Curried cauliflower

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CurriedCauliflower2

Curried cauliflower, stage 1

This week will be a busy one: first round of physical therapy Monday after work, the women coming over on Tuesday evening, and then work stuff Wednesday and Thursday evenings.  So I’m spending a chunk of the weekend in food prep.  I’ve made the sauce for dragon noodles and the bean dip and lentil taco filling for Tuesday.  I’ve also started the cashew cream cheese, and am caramelizing onions and peppers for the Tofurkey sausages.  Still to come: mushroom Stroganoff and possibly a breakfast-y thing.  TBD.  Mostly it depends on my energy level.

I judged the red cabbage kimchi done, so it’s now jarred and refrigerated, making room for another round of curried cauliflower, this time from an actual recipe.  This batch has shredded carrots (and the very end of a bit of daikon, since it was just hanging out in the veg drawer), a green onion, thinly sliced cauliflower florets, the juice of an orange, toasted whole spices (cumin, coriander, mustard) and a teaspoon and a half of salt.  I also added a bit of ground turmeric since I keep reading how beneficial it’s supposed to be, and I liked the bright yellow of the last batch.  So that is all massaged up and resting in its jar now.  As promised, it does seem to be too dry, so I will probably check on it again in an hour or so.

The red cabbage kimchi turned out well.  Its lovely color is a bonus:

Lunch was tofu and peanut sauce wraps with this cheerful ruby kimchi.  The ginger taste is less pronounced in this batch, but the texture is really nice from the heartier cabbage.  A hit, in short.  I think I’ll keep making it this way!  (Sadly, I can’t say the same for the Brussels sprouts, which are okay in salads but not something I’d eat otherwise.  Not terrible but not great.  Better to roast those suckers, I think.)

The day’s other main task was Lily’s annual wellness exam.  When she saw that we were going for a walk, Rose also insisted on joining us, so it was a bit of an undertaking, but we arrived in plenty of time, and also ran into Kirsten.  Lily needs a tooth-cleaning, so what with that and the exam fees, I opted for the monthly payment plan.  Not cheap, but she will have clean teeth, by god!  And we will have a clean-as-a-whistle bank account, all uncluttered by that nasty ol’ money.

I was happy to pick up (finally!) the lovely memorial picture of Maisie that Kristie did for me.  I will scan it in on Monday, since my phone camera won’t do it justice.  And we had a nice walk home– slow, of course, because of Rose’s need to investigate everything thoroughly– and I admired all the flowering trees.  My own peach, surviving apple, and pear trees are all decked out in blossoms, so here’s hoping we don’t get another hard frost.  Unfortunately, one apple and the Damson plum do seem to be well and truly dead.  I doubt we’ll be able to afford replacements for them this year, but I should have another elderberry to plant soon.  The cherry, raspberries,  and serviceberries in front seem happy too, so hopefully I’ll actually get some fruit this year.  Nobody even got grapes last year!  Strange year.

And now I believe it to be Stroganoff Time, which will be shortly followed by Laundry-Folding Time.  It’s a glamorous life.

Happy Easter, all

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20160327_122217_resized_1 (1)Well, it’s suddenly Easter.  I’ve done kind of a lot of nothing, though I did get us these pretty Lake Champlain chocolate carrots, and I gave the dogs the end of a real carrot I was grating.  So I guess that’s something.

So far, 2016 is shaping up to be a fairly ghastly year.  Seems like every day there’s a new horrible thing.  Bowie’s death still sucker-punches me with grief sometimes, and I have days my re-herniated disk really hurts and I have to take something for it.  But this post isn’t about that, dammit! No self-pity!  Easter-y rebirth-y stuff!  (If you write it with a lot of exclamation points, it has to be true, right?)

I went to a vegetable fermentation class at Denver Botanic Gardens a few weeks ago.  Class was interesting and tasty.  I especially liked a curried cauliflower that the instructor made, so I made some, based on her instructions.  I wish I’d taken a photo! It was delicious.   I “riced” the cauliflower (that is, chopped it so the pieces were rice-like in size), and then massaged it with salt.  The massage and salt draw out the moisture, so soon there’s enough brine to cover everything.  I added an apple and curry powder and let the whole thing sit out on the counter for about a week.  We used it on top of curries and salads and really enjoyed it.  Strangely, though, when I moved the stuff to smaller jars and put them in the fridge, the brine seems to have disappeared entirely.  I was a little worried because my book insists, “Submerge in brine and all will be fine,” but it aged well enough in the fridge.

Next was a fermented salsa of red peppers and jalapenos, which the book calls a sweet pepper salsa, but it’s pleasantly spicy. 20160327_121557_resized_1 I may increase the jalapeno ratio next time, though.  For this one, I chopped up all the peppers, onions, and garlic in the food processor and salt, so everything is quite small–salsa, after all, right?  It was a little tricky to keep the little bits of vegetable submerged, but a bit of plastic wrap tucked around the sides did the trick.  In summer, I’m going to preserve some of my grape leaves to use instead of plastic wrap.  This one had to sit for 2 weeks, but it’s really good.  It just tastes like a really nice salsa, and you can’t really tell it doesn’t have tomato in it. Nice as a dressing for taco salad, too, mixed with a little olive oil.

After that I did some spicy Brussels sprouts with smoked salt, which are okay but not that fab.  20160327_121606_resized_1 (1) I love the idea, and I love Brussels sprouts, but these are a little disappointing.  I was hoping they would take on more of a coleslaw texture, but they’ve retained their rawness, and the spicy flavor really only hits when you get one of the sliced jalapenos.  Still, the sprouts are good sliced up in salads, and they’re probably doing magical things for our microbiomes.  I’m not quite sure how we would know this, so let’s just assume it’s true.  There’s some fairly compelling research out there about gut health having an impact on overall health, after all.  Maybe we can get paid as poop-donors for fecal transplants or something.  (No, seriously, that’s a Thing!  http://thefecaltransplantfoundation.org/what-is-fecal-transplant/)

Today’s endeavor is a red cabbage kimchi.  I soaked the cabbage overnight in a brine (which turned a sort of charming purple color), and then this morning, I massaged in all the other ingredients: carrot, daikon, garlic, scallion, red pepper flakes.  My extremely traditional fermentation vessel is the sun tea jar I found on sale at the grocery store a couple of years ago. 20160327_121619_resized_1 I don’t actually ever make sun tea, but the jar has turned out to be a good size, and I think it was something like $2.  It’s perfect for these ferments.  It’s big enough that I can pack everything in, with lots of headspace, and then the Ziploc with brine on top.  Fermenting veg bubble up a lot of excess liquid, so I’m keeping the jar on top of a disposable pie plate.  (No idea why I even had a disposable pie plate, but it was in the cupboard.)  This will ferment on the counter for a couple of weeks.  Not sure what will be next, but we do tend to like the spicy ones a lot.

So no self-pity!  Let us enjoy happy fermented goodness.  Happy Easter, all.