I'm thrilled to say I'm on the home stretch of creating my new cookbook. Well, ok, not my 'new' cookbook. My only cookbook.
My only cookbook so far, I should add. Because yes, I'd love to do another one. Not today, mind you, but I thoroughly enjoyed this process. Not to say there aren't some things I'd do differently the next time around, but for my first go at this, it was a win. I'll write more about all that in future posts, but one thing I want to share now is how doing this cookbook has changed my cooking, and will change what I post.
One underlying theme for the cookbook is recipes that are accessible for most any cook, which is code for 'easy'. And there's nothing like working closely with food editors to hone down recipes to their essential ingredients. Literally.
Confession: Before this book, I never paid much attention to how many ingredients I was using, or if I really needed to use that extra pot in making it. We're all busy, no matter what stage of life we're in. And anything we can do to shorten the prep or cooking, nix going to 3 grocery stores to find a random ingredient - or, hello, going to the store at all, and quicken kitchen cleaning after dinner is not just important, but crucial to how we navigate our days.
Here's a recipe that didn't make it into the book, but I think you'll like. And yes, it's easy, and except for the vegan nutritional yeast swap with Parmesan cheese, it uses ingredients you may well have on hand.
Cook Like a Chef:
- Breaking down a whole cauliflower is easy and quick: Trim the ends of leaves, and slice the head in half to expose the core stem. If the recipe doesn't use the core, like this one, use a sharp chef's knife to cut it out from top to bottom, and slide the stem halves into a plastic zipped bag. The core is perfect sliced up and added to casseroles and soups. Now use the same knife to separate the florets from underneath, and divide any that are large.
- For this recipe, if it's more important to you to cut the number of pots and pans being used, then steam the cauliflower in a medium Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. When the cauliflower is done, set it aside and empty the water from the pot. Wipe out the pot with a towel, and go ahead with the next step of heating the oil to cook the shallots.
- Don't waste a lot of time mincing garlic, and instead buy garlic paste. I buy it in tubes that are available in my fresh herbs area of the produce department. I use Gourmet Garden products and swear by them. They stay fresh for a long time in the refrigerator, and I love the squeeze bottles.
- 1 small head cauliflower chopped into bite size florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to finish dish
- ¼ cup minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste, or minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup dry white wine, or vegetable broth
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, or 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 pound uncooked linguini, optional if making this into a meal
- Pour 2 inches of water in a pot, insert a steamer basket, and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Pile the cauliflower florets into the basket, cover the pot, and steam until the florets are crisp-tender.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the lemon juice, shallots, garlic paste, salt, and pepper, and sauté until the shallots are soft, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add the wine, and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
- When the cauliflower is done, lift the basket containing the florets and empty them into the skillet. Sauté for another 4 - 5 minutes. Finish with a drizzle of lemon, if needed, and the red pepper flakes. Toss and spill onto a serving plate, including the lemon and oil. Top with a flurry of chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
- Serve warm.
Make ahead: This dish can be completely made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Make it a Meal: Cook linguini noodles until al dente, drain, and toss with the cauliflower in the pot.
For the Wimpy Vegetarian Table: Shrimp is a natural fit for this dish, or broiled lobster tails for a special dinner. But don't be tempted to swap out the cauliflower, as it's incredibly nutritious.
Make it Vegan: Swap out the Parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast.