Purple Cauliflower Pickles

Sooooooo, these aren’t necessarily the best of the best pickles I’ve ever made … but I’m really excited about this purple cauliflower so I kind of have to write about them anyway.

I mean, seriously. look at this:cauliflowerand when you make these pickles, it does this: cauliflower pickles(The brine was originally kind of yellow. I made them and then opened the fridge a few hours later and got really excited.)cauliflower pickles 2I really like the finished product, but I actually felt like something was kind of missing something.  More salt? More vinegar? Maybe some honey? I dunno.  If you have a revelation, please tell me. Usually I try to get recipes as close to perfect before I put them here, but since the ingredients were farmers market produce, I’m not sure if they will be there again when I go shopping today. Either way, they’re fantastic snacks when it’s 108 degrees outside (like right now) and they’re really great served along side some of the dinners we’ve been having during this hot weather.  One night we had homemade falafel, grilled eggplant and butter lettuce topped with a feta-yogurt-cucumber sauce.  Another night we had jerk chicken with white nectarine salsa, coconut rice and drunken black beans, all wrapped up in purple cabbage cups.  A few pieces of purple pickled cauliflower really escalated these meals up into the stratosphere.

I guess my goal is not just to have these pickles in the fridge, but a whole bunch of different icy cold crunchy vegetables……. I just made a big batch of these pickled radishes, (which I’m crazy about and can’t stop eating — you should make some today!), and we have a jar of dilly beans in there too.  Then I’ve got a big jar of wild blackberry jam and another jar of homemade homegrown grated horseradish from my sister-in-law’s farm.  We have a whole selection of good food in jars in there, which is wonderful.  Especially because it’s 105 and I don’t want to go outside to the garden (or, god forbid, the grocery store), let alone actually turn on the stove to cook something.  When I think about how long it will take for the air-conditioning in my truck to start actually doing anything……..  it makes me want crawl into the back of the fridge and eat cold pickles all day.

PURPLE CAULIFLOWER PICKLES, adapted from the White on Rice Couple’s recipe for Curry Cauliflower Pickles

Makes: 1 quart and 1 pint jar

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large head of purple cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 large red onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into rounds

for the brine:

  • 5 c. water
  • 1 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 3 tsp. tamari
  • 2 1/4” thick slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar

Combine the ingredients for the brine in a nonreactive pot, and bring up to a simmer. Meanwhile, pack the vegetables and cilantro into the jars.  One the brine is simmering, pour it over the vegetables leaving about 1/2”headspace.  Cover and refrigerate.  The pickles will be best after about 5 days, and will store in the fridge for up to a month.

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Curried Cauliflower Pie

I’m kind of obsessed with this pie right now- I’ve actually made four this week for various cooking things I’ve been doing.

Right away, totally off-topic: I think we have a wasp nest in the roof, and there are seriously wasps swarming around me right now.

I have nothing for you wasps. No food here. Just a computer and a person. Go mess with the dogs or something. You guys are assholes.

Trying to concentrate back on the cauliflower pie:

This recipe is an adaptation of Mollie Katzen’s Cauliflower Pie in a Potato Crust from The Moosewood Cookbook.  I’ve increased the recipe to make a larger batch and added a bunch of curry spices, which I personally think is brilliant. I know cheddar cheese and curry might seem like a questionable combination, but it’s really unique and delicious.  My inspiration was actually the Indian Pizza from Zante’s Pizza that I used to order when I lived in San Francisco, a super-addictive take-out meal that I would be happy eating every single day. (Picture pizza crust topped with a mixed vegetable curry and tons of cheese and cilantro, baked until bubbly and golden brown.)

This dish is a warm, filling vegetarian entrée, and the leftovers hold up really well in the fridge for a few days.

Curried Cauliflower Pie In A Potato Crust

Serves: 10

Cook Time: about 2 hours, including baking time

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 4 c. grated raw potato
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c. grated onion
  • olive oil for greasing the pan

For the filling:

  • 6 tbs. butter
  • 2 cauliflowers, broken into small flowerets
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp.  paprika
  • 2 1/2 c. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large casserole dish with butter (I believe mine was a deep 10″ dish, but the actual shape doesn’t matter all that much. Find a dish that will fit two cauliflowers and a bunch of filling in it). Put the grated potato in a bowl and sprinkle it with the sea salt. Let it sit for ten minutes, and then squeeze out the excess water. Combine the potatoes with the grated onion and beaten egg. Press the potato filling into the dish and work it up the sides to make the crust. Put the potato crust in the oven for 40-45 minutes to lightly brown it. After 30 minutes, brush the crust with a little olive oil.  Remove the crust from the oven and turn the temperature down to 375.

While the crust is cooking, saute the cauliflower for the filling.  In a large saute pan, heat up the butter on medium high heat. Saute the onions, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper, and dried spices until the onions are slightly translucent and the spices start to smell really good. Add the cauliflower and basil and saute on low heat, covered, for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the cauliflower is mostly cooked through. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and the milk.

Top the crust with half the cheese, then spread the cooked cauliflower over the cheese, and then layer on the other half of the cheese. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the top of everything and top with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of paprika. Bake for one hour, or until set.

 

By the way, if you happen to be in San Francisco, you should make this pie but also go to Zante’s and try the Indian Pizza. Zante’s is located at 3489 Mission Street in the Mission District of San Francisco.