Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fools' Meal!

This week at the yam we kicked it up a notch, cooking for over 150 people!
Here's what we made:

Cauliflower Steak with Quinoa and Basil Oil
based on a recipe from Dan Barber via Dulcie's favourite book.

Here's what you need (Serves 4):
1-2 cauliflower cut into 1 inch thick steaks
olive oil for cooking
1 cup quinoa
1.5 cups vegetable stock
2 shallots
1 leek, rinsed and chopped
1 apple, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped

Basil Oil (makes more than you need, but it's delicious on soups and salads)
2 cups basil
1 cup chilled grapeseed or olive oil (we used olive)

Here's what you do:

Dan and I diverge a little on this because he's not cooking for 150 simultaneously. He's also a better cook so this is an easier way!

At the largest part of each cauliflower head, cut two cross sections to create 2 1-inch thick steaks. In a large saute pan coated with oil, brown the cauliflower steaks on both sides. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

On med-low, cook the quinoa in 1 tbsp-ish of oil until it smells nice and nutty and is a little darker. Add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low, simmering until the quinoa has absorbed all the stock. You can tell if the quinoa is done because 1) it won't be crunchy when you eat it and 2) the "curl" of the quinoa will have separated from the rest of it.

Meanwhile, saute shallots, leek, zucchini, apple, and garlic. Add the leftover cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Now here's where Dan and I diverge. He puts all this stuff in a blender and then adds a bit of it to the quinoa later. I've done that once, and it's delicious, but not doing that works out to (especially for 150). Anyway, blended or unblended, set aside this vegetably goodness.

Once the quinoa is ready, either mix in the un-blended veg or a big spoonful of the blended veg (you can use the rest to make a delicious cauliflower soup). Add thyme and chives, and drizzle with basil oil.

To make the basil oil: Optional: blanche the basil and shock in ice water (or save some water and soak it for a few minutes). Dry the leaves. Not optional: In a blender, puree basil and oil. Strain (or not).

How to plate: Place cauliflower steak on a bed of quinoa mixture and drizzle basil oil around the plate.


We also made baked apples with cinnamon raisins.
To be honest, we just made up the recipe, but here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 C.
For each apple, you need the following mixture:

1 tbsp margarine (we like Earth Balance)
1 tbsp brown sugar
some raisins
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

Mix all that together. Taste it. Good? Good. Carefully cut the bottom bit out of the apple. Then core the apple (ideally you don't want to cut a channel through the apple, but we did, and you didn't notice, did you?)
Stuff the apple with the cinnamon-raisin-sugar mix. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15-30 min. (keep an eye on it).

Pour the sugar mixture that leaks out onto the pan back onto the apples.

Black Bean Soup (serves 6)


3 cups of black beans

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves minced garlic

2 onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp chopped fresh or pickled jalapeno pepper

1½ tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp aniseed

6 cups vegetable stock

1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

4 tsp lime juice


Rinse black beans. In a big pot, cover in 3x volume of water and bring to a boil for 2 min. Remove from heat and let soak 1h. Then drain.

In a large pot, add oil, garlic, onions, and celery and saute for 5 minutes until the onions are softened.

Add chilli powder, aniseed, oregano, jalapeno, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally for 1 min.

Add beans and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 1h 15 min or until beans are very tender.

Next, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes, and blend it a bit with your choice of blender (we used a handy submersion blender (immersion blender? I never know) leave some texture though 'cause it's nice).
For a final flourish, add the lime juice.

Serve hot! This soup would be delicious with tortilla chips for a black bean burrito-soup fiesta.

*Disclaimer: This post is tagged with "gluten free". We're pretty sure it is, but no guarantees!

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