Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spicy cauliflower hash with spinach and feta

       I miss summer.
       I miss throwing on just a pair of flip-flops to go outside. None of this boots + coat + gloves + scarf + hat + emergency rations nonsense. I came across my sundress collection yesterday, in the back of my closet. It was like finding a time capsule. It didn't seem possible that one could wear thin, short, sleeveless garments ever, at any time, to any event.
       But do you know what I miss most about summer right now?
       It's pretty pathetic, I'm warning you.
       I miss being able to throw away things with my toes when I drop them while cooking. In the current meteorological state of things, if I drop, say, a chunk of potato, I have to bend down, pick it up, throw it away, and wash my hands before resuming cooking. It's not a very efficient mode of existence.

       Know what else is inefficient? Cauliflower.
       (Sorry ... I needed a transition somehow.)
       Potatoes are easy to chop. Onions, slightly harder, but still doable. Cauliflower? Not so much. You end up with a few soup-worthy chunks and a bunch of tiny white grainy bits that defy your best efforts to sweep them off the counter and into your hand.
       It's worth it for this dish, though. Picture it: the silky texture of potato and cauliflower. The grainy goodness of stoneground mustard. The tang of feta. The mellow sweetness of carrots. The earthy heartiness of spinach. All wrapped up in one delightful winter dish.
       This dish is super easy to throw together, and if you cut the carrots and potatoes pretty small, it comes together in practically no time. The hardest part is the chopping. In return, you'll get something that's part stew, part hash, part casserole (put it in an ovenproof dish with parmesan on top, brown it, and you'd be the toast of the potluck), and all-around yummy.

Spicy cauliflower hash with spinach and feta
(adapted slightly from this book's Spicy Cauliflower Stew with Spinach)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 T. minced ginger (I always estimate that a one-inch piece of unminced ginger equals one tablespoon minced) 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ lb. (about 4) small red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 c. (1 can) vegetable or chicken broth
  • ½ c. feta
  • 5 tsp. stoneground mustard (the grainy kind)
  • 6 c. spinach, roughly chopped 
  • ½ c. plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 T. flour
  1. In stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes.
  2. Add potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots. Cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add mustard and broth. Simmer until vegetables are tender.
  4. Stir in spinach and cheese and cover pot to allow spinach to wilt.
  5. In separate bowl, combine yogurt and flour. Stir into vegetables. Serve with more feta or parmesan. 

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