Purple Cauliflower

Purple Cauliflower

Your eyes are not deceiving you. This isn’t some wacky Photoshop hack.

Purple Cauliflower

Purple Cauliflower

I was wandering through the last few days of the fall market at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market when I came across a booth with… purple cauliflower? I asked the farmer, “What is this purple cauliflower?” and he replied, “Well, it’s purple cauliflower!” I was expecting some sort of bizarre answer, after my encounters with alien cauliflower, but no. It was just purple cauliflower. According to Wikipedia:

Purple color in cauliflower is caused by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanins, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine.[9] Varieties include ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Purple Cape’.

Excellent! But what would I do with it?

I decided to follow the same path as I did with the romanesco cauliflower; I boiled it.

Purple Cauliflower, boiling

Purple Cauliflower, boiling

Holy cow – that was fun!

Then, I mixed it with some Daiya mozzarella and unsweetened soymilk and turned it into cheesy purple cauliflower.

Cheesy Purple Cauliflower

Cheesy Purple Cauliflower

And while this was cheesy right off the spoon, it was even more delicious when I started dunking hunks of crusty bread into it.

I will miss the awesome produce of the farmers market through the winter. The market does continue through the winter here, but finding local, seasonal produce becomes less and less likely. Just one more reason to look forward to spring!

Polenta Casserole with Seitan

It was an adventurous day today! First, I braved the mud at Messenger Woods to get a nice walk in. Then, I took a few bold new steps at Whole Foods, buying bulk dried beans for the first time, along with some exotic-to-me ingredients like sea vegetables for my upcoming kitchen adventures. I’m on spring break this week, so I plan to do a lot of cooking! I’m not sure where I’ll store all of the leftovers, but I’ll figure it out.

Tonight, I made my first vegan recipe out of Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet: Polenta Casserole with Seitan. It contained a few of those adventurous ingredients, so for those new to them, I’ll explain:

  • Seitan – “wheat meat” – a protein-rich food made from wheat gluten that resembles the texture and taste of meat
  • Tamari – a soy sauce made from soybeans, water, and sea salt, usually wheat-free
  • Umeboshi vinegar (or ume vinegar) – technically not a vinegar, but a fruity, salty, sour product made from Japanese umeboshi plums
  • Tahini – nut butter made from sesame seeds

OK, that covers all of the ingredients that I hadn’t heard of prior to reading this book! I was able to find them all at Whole Foods Market.

Step 1: seitan, asparagus, and corn.Step 1: Seitan, corn, and asparagus

Next, I employed my new kitchen laptop to look up how to chop parsley. I’ve never used fresh herbs before, and wow – fresh parsley smells amazing! I also felt like a freakin’ chef chop-chop-chopping by the time I was done with the parsley. Such a pro I am. (LOL!)


Parsley, Pre-chop


Chopped fresh parsley

I over-estimated how many parsley stems I’d need to end up with 1/4 cup of fresh chopped leaves, so hopefully I can think of something to do with my leftover chopped parsley soon. For those new to chopping parsley, you pretty much hold the knife as usual in one hand, then place your other hand on top to guide the knife as sort of a rocker back and forth over the parsley leaves.

Next up – the cornmeal mixture got spread on top of the seitan mixture, with some tamari sprinkled on top:

Polenta casserole with seitan, ready to bakeAfter baking, I did not read the instructions closely enough. They said to let the casserole sit for 15 minutes before cutting it into squares. I did not wait, and my casserole was mushy (though I also didn’t use as much cauliflower as the recipe called for, so that might have contributed to my mush-factor).


Polenta casserole with seitan - doneI got 9 servings out of this recipe, though I used a 9×13″ pan instead of the recommended 8×8″ pan (couldn’t find my 8×8!) The original recipe notes 6 servings.

And here’s what dinner looked like! I served the casserole with a side of spring greens with organic caesar dressing:

Polenta casserole with seitan and a side of spring greensThe meal turned out delicious. I like seitan – if I didn’t know better, I’d think it was meat (minus the cholesterol and saturated fat and other bad-ness that comes along with animal based meat). I have happily survived my first vegan meal!

[recipe-show recipe=polenta-seitan]


Breakfast for Dinner

Tonight, we have some breakfast for dinner with the latest Stealth Ninja Vegetable Experiment: Cauliflower.

Now, I’ve actually had some success in the past coaxing cauliflower into going all stealth-ninja on me, in the form of fake mashed potatoes (one of the few recipes I actually liked back in my low-carb days). I expected similar success from the Scrambled Egg recipe in Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cook book.

The recipe is super-easy (assuming you already have your veggie purees made up – which I do!). Toss the eggs, egg whites, sour cream, puree, and parmesan into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Whisk it all up, toss it into a hot skillet with some olive oil, and scramble!

I added some pepper to my eggs, and must say – they were pretty darned tasty. I could see a kid falling for the deception. There were no obvious signs that any vegetables were in the vicinity. These eggs had some substance to them – they were more dense than your typical scrambled egg, but in a good way. They were still fluffy and maintained most of the texture of a typical scrambled egg.

The use of egg whites decreases the cholesterol in this recipe. I imagine it would work just as well with Egg Beaters or a similar egg substitute. I used to use Egg Beaters, but have recently gone back to real eggs in a step back towards eating real food.

I’ll definitely make these eggs again! They actually made a filling dinner, with an organic English muffin on the side.

[recipe-show recipe=eggs-cauliflower]

Stealth Ninja Vegetable Experiment: Prep

*queue Mission Impossible music*

Actually, I think this mission is quite possible! I am embarking upon what I call the Stealth Ninja Vegetable Experiment. You are about to bear witness to Phase 1: Prep.

It all started when my sister in law Amanda suggested that I check out this book: Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry’s wife). Since I was already sold on the possibility of hiding veggies in my smoothies, I thought this book might hold some promise (though I’d be attempting to deceive myself, not kids). I picked it up at my local library (Homer Township Library ftw!) and decided to give it a test-drive.Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

The basic premise of the book is that you puree a variety of vegetables and store them in 1/2 cup portions in little ziplock baggies, then sneak them into recipes as needed. Sounds good to me!