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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Cauliflower That Ate New Jersey

James Beard, the great chef and cookbook author, said that the very best cauliflower was grown in the sandy soil of eastern Long Island.  I always agreed with Mr. Beard on this, and made many a pilgrimage to the east end farm stands in the Fall to gather up the delicious, plentiful, and cheap cauliflower heads.

Showing and Telling and Foodie-ing, on this Friday.  Links at the end of the post.


Reluctantly, I may have to bump Long Island off its Cauliflower Throne.
Guess what I got at a New Jersey family farm stand?
I bet you guessed.  
But this ain't no dainty supermarket veggie.
No sirree.

This is the biggest cauliflower I have ever seen in person.
I took a picture of my sister holding it up next to her head, for size ratio, but for some reason the shot didn't turn out.
She also bought one.
They were $2.00 each.
Two bucks!

That's a boutique tissue box in the lower left, for size comparison.
Not as much fun as my sister's head, but beggars can't be choosers.

We watched the farmer bring this vegetable and several of its brethren right in from the field.
It was so freshly cut, the stem was still wet.

Don't you think this magnificent product of God's good earth
is just as beautiful as this other pale and interesting beauty:

No?  Really?  
What if Ms. Cauliflower is all decked out in her Sunday best?

So what am I going to do with this enormous vegetable?
Sadly, it will not last indefinitely as sculpture, so I'm going to cook it.
By halves.
Half into soup.
And the other half into roasted florets.

Roasted cauliflower makes believers out of the most stubborn veggie-phobes.

Recipes below.

Random Friday nonsense:  our garden bunny, in the good old days,
roaming free amongst the weeds and frolicking, tra-la-la.

Oh dear.
It seems Mr. Bunny has done something naughty
and now he's serving a bit of time behind bars.

Whatever could he have done?

Confession:  Mr. Bunny is actually a law abiding citizen of the border, but the gentlemen who came last week to give the yard its Brazilian wax, yanking out weeds and trimming hedges, put Mr. B. in this basket, and Mr. Goose in another basket.

We have no idea why.
But it makes me laugh.


Roasted Cauliflower Florets

I know there are people who think Cauliflower is only edible if it is put into the Witness Protection Program and completely disguised.  As in, hiding under a blanket of cheese sauce.
 Give them a serving of this.

Cauliflower, cut into individual florets -- I like to leave a bit of stem, it's delicious.
Olive or vegetable or sesame oil.  Amount depends on amount of veggie.
Salt and Pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the florets in a couple of TBS of oil, to lightly coat, then spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet.  One of those stone sheets works fabulously.
Into the oven ... and you can shove them around a few times while they roast, if you want; I don't but I'm doing them on stone so maybe that makes a difference.  Check them in 20 minutes to see if they've hit the done-ness you like.  I usually let them go 30; I like my Cauliflower florets dark and mysterious.
That's it!

Simple Cauliflower Soup

There are soup recipes for this veggie that are uber-rich; this is not one of those.

Cauliflower, cut into small chunks.  Like big dice.
Olive or vegetable oil.
One small onion, finely chopped, or more if you have loads of veggie.
A couple of cloves of garlic -- minced.
Chicken stock.  Low sodium lets you control the saltiness.
Finely grated Parmesan.
Into a hot soup pot or big saucepan -- the oil, onion and garlic.  Cook 'em till they've gone limp with the heat and are demanding Margaritas by the pool.  This should take about 5 minutes.
 Add in the cauliflower, turn it around a few times in the oil, then add the stock and bring the whole thing to a boil.  Cook till cauliflower goes soft.  20 minutes or so.
Then, if you are lucky enough to have an immersion blender, now's the time to use it.
Plunge that puppy into the pot, and blend the whole batch of soup into a lovely creamy smooth delight.
No immersion blender?  Into a blender-blender in small batches then back into the pot.
Stir in the Parmesan, add S & P to taste, and you've got it.
No cream, no white sauce -- but pure veggie goodness.

Quantities of stock, onion, etc., will depend on how much cauliflower you are making into soup.
You can always add more stock.

**** Thrifting alert -- If you live in my neck of the woods ... the New Jersey Goodwill Stores are 50% off on Housewares, Frames and Pictures from today through Sunday.  Woot! -- Cass

Join Designs By Gollum for Foodie Friday.  Click here!

Cindy at My Romantic Home hosts Show and Tell Friday Click here!


  1. Wow, now I'm hungry for cauliflower! Funny you suppose that man could come to my yard and give it a Brazilian wax? Thanks for the chuckles!

