Spice Cake and a New Bundt Pan

spice bundt cake
I’ve been sitting here, trying to think of a way to explain to you why I adore spice cake.

I’ve come up with about 25 different adjectives, but the truth doesn’t have anything to do with flowery language. The truth is pretty darn simple. I love spice cake because I can get away with eating it for breakfast.

Cake for breakfast. It’s my dream. Which is why I adore my grandmother’s sour cream coffee cake in muffin form – anything in a muffin tin qualifies as breakfast, right?

As I mentioned back when I shared that coffee cake muffin recipe with you all, for many years my kitchen has been lacking a bundt cake pan. I have more bakeware than any woman should reasonably own. In fact, Jeff had to build me an extra set of shelves in the basement to hold my mini doughnut pan, my Madeleine pan, my candy molds, my petit-fours kit, my mini tart pans… you get the idea. But for some reason, I never got around to buying the basic bundt pan.

I was at my aunt’s house for dinner a couple weeks ago, and after we were so thoroughly stuffed with brisket and potatoes we thought we would never eat again, she brought out two of the prettiest bundt cakes I had ever seen. Yes, two. She’s like that. At her table, I have never been served less than two desserts, and usually more.

Her cakes were beautiful, with their pretty fluted edges. And after one taste, I realized that the shape was not just for show – all those ridges (all that extra surface area) make for plenty of extra buttery crisp bits. I love that buttery crisp cake edge!

I oohed and ahhed over those cakes, bemoaning my lack of bundt pan, whining to my cousin even as I devoured a mega slice of each.

And a week later, when UPS delivered a beautiful bundt cake pan to my door, I was baffled for only about two seconds. My cousin is so thoughtful – and had been so shocked that my over-stocked kitchen could be lacking such a necessary staple – that she turned to Amazon that very night.

So I made spice cake. And I’m loving all those buttery crisp edges and intense flavors this morning with my cup of tea. This cake is wonderfully moist and lovely on its own, but also fantastic with some barely sweetened whipped cream. And if, like me, you save a slice for breakfast, a smear of cream cheese is pretty great too.

spice cake

Spice Cake
(adapted from this Spiced Applesauce Cake recipe)

3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups applesauce
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan. Stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together until very fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well. Then stir in half of the flour mixture, all of the applesauce, and then the remaining flour mixture. The batter will be a bit stiff. Spread it into the bundt pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool before removing from the pan.

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Published in: on March 10, 2013 at 11:15 am  Comments (8)  
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Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup

vegan indian vegetable soup

Almost every year, I succumb to a moment of temporary insanity on December 31st.  I make all sorts of crazy resolutions for the next year. And in the first few weeks of January, those New Year’s resolutions generally hold firm.  I go to the gym, forgo the ice cream, munch on raw broccoli and drag my butt to Pilates class.  But by the third week of the new year, all my good intentions have been waylaid by stressful late nights at the office, snowy winter mornings, movie theatre popcorn with extra butter, and cozy cuddling on the couch.

Let’s be honest.  Am I really going to keep my vow to make it to the gym every single day? Nope. Not likely. And give up ice cream?  Why did I ever want to give up ice cream?  Seriously… what was I thinking?

So I’m trying to bring a little bit of balance to my January.  Healthy, wonderful, delicious food – like this soup.  And a bit of ice cream every now and then too.

This soup is amazingly fragrant, easy to make, and perfect for a cold night.  It actually gets even better the next day, so makes for tasty leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. I’m not usually an advocate of frozen veggies, but in the case of soup, I’ve found that frozen is usually as good as fresh.  So feel free to use a bag of frozen cauliflower in place of the fresh in this recipe.

I really like good, grainy croutons on top of this soup, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.  But a handful of toasted sunflower seeds would be lovely too. And adding a sprinkle of finely chopped hard-boiled egg or a big dollop of Greek yogurt would make this soup into a hearty meal (but would, of course, make the dish no longer vegan). Basically, anything goes. Use your imagination, and enjoy!

vegan curried cauliflower soup

Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

For the soup:

1 pound fresh cauliflower (about 1 head) chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the toppings:

4 slices whole grain bread, cut in cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or any other fresh herbs you have in the fridge)

Steam the cauliflower until very tender.  Meanwhile, in a large pot, saute the onion in oil over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the ginger, garlic and spices and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and broth to the pot.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.  Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor.  I like it to retain a bit  of texture, but you can puree until completely smooth if you prefer. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the almond milk.  Heat until fully warmed through.

Meanwhile, toss the bread cubes with oil, salt and pepper.  Toast under the broiler until golden brown.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and top with croutons and cilantro.

