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On Your Mark, Get Set: Cauliflower Kismet

2010 November 16

by Allison Radecki

Cauliflower Kismet

Kismet.  There’s just something about the word that captivates me.  Think you may already have a plan and know exactly how you envision your perfect ending or recipe?  HA!  Think again.  Do you hear that?  That’s kismet chuckling behind the scenes.  With that knowing giggle, I’ll launch my first posting here on RecipeRelay, which begins on a frigid day in New York last week.  The musical drum roll of hailstones pinging off my window put me in the mood for something comforting and creamy.  I was craving a dish that would warm me up on the inside.

Like an intrepid postal worker, “neither sleet, nor rain, nor gloom of night” can keep me from drifting through a farmers market if I come across one, which is exactly what happened when I arrived at Manhattan’s Union Square Greenmarket that day.  While weaving through the tented tables, I was stopped in my tracks by a mountain of brassicas – glorious members of the cabbage family from Troncillito Farms of Ulster County, NY.  What made my jaw truly drop were the cauliflowers.  We’re talking cauliflowers of Dr. Frankenstein proportions.

After picking up a head (which required both hands to lift) and marveling at the freshness and beauty of the massive, edible snowball, I realized that there was no way I could not bring this baby home with me.  Knowing that the Environmental Working Group lists broccoli (similar to its paler cousin, cauliflower) as one of the 12 vegetables least contaminated by pesticide residues on its Dirty Dozen list, I didn’t linger over the fact that this particular cauliflower was not organic.

So, my friends, this is how I came to ride the L train to Brooklyn with a gargantuan cauliflower peeking out of my market bag, protecting it like a mother hen from the strap-hanging crowds at rush hour.  I was headed to meet Sarah at a book signing; when I arrived Sarah told me of her plans to derive a Cauliflower and Sage Soufflé from Brianna’s Butternut Fritters with Lentils and Spinach.  I sensed that fate had determined the ingredient of my upcoming relay as well.

After Sarah’s adventures in dairy of the previous week, I wondered if I could still make something warm and creamy but without the cheese and milk.   I didn’t want to send RecipeRelay readers into a dairy coma, after all.  While perusing The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook, I found my answer.   Their recipe for Vegetable Curry with Potatoes, Cauliflower, Peas and Chickpeas would be a good jumping off point.   Be sure to check in on Thursday when the full recipe will be posted.

Since I enjoy cooking while listening to music, I offer you the chance to ponder your own thoughts on cauliflower kismet with the dulcet tones of The King.  The romantic little ditty, Kismet, which Elvis sings in the 1965 film Harum Scarum, fully captures my feelings regarding my brush with the brassica.  In fact, the white-clad princess, to whom Elvis croons in the YouTube link above, seems very ‘cauliflower-esque,’ don’t you think?

- Allison