Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cauliflower Out of Proportion

Usually I can look at a recipe and have a pretty good idea about the volume of the finished product. Usually. Sometimes my sense of proportion seems to have taken a vacation without leaving a forwarding address. The above picture is an illustration of what happens when I sail into something without a clear vision of the goal. It happened like this ...

There was this big head of cauliflower in the refrigerator. Cauliflower, I am learning, is a much more versatile vegetable than I had realized for far too many years. It's great fun to explore new and different ways of dealing with it. Then I ran across a recipe that sounded SO good. Something called Curried Cauliflower and Redskin Potatoes. Well sure. Why not? This is more or less the way it went:

You can skip this first step if you want to go strictly vegetarian. It wasn't in the recipe, just in my personal vision of nirvana. I diced up some sliced bacon and fried it in my big wok-style frying pan, then drained the bits on paper toweling and set them aside. Then I dumped one large, chopped Vidalia onion into the drippings and cooked it on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until the onion bits were soft and slightly browned. You can start the process with a tablespoon of olive oil for your onion and get to the same place I did.

Then I added a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic (or you can use two cloves, smashed or minced), 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger and a bare teaspoon of red curry paste. The recipe called for 1 teaspoon of curry powder but I didn't have any. I was also supposed to add 1/2 teaspoon of coriander and I would have sworn I had some. Maybe I do but I still haven't located it. Ah well. I stirred all that around for about a minute and then added 3 small potatoes that had been cubed up while I was waiting for the onions to cook. They weren't redskin potatoes but, hey, that's a minor technicality. Then I added 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 2 cups of liquid. The recipe called for the liquid to be water. Well, where's the fun in that? I opened a can of beer, added enough water to make 2 cups, and poured it in. Brought everything to a rolling boil, turned the heat to low, put a lid on it and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

While it was simmering away, I wrestled the cauliflower into submission, scoring a bowl of neat little flowerettes. It pretty much filled a bowl. I looked at the cauliflower and I looked at my big frying pan with its gently bubbling contents. Oops. All of this is not going to fit in there, even if I pray for a miracle. Time to make an adjustment and implement Plan B.

I hauled my BIG kettle out (I dunno -- I think it holds a couple of gallons.) and transferred the onion and tater mixture from the frying pan to the roomier accommodation. Then I dumped in the bowl of cauliflower and about a cup and a half of frozen peas. Oh -- I also dumped the bacon bits into the mix. Brought it back to a boil, stirred everything good, turned it back down to simmer, put a lid on it and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Well! I'm here to tell you, that is a wicked good meal. I was kicking myself for not having thought to whip up a little pot of rice because the cauliflower mixture would have been nice, ladled over a fluffy pile of, say, jasmine rice. Just as well I didn't. I had one small bowl and feel as though I've indulged in a seven-course dinner. Hooboy, that is some kind of fill'erup food.

Oh -- for a change, I found I'd under-estimated the amount of curry paste. Which is okay. I just sprinkled a healthy portion of my precious Mrs. Dash Southwestern Chipotle seasoning over my portion. Total perfection.

The fact that I have so much left is rather a bonus. I'm already planning on fixing a little bit of dill sauce to go with one serving. For another, I think I'll make a bit of beer/cheese sauce and bake it. Then I think I'll freeze the rest for another day. Who needs a sense of proportion?

Prayers and major mojo for our friends in the San Diego area. The fact of the fire is only part of their grief.

1 comment:

Mage said...

Cheese sauce, indeed. You have become the online cooking channel. :)