After a long day toiling away in the fields, farmers have to make dinner just like everyone else. But instead of getting in their car and driving off to the grocery store, they have a bounty of the freshest produce to pull from! Isn’t that the food lover’s dream?
I always wondered what farmers prepared for meals themselves. When your fruits and vegetables are SO fresh, it’s difficult to imagine doing *too* much to them. I mean is there really anything better than a juicy tomato, simply sliced with high quality olive oil, salt and pepper? Or a potato mashed with a little butter?
This month I asked a few local farms for recipe suggestions. What is their favorite way to enjoy cauliflower? Cauliflower may not be the most colorful veg in the crop, but when cooked correctly it has such an incredible flavor! And it has grown in popularity so much over the last year, with people making everything from cauliflower “steaks” to cauliflower rice. Not to mention, you can actually find purple and bright green cauliflower (romanesco) at many of the local farm markets if you like your vegetables to POP!
“This is one of my favorite recipes for cauliflower; we like to make it for holiday & family dinners. I also like to just toss it with olive oil, Lawry’s seasoned salt and roast it in 375 degree oven for 25 – 30 min., until it’s caramelized. Fresh picked cauliflower is sooo sweet and yummy.” BECKI FLEMING OF SHADY BROOK FARMS (YARDLEY, PA)
“This dish is all things dark & toasty and light & bright at the same time and it’s my FAVORITE.”
ASHLEY LYONS PUTMAN OF BLUE MOON ACRES (PENNINGTON, NJ)
Cocoa Roasted Cauliflower
We all know roasted cauliflower is fantastic. But are you looking for a somewhat untraditional seasoning for your cauliflower? Stephanie Spock, farmer at Rolling Hills Farm, brought to my attention an unusual combination: cocoa + cauliflower. These inspired flavors come from the new and exciting seasonal farm to table restaurant, Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge, NJ.
And the talented team over at Heirloom Kitchen were kind enough to share the recipe for this inventive dish from Chef David Viana. This isn’t just any roasted cauliflower, but what else would you expect from a chef who’s had his dishes described as “magical” and “hypnotizing” by the New York Times?
“We begin with Hauser Hill Farms (Old Bridge, NJ) outstanding cauliflower. Quality product is the most important ingredient.
1st the cauliflower is tossed with cocoa powder, coriander seed (toasted and ground), kosher salt and a neutral flavored oil.
2nd it is placed in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Long enough to char the edges a bit but still maintaining texture.
Lastly, it is finished with a house made caramelized milk powder grated over the top. The milk powder is caramelized in a sealed mason jar that is then placed in a pressure cooker with and inch and a half of water. pressure cooked at high pressure for 90 minutes.”
PS – At Heirloom Kitchen they offer chef’s table seating around their kitchen island where guests can watch Chef Viana and his team prepare and artfully present their dishes. So if you don’t get a chance to make this dish yourself, you can always go watch it being made in person!