So I’ve been hiding from you on the side of a mountain these past 3 months. And I mean that in the best possible way.
The cookbook is now written, photographed and it’s in the hands of my fabulous Editor. And since finishing the manuscript, I’ve been in something of a food photography and writing coma. I’ve been in blog hibernation, if you will.
So it really isn’t you I’ve been hiding from, but rather my laptop. And the internet. And anything to do with recipes and cooking and hashtags.
Instead, I’ve basked in the silence of mountain sunshine, fresh air, mud, muck and ground ferns. And I’ve been pretty much happy as a pig in shit.
Except for when I’m terrified.
As it turns out, there’s a butt load of things to be afraid of in the wilderness: Bears. Cougars. Sheer-faced rock cliffs. Rolling off sheer-faced rock cliffs. Figuring out how I’m going to haul this case of beer up the side of that mountain.
I’m constantly on the look out for animals hungry that want to eat me and insects buzzing to sting me. I have to stop regularly to make sure I’m following the right trail markers lest I get lost or worse yet, trip on a slippery root section and tumble off the edge of the mountain; I have zero sense of direction and my body-spacial-awareness is lackadaisical at best. Oh yeah, and the beer. Or lack thereof.
I have this incessant craving I just can’t satiate.
For the outdoors. For the kindness and generosity of the people on the trails. For the adventure to be had.
I can’t stop myself. I find I’m dreaming of hikes yet to be discovered and then waking up in the middle of the night, hungry for the next big trek. The idea of not being on the mountain is almost painful. Like I’m missing something integral to my very being.
It’s like I was born to be wild.
Or at the very least, in the wild.
And I’ve been chasing that obsession all damn Summer long.
In fact, the distance has made my heart grow fonder. Like any good relationship, spending time apart has allowed me to see how important what we have is.
And while I am so very much in love with the wild, I am also so very much in love with you. While I’ve found refuge in the wilderness, I think it’s time we reconnect with each other.
And so here I am. A hungry woman, humbled by the greatness of the West coast (and the beating the Wilderness has given me), with the most humble of vegetables in my hands: The cauliflower.
This isn’t the ideal meal if you’re planning a huge hike tomorrow morning. As that poor vegan woman who tried to climb Everest found out, protein is kind of super important for that kind of physical and mental exertion. Animal-based or otherwise.
But if you’re having a lovely (or lazy) night in or want something to go on the side of your Black Bean Veggie Burgers, Balsamic Slow Braised Short Ribs, Chorizo in red wine with herbs or Spanish Croquettes, this is the dish for you.
Spiced with cumin & coriander, heaps of fresh lemon & herbs and topped off with toasted almonds, this Spiced Cauliflower Steaks recipe is simple – but oh so ridiculously delicious and flavourful – enough to make it into my weekly rotation. Basically, they feel fancy but are totally quick and easy.
And now I hope this recipe makes it into your weekly rotation, too. Because you will love love love it!
Welcome back friends. I’ve missed you.
Now. Who’s hungry??
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp chili flakes
- Coarse sea salt + fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 C blanched slivered almonds
- 1/4 C fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Optional: Serve with a Tbsp of Chimichurri Sauce for each cauliflower steak
- Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- In a mortar and pestle, bash the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, chili flakes and a generous helping of salt and pepper together until fragrant. Set aside.
- Place the cauliflower on a cutting board so the head of the cauliflower faces up. Cut it in half from top to bottom. Then cut those two halves, the exact same way into 1" thick "steaks". Keeping the core is intact, you should end up with 2-4 cauliflower steaks (depending on the size of your cauliflower) and a bunch of florets. Break up the florets into 1" pieces.
- Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the bashed seed mixture on top and drizzle generously with olive oil. Squeeze the lemon juice and sprinkle the zest all over the tops of the cauliflower. Mix well to combine and ensure even coating on all sides.
- Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower gets nice and browned on the bottom. Carefully flip and cook a further 10-15 minutes.
- As the cauliflower cooks, place the slivered almonds in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat with a pinch of salt. Shaking often, toast the almonds until fragrant and golden, approx. 10 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don't burn. Remove from the heat and store in the fridge in a glass container for up to 2 weeks.
- When ready to serve, plate the cauliflower individually or as part of a larger platter and sprinkle generously with the almonds, grated Parmesan cheese and flat leaf parsley. If using, brush each plate with a heaping Tbsp of Chimichurri Sauce before serving, or dish up family style by putting the whole bowl on the table. Enjoy!
- Toasting the almonds enhances their flavour immensely - be sure not to skip this important step.