Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Old favorites, new colors

Today was a great day in Garden Club. We played a smelling game where everybody sniffed different samples of food with their eyes closed and then had to guess what the food was. All the kids were astounded when they saw the blood oranges--their noses had the thing pegged, but their eyeballs were confused.

We had the same experience for dinner. When Fi and I were at New Seasons, they had a beautiful arrangement of cauliflowers in white, orange and purple. Fiona really wanted to try the purple kind. She actually begged for it, and since I'm a sucker for kids who beg for veggies, I totally bought a head. Tonight I decided to cook it up.

We had an Indian-themed dinner, with rice and lentils, and then I toasted some cumin seeds in a dab of olive oil (a lot more than I usually cook with, but I had a hunch the cauliflower would appreciate it), with a little salt and a dash of curry powder. The cauliflower soaked up the delicious cumin flavor as I tossed it around in the pan, and the curry powder gave it a well-rounded flavor profile. The best thing, and the thing I'd been most nervous about, is that the cauliflower stayed purple when cooked! I was very, very pleased, since I thought I remembered that purple cauliflower cooked to green. Maybe that's broccoli ...

As a little accompaniment to the cauliflower, I tried a veggie mentioned in Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian (which is probably my favorite cookbook for its treatment of vegetables, including many obscure varieties of veggies I can't wait to dig into): garbanzo fronds. To prepare for this experiment, I began growing some garbanzo plants in January. They are very beautiful plants, and I got a little teary-eyed cuttng them for dinner. I don't know if I could have done it I hadn't just planted some more out in the garden this afternoon! I cut back the entire plant, which was still very young and tender, and quickly stir-fried it in a little garlic, olive oil, and salt. Wow! They have a flavor reminiscent of asparagus, and were tender and lovely. Wow. Run out and buy some dried garbanzo beans today so you can try the fronds soon!

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