Cauliflower and White Bean Salad

I’ve learned that when I’m lacking inspiration with my cooking the best thing I can do is take stock of my fridge and pantry, then immediately leave the house. I run or walk. (For exercise, not like a crazy lady.)

I took a quick look inside my crisper drawer just before I hit the pavement this morning.Β  It’s becoming a habit.

While I’m moving, I let my thoughts drift and casually think about food. (Probably not what I should be thinking about whilst exercising, but whatever.) Sometimes these thoughts become ideas that involve what I have at home already. It works 80% of the time, every time.

Sometimes I’ll even jot a note down on my phone. This is hard when you’re trying to maintain a jogging pace. I wouldn’t recommend this method of note taking. It’s potentially very dangerous.

I think the note for this one looked something like: “Caulifower wit paprika white jens alludes and raisins.”

I hate auto correct up in my business more than my sloppy typing. But it works…sorta.

This salad totally works. Roasted cauliflower, with white beans sauteed in onions and two paprikas, along with some crunchy almonds and sweet little sultanas.

Cauliflower and White Bean Salad
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided. Plus more for drizzling
– 1 small head of cauliflower or 1/2 of a large head of cauliflower, chipped into small florets
– 1 can of white beans, rinsed and drained well
– 1/2 red onion, finely diced
– 1/4 teaspoons smokey paprika x2
– 1/2 teaspoon cumin
– 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
– sea salt
– 2 tablespoons slivered toasted almonds
– 2 tablespoons raisins
-1 handful of chopped parsley and/or coriander/cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 F/ 205 C.

Combine cauliflower, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika, cumin and a sprinkle of salt, toss well to coat the cauliflower and spread out on a baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add white beans, the other 1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika and the sweet paprika. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the beans are warmed through and coated in the spices, onion and olive oil. Remove from heat.

When the cauliflower is done, combine with white beans and onions. Top with toasted almonds, raisins, herbs and more salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Warm Red Cabbage and Corn Salad

In the past 7 days I:

  • Ate a silly amount of movie theater popcorn.
  • Ditto to mini Cadbury eggs. (Not the classic Cream Eggs, the milk chocolate ones with the crispy pastel-colored shell. Love.)
  • Wore workout clothes to run errands even though I wasn’t on the way to, nor coming back from working out. Sneakers paired with sweatpants make you look like a go-getter. Sweatpants with flip-flops make you look like a lazy college student. Fact.
  • Watched The Bachelor, Bring It On and Glee. (Not all on the same day. There would be no excuse for that.)

…I should also tell you that while I was watching that episode of Glee I was hula hooping pretty much the entire time. I don’t even like musicals. And I pretend hula hooping is exercise. I don’t know…

I am not particularly proud of these things, but I just felt like I should be completely… honest. About life.

Have I done anything redeeming this week?

  • I went to a Picasso exhibit (Culcha!)
  • We tried a new restaurant in Bondi.
  • I saw The Artist. (Silent movie! More culcha!)
  • I toasted a lot of coconut flakes and found various uses for them.

I also made this salad.

A good warm salad some how makes me feel better about my other, slightly shameful indulgences.

Balance. I think that’s what it’s all about. Get a dose of terrible reality television with a side of cubism. Wear your comfy clothes out in public when you’re grocery shopping, but put on a little pretty when you head out to dinner. Be 26 and buy yourself a hula hoop.

And leave a little room for some Easter-themed chocolate after the vibrant, crunchy, paprika-spiced salad.

Warm Red Cabbage and Corn Salad
(serves 4)
– 2 ears of corn, corn removed from the cob
– 1/2 red cabbage, shredded very thin
– 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
– 1 clove of garlic thinly sliced
– 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
– salt & pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon smokey paprika
– pinch of cayenne pepper
– 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
– 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas
– a handful of chopped coriander

In a large pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over a medium high heat. Add corn kernels and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until slightly golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over a medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in paprika and cayenne.

Add cabbage and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes until the cabbage is just beginning to soften.

Combine cabbage with corn and let cool for 5 minutes.

Top with feta, pepitas and coriander and serve.

Kalamata Chimichurri with Grilled Vegetables

There’s a lot to like about chimichurri sauce.

Mostly because there are endless variations of the traditional Argentinian sauce, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a version that you like. The basic recipe has parsley, oregano, garlic, vinegar and olive oil. But it’s not unheard of to involve tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, rosemary, thyme and my favorite addition, paprika. The constant in chimichurri for me is the paprika – no matter what herbs are thrown in I must have olive oil, garlic and paprika. I love the deep orange tint and rich, full flavor it gives.

Another excellent rendition is this kalamata olive chimichurri, from Bon Appetit’s 2012 cleanse menu. The salty olives are a perfect foil for the fresh parsley and smokey paprika.

This sauce was intended for a nice piece of grilled beef, which I still plan on using it with, but I also thought I would try it out on some fresh grilled vegetables. To me, the kalamatas are meaty and the paprika is reminiscent of chorizo, so I didn’t even really miss the beef. That said, this makes for a beautiful side to grilled fish, steak, or a seafood paella. You could also serve it over brown rice for a satisfying and colorful meat-free meal.

Kalamata Chimichurri
(adapted slightly from Bon Appetit)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1/4 teaspoon of red chilli flakes
– 1 bay leaf, broken in half
– 1 medium sized shallot, finely diced
– 1/4 cup fresh parsley
– 1/4 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
– 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
– 2 teaspoons paprika
– 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
– salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium sized skilled over a medium heat. Add garlic, chilli flakes, and the bay leaf and cook for 1 minute.

Add shallots and cook for about 2 minutes, until translucent. Stir in paprika and cayenne and remove from heat. Stir in parsley, olives, vinegar, and a teaspoon or two of water.

You can prepare ahead and let stand at room temperature until you’re ready to use. Add more water in very small amounts if the sauce needs thinning.

For the Grilled Vegetables:
Ideally, I would do this on a BBQ, but I did a quick pan “grill” session, to speed things up.
All you need is a little olive oil in a pan over a medium-high heat, season the veggies with some salt and pepper and you’re on you way. I used:
– Red pepper/capsicum, cut into thin strips
– Broccoli florets
– Zucchini, cut into thin strips

Add the vegetables that take the longest to cook to the pan first. I put the red peppers in first, because they take a little while to soften but also because they give off the most aromatic flavor of the bunch. Then in went the broccoli for a minute or two, and the zucchini last. I covered the pan to trap a little steam in there to move things along. All up, my veggies took about 10 minutes total.

Spoon chimichurri over the top to serve.