Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake

cauliflower cake-1I’ve had the cookbook “Plenty More” by Ottolenghi for quite a while and hadn’t yet tried out their cauliflower cake recipe yet. But lately I keep seeing the recipe popping up all over the food blogs. My curiosity was peaked, and I had to try it. It was my first time making a savory cake and I must say, I’m a believer.

cauliflower cake-3It was so easy to make. Seriously. I adjusted the recipe by using brown rice flour instead of all purpose flour to give it more nourishment. We ate it with an arugula salad on the side. The best part about it was the my kids LOVED it. I ate leftovers for lunch the next day. I highly suggest you try this out.

What a great way to impress your friends without the stress! My red onions weren’t very vibrant and didn’t look as lovely as they did in the cookbook, but it was still a beautiful and delicious cake.

cauliflower cake-2Cauliflower Cake
Adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

 

1 medium cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken/cut into small florets (about 4 cups)
1 large red onion
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
7 large eggs
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
1.5 cups grated parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper
Melted unsalted butter, for greasing pan
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place cauliflower florets in a pot with a teaspoon of salt, cover them with water and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until quite soft. Drain and let sit in the colander to dry.

Cut 4 round slices, each 1/4 in thick, off one of the onion and set aside. Coarsely chop the remainder of your onion and place in a small saucepan with olive oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer cooked onion to a large bowl, add the eggs, basil, whisk well, and then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 tsp salt, and a healthy pinch of black pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower. Stir gentry, trying not to break up the florets.

Spray the inside of a 9 1/2-inch round springform pan with cooking spray or brush with some of the melted butter. Then line the bottom and sides parchment paper. (Spraying/buttering the pan first will help the parchment stick to the pan.) Mix together the sesame seeds and toss them around in the pan so that they stick to the sides. Pour in the cauliflower batter, arrange the reserved onion rings on top (in any fashion you like) and bake cake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set.

 

 

Homemade Ethiopian Food

Ethiopian restaurants are nowhere to be found in Greensboro so we decided to make our own. It my was my husband Mark’s idea to do it. We’ve made the red lentil dish in the past thanks to some Ethiopian spices that were given to us by my aunt and uncle’s housekeeper Mimi (in Lebanon). But Mark wanted to go all out with the full deal, so that’s what we did. We made the traditional Injera bread, yellow split peas, red lentils (recipe below), and Ethiopian collard greens (Gomen). The injera was really bitter in the beginning and we had to add some salt, sugar, and lemon juice to help the bitterness. Apparently the recipe calls for you to make the batter 3 days in advance and let it sit and ferment. We didn’t want to wait that long so Mark found a recipe that has you add yeast and just wait 1 day. Our injera was much darker than the injera we have had at Ethiopian restaurants. Maybe they mix all purpose flour with the teff flour (which is what we used)? If anyone has a good recipe for teff let us know!

The collards and red lentils were delish. The yellow split peas were good but had a little too much salt and turmeric. We followed the recipe to a “T” so next time we’d just put less salt and turmeric.

It was fun to explore cooking the Ethiopian food and we’ll definitely do it again! Share some other recipes if you have them!

The Misir Wat (red lentils) recipe is as follows:

1 cup split red lentils (rinsed well)

1 inch of ginger grated

2 cloves garlic grated

1 cup minced red onion

2-3 teaspoons Indian spice mix (Berberé)

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the lentils cook quicker, soak them in water for about half an hour (if you don’t have time to soak don’t worry about it). Heat up olive oil and add onions. Sautee for a  few minutes. Add garlic and ginger and sautee about 30 seconds. Add in lentils, spice mix (the amount depends on how spicy you like it), salt, and pepper and mix all together. After mixed, add about 3 cups of water and cook covered for about 20-30 minutes. Stirring every 10 minutes or so. If you soak the lentils you may need a little less water. But just keep an eye on it.  Once done, taste and add salt/pepper if needed. If the lentils are not done then continue to add water until they are cooked. Ours ended up a little mushy in the end which I liked. Another version of this recipe has you add some tomato paste/sauce to it. That version is good too.

Here are links to the other recipes:

Collard Greens

Yellow split peas

Injera

Vegetarian Shephard’s Pie

I made this delicious vegetarian take on a shephard’s pie last night. Three beautiful layers of goodness. The bottom layer is a mix of mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, lentils, pine nuts, bread crumbs. The middle layer: spaghetti squash. The top layer: garlic mashed potatoes. The recipe says it takes only 30 minutes to prep…that is definitely not true! It took at least an hour or more. Not a dish to make on a weeknight, but I definitely recommend it for a weekend dinner at home. A couple of notes. Add more salt than the recipe calls for. It doesn’t call for any in the mushroom/lentil mixture and it definitely needs it. Also, I caramelized a bunch of shallots to go on top (as opposed to frying them).

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Roasted Garlic
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Bread Crumbs

  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup roasted pine nuts
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 to 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled, but not peeled
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup smooth goat cheese
  • 1 cup 35-percent whipping cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetables

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cups wild mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried du puy lentils (green), cooked
  • Fried shallots, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

First, cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake for 1 1/2 hours. As an alternative, place on a plate and cook in the microwave on high power for about 20 minutes.

Put the garlic head on a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and put in the oven for 30 minutes or until the garlic is very tender.

In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the milk. Let stand for 5 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Mix in the pine nuts, the eggs, basil, thyme, and parsley. Put aside.

Mash the potatoes with the butter, goat cheese, cooked garlic puree and cream to make them nice and smooth. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Remove the spaghetti squash flesh with a fork and put it in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and put aside.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

For the vegetables: Heat the remaining oil in a large pan and saute the onions, carrots and celery over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and continue cooking until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the cooked lentils and the reserved bread crumb mixture. Stir and put aside.

In an 8 by 11-inch/20 by 28-cm baking dish, spoon the vegetable mixture onto the bottom. Layer with the spaghetti squash, then the mashed potatoes and smooth them down. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or so, until the top is slightly browned. Garnish with fried shallots, to taste.