Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh to love good food that comes from great produce

My garden is off to an incredible start. Well, nothing is growing in it yet, or even really planted, except for a  pea cover crop and transplanted onions and garlic. However, there is space and soil. And soil. And soil. 13 yards to be exact. I might be considered a wimp but, to my back and now injured shoulder, that is a lot of soil. We now have 3 raised beds (5x18, 5x12 and 4x8), an asparagus bed, a raspberry bed, an artichoke bed, 5 wine barrels, 15 containers and 3 potato boxes. I think that should do it for complete mental overload. We have seeds. Oh, glorious seeds that appear as little gifts in my mailbox as a result of pouring through catalogs for weeks. We have a garden journal and we are ready. Except for the challenge of keeping my almost 3 year old OUT of the garden beds. That is a story for another day. Back to pleasantries.

Last weekend, as I was lingering over the pages of the seed catalogs and dreaming of the fresh, crisp and flavorful produce to come, I realized that it was time for the Farmer's Market. So I rallied the little garden stomper complete with his boots and headed out to grab some tasty treats for the upcoming week. The usual carrots, parsnips, onions, shallots and rich mixes of greens quickly found their way into my bag and then I saw it. At the end of the first aisle, it stared right back at me and dared me to buy it. A 5 lb   flawless, pearly white cauliflower. This was one impressive specimen. So, I bought it and began considering what I could do with it. 

By the time I arrived home, I was wondering if I could pull multiple days of cauliflower off in my household and there the beauty sat in my refrigerator, occupying all of the space on my third shelf. After a glance through Bon Appetit and searching online, I came up with two incredible winners.

1) Cauliflower, Swiss Chard, and Chicken Soup from Epicurious
I added about 1 tablespoon of minced garlic to the onion and a touch of Garam Masala for a little kick. I thought it would last for a couple of days worth of lunches and then I could freeze the rest, but it was all consumed within 3 days. This was a two bowl soup for my dad. This is a pretty good marker since he isn't big on the vegetable scene. Did I mention that my 2 year old ate it for lunch 2 days in a row?

Country Captain with Cauliflower and Peas from Bon Appetit
This one was a serious crowd pleaser. We had guests over and everyone had at least two bowlfuls. I added half a can of coconut milk and a little bit o' curry. The spice portion of this requires a well-supplied spice cabinet or the ability to spend a little time in the bulk spices section. Completely worth the effort.

So when you see that perfect specimen of cauliflower that will take up an entire shelf of your fridge, do not pass it by. There is some seriously good food to follow.