Mingled Greek Cuisine, and more.
Because, on an every day basis, any home cooked meal is better than any delivery.
Before mingling, read through directions, prepare ingredients and organize them on your bench in order of use. It helps in numerous way, not the least of which being a visual of relative quantities. While mingling, listen to music, taste everything at regular intervals, and keep that magnifying glass (salt) at a proper distance!
Winter is cauliflower season and we really love it. It is such an underrated ingredient. It beats almost any on versatility (you can leave it raw, grill it, boil it, fry it, bake it, steam it etc) with mind blowing outcomes. And it mingles perfectly. So much so I decided it deserves its own page.
INGREDIENTS AND DIRECTIONS (2 generous portions)
An easy one pot wonder, taking a traditional Greek dish, in which, vegetables mostly, are cooked in a tomato sauce: "Yahni" being the name, and slightly mingling it with Asia.
The concept here is to create a flavour profile as a base in which the main ingredients will cook, and then evaporate most of the liquid to get a thick sauce type carrier. Ingredients (1) to (10) constitute the flavour profile. Feel free to add more, or use less, experiment. Ingredients (11) and (12) are the main vegetables. Again feel free to change the recipe but think about how long it takes for each vegetable to cook. For example, here I add various sizes of cauliflower florets. The bigger ones will cook in roughly the same time as the potatoes and retain their shape, but the smaller ones will cook faster, break down and mingle with the sauce. Use a medium sized pot, you don't want them spread out, but neither packed. You should aim at roughly two layers of vegetables, so that all will be enveloped in the liquid. Finally, gradually season throughout the cooking, finally adjusting at the end.
In the pot over medium to high heat with a little olive oil add
1. Fennel Seeds, 1 tbsp
2. Seeds from 4 Cardamom pods
and lightly fry for 1 minute to release aromas. Then add
3. Onion, 1 pc, finely chopped
4. Celery, 3 stalks, finely chopped
5. Red Pepper, 1 pc, finely chopped
and allow to soften for another couple of minutes. Continue with
6. Garlic, 1 large clove, finely chopped
for a few seconds and then
7. Tomato paste, 2 tbsp
8. Fresh Tomato, 1 pc, grated flesh
9. Red curry paste, 1 tsp
10. Vegetable stock (or water if making flavour concessions for any reason), 400 ml plus more if needed
and give it a good stir. Finally add
11. Cauliflower, half a head, separated into small and large florets
12. Potato, 1 medium, cut into 3 cm half moons.
Cover pot and simmer for about 30 minutes, until vegetables are cooked, adding more stock or water if necessary (you don't want it to dry out before vegetables are cooked). Take lid off and cook for another 10 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated and the liquids have reduced. Alternatively, you can evaporate in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes - I prefer the oven as an evaporation medium, as the vegetables don't continue to cook as vigorously.
13. Garnish options: fresh thyme, basil leaves, parsley leaves.
Flavours will develop as it cools so it is better served slightly warm or at room temperature.
Keeps well for a few days in an air tight container in the fridge.
Kung Pao Cauliflower
DIRECTIONS AND INGREDIENTS (4 portions)
Nothing can really go wrong here apart from the cooking of the cauliflower which is easy to check and easier to correct!
1. Olive Oil, 2 tbsp at least
2. Sichuan Peppercorns, 2 tbsp, crushed
3. Cauliflower, 1 medium sized head, trimmed of outer leaves, and shaped to the base so that it stands upright.
Place on a tray in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 90 minutes until you can push a knife through the stem with no resistance.
While cauliflower is cooking, in a bowl whisk together to a smooth paste taking care to break down lumps
4. Cornflour, 2 tsp
5. Soy Sauce, 2 tbsp
6. Hoisin Sauce, 2 tbsp
7. Vinegar, 2 tbsp, I prefer here white wine or rice, but any will do.
When cauliflower is cooked, pour half the sauce over it and return it to the oven for 15 minutes to caramelize some of the sauce on to it. Take it out of the oven and pour the remaining sauce over it. Sprinkle with the garnishes:
8. Fresh Coriander (or Parsley),
9. Red chilli
10. Peanuts (or cashews, pine nuts, almonds).
and serve slightly warm or at room T.
You can also sauté some ginger, and spring onions and add them to the sauce.
Alternatively you can boil or steam cauliflower florets for faster cooking but I prefer the roasted texture.
It keeps well for a few days in an air tight container in the fridge.
Soy and Hoisin Sauce keep long on the shelf and also in the fridge once opened.