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

Fall Vegetable Soup

Fall is my favorite food season. I enjoy the hearty, earthy flavors of fall vegetables and wait patiently through the year for the weather to cool down just enough to spur me to make big satisfying pots of chili or stew. Inspired by the produce that has begun to show up in the grocery stores recently, I decided to make a pot of vegetable soup.

For my fall-inspired variation on vegetable soup, I  used:

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 small Sweet Dumpling squash
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 oz of Baby Portobello mushrooms
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can Cannellini beans
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 2 Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 bunch Lacinato kale
  • 1/2 bunch Swiss chard
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Salt and pepper
Ingredients for vegetable soup
Ingredients for vegetable soup

For the soup, start with the traditional carrots, celery, and onion. Peel and dice the carrots, cut the celery stalks in half lengthwise and dice the halves, mince the garlic, and finely chop the onion. To this traditional mix, also chop about four ounces of baby portobello mushrooms and prepare a Sweet Dumpling squash.

To prepare the Sweet Dumpling squash, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and carefully peel the the skin of the squash off with a sharp knife. Dice the squash flesh into pieces about the same size as the pieces of diced carrots.

Sweet Dumpling Squash
Diced Sweet Dumpling squash

In a 6-quart cast-iron dutch oven, cook four slices of bacon (halved) on medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside for later. For a healthier option, leave out the bacon and add olive oil to the pot instead.

Bacon
Bacon? Yes please.

After removing the cooked bacon, add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and squash to the pot with the bacon grease, cooking about 15 minutes until the vegetables soften.

Vegetables for the soup
Vegetables for the soup

Once the vegetables soften, add dried sage and thyme (about a half teaspoon each) and the can of diced tomatoes with their juices. Add in the chopped mushroom and the can of cannellini beans. Mix well and pour in the chicken broth.

Bring the soup to boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Dice the Russet potatoes and add them to the simmering soup.

Diced Russet Potatoes
Diced Russet potatoes

After about 10 minutes, check to see if the potatoes are soft. While the soup simmers, wash and cut the kale and Swiss chard into 1 inch squares., removing the stem. When the potatoes are soft, add kale and chard to the soup.

Kale and chard added to the soup
Add the kale and chard to the soup

As the kale and chard begins to wilt, stir the soup well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fall vegetable soup simmering on the stove
Fall vegetable soup simmering on the stove

This hearty, fall inspired soup is full of vegetables and flavor. The Sweet Dumpling squash, mushrooms, kale, and chard provide a tasty twist on more traditional vegetable soups. Bowls of this warm soup offer earthy, satisfying flavors of the season, perfect for the Fall’s cooler weather.

Bowls of fall vegetable soup
Bowls of fall vegetable soup

Baked Potatoes

With a bag of potatoes left after making the Friday Night Potato Galette, Jill and I decided to have baked potatoes for a couple of dinners. As you can tell from the photos below, Jill and I each have our own variations on the baked potato.

Baking potatoes is simple. I like to wash my potatoes well, stab them with a fork a few times, coat them in olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, and bake them directly on  the oven rack at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) for an hour. I put a baking sheet on the rack below the potatoes in case any of the oil drips off of the potatoes. Baking potatoes this way gives the skins a crispy texture with a slightly salty flavor that I really like since I eat the potatoes, skins and all.

Once baked, the potato is an empty canvas ready for your creative food masterpieces.

Baked Potatoes
Baked Potatoes

Jill opted for baked potatoes smothered in sautéed broccoli and topped with grated cheddar cheese and a spoonful of sour cream.

Jill's Baked Potato
Jill's Baked Potato

I followed suit with the broccoli, cheddar, and sour cream, but added left over pulled pork from Piggy’s BBQ.

Artie's Baked Potato
Artie's Baked Potato

The baked potatoes were so good, we decided to make them again for dinner the following night.

Like last time, Jill topped her potato with broccoli, cheddar, and sour cream, but this time added sautéed mushrooms and goddess salad dressing.

Jill's Potatoes
Jill's Potatoes

I went with broccoli, cheddar, sour cream, mushrooms, and salsa.

Artie's Potatoes
Artie's Potatoes

Although the potatoes are blank canvases for a variety of delicious toppings, they are quietly the star of the show. After reading that potatoes are one of the most likely vegetables to contain residual pesticides, I decided to buy organic russet potatoes from Earth Fare. Once baked, these potatoes were the creamiest potatoes Jill and I have ever eaten.