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On Your Mark, Get Set: Thanksgiving & More Cauliflower!

2010 November 23

by Sarah A. Maine

CauliflowerIt’s Thanksgiving week in America – one of my favorite weeks of the year.  More specifically it is my most favorite holiday of them all (apologies to non-American readers this week!  Just bear with us while we go a little Turkey-day crazy).  In case you haven’t picked up on it by now, I am a fan of food and cooking…and eating!  Can’t forget the eating part.  Thanksgiving is about all those things and more – cooking and eating food with loved ones.

I was born in America, I’m an American citizen, but for the first 17 years of my life I lived ‘overseas’.  Not in the United States.  Growing up there were a lot of things about America that I didn’t understand and didn’t identify with (oops, there goes my political career), but then there was Thanksgiving.  I have never had any problem understanding Thanksgiving.  When I was a kid, celebrating Thanksgiving was one of the few things that made me feel connected to America – a holiday all about food just made sense to me.  After fifteen years of living back in the US my relationship to America has changed, it has become more intimate – I might even belong here now – and my love of Thanksgiving remains the same.  Getting together with friends and or family to celebrate life over a big meal is pretty universal, pretty human.  In our house, I think there were a couple of Thanksgiving dinners where my family were the only Americans present but it didn’t matter, we ate good food and had a good time and somehow, no matter where we were, we always had pumpkin pie (thanks Mom!).

This week I’ll be doing plenty of Thanksgiving prep – a boatload of people are descending upon my parents’ house so I’m heading up there to help get ready.  Between traveling, chopping, baking and cooking there won’t be a lot of time for writing and posting.  So in lieu of our regular posting schedule this week, RecipeRelay will be taking Thursday off to, well, to give thanks.  Having said that, we can’t let the week be totally recipe free – that is unthinkable!

Which brings me to why there is a cauliflower at the top of this post.  Shouldn’t it be a turkey?  Maybe, but we haven’t quite mastered how to work holidays into our publishing schedule – we’ll get better at that, I promise.  In the mean time I am continuing the cauliflower theme from Allison’s Cauliflower and Vegetable Curry, I’m offering up a simple and versatile side dish – something you can use to fill out your holiday meal preparations which are no doubt already underway.  This recipe is itself a form of thanks giving – for the versatility and bounty of cauliflower.  It is also a reminder that tasty things don’t need to be too complicated and that there is always room for adaptation – even on Thanksgiving!

Getting Ready for Roasting

Roasted Cauliflower

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings, depending on the size of the cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower head, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 5 Tbs Basalmic vinegar
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Cooking Directions

  1. Brush the a cookie sheet or large baking dish with olive oil, spread the cauliflower florets on it in one layer, you may have to use 2 dishes if you have a lot of florets. Brush the tops of the cauliflower with a little bit of olive oil.
  2. Bake the florets for 15 minutes at 400ºF turning them over in the middle.
  3. While the cauliflower is baking, blend the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey and red pepper flakes in a food processor or blender.
  4. After 15 minutes, remove the cauliflower from the oven and brush the florets liberally with the balsamic vinegar sauce.
  5. Put the cauliflower back in the oven for another 15 minutes, turning them over and basting them with more vinegar glaze in the middle.
  6. Serve immediately or store for up to 2 days before reheating.
  7. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Roasted Cauliflower with Balsamic Vinegar GlazeTo make the glaze for this recipe I adapted the balsamic vinegar marinade from my Great Scapes Chicken Kebabs from the first recipe of the Relay.  There are a lot of ways this simple recipe can be adjusted to fit your taste, your season, or your location.  You don’t have to use cauliflower – although cooking time might differ slightly, it would work well with carrots, rutabagas, zucchini, onions, fennel and many other roast-friendly vegetables.  One of the best parts about this recipe, which I mention in step 6 above, is that it can be made a day or two ahead of time and reheated just before the meal.  Timing the cooking schedule of multiple dishes for holiday meals is a delicate art – a dish that can alleviate some of the stress of that situation is worth its weight in pumpkin pie!

We have made a couple of upgrades to the RecipeRelay site: we now have a Recipe page where you can easily peruse all of our recipes to date (and get last minute ideas for Thanksgiving dinner!).  There is also a Cocktail page – all of our Local Libations in one place for easy mixing.  I hope that Thursday will find you filling your plate with delicious morsels and enjoying the company of your friends and family.  That’s what we’ll be doing, me on the East Coast and Brianna on the West but together in RecipeRelay spirit, Happy Thanksgiving!

-Sarah