“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cruciferous Vegetables You'll Love

Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts were probably the most difficult thing for me to acquire a taste for yet I know how good they are for my health. They’re a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but they also produce beneficial toxins that induce our own cells to make antioxidants, ultimately making our cells hardier. In that way, we can think of cruciferous veggies as a workout for our cells, so I welcome any interesting ways or recipes I can find that encourage me to eat them. I found an easy yet delicious recipe for sautéed cauliflower in Alice Waters’ cookbook The Art of Simple Food. Two things I like about the recipe: The head of cauliflower is sliced into slabs that sautee quickly and the flat surfaces get crispy when cooked; and she suggests a number of ways to finish it off that I’ll outline with the recipe below. The few times that I’ve made the dish I’ve used her suggestion of adding chopped garlic, cumin, tumeric, and chopped cilantro. These additions add their own stockpile of nutritional benefits. Garlic has antibacterial and antioxidant properties and both cumin and tumeric contain the compound curcumin, which has been shown to inhibit an enzyme in cancers cells that allows them to invade healthy cells. Tumeric also has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh green herbs such as cilantro also contribute vitamins and minerals and have alkalizing benefits as well, which help to keep our cells healthy and functioning at their optimum. The combination of crunchiness, chewiness, and warm flavors makes this dish seem much richer than it is and I love it.

Sauteed Cauliflower (4 servings)

1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower

Oil (recipe calls for olive oil for sautéing but I used coconut oil)

Salt (used kosher)

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling at the end

Remove the base of the cauliflower with a sharp knife, then slice from the top into ¼ inch slices. If you’re using a large head, it can be cut it in half first. Heat enough oil to just cover the bottom of a heavy skillet or pan on medium high heat (you want the cauliflower to sizzle when added). Add pieces of cauliflower and let it brown lightly before flipping or tossing. It should take ~7 minutes total. Add a sprinkle of salt while cooking. Just before removing from pan, add ground cumin, tumeric, chopped garlic, and fresh, chopped cilantro. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.


- chopped garlic and fresh, chopped parsley;

- toasted breadcrumbs;

- chopped parsley and garlic, salt-cured anchovies, capers, hot chili flakes and chopped olives (good on pasta)

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