Family get togethers always tend to get the creative spark firing – not least because there are at least two other Kitchen Stars in SheWhoMustBeFed’s extended family. It just isn’t on to be bringing out the same ol’ dish all the time, though it must be said that The Plumber is rather fond of Soccattata – especially as it is gluten free. When he is left near a plate of Socha’ you only have to blink twice and half of it is gone. Woosh!
A food processor is handy for making this salad, though not mandatory. Grating the cauliflower could be done with a hand grater over a large bowl, though it would of course be far more work than whizzing it down the chute of the processor and I suspect generate a lot more mess. Cauliflower does tend to fly around the place when grating!
- 1 Large cauliflower
- 1 bag of baby spinach leaves or mixed salad greens
- 1 standard punnet of cherry tomatoes, all halved
- Olive oil
- Grate the cauliflower using the “coarse” holes in your hand grater / or food processor attachment
- Spread out the grated cauliflower on one or two baking trays (best to not have it too deeply piled)
- Thoroughly coat with olive oil and a few dashes of tamari. It is best to roll up the sleeves and use your hands to help evenly coat everything.
- Bake at 180-200c for about 20 minutes. Give the baking cauliflower a mix and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. You’re aiming for a slightly crisped, but not burned result.
- Allow the baked cauliflower to cool to room temperature (consider preparing the cauliflower a day before you need the salad and refrigerate overnight)
- Just before serving, mix the cauliflower with the greens and the halved tomatoes
When SheWhoMustBeFed and I first started eating quinoa, many moons ago, we had never heard it pronounced, only read it. So for an embarrassingly long period of time we pronounced it “kwin-oh-a”. I can’t recall whether our verbal fumblings were ever met with a knowingly condescending smile; probably not as it wasn’t anywhere near as popular as it is now, so in all likelihood we never came across anyone who knew any better than we did. At some point we learned of our mistake and in a scene earily prescient of this we said to each other “Oh, it’s kinwah, not kwin-oh-a. Honestly being vegan is a nightmare. It’s no wonder we don’t have any friends.”
Now of course we are infinitely cleverer and wiser than before, because not only do we know how to pronounce quinoa, we also know that cranberries aren’t meant to be sweet. For a time we lived in that wide, wild and wacky land The Yoonited States of A-merica where cranberries are always sweet, and cranberry juice tastes like a large bottle of deeply purple sugar. In actual fact drinking a glass of natural, unadulterated cranberry juice has an affect something like sticking the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner into your mouth. All the spit in your mouth will instantly disappear, your cheeks will suck in tight, and once you’ve managed again to draw breath you will say “Well, that was a little sourer than I expected.” In this recipe, try to use dried unsweetened cranberries if you can get them. Sweetened works OK, but in our humble (cleverer and wiser) opinion, the tartness of dried, unsweetened cranberries will do it more justice.
Credit: This recipe came from elsewhere. I’d like to say where, but all I can tell you is that it has been cut out of a magazine and stuck into SheWhoMustBeFed’s recipe scrapbook. It was probably an American magazine, as the recipe called for “cilantro” as opposed to “coriander”. So, credit to the original creator and also the publisher of the magazine which printed it on a green page sometime.
- 3 1/2 cups of water
- 1 1/2 cups of quinoa
- 1 bunch shallots, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup of coriander
- 3/4 cup of finely sliced celery
- 3/4 cup of coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Boil the water, add the quinoa, stir and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft (approx. 25 minutes, but keep an eye on it)
- Lightly toast the pecans
- Once the quinoa is cooked, allow to cool to room temperature, then combine everything except for the pecans in a large serving bowl.
- Ideally, allow to sit and stew for an hour before serving at room temperature. Stir the pecans through just before serving so they are still a bit crunchy.
This’ll bring a lively dash of colour to the table, and elsewhere too the next day. The Bevski made it for us on Christmas Day, so it probably won’t taste nice, even though it does. Tinned beetroot just ain’t gonna do here, as they will already have been preserved in salt and vinegar. If you have a pressure cooker use that for the beets, as cooking them in a normal pot takes a tedious spell of time.
- 500g beetroot (weight not including the stalks)
- 500g punkyin (or use pumpkin if you like)
- 250g green beans
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3/4 cup of pine nuts
- caramelized or otherwise very thick and yummy blasamic vinegar (or use balsamic vinegar instead)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the making:
- Pressure cook/boil the beetroot until just soft, and slip off the skins under cold water. Discard the cooking water; The Bevski say’s it is very good for the vegie garden once cool.
- Chop the cooked beets into large wedges
- Meanwhile chop the punkyin into large chunks, brush with oil and roast
- Halve the peeled onion at the ‘equator’, then slice each half into four even chunks. Along with the crushed garlic (and optional salt and pepper) saute until onion is clear.
- Blanch the trimmed beans; aiming to have them still crispy. Flush thoroughly with cold water after removing them from the heat to stop them from continuing to cook.
- Combine everything into a large bowl, drizzle with the blasamic vinegar and sprinkle it all with the pine nuts.
- Serve, ensuring you tell everyone “This won’t taste nice” (don’t worry – it will)
It can’t be summer….not where The VegHead is anyway. The give away is the fact that its very white outside, and more white stuff is falling from the sky. So it must be either snowing, or a CIA aeroplane carrying a cocaine shipment has exploded in mid-air overhead. As Kate Moss is absent from the scene…it’s probably snow.
If it was summer then perhaps this salad would perhaps be being served to guests as we sipped Pimms into the long English evenings. It is very nice either warm, or “room temperature” (have you ever wondered “Which room?”).
Anyway…this ended up being the basis for a pasta dish for dinner last Thursday. I was going to write up the recipe for that, until as she was eating dinner SheWhoMustBeFed exclaimed “Hey…isn’t this the butter bean salad thing with balsamic vinegar?”. Clever thing she is…
So instead of writing up that dish in full, it seemed more sensible to write up this dish, and then in the recipe for the pasta dish just refer back to this. Are you following?
- 1 cup of cooked butter beans
- 1 small red onion
- 1 cup of small fresh button mushrooms
- thick, gorgeous, sweet balsamic vinegar
- pinch of ground black pepper
- olive oil
Do it to me baby:
- Peel the onion and top and tail it. Halve it “across”. Then quarter each of those halves. Then peel apart the layers, making little “cups” of onion.
- Very lightly saute the onion in a little olive oil
- Add the mushrooms, beans, pepper and tamari. Continue over a low heat for a few minutes.
- Heavily drizzle with balsamic vinegar
- Stir and serve