Sometimes I fear people might get the wrong impression about me. I am aware that some people might think that since I was a personal chef for a few years, or because I own more then 130 cookbooks (I don’t count anymore), am subscribed to 3 food magazines (well, now Gourmet is gone…), and prefer to cook from scratch, then I cook fabulous food for my family every day and every night.
Well, this is hardly the case. And frankly, it’s been a few good months that I feel like we’re eating mostly a “meh” kind of food. I have reasons and excuses to back me up, and the kids seem happy with pizza and hot dogs and pasta… but you know me… I think it’s not good enough. I know I can do way more than that. And I want to. Because food to me is more than just “food”. It’s a way to express my love for the people I am cooking for and, ohhh, I’ve got so much more to say about THAT when it comes to my kids and them being picky eaters but I’ll get into that some other time.
In the summer I had an excuse; I rather go to the park with the kiddies and make the most out of the sunny days then spend that time in the kitchen. Then my father got sick and later he died and I cared much less about the joy of cooking and wasn’t in the mood for fun food. I couldn’t really taste flavors anyway. It was as if my taste buds got a numb and my belly felt like it is turning inside out and upside down most of the time. And then, there were no more reasons/excuses for not cooking good food anymore. But something still wasn’t quite there yet. My element was missing. You know, the one that turns ingredinets into magic.
I tried. Between pizza and hot dogs, I made efforts to cook something exciting but most of it didn’t turn out right. I made butternut squash soup that tasted like “blah”and no matter how I tried to fix it by adding good things to it, we still did not like it. Then I cooked whole wheat Mac and cheese with pureed carrots and cauliflower and no one liked it, to say the least. It was my first attempt with whole wheat pasta and trying to fake it like Jessica Seinfeld (who’s approach is to hide food kids usually prefer not to eat, like vegetables, in food they do like, like junk food. An approach I mostly disagree with.) Then I roasted a chicken with a spice rub and it was OK but we didn’t go crazy for it and no one wanted to eat the leftovers. After that I baked cornbread with sage leaves which sounded interesting as a recipe but only my husband liked. And then, finally, I baked a cauliflower dish which was absolutely fantastic! Even the kids had nuggets of things in it that they loved like the apples and cranberries, and even the cauliflower. With no need to hide any of it. Doesn’t it look gorgeous?!
I was very happy about this dish. It was delicious! It was my big comeback!
As well as the home-made from scratch chicken soup with noodles. So comforting and homey. Post coming soon.
Roasted cauliflower with apples and red onion
This recipe was adapted from The Herbal Kitchen cookbook written by Jerry Traunfeld who is the owner of the fantastic restaurant Poppy in Seattle. You want to eat *anything* that this guy cooks (see photo here.)
Makes 4 servings
1 cauliflower, about 1 1/2 lb., core removed and separated into little florets
1/2 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch think slices
1 large unpeeled apple, cored and coarsely diced
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dried cranberries or currants
1/4 cup parsley or dill, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 450 F degrees (230 C).
Toss the cauliflower, onion, apple, olive oil, and salt together in a baking dish and spread out into a single layer.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the edges of the cauliflower begin to brown. Add the cranberries/currants and continue to bake for about 10 minutes longer, stirring halfway through.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley and serve.