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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Le Fleur

I've never been a big fan of cauliflower. I love broccoli, but when it comes to its pasty-ass albino cousin, I'm just not interested. It kinda always tasted like ear wax to me (not saying I've eaten ear wax, but you understand). Recently I've been warming up to it. Robin took me to Nuba here in Vancouver, and she let me have a bite of her deep-fried cauliflower (which looked fairly warty with its florets crusted in browned batter). When I went to say no thanks, she insisted, saying it was delicious, but that after I tried it I was not allowed any more. She was right on both counts: it was delicious and I did want more. So when perusing Vij's cookbook for the 900th time, I thought I would try his cauliflower 'steaks' in tomato masala:

Spicy Cauliflower "Steaks"
1 head cauliflower, outside stalks cut off
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
10 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Cut the cauliflower as you would a pie, into wedge-like pieces. Wash and drain in a colander. Combine oil and tomatoes in a large wide pot on medium-high heat. Add ginger, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cloves and cinnamon, stir well and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low while you mix in cauliflower. Carefully place each piece in and gently stir so that the tomato masala covers all the pieces. If necessary, spoon masala over the florets to get the sauce in every nook and cranny. Increase the heat to medium, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Cauliflower should be fork tender when done.

How pretty is this? Looks like a bad infomercial shot for all-natural body care products. This should be near a waterfall and a Polynesian woman washing her hair. I felt compelled to stop cooking and smear this all over my face.

One of the great things about this recipe is it reheats well and keeps for days. It's quite spicy if you add the cayenne, but it also adds a great flavour, so I recommend adding it even if you are spice-shy, but adding half or even a quarter of the amount called for. Serving the steaks over rice also works well to cut some of the heat.

Perfect rainy day meal. I feel like I say that a lot, but I suppose it's because a lot of my meals are planned around wet weather as it rains at least 9 months of the year here in Vancouver. Sometimes it can really get me down (like now) but it literally takes a Vancouverite 12 hours of sun to forget the rest of the year when it sucks. It's a very pretty city (you watched the 2010 games right?). So you know.

PS HAVE NOT STOPPED GETTING DOWN with the Indian blanket since I first took it out of it's plastic case and smelled its intoxicating polyester stank. I ripped my duvet off my bed and tossed it aside like a bag of used kitty litter in order to spread it's calla lily loveliness across my queen size bed. And yes, it's too big even for that size of mattress. This thing is ridiculous!

But it's beginning to pay me back for my devotion to it. A couple of nights ago I'm sleeping away and I have a nightmare (too much curry?). I wake myself up trying to scream but no sound will come out, my raspiness is what woke me (if this doesn't sound that scary to you, try it sometime. It fucked me up good). In my now-awake-and-freaked-right-the-fuck-out state, THE ONLY thing that brought me any comfort was not Stella or the realization I was safe in my own home, but the softness of that fucking Indian blanket. So I made myself into a human burrito with it and slept like a baby the rest of the night. Free therapy? At least. Creepy connection to an inanimate object? Possibly. 100% potent magic? ABSOLUTELY.

(recipe courtesy of Vij's "relax, honey" cookbook)


  1. Where can I find me a copy of the "relax honey" cookbook by the way? :)

  2. Hiya, you can get it at Vij's restaurant or Rangoli on Granville and 12th in Vancouver.

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