Published in: on January 21, 2013 at 7:27 pm  Comments (9)  
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Coconut Hot Cocoa

coconut milk hot chocolate

It’s official; I’m an old fogie.

I’d rather be curled up on the sofa with a mug of cocoa than partying it up at a bar.

When did that happen?  When did my PJs and a James Bond movie marathon become my idea of a perfect evening?

At some point along the way, a steamy mug of really great hot chocolate eclipsed tequila shots as my New Year’s Eve drink of choice.  And this coconut hot cocoa is about as great as cocoa gets.  It’s incredibly creamy and full of deep, rich chocolate flavor.  But best of all, it smells incredible. The combination of coconut and chocolate is addictive.  And it’s so easy to make!

You could certainly top this cocoa with a dollop of whipped cream or a few mini marshmallows.  But I’m a hot cocoa purist.  To me, whipped cream detracts from the chocolate, and elusive little marshmallows distract me from my chocolate desires. But I do advocate a splash of coconut rum here.  After all, it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m not THAT old!

Happy New Year!

Coconut Hot Cocoa

Serves 2

1/2 cup low-fat milk

4 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup canned lite coconut milk

2 tablespoons coconut rum (optional)

In a small saucepan, wisk together the low-fat milk, sugar and cocoa powder over medium-low heat.  Once the sugar has dissolved, wisk in the coconut milk and heat, stirring, until hot but not boiling.  Add the rum, if using.  Pour into two mugs and enjoy. Great with ginger snap cookies!

Published in: on December 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm  Comments (10)  
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Lighter Creamy Mushroom Soup

mushroom soup 2

It’s December.  So I shouldn’t really be too shocked that it’s freezing cold and dreary outside. But every year about this time, I find the cold jarring.

Fuzzy slippers and hearty soups are all that are keeping me from hopping a flight to Florida.  In a few weeks, I’ll settle in and remember that I enjoy crackling fireplaces and hot bubble baths, and pristine snow falls, and steaming cups of cocoa. But for now, it’s all about soup. A big bowl of soup, a piece of crusty bread, and maybe a simple green salad, and I’m about as happy as I can be in early December.

This creamy mushroom soup is actually more mushroom than cream.  Even so, the texture is still lovely and rich from the pureed mushrooms and the small amount of reduced fat cream cheese.  I happen to like the meatiness of mushroom bits in my soup, but if you prefer, you can fully puree all of the soup.

I’ve made this soup with a variety of mushrooms, and it all works.  This time I went for a combination of shiitake, crimini and regular old white button mushrooms.  Use what you like, though, or what you can find at the store.  I’ve never tried using reconstituted dried mushrooms, but I imagine they might add another level of flavor and texture, so that could be worth a try. I use beef stock, because I think the flavor combination of mushrooms and beef is lovely. You can certainly use vegetable stock – or better yet mushroom stock – for a vegetarian soup.

mushrooms

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

4 cups chopped mushrooms, mixed variety

3 cups beef stock

4 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese (not fat-free)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh fennel fronds for garnish (optional)

Published in: on December 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm  Comments (7)  
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Butternut Hash and Eggs

butternut squash and fennel

I eat eggs for dinner pretty regularly.  I know some folks consider eggs a breakfast food, and I do love a good Benedict for brunch, but I’ve always been a fan of eggs for dinner.  There is something totally relaxed, completely soothing, and inexplicably fun about an eggy supper.

I think I probably get my evening egg love from my dad.  My dad was never much of a cook.  In fact, there were only two things that he knew how to make.  One of them was scrambled eggs.  He always called it an omelet, but it was very much a scramble.  A kitchen sink scramble. With everything from leftover brisket to chopped chicken nuggets.  And somehow we loved it.  But more often than not, my dad’s “omelets” were not breakfast food.  “Omelets” were for nights when mom wasn’t home and he didn’t feel like ordering pizza. 

These days, I’m not quite as into scrambled eggs with hot dogs.  But I am still into using eggs-for-dinner nights to clean out the fridge. 

