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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Save Me, Cauliflower (Spiced Cauliflower with Arugula and Egg Salad)

Sometimes, you just need a simple meal to make sense of life. This last semester of the grad film program at NYU has gotten my brain in knots. Melting knots that are on fire. Does that make any sense? If not, you have an idea of what my state of mind is at the moment. I am in the middle of writing a feature, writing a short, helping package another feature, sending out my last film to as many festivals as possible, and various other school-related obligations. Oh, and attempting to have a social life (haha, that's a funny joke...). 

So, at any rate, most days when I get home, I need some kind of comfort. Something simple and delicious that will hug my insides and say "It's ok. We're here for you." For me, that comes in the form of cauliflower. I'm not sure why, but I love the stuff. It may be because I'm Indian. We tend to have an affinity for broccoli's pasty cousin. Generally, I am used to this vegetable being sauteed Indian-style as "Gobi" (my Mom's...oohhhhhh.....). But recently I thought of treating cauliflower as I do most other vegetables, tossed some spices on it, along with a bit of oil, and threw it in the oven for a fair bit of time. What came out was....well pretty much spectacular. 

I generally like my roasted vegetables tossed with thyme, red pepper, perhaps some tarragon, more European seasonings. Cauliflower, however, has always been an Eastern vegetable for me. So instead, I rubbed it with coriander, cumin, and...get this...cinnamon. Seriously, you must try this. It is phenomenal. In fact, it's so good that I plan on just keeping this as a staple in my fridge, to toss into any old salad. Here I paired it with a bit of arugula tossed in olive oil and lemon juice, as well as a perfectly medium-boiled egg. Mmm...ok, one more bite and I'll return to my chaos.

Spiced, Roasted Cauliflower

Note: This is really not a recipe, but more of a suggestion for how you can prepare some cauliflower you've got lying around. You could try this with broccoli, but I have a feeling it won't work out as well. There's a creaminess to cauliflower that pairs very nicely with these spices. Would probably work well with potatoes, okra, turnips, onions, and various kinds of squash. Also, the spices are completely to taste. This is a rough estimation of what I used.

3 cups cauliflower, cut up into equal sized pieces
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss all ingredients till cauliflower is well covered. Spread out on baking sheet. Bake till cauliflower begins to brown, and becomes soft. Approximately 30 minutes. Eat hot or at room temperature.