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Paris in December: cooking, food and exploration

I have decided that a trip to Paris is in order to shake the fog that started in late August. I hope December’s winter light and crisp temperatures will allow me to experience new neighborhoods and opportunities. Having spent the entire week-end creating food that falls under a monochromatic color palate – white (cauliflower fritters, celeriac and Asian apple slaw), I think I am living through the black and white images of Paris in the wintertime already.

On Saturday, I immersed myself re-reading all my Paris clippings and planning new places and neighborhoods to explore. I came across an article by Matt Gross in the NY Times. He wrote something that spoke to me about a recent trip to Paris.
“This was something I’d never done in Paris before – had event imagined doing – and that was exactly why I was here, to see what new experiences could be wrung out of a city. “I didn’t want to just return to my favorite places and willow in nostalgia. I wanted to see if it was possible to re-experience Paris as if for the first time, to be amazed by the reality of the place instead of comforted by it familiarity.”

I am at a crossroads in my Parisian love affair. I certainly can return to previous haunts and wrap myself in the comfort of the place. I can find safety and security in old haunts. However, with real life as chaotic as it is and with the persistent feeling of being off-kilter, I plan to discovery new experiences in my city of light. A sort of waking of the senses.

I hope to return from Paris with new eyes on the world, as these old puppies are a bit worse for wear. In the meantime, I will enjoy the cauliflower fritters and celeriac slaw for tonight’s dinner as I imagine what will be. But for now, it is in black and white.

Cauliflower Fritters
1 head (2-cups) cauliflower, cut into pieces
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 cup Garbanzo flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

Cut cauliflower and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast in oven at 400 until soft and brown, around 30 minutes. Put aside and let cool. (You can boil the cauliflower, but I like the flavor from roasting the vegetable.)

Add eggs, garbanzo flour, cheese, herbs, and salt & pepper. Mix well, and if too wet, add a tablespoon of flour at a time to bring it together. Using a 1/4 cup measure form into patties. Slightly press down.(For additional crunch, you can coat the outside of the patty with Japanese-style bread crumbs.)

Place in a non-stick pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook on low to medium heat till browned on one side about 5-7 minutes. Flip, pat down slightly and cook till browned on other side about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt on top. It should make 8 fritters.

Eat warm or room temperature. Can be topped with jarred marinara sauce or a yogurt-cucumber sauce.
For an Indian twist, add a 1/2 teaspoon curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon of cumin to the mix and top with raita sauce.

Recipe inspired by www.worldaccordingtoeggface.com