Yesterday, my fridge yielded leftover cooked butternut and a half a bulb of fennel.  I added in a few potatoes and some onion, and a hash was born. Topped with an over-easy egg, it was sweet, salty, rich and decadent.  I’m a big fan of the subtle sweetness of the squash with the crispy edges of fried egg. But if you don’t have any winter squash, you could certainly substitute sweet potato or some chopped carrots or parsnips.  I quickly steamed the butternut in the microwave, because I like it a bit soft.  If you prefer, you can roast it along with the onions and fennel. This is a really flexible hash, so play with flavors that you enjoy. And as for the fried egg, I happen to like a slightly runny yolk. I crack an egg in a hot, greased pan, cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for 1 minute more.  But egg cookery is very personal, so experiment until you find your perfect method.

vegetable hash and egg supper

Butternut Hash and Eggs

Serves 4

2 cups diced butternut squash

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 cups diced Yukon gold potato

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped fennel

 4 eggs

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Put a few tablespoons of water in a large microwavable bowl with the butternut squash.  Cook in the microwave on high until the butternut is soft, about 5 minutes.  Drain any excess water and return the butternut to the bowl.

Meanwhile, toss the potatoes with half of the oil, the herbs, and salt and pepper.  Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Toss the onion and fennel with the remaining oil and more salt and pepper and spread on another baking sheet.  Roast both until the potatoes are crisp and the fennel is soft, about 20 minutes.

While the vegetables roast, cook the eggs.  Heat the butter in a very large skillet over medium heat.  Carefully crack the eggs into the skillet and cook until desired doneness. 

Toss the potatoes, onions and fennel in with the butternut.  Divide the butternut mixture onto four plates and top each with an egg, and, if desired, an extra sprinkle of salt. Serve immediately.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm  Comments (6)  
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Not Just For Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Feta Tart

french pumpkin tart with feta cheese

February is my least favorite month for cooking.  Oh sure, there is plenty of chocolate for Valentine’s Day, and little else to do besides putter in the kitchen all month.  Even so, every year, right about the middle of February, I lose steam.  With minimal produce for inspiration, and the holiday festivities a faded memory, I cave to take-out and frozen pizza more often than I’d like to admit. 

Do the winter blues hit you too?

As I sit here wishing for spring, planning my vegetable garden and dreaming of tiny strawberries, I’m attempting to jump start spring with a round of spring cleaning.  Today we tackled the basement and the kitchen cabinets.  And do you know what I found lurking at the back of my pantry?  A can of pumpkin.  It may not be a farmer’s market basket, but this vitamin-filled little can really jazzed up our quick winter supper.

You already know about my love of pumpkin.  Layered in a yogurt parfait, swirled into oatmeal, stuffed in ravioli, or baked in a cupcake, you really can’t go wrong with canned pumpkin. The slightly sweet earthy pumpkin works wonderfully with the salty tang of the feta and the nutty flavor of the swiss chard in this simple tart. A sliver of this tart would probably be a very nice appetizer for a fancy dinner party, but a big wedge also works well as a main course served with a big arugula salad dressed in good olive oil and lemon juice.

I like this Easy Olive Oil Tart Crust recipe from the wonderful Chocolate & Zucchini but you can use any tart crust you like.  You could even use refrigerated pie crust dough here and I’m sure the tart would still turn out wonderfully.  I do think that a good tart pan, with a removable bottom, is pretty important, though.  Before investing in a tart pan (really, not a very big expenditure) I made many mediocre tarts in a pie plate.  The too-deep, flat sides of the pie dish result in a soggy crust, and an unpleasant filling-to-crust ratio.  If you don’t have a tart pan, you might be better off making a rustic crostada – just roll out the dough on a baking sheet, spread the filling in the middle, leaving a two-inch border.  Fold the crust edges into the middle, brush with a bit of oil, and bake until golden.

Pumpkin Feta Tart

Serves 6 (as a main course)

1 recipe of tart crust dough 

3/4 cup thinly sliced onion

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced fresh swiss chard

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 cups canned pumpkin

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Carefully press the crust into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.  Saute the onion in oil over medium heat until soft and just beginning to darken. Add in the swiss chard and cook 1 minute more. Season liberally with salt and pepper and stir in the rosemary.  Remove from the heat.  In a medium sized bowl, stir the pumpkin and the eggs well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove the crust from the refrigerator.  Spread the pumpkin mixture evenly in the crust.  Sprinkle the swiss chard mixture evenly over the pumpkin mixture and top with the feta cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Published in: on February 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm  Comments (12)  
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Orange Quinoa Pancakes

whole grain pancakes breakfast

Sometimes, when it snows, I crave warm, comforting winter foods.  Spicy soups, hearty stews, cheesy quiches, and yes, syrup-drenched pancakes.  Other times, mid-snow storm, I’ll find myself with a hankering for summer sweetness.  I’ve been known to bake up a batch of blueberry corn muffins in a blizzard, and always keep a pint of strawberry ice cream in the freezer for snow days.

