Wednesday, April 18, 2018

That Cauliflower Thing

In a fit of madness sometime in January, I started a calculus class. My job does some education reimbursement, so I was looking into graphic design classes because while I'm a bit of a luddite technophobe, I do have to make a lot of flyers. The class I wanted wasn't until late spring, but looking at the course catalog triggered some introspection: I started wondering why I hadn't been taking classes and  thinking about whether I'm currently just wasting my time and how I don't know even how to make crossword puzzles or play the guitar and WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE and the next thing I know I'd signed up to take math for the first time in over a decade.

Totally, TOTALLY solid decision making process.

Adding classes has meant that I'm pretty low on free time, and have to leave my house on Mondays and Wednesdays with lunch and dinner packed. Simultaneously, my roommates and I have been (unsuccessfully) trying to downsize our pantry, and I'm personally committed to doing a better job with my budget. I've been handling this combination of things by aggressively meal planning- I don't want to talk about it, but there's a spreadsheet involved :D. It's largely working, but it also means my diet has been super repetitive. Duck egg sandwiches (Trader Joes' ciabatta rolls, sundried tomatoes from the summer, random cheese!). A box of pasta + freezer pesto. Scrambled egg tacos. Two straight weeks of hummus sandwiches, because I over-enthusiastically cooked two pounds of dried chickpeas. More egg tacos. A week of weird turmeric soup that stained half my tupperware and also introduced one of my roommates to fresh turmeric for the very first time (fun fact: a bag of fresh turmeric in the freezer kind of looks like fingers). More duck egg sandwiches.

I've been planning my non-egg meals around whatever the NPS store has in abundance. Have I mentioned how much I love the NPS store? It's a surplus/overstock warehouse walking distance from my house where you can find everything from toiletries to cookware to saddles, often on the same shelf. Also, food. Everything is crazy discounted- in the summer, there are always a couple weeks where they sell perfect globe artichokes for 50 cents apiece, and those weeks are delicious. They sell dairy products that are past their sell-by date, and produce that grocery stores have rejected- one time they had an entire bin of strawberries that were triple mutants. It's sort of like Imperfect Produce... except you can't order anything through an app, and you have to dig through a crazy amount of weird stuff, and also it's the compete opposite of cool and prestigious. Also, Imperfect Produce was started by someone a couple years behind me at my college, so I'm totally proud of my life choices. The NPS store does not make me rethink my life choices.

That's a lie, everything makes me rethink my life choices. Last week I had a minor emotional crisis over the fact that I have never successfully grown raddichio. Adulthood!

Anyways, about a month ago the NPS store was selling cauliflowers two for a dollar, so I bought two. Three weeks ago, they were selling them three for a dollar, so I bought three more. When I went in the next week, they were TEN for a dollar, and I had to give my self a little talk. "Becca, you do not need ten cauliflowers. I know you could just buy one for 10 cents, but let me remind you- that did not stop you from buying three last week when you only needed one, and it will not save you now. You STILL have cauliflower leftovers in your fridge. Also, where are you gonna put them? How are you going to explain this one to your roommate?"

I resisted, which I am embarrassingly proud of, and then went home and ate this, which is known in my house as 'that cauliflower thing'. I actually wrote about this recipe here before, as part of a farro salad I made for a friend and then never again. I should have just written about the cauliflower, because I've made that part many times in the last couple years and four times last month. It's essentially just roasted cauliflower, but before it goes in the oven its coated in a slurry of spices, oil and red wine vinegar, and you toss in some big pieces of onion. The spice mix gets in deep to all the cauliflower florets, and the onions become smoky sweet, and the whole thing is really quite irresistible... which is good, because I'm pretty sure cauliflower is back on sale this week.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower with Farro and White Beans
Adapted from Epicurious

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion
1.5 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp corriander
1 Tbs curry powder
1 Tbs paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the onion in half, then lengthwise into wedges. Pull apart the onion wedges, then put them and the cauliflower in a large roasting pan. It has to be something with sides- a glass baking dish works well here. 

Combine all spices in a small bowl, then whisk in the red wine vinegar and all the olive oil. What you end up will seem far too thick, but that's ok! It will spread out as you roast. Add it to the pan with the cauliflower and onion and toss well. Roast for an hour, tossing every 15-20 minutes. 

A note on baking time- I'm aware this is significantly longer than cauliflower usually takes, but I think it's worth it.
The extra time allows the onions get all caramelized, and lets the cauliflower soak up all the dressing. 


  1. 1) I'm very excited about trying this recipe, mostly because I have recently become obsessed with roasting vegetables - who knew that roasting made all things taste better?
    2) I'm very disappointed that the author of a blog titled ten cans beans did not purchase ten heads cauliflower. And I think I know a certain dad who would be equally disappointed. Get it together, Becca.

  2. "That's a lie, everything makes me rethink my life choices. " Ha, oh my goodness, me too. Adulthood. Ugh.

    Sooo I just moved to Utah and forget Zion, I think I need to hit up this NPS store. Very intrigued.