When my mom heard of my involvement in plans to develop Simply in Season – a cookbook focused on local, seasonal, sustainably produced foods – she just had to laugh.
A cookbook focused on fruits and vegetables – co-edited by her pickiest-of-picky-eaters daughter?
Her little girl who didn’t like strawberries or watermelon or corn on the cob?
The one who once said peaches tasted like frogs? (It was a texture thing.)
It wasn’t until I moved away to college that my range of acceptable fruits and vegetables began to expand. Eating in the cafeteria, surrounded by my peers, I became embarrassed enough by my pickiness that I started trying more things. I discovered that my tastes had matured. I came to like cucumbers, green beans, and broccoli, not to mention peaches.
But some foods still needed time to grow on me. Case in point: cauliflower.
It wasn’t until my co-author Mary Beth Lind and I produced the expanded version of Simply in Season that cauliflower became a regular on my table. This cookbook is organized by season, and one of the fall recipes added to this edition was Nutty Cauliflower Skillet: a quick, simple dish that coats lightly cooked cauliflower in a savory, African-inspired, peanuty sauce, served over rice.
It’s one of several Simply in Season dishes in which a vegetable isn’t just a side dish but serves as a main course. Few of us manage to eat the recommended two to three cups of vegetables per day. Recipes like this can help.
So for all the cauliflower-haters out there, consider giving this one a try. (And if you like cauliflower, definitely give it a try!)
At some farmers’ markets you might be lucky enough to find the coolest looking vegetable ever, broccoflower (also called Romanesco broccoli). People are wowed when they see it but often don’t know what to do with it. Broccoflower is terrific in Nutty Cauliflower Skillet.
The newly released 10th anniversary edition of Simply in Season includes Nutty Cauliflower Skillet (plus a new recipe for Kale Chips); an expanded guide of how to choose, store, and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables; and labels identifying gluten-free and vegetarian recipes.
(Tip: Fresh ginger root is essential for this dish; don’t try to substitute powdered ginger. Most pieces you buy are too big for one recipe, but I like to peel and mince the whole thing at once and freeze the extra so it’s easy to use later.)
- 1 tablespoon ginger root (peeled and minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 head cauliflower (cut into ¾-inch florets)
- 1 teaspoon each ground coriander and ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon each ground turmeric, paprika, and salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup tomatoes (chopped) or ⅓ cup tomato juice
- 1 cup peas or green soybeans (edamame)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- In large soup pot sauté ginger root and garlic in 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds.
- Add cauliflower and spices and mix to coat.
- Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until cauliflower is crisp-tender, 8-10 minutes.
- If using green soybeans, add with tomatoes; peas will take just 1-2 minutes to cook.
- Stir in peanut butter.
- Serve over brown rice topped with peanuts and chopped fresh cilantro (optional).
- Serves 4-5 as a main course.
Simply in Season is part of the World Community Cookbook series, commissioned by Mennonite Central Committee to promote the understanding of how the food choices we make affect our lives and the lives of those who produce the food. MCC, a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches, shares God’s love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. MCC envisions communities worldwide in right relationship with God, one another, and creation.
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Cathleen Hockman-Wert is a writer and editor living in Corvallis, Oregon. When producing Simply in Season original edition, she was editor for Mennonite Women USA. An Oregon native, she graduated from Goshen College in Indiana and later earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. She is a member of Corvallis Mennonite Fellowship and an avid farmer’s market shopper.
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