I spent the last week in Florida for work, and came home yesterday to this winter wonderland. Sweet, juicy oranges and pretty pink grapefruits were everywhere in Florida. So, of course, I stuffed a few in my suitcase. I’m glad I did because as soon as I got home, I was craving the sunny, bright orange flavor. But, as expected, I was also in the mood for a hearty winter breakfast.

These orange quinoa pancakes fit the bill. They are both sweet and nutty. The hearty texture fills my belly and fortifies me against January weather, while the light orange flavor gives me hope that summer is out there, months away, but out there – eventually. Full of protein, fiber and vitamin C, these delicious little pancakes provide enough power to propel me through shovelling the driveway.  (OK, actually, Jeff does most of the shovelling around here, but after a few pancakes, I certainly could get out there and clear the sidewalks!)

I love quinoa, and often cook up a big batch all at once.  Leftover cooked quinoa is great in pancakes, of course, but also adds bulk to salads, makes for a tasty omelet filling, and is delicious as a breakfast porridge when heated with a bit of milk and honey. You could certainly play around with the flavors here, and other fruits as well.  Adding some banana slices and a handful of raisins to the pancake batter would be yummy. But for today, I’m all about the Florida citrus! These pancakes don’t have much sugar, but if your oranges are good and sweet, just a tiny drizzle of honey is all it should take. 

protein breakfast fruit vegetarian

Orange Quinoa Pancakes

Serves 4

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus extra for the pan)

1 egg

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 large oranges

2 tablespoons honey

Sift together the flours, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon.  In another bowl, wisk together the milk, oil and egg.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir in the quinoa.  Zest both of the oranges, avoiding the white pith, and add the orange zest to the batter.  Set the batter aside and let it rest for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, peel the remaining pith from the oranges, and cut the orange segments between the membranes, into little slices. Drizzle the orange segments with the honey and set aside. Heat a greased nonstick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat.  Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of batter per pancake into the heated greased pan and cook until the edges firm.  Flip and cook another two minutes until golden. Continue to cook the pancakes in batches.  Serve warm topped with the orange and honey mixture.

Published in: on January 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm  Comments (13)  
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Favorite Black Bean Soup

hearty black bean soup

Let me start out by saying that this is not a vegetarian black bean soup.  There are a lot of wonderful vegetarian black bean soup recipes out there, but this is not one of them.  This soup is rich, intense, and full of meaty flavor. So full of flavor, in fact, that it really needs no adornment. I top most black bean soups with a sprinkle of feta, a wedge of lime, a dollop or sour cream, a drizzle of chili oil, or a handful of red onion. But with this soup, even a sprig of parsley is really overkill. 

The key to building rich and meaty flavor is using both the capocollo and the beef stock.  If you don’t have capocollo, which is cured pork shoulder or neck, proscuitto will work as well.  Really good beef stock is essential here.  Actually, I kind of think it’s always essential.  The stuff from a can is pretty much salty water – better to use water.  But home made stock is not always an option.  A number of local markets in my area sell house made stock, which is wonderful.  It’s usually found in the freezer area and makes all the difference in the world when you don’t have time to make a batch of your own.  In a pinch, high quality soup base works too (I’ve used Penzeys with good results).

beans

As for the beans, canned or dried – both work great.  In terms of taste, and even texture, I think the difference between canned beans and cooked dried beans is minimal.  But dried beans are incredibly economical, and also have much less sodium than the canned varieties, so I like to cook up a big batch and use them to make hearty soups, main-dish salads, flavorful dips and even filled omelets.   To cook most kinds of dried beans, rise and then soak in water overnight.  Then drain, add new water, and boil until tender.  The beans will keep for a few days, even up to a week, in the fridge.  My friend Julie even cooks and then freezes batches of beans, but I have to admit that I have yet to try freezing, although it does sound wonderfully convenient.

All of that is to say that this can be a great, quick, weeknight meal.  A few cans of beans and a bit of gourmet store-bought stock and you have dinner on the table.  Or, you can take your time.  Cook up a big batch of black beans, make your own stock from scratch.  Either way, the results will be fantastically tasty!  And this soup reheats well – that is, if you have any leftover.

easy rich black bean soup

Black Bean Soup

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 ounces capocollo, chopped

1 cup tomato puree

4 cups cooked (or canned and rinsed) black beans

5 cups beef stock

salt

freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium sized pot. Add the onion and carrot and saute over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the pepper, garlic and capocollo and continue to cook, stirring, until the capocollo starts to brown, about 10 minutes more. Add the tomato puree and reduce the heat to medium low.  Stir in the beans and the stock.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Transfer two cups of the soup to a food processor and puree.  Return the puree to the soup pot and stir well to combine.  If you like your soup smoother, puree more than two cups. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Published in: on January 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm  Comments (11)  
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Maple Cheesecake

cheesecake

Most people would probably disagree, but I think the best part of cheesecake is the crust.  I love that graham cracker crumbly deliciousness. The cheesecake part of cheesecake is growing on me, but for many years I considered it an over-rated dessert.  Somewhat plain, not quite worth the calories. And frankly, plain old New York cheesecake still doesn’t do much for me.

