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Cauli & Queso

15 Mar

Many might say that Sunday was the polar opposite of Saturday. Rather, it was a perfect balance. Saturday, I woke up and immediately thought, I must be outside, whereas Sunday, was all soft grey, and rainy, the perfect morning to laze about the house drinking tea and browsing through the “library.” For some reason, the boy grabbed Pamela Thomas’ Greenmarket.

He thumbed through this little jewel of a book, but was simply captivated by “Most Voluptuous Cauliflower,” a recipe from Anne Rosensweig of the Lobster Club (I did a quick google search, and much to my dismay this fabulous sounding restaurant is closed, and I couldn’t determine if Chef Rosensweig has landed anywhere else).

That he should fixate on a cauliflower recipe is nothing new. Everyone’s got their “thing;” his is cruciform vegetables in all colors, shapes and sizes (cauli, romanesca, brocc-(oli, oflower, rabe, etc), cabbage in all colors, and yes, Brussels sprouts). And my thing? Without pause; mushrooms. I think easily I could include mushrooms in everything (and often do) and eat happily for the rest of my life. You’ll see the fusion of these two passions in just one second….

Out and about, strolling through the mist, I asked what the boy wanted to do with the rest of the cheese from DiPalo’s. Without skipping a beat, “cauliflower!” he said.

cauli & queso
Okay, cool, I had a drizzle day mission. So off I traipsed to pick up a new Emile Henry baking dish from TJMaxx (such an overlooked resource for great, cheap housewares in the city!), some crimini mushrooms, thyme and, of course, cauliflower.

The dish came together in a snap. I used Chef Rosensweig’s recipe only as jumping off point. I decided to use a Shaker white sauce as the binding agent. I believe the French call it bechamel. (To be exact, I used White Sauce #2 from Amy Bess Miller & Presis Fuller’s opus, and my favorite cookbook in the whole world, The Best Of Shaker Cooking).

For the final dish, I just tried to create what mental image the name evoked to me, and man was the final dish decadent. Please try this the next time you’re craving something rather simple, but completely, soul-satisfyingly comforting. This is basically your grandmother’s mac & cheese, just with cauliflower in place of the elbow macaroni.

And possibly the best part of this meal was that it paired absolutely perfectly with my favorite wine in the entire world, the bunny wine, also known at Le Mas Au Schiste.  It comes from this vineyard (warning site only in French) in Languedoc, and as you can see from the picture on the site, that’s no cute bunny! In fact, at one shop where I get my fix of this wine, they had no idea what I was asking for, they thought the animal was some sort of gorgon!  Either way, this is one of the most amazing wines I’ve ever tasted in my life, but I don’t get to drink it much, because I can’t always find it.  At least I’ve got one bottle still left in the cellar!

recipe and another glamour shot after the break

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