Monday, March 9, 2015

Sicilian Cauliflower

My friend Laurel knew exactly what she wanted for her 21st birthday dinner: Sicilian meatballs a la the Seattle Times. Now that she could buy wine, she could make the sauce correctly.

While flipping through Moosewood Restaurant New Classics one day, I happened upon a similar recipe but with cauliflower. Thrilled to find a vegetarian alternative, I decided to blend the two recipes together for dinner with my friend Mabel, alongside an arugula salad with chickpeas, a baguette, and pistachio cardamom cake (also from Moosewood New Classics).

Sicilian Cauliflower

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the wine.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and pine nuts for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, diced tomato, and cauliflower. Sauté for a few more minutes. Then, stir in the raisins and wine, and bring to a boil.

Add the tomato sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes, until it thickens slightly and the cauliflower softens.

Pistachio Cardamom Cake 

from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temp
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted pistachios
  • ½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 7 by 11 baking dish.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the semolina, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt. Grind ½ cup of the pistachios in a spice grinder to the consistency of a coarse meal and stir into the dry ingredients. In alternating batches, add the yogurt and the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition, to form a smooth batter.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

About 5 minutes before the cake is done, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for about 2 minutes and then remove from the heat and set aside.

When the cake is ready, cut in half lengthwise and then cut it into thirds crosswise to form six square pieces. Cut each square on the diagonal to make 12 triangular pieces. Pour the syrup evenly over the cake.

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