But smooth, sweet silky maple cheesecake is a whole different story. 

Maple syrup screams holiday season to me, and it makes everything feel more festive.  We devoured this whole cake at Thanksgiving (which means I still have a ton of leftover pumpkin pie – anyone have any fun ideas for what to do with half a leftover pie?) and I plan to make it again for Christmas.  With a subtle maple syrup flavor in the cake, and a more intense punch of maple syrup in the crust, this cake blew away the rest of our dessert spread. It’s smoother than a traditional New York cheesecake, a truly decadent texture. And you know what?  You don’t really have to wait for a holiday to make this cheesecake.  There is nothing wrong with cheesecake on a Tuesday.

Maple Cheesecake

Serves 10-12

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

3  cups graham cracker crumbs

1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter

1 1/2 cups maple syrup, divided

24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sour cream

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Candied Cranberries for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, grind the nuts until well chopped, but not a paste. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, nuts, melted butter, and half a cup of maple syrup.  Press the mixture evenly into a 10-inch springform pan and wrap the bottom of the pan with two layers of foil to prevent leaks.

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add the sour cream and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla and beat well, scraping down the edges of the bowl. Fold in the remaining cup of maple syrup. Carefully pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust. Bake for 60-70 minutes until golden on top.  The cake will not be set, but will set as it cools.  Chill the cake overnight before unmolding and serving.  Top with a handful of candied cranberries, if desired.

Published in: on November 27, 2011 at 8:11 pm  Comments (17)  
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Not Quite Mom’s: Creamy Chipotle Cauliflower

roasted cauliflower with pepitas

When I was a kid my mom would make a dish she called ‘Hungarian Cauliflower’.  Steamed cauliflower, topped with strained yogurt and toasty bread crumbs with a sprinkle of bright paprika. I haven’t had it in years.  In fact, I hadn’t even thought about it in years – until a few weeks ago.

My mom’s Hungarian Cauliflower was earthy, crunchy, creamy and delicious – a weeknight favorite. It’s funny how old favorites fizzle, though, when you move out on your own.  I can’t tell you why I’ve never made Hungarian Cauliflower, or the famous family ‘Albergetti’ (something akin to homemade Spaghetti-O’s) or even my mom’s potato-chip topped chicken noodle casserole.

But when I stepped into Michael Schlow’s new Boston restaurant, Tico, I can assure you that Hungarian Cauliflower was the last thing on my mind.  I was looking for spicy two textured beef tacos, and sweet tres leches ice cream … not a blast from the past.

Then a small plate of creamy, smoky cauliflower florets arrived on our table, and I was transported. The cauliflower was roasted, not steamed, and the creamy sauce laced with chipotle. But the food memory was there nonetheless.  Tico’s cauliflower was topped with a bit of crumbly, salty Mexican cheese, and crunchy fava beans – not exactly bread crumbs, but quite a flavor combination.

After that meal at Tico, I bought a head of cauliflower thinking I’d make Mom’s Hungarian Cauliflower. Of course, as soon as I got home I realized that we had no bread crumbs – not even a lonely crust of bread from which to make bread crumbs.  Typical of my haphazard shopping. But then again, most of my recipe innovations arise from missing ingredients.

So I roasted the cauliflower and tossed it with chipotle-laced yogurt, sprinkled it with a bit of salty cheese, and a few pumpkin seeds from the back of the cupboard. And I have to say, it turned out quite wonderfully. This recipe has all the nutty flavor and smokey punch of the dish at Tico and all of the homey creaminess of my mom’s cauliflower. And even better… this version is seriously healthy.

Creamy Chipotle Cauliflower

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 medium head cauliflower

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

3/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon bottled chipotle hot sauce

1/4 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets.  Toss the cauliflower with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast about 25 minutes until browned on the edges. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, mix together the yogurt and the hot sauce. Arrange the pepitas on a baking sheet and roast in the 400 degree oven for 3-5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Toss the cauliflower with the yogurt mixture and top with the cheese and pepitas.  Serve warm.

Published in: on May 19, 2011 at 6:42 pm  Comments (15)  
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