Author: Veronica Hilliard
If you’ve never oven roasted a vegetable, you’re missing the sweet, caramelizing, roasty-toasty goodness that graces my table on a near-daily basis. Roasting highlights the natural flavors of veggies so well. Some of my favorite veggies to roast are asparagus, broccoli, kale, eggplant, potatoes, carrots, any type of squash, beets, onions and peppers, brussels sprouts, and of course… cauliflower.
Roasting veggies is just about the easiest of all kitchen preparations. All you need is a vegetable you already love, or even one you sort of tolerate. Add a little salt, some oil, and any number of added flavors (if you wish) and you have something really special to put on your table.
My husband spent a two-year mission in Northern Japan and then he took me there on our honeymoon so Asian flavors are usually our choice. But be playful with it and I’m sure you’ll always be impressed with what you end up with.
Roasted Cauliflower with Asian Flair
1 Head cauliflower
2 Tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
A few drops of sesame oil
Drizzle olive oil
Pull cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a bowl, toss to coat with the other ingredients. Place on preheated baking sheet in 350 degree F oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on your caramelization preferences, turning once or twice.
I’m always surprised when I talk to people who don’t know what to do with an artichoke. When I was a kid my mom would make artichokes like this for a special treat. Artichokes taste like home to me. They bring memories of sitting around the table for hours sharing space and life over food – something my family is very fond of.
So here is how I make steamed artichokes.
Cut off the bottom and shave off the tough leaves and the outer, more fibrous layer of the stem. Then cut it in half lengthwise.
Artichokes are just really big, edible thistles. When you cut it open, you can see a glimpse of it’s cousin. The hairy, innermost part, the “choke,” is inedible. I used to remove it with a spoon. You can do this but I found that I removed the soft purple leaves as well and that’s good food wasted! So I just cook it as-is and remove the thistle-y fibers when I get to them as I eat. Some people also cut off the tips of the leaves because sometimes they can have a really poky spine or thorn at the tip. Mine wasn’t so bad so I skipped this step. But I have seen some gnarly artichokes that would leave you feeling like you just fought a velociraptor (or a toddler with un-cut fingernails!) Keep it in mind and make your choice wisely. Some people also cook them whole. But I think they cook a bit faster when cut in half and then they’re the perfect size to share (if you can handle sharing).
Steam in whatever set-up you have for steaming. Mine is a pot with a steamer basket and a lid. Boil these for about 25 – 45 minutes. They are ready to eat when one of the outermost leaves pulls off easily and tastes done; tender, but not so soft it’s mushy.
To eat, just remove one leaf at a time. Scrape each leaf along your bottom teeth to remove the soft flesh on the inside curve of the leaf. You can dip them in all sorts of stuff, from garlic butter to aioli, but I like mine plain… sometimes with a sprinkle of sea salt.
This is what we had for dinner tonight. My heart on a plate!
Counterclockwise: Delicious, steamed artichoke; sweet and savory roasted, Asian-style cauliflower; beautiful, nutty, black forbidden rice; and teriyaki-flavored pheasant and grouse breast that my husband shot last year here in Montana.
My Mont-Asian meal was a real hit here with all my peeps. What did you have for dinner?