning to do some cooking.  It’s amazing how much one lady can do in one hour in the kitchen.  I was most interested in roasting some of the brussels sprouts from our garden.  Usually I make them in the skillet with bacon, but in times of baby cabbages and no bacon, there must be a delightful alternative.

From garden to bag to bowl, not a lot of prep work to do for home-grown brussels sprouts.

Last week I got some roasted sprouts from The Old Creamery in Cummington which is now carrying our Fire Cider!  The sprouts were the perfect snack and here’s my version of …

Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise

Vinegar: I used balsamic on one half and made another batch with half tamari and half apple cider vinegar, both tasted great: a little tangy, a little sweet and a bit salty.  If you are on a strict Candida diet use just the apple cider vinegar.

Olive oil to coat the sprouts

Salt

Procedure:

Set your oven to 375 and prep the sprouts.  Get out a baking sheet and toss the sprouts on the pan with enough olive oil to coat them.  Sprinkle with your choice of vinegar, and toss them again with a little salt.  Arrange them cut side down and put the tray in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes.  The oven doesn’t have to be totally up to temperature when you put the sprouts in.

Balsamic roasted sprouts hot from the oven.

Roast until browned well on both sides.  If the sprouts start to get soft or are cooking too quickly without browning you can finish crisping them up under the broiler for a minute or two.  You want them to be crispy on the outside with a bit of crunch left inside as well!

Since I had the oven on and the sprouts were cooking, I sliced the two small eggplants Hari and Ingrid brought us from their garden.  Again, this is a simple roasting recipe and works for any quantity.

Slice the eggplants in half, coat the cut side with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place them on baking sheets to roast.  I put mine in cut side down, then flipped them after about 12 minutes to cook cut side up for another 12-15 minutes.  I can’t actually recall how long they were in the oven for.   The cooking time will vary depending on how big your eggplants are.  So, my advice, however glib it may sound, is to cook them til they are done!  As in, nicely browned and totally soft all the way through.

Roasted eggplant makes a great spread for flax bread.

The eggplants were in the oven, the sprouts were out and I whipped together some flax bread dough.  I have updated my recipe to reflect my new way of making flax bread:  I grease a large sheet pan with butter and then use my hands to spread it evenly from edge to edge.  The result is 15 even pieces of flax bread which I use to make sandwiches or to eat things like….

Roasted Eggplant Spread:

Roasted eggplant, scooped out of the skin.

Olive oil

Mashed garlic

Paprika and Salt to taste

Procedure:

Scrape the eggplant flesh into a bowl or, if you have a lot, it would be worth it to get your Cuisinart out.

Add a splash of olive oil, a clove or two of mashed garlic, some salt and paprika.  I love smoked, hot paprika for this dish.

Mix, mash or whip everything together in your Cuisinart.

Enjoy with flax bread and keep the left overs in the fridge!

My new way to make flax bread using a large sheet pan.

Well, that’s it for my hour in the kitchen.  I have a big bowl full of roasted Brussels sprouts which are delicious cold or hot and plenty of flax bread and eggplant spread for sandwiches this week.  Time well spent, and now, back to work!