Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cauliflower as big as your head

Once, while visiting my friend Sandra in Milwaukee, near the University of Wisconsin, we saw a restaurant advertising Burritos as Big as Your Head. As I was young, poor and a lover of greasy food, this seemed attractive at the time. Now I am not so sure.

Cauliflower as big as your head, though, which is what Wegmans was selling (2 for $5!) last week, is mighty appealing. Women who did not know each other stood around the cauliflower bin in their Lululemon capris, talking about what the heck to do with such a big vegetable. (What I wondered was how in criminey it got that big, but that is something perhaps we cannot ever know.) Pushing fears of steroid use aside, I heaved a couple into my cart.

As I was trying a new Tandoori chicken that night, I decided to use the tandoori sauce and roast the cauliflower as well. (Plus, there was no space for it in my little fridge.)

With chart-topping levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, cancer-preventing antioxidants and phytonutrients, cauliflower is a vegetable that is welcome to the table anytime. This one was so beautiful I could not bear to cut it up, so I marinated it in the rub standing upright in a colander, then transferred that to the oven on a cookie sheet and roasted it whole.

Tandoori Sauce
adapted from Edible Blue Ridge

1 cup plain yogurt
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 T fresh grated ginger
juice of 2 lemons
1-1/2 T garam masala
1 t turmeric
2 t ground cumin
1 t coarse salt

Mix in a bowl and rub over whole cauliflower, as well as 6 chicken thighs, front and back. Marinate in refrigerator for at least one and up to 6 hours.

When you are ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Pull chicken and cauliflower out of refrigerator. Arrange chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet and leave out. Roast cauliflower at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until you can easily insert a knife into the stem section -- this is a good judge of how tender it is.

Let the cauliflower rest on top of the stove and increase heat to 500 degrees. Cook chicken 10 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 170 degrees.

Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro and raita. Oh, sorry.


1 cucumber, grated
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 Tablespoon light-colored vinegar (I like coconut vinegar but was out, so used white wine vinegar) or juice of one lemon or lime

Grate cucumber into a bowl and toss with the rest of the ingredients. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Can make up to 2 days ahead but will have to stir as cucumber is very liquidy.


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