  2. I love cauliflower but I've never roasted it, might give it a try:@) Some of the heads can truly be huge-so cool!

  3. I love your sense of humor!! I will never look at yard work the same again. Congrats on your cauliflower find. Enjoy.


  4. Good Afternoon Cass Sweetie...
    What a beautiful share today. I love the cauliflower. My gosh is it ever HUGE? The roasted recipe sounds yummy, I have never tried it like this and will definitely give it a try.

    I love the yard guys putting sweet bunny in the basket. I would say they put them in there so they wouldn't get broken, never once thinking they had put them behind bars. We have tiff grass so I guess it is about time for a brazilian wax around here too. Love it.

    Thank you for sharing today. I have so enjoyed my visit. Love this Old House Cass. Have a great day sweetie. Many hugs and much love, Sherry

  5. Sadly I'm the only one who eats cauliflower in this old house... and I do love it so. :-(

    That is ONE HUGE HEAD OF the stuff.

  6. That is one big cauliflower. We love it as well -- and growing up we never had it swimming in cheese! (Actually, my mother NEVER disguised veggies with cheese and we all loved all veggies). Roasted is wonderful and I like that soup -- I'll have to try it next time I get a cauliflower -- sounds yummy!

  7. Cass, I have roasted just about every veggie but this one. Will roast Cauliflower. Promise. Pinkie Swear. ♥O

  8. Cass did I ever tell you I love your so remind me of myself...Too funny my friend..Please come by for my second Blog BD party girl...Hope you and Howard have a GREAT weekend...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  9. Oh, always have me laughing! Love the cauliflower disguise {glasses and jewelry!!}.

    Thanks for the recipes. The roasted one looks so much better than the steamed that I always do!!


  10. why that cauliflower makes for a fine lookin woman! I think she needs a hat and a little scarf around her neck.
    The recipes sound simple and really good.
    thanks for sharing,

  11. That is one big cauliflower! Thanks for sharing your recipes. I like raw cauliflower florets dipped in dressing, but not much on cooked.
    Have a great weekend.

  12. I never imagined I would be complimenting someone on cauliflower. It's a vegetable that I didn't appreciate until well into adulthood, and now it is one of my favorites. Yours is probably the nicest one I have ever seen.

    I love the shot where it's all dressed up. Thanks for the smile.

  13. Give me cauliflower in any form & I am a happy person. That is one biggy, tho. Love her beautiful jewelry & designer glasses ...

    Happy PS weekend ~
    TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

  14. Wow, I want one. Have you ever made cauliflower mashed (potatoes)?

  15. Taught a unit on veggies to my highschoolers, and they needed pics and recipes for their chosen veggie. Guess I will have to post this site for them to look over! Love the gussied up cauliflower! Such beautiful pics. Thanks for stopping by my site, I am honored! The Country Living Fair was definately worth it, there should be one out your way...go to the web site and look. Keep up the great work on this blog!

  16. Hey Cass, how are ya? Besides dressing up your vegetables??? kinda scary.

  17. Thank you for the soup recipe, i needed ideas.I love your cauliflower with glasses and necklace! fantastic! Greetings for the week end , Catherine

  18. What a magnificent cauliflower, I'm sure it was delicious. Super thanks for the roasted cauli recipe - one dish that I wont have to share with Zebbycat (the old boy demands tasting rights for any meat I cook).

    And thank you for such a fun posting, sending huggles and purrrrumbles, Michelle and Zebby

  19. That is the biggest cauliflower I have ever seen. {drool} I love it but it's certainly not $2 a head down here. It's almost worth a trip to Jersey to get some!!

  20. Cass,

    Great post. I love cauliflower. Raw, cooked - it doesn't matter. They don't call Jersey the Garden State for nothin'.


  21. Oh, only you can make a cauliflower look like a fashion model, I had such a good laugh over that photo! And your bunny behind bars is hilarious too......I really needed my spirits lifted, thank you!

  22. I LOVE cauliflower and gosh, that's a beautiful head for sure. Not only ginormous, but not a mark on it! (except of course where you added the baubles and bling).

    Stop by my house to see the contest I started this morning. Should be lots of fun!

  23. That's some cauliflower monster!
    Yesterday, at the Bellagio in Vegas I saw an 800 pound pumpkin (and it wasn't in an Elvis competition). Imagine all the soup and pie in that big guy!

  24. "Cook 'em till they've gone limp with the heat and are demanding Margaritas by the pool" I'm howling with laughter over this one, Lady! You crack me up so many times with your quips & humor.
    Thanks for the smiles & for the delicious sounding recipes. I have a sm. head of it in the fridge & will try the soup later today.

  25. Marvelous! I like cauliflower steamed with olive oil and lemon sauce and French fries :))


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