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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Cauliflower Confluence

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We’ve all heard the phrase “great minds think alike”, well  it seems like a lot of online food-type people are thinking about cauliflower! Now, this could just be a case of new car syndrome, like when you or a friend gets a new car and you suddenly start noticing that same make and model wherever you go, or it could be because it’s in season. Cauliflower recently came back into my cooking repertoire in a big way, so maybe I’m just more likely to click on a cauliflower related link.

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I was never a huge cauliflower fan growing up, but a while back I started adding it to curry dishes and I found that it readily absorbed the flavours of the sauce and the texture held up nicely, plus Young Fresh Chef would ask for seconds. Double yay, since cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable which is a code name for cancer fighting vegetables, in fact I’d say it’s something of a super food.

Photo 1 - 2012-02-23

Just to warn you, broccoli is a gateway veg, I started out roasting the green stuff after reading this one hungry night. Then with a desire for more, I turned up a recipe on epicurious that sounded too easy to not try. I did have to go out and buy cumin seed, but I’ve found lots of other uses for it.

One day my niece, Divette, came over for a visit with her new iPad. I was chopping up some cauliflower when Young Fresh Chef wandered into the kitchen with Divette in tow.

Divette: “Auntie, what are you doing?”

Kitchenette: “I’m making us a cauliflower snack.”

Young Fresh Chef: “My Mom makes GREAT cauliflower snack.”

When I talked to her mother later, I mentioned what a hit the roasted cauliflower was, she said that she’d already heard about the, “yummy white broccoli”!

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If you find or have any other cauliflower-centric recipes, share them in the comments!

More links:

-10 Cauliflower Recipes from Canadian Living

-Dinner with Julie: Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese

Dream Date

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I always enjoy making treats for my loved ones, even more so for special occasions. My darling Momette’s birthday comes just before the heart-filled hoopla that is Valentine’s Day and I always focus on that first before I think about V-Day. Now, Momette has been all about the health food for as long as I have known her (umm… my whole life). As a child, I endured countless tofu cheesecakes but was never convinced that it was superior to the original cheeseful version. The list of things she will/will not eat changes with each book she reads, show she watches and podcast she hears (I call her the texting granny, for her encouraging embrace of technology).

I was inspired by one of my favourite healthful blogs, My New Roots, to try a recipe for date squares that would fulfill all of Momette’s requirements and maybe a little more. Raw: Check! Vegan: Check! Gluten Free: Check! Sugar Free: Check! Delicious: Check!

Young Fresh Chef and I enjoyed a few samples and wiped the date filling bowl clean with carrot slices that were intended for his lunch (it’s amazing how much he likes to “cut” veggies with the food processor). I used a Buck Brand navel orange for the zest and the juice in the filling and it gave it a nice flavour that balanced the sweetness of the dates. The orange flavour was strongest when they were first made and mellowed out over time.

At the last minute I whipped up some Quinoa Quookies which I just made up off the top of my head. I had some left over breakfast quinoa and I combined it with chia gel, golden raisins, ground walnuts, coconut oil, maple syrup and some spices. There was no measuring, so I can’t call it a recipe. They ended up pretty tasty, the texture was a bit odd, that’s why I don’t feel like I can call it a cookie. I prettied up the sweeties by placing them in muffin papers and I loaded up a tin to take over to Momette’s for a B-Day Tea Party.

We enjoyed our tea and treats and had a good chat. She loved both choices, and said she was glad that I hadn’t made some fluffy white flour cake for her (do I know her, or what).  I love spending time with my Mom and I’m always happy when I can brighten up her day. She has always been a wonderful support and cheerleader for me and taught me so much. She is my first Valentine and holds an extra special spot in my heart.

What is the best treat you have made for someone, or that someone has made for you to celebrate an occasion?

Quinoa Quandary

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The only difficult thing about having quinoa for breakfast, at least in our house, is deciding what to mix in with it. My son, Young Fresh Chef, would have straight up quinoa for breakfast everyday, but I am not a creature of flavour habit and I need to switch it up. I’ll usually make a big batch of neutral flavoured quinoa at the start of the week so I can get creative with the additions. While it cooks up in only 15 minutes, it’s even faster to just reheat it, which gives me more time to play around with the add ins.

Quinoa works well in savoury side dishes, but takes on sweet flavours just as well. This South American seed gives you the goods to get your day off to a promising start, packing a complete protein punch. It also delivers as a good source of dietary fiberand phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. So I always feel I’ve done well to send YFC off to school with a bowl or two in his poke-able belly.

The only caution that comes with quinoa is, “Beware the saponins!” This bitter coating protects the growing plants from hungry birds which makes means less pesticides are needed, so it’s easier to grow it organically. I would recommend buying quinoa has already been pre-rinsed for your laziness.

It’s pretty easy to find quinoa at the corner grocery store, as long as you bring your specs! My favourite source for white quinoa is Costco  where they carry Truroots  organic pre-rinsed quinoa. I like the white quinoa for breakfast, while I find the red and black varieties hold up a bit better in cold salads.

So, what do I like to use to jazz up my morning bowl of quinoa? First, I feel the need to gild the nutritional lily:

-chia (either ground or in gel form)

-flax (ground)

-wheat germ

Then I pick a flavour combo:

-raspberry and unsweetened coconut

-apple or pear or whatever is in season with spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, etc)

-blueberry and walnut

-dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, what have you) and almonds

And just a touch of sweetness:

- Agave Nectar

-Molasses (iron!)

-Maple Syrup (manganese and zinc!)

-Xylitol

-Brown Sugar (special occasions!)

As you can see, the variations are limited only by your imagination and your provisions! My top pick right now is raspberry and coconut with xylitol and just a splash of coconut milk. I use frozen berries, but I dream of when they will be back in season…

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