Cauliflower Curry

Wanting a dinner with some Indian-inspired flavors, I searched online and through several cookbooks for a recipe. I came across a Weight Watchers recipe for Chickpea and Cauliflower Stew, but I didn’t think the recipe was quite right. I made a couple of modifications and came up with this simple, flavorful adaptation.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 small organic Russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped fresh spinach
  • Oat bran pita bread
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Greek yogurt

Cauliflower is really the main ingredient in this dish. It absorbs the flavors of the spices well and softens just enough to be enjoyable without becoming mushy.

Cauliflower
Cauliflower

The potatoes add some texture to the dish, but become much softer than the cauliflower. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but I think organic potatoes taste much better than conventionally grown potatoes. I cannot always tell a difference in the taste between organic foods and non-organic foods, but I can tell a difference with potatoes. My mom has a plausible hypothesis that organic growers use more compost and naturally have more nutrient-rich soils, leading to better tasting potatoes.

Organic potato
Organic potatoes

After cutting the cauliflower into florets and cubing the potatoes, boil both in lightly salted water for 5 minutes. While the cauliflower and potatoes boil, pour the canola oil into a dutch over and heat over medium. Add the curry powder, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and red pepper. Cook the spices until fragrant, up to a minute. Cumin, with its warm and earthy flavor, is one of my favorite spices. I also love the bright citrus flavor that the coriander seeds give to this dish.

Curry spices
Fragrant curry spices

Toss in the chickpeas and stir until they are well coated in the spices. Stir in the crushed tomatoes. To help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, add up to a teaspoon of sugar. When the cauliflower and potatoes are ready, drain and add them to the curry mixture. Continue cooking until the curry thickens and the vegetables reach the desired tenderness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the curry over chopped fresh spinach and pita bread slices. Top the curry with cilantro and greek yogurt, if desired.

Cauliflower Curry
Cauliflower Curry

Rainbow Farfalle

A few months ago, Kaitlin and I were wandering around World Market (love that store!) and I was captivated by a box of rainbow farfalle. Farfalle, also know as bow-tie pasta, is one of my favorite shapes and, even better, the unique colors of the pasta came not from food coloring or dye but natural sources like beets, carrots, and spinach. I drooled over the box but ended up not purchasing it, only to be surprised when I received it as a gift for my birthday! Thanks, Kaitlin! Here is Artie’s recap of the delicious dinner he made the next night:

These fun bow-tie pastas had such unique multicolored striping, we didn’t feel that covering them in a jar of pasta sauce would do them justice. Instead, I opted to serve the pasta with an assortment of vegetables that mimicked the colors of the pasta.

Rainbow Farfalle
Rainbow Farfalle

To mimic the red, green, and beige stripes on the pasta, I decided to serve the pasta with tomatoes, zucchini, and chickpeas.

Vegetables that mimic the colors of the pasta
Vegetables that mimic the colors of the pasta

While the pasta boiled in salted water, I sautéed a couple cloves of garlic in olive oil over medium heat. I added diced pre-cooked chicken sausage and  sautéed until the edges started to turn light brown and crispy. I added diced zucchini and a can of peeled plum tomatoes. I seasoned the mixture with salt, pepper, dried oregano, and dried basil.

Chunky Homemade Pasta Sauce
Homemade Pasta Sauce

When the mixture cooked long enough to soften the zucchini (about as long as it took the pasta to finish cooking), I drained off the excess liquid from the sauce (the canned tomatoes can be a little big juicy) and gently folded in the pasta. The dish was topped with freshly grated parmesan.

Rainbow Farfalle with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Sausage
Rainbow Farfalle with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Chicken Sausage

With the rustic taste of the hearty vegetable sauce and the playful colors of the pasta, this rainbow farfalle dish affirmed the quote by Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, “Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”

Chickpea Kuri Curry

I wanted to branch out a bit and try a couple of new things, so a couple of months ago I tried to plant Jamaican pumpkin, blue Hubbard winter squash, and red kuri squash in the garden. Sadly, my attempts failed. So when I saw red kuri squash at New Leaf Market, I had to try it.

Not entirely sure what to do with the red kuri squash, I took a hint from the vegetables moniker and decided to make a kuri curry. With inspiration from the Quick Chickpea Curry recipe in the Everyday Food Magazine (January/February 2010), I made several modifications to make the recipe my own.

Red Kuri Squash
Red Kuri Squash

To get started, thinly slice one medium onion and mince four cloves of garlic.  Saute the onion and garlic in about 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until the onions become translucent.

Onions and Garlic
Onions and Garlic

Dice the red kuri squash into 1/4 inch cubes and saute the squash, onions, and garlic over medium heat until the squash is soft, about 7 minutes.

Kuri Squash and Chickpeas
Kuri Squash and Chickpeas

Once the squash is soft, add two cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas, four tablespoons of ketchup, 1-1/2 teaspoons of Penzy’s Balti seasoning, one teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. I like the taste of the Balti seasoning, but your favorite curry powder would be a g0od substitute.  Stir to combine.

Penzeys Balti Seasoning
Penzeys Balti Seasoning

Add two cups of water and bringthe mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer the mixture until thickened, about 25 minutes. In my opinion, the dish almost resembles baked beans when it is ready.

Simmering Curry
Looks Like Baked Beans

To make the meal a bit more substantial and to provide more color, I served the curry on a slice of pita bread with two handfulls of baby arugula. I added a dollop of plain greek yogurt to add some creaminess and cut the heat from the Balti seasoning a little bit. The unique bite of the Balti seasoning (it’s not like any other curry powder I’ve ever eaten) with the mellow, almost nutty taste of the squash and the texture of the chickpeas (which hold up well and do not get too mushy from the cooking) make the chickpea kuri curry a great use for the winter squash that refused to grow in my garden. I did save some of the seeds from the red kuri squash and I hope to be making this dish again next year with red kuri squash from my garden.

Chickpea Kuri Curry
Chickpea Kuri Curry