The moment the weather shifts to cool and drizzly, with murky skies another type of 50 shades of gray, I yearn for soft, liquidy, melty, oozy, food that sticks to my bones.
No matter where you live, how much money you have or don’t have, your religion, or ethnic background, at least three or four foods immediately comes to mind when you read ‘comfort food’. And maybe something more: memories, images, aromas, stories.
I’m not breaking new ground here, but for me, comfort food is food I have a relationship with. Emotional history. The smells of which transport me to a day I ran in from outside, little fingers stiff and cold, and plopped down to a grilled cheese sandwich oozing cheese onto the plate and my fingers, and a piping hot bowl of tomato soup.
Comfort food is a big warm hug from the past.
More than that, comfort food and me, we’re bonded by trust. When I’m sick, the only food I want is the chicken noodle soup and toasted saltine crackers dripping with melted butter that got me through countless colds and flus as a kid. No other will do.
The problem is, a lot of this wonderful food not only sticks to my bones and warms me up on cold rainy night; it moves in permanently, and before I know it, I’ve put on 10 pounds. So when I knew this week’s theme for #SundaySupper was Comfort Food, I wanted to create a lighter dish that I could develop a new relationship with. To that end, I combined some old friends (tomatoes, cheese, and cauliflower) with some new ones (kale, yogurt, and harissa) and developed this new comfort dish. We’ll have to live together for a while to get some history, but I have to admit I ate much more than my fair share, without the guilt, and felt all warm and happy. It’s a good start.
Rustic Cauliflower and Tomato Gratin
- 1 head cauliflower, cut to separate its florets; halve large florets
- 2 cups stemmed and chopped kale
- 1 cup plain yogurt (Greek yogurt will be too thick)
- 2 tablespoons harissa
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- zest from 1/2 large orange (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1/2 cup chopped semi-soft tofu (optional)
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tomato, thickly sliced
- 1/2 cup browned butter bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Steam the cauliflower over simmering water. Set aside.
Add the kale to the simmering water and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.Remove and drain well, squeezing most of the moisture out of the kale leaves.
Combine the yogurt, harissa, Worcestershire sauce, curry, sriracha, orange zest, orange juice and vinegar in a large bowl. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Add the shallots, tofu (if using), 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and the cauliflower and kale. Toss together with a large metal spoon until everything is coated with the yogurt sauce.
Add the chopped tomatoes, and gently toss again.
Spoon the mixture into a medium casserole dish. Top with the sliced tomatoes and the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until starting to bubble. Remove the gratin from the oven and sprinkle the rest of the cheddar cheese over the top. Return the gratin to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
We’re very excited that Lee Woodruff, a big fan of #SundaySupper, is joining us this week. Her latest book Those We Love Most, is about family, love, tragedy, coming together and healing. In short, it holds a reflection of all of our lives.
We would love to have you join Lee and our Sunday Supper Team during our chat on twitter on Sunday at 7pm Eastern Time. All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or follow us through TweetChat. We will be giving away 5 signed copies of Those We Love Most; all you have to do is share your most memorable comfort food recipes.
We’d also love to feature your easy go-to recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers, too.
And now, to get you in the mood for fall comfort food, take a look at what the Sunday Supper Team has cooked up for you.Pin It