Versatile Cauliflower

It’s raining this morning, which is a nice break from the dense fog we have had lately. It’s nice to be able to see across the street even if the rain will ultimately bring more foggy conditions, I’m enjoying it.

This morning at the Farmers’ Market I picked up a beautiful head of cauliflower. It’s what some would consider on the small size, but because I am the only eating it, it’s just the right size. I also bought rainbow chard, carrots, celery and some apples to make into sauce.

I really like doing a little research on what I find at the market. I love learning more about things that have been part of my life for decades and about new things that I have just discovered.

While I have eaten cauliflower my whole life I never once considered the visual similarity between it and broccoli until I read the sentence; “Cauliflower and broccoli are the same species and have very similar structures, though cauliflower replaces the green flower buds with white inflorescence meristem” (An inflorescence is a group of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches). I think this was so startling because I consider myself a very visual person and yet I hadn’t noticed something so obvious.  It was only when I allowed my curiosity to enter the process that I really saw the similarity. Now, I wonder what else is right in front of me that I’m not seeing?

Other interesting facts I found on my cauliflower quest were: its name is from the Italian cavolfiore, from cavolo cabbage and fiore flower and that it was introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century. In today’s world there are four major groups of cauliflower; Italian (this is the ancestral form from which the others were derived), Northwest European (developed in France in the 19th century), Northern European (developed in Germany in the 18th century), and Asian (developed in India during the 19th century).  It was also noted that it is available in various colors beside white, including; green, purple, brown and yellow. To be honest, I haven’t tried the other colors. I have seen them in pictures and at a few gourmet markets. I’ve only eaten the white variety since that is what’s has been available at my market. But, if they do become available I’d definitely give them a try, especially if I can buy a small head.

This wonderful winter vegetable is low in fat and  high in dietary fiber and like many winter fruits and vegetables it is  high in vitamin C.

Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled (I don’t boil any vegetable except potatoes, I prefer steaming), fried, steamed or eaten raw. I’ve also read that low carb dieters use cauliflower as a reasonable substitute for potatoes. Hum, guess you would have to cook it until pretty soft to get the texture right when it’s pureed so that might be when they boil it. I still think I prefer the steam method. As you can see I haven’t tried it as a substitute for mashed potatoes.

steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce

roasted cauliflower with Parmesan

One of my childhood favorites is cauliflower that has been steamed till it’s just done then served with a simple cheese sauce. I have also tried it sliced, tossed with a good olive oil, salt and pepper then roasted until just browned then sprinkled with a nice Parmesan cheese. Another favorite is to slice the florets and steam them then toss with a pat of butter, salt and pepper.

Here’s a interesting way to fix cauliflower as a snack,  cauliflower popcorn. It’s an idea from Earth Eats by Annie Corrigan. They have all kinds of interesting articles on their site.

Another site with a yummy vegetarian version is Pinch My Salt, it’s steamed cauliflower with a curry butter and almonds. The recipe was adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.

Cauliflower matches well with foods such as almonds and walnuts, bacon and ham, cheese, curry and hollandaise sauces, breadcrumbs, butter, lemon, mushrooms, herbs like chervil, chives, parsley and spices like nutmeg.

As you can see cauliflower is extremely versatile. No wonder it is used in cuisines throughout the world. If you haven’t given this highly nutritious, delicious vegetable a try you should. You just might grow to love it as much as I do.

Persimmons Are True Berries – WHAT?

When I saw the statement, persimmons are true berries, I had to find out more. What is a true berry and how could a persimmon be considered a berry? The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. OK, so in every day English what does that mean? It means that any small edible fruit,  that doesn’t have a stone or pit, although many seeds may be present is considered to be a “true berry”.  Think, Persimmons, grapes, red currants and tomatoes.  So now that we understand the “true berry” definition let me tell you a little bit about the winter true berry called persimmon.

I bought this Fuyu persimmon at the Farmers’ Market on Sunday. Actually I bought a nice little bag of small Fuyu for $1. I usually don’t buy fruit that is already bagged but these, although small in size, looked good and the price definitely was very good.

I became a fan of Fuyu within the last five years. Before that I was aware of them and had done some baking with the heart-shaped Hachiya, the most common variety of astringent persimmon. The Hachiya are the heart shaped persimmons that are unpalatable (or “furry” tasting) if you try eating them before they are soft, or ripe. The Fuyu, on the other hand, are non-astringent and may be consumed when still very firm, or soft like the one I ate today. Eating them when firm is definitely my preference but the soft one today tasted just fine. Of the two varieties I much prefer the Fuyu.

Researching tonight I found out there is a third type, less commonly available, the flesh is brown inside -known as goma in Japan, and the fruit can be eaten firm. Tsurunoko, sold as “Chocolate persimmon” for its dark brown flesh, Maru, sold as “Cinnamon persimmon” for its spicy flavor, and Hyakume, sold, as “Brown sugar” are the three best known. After reading about these I’ll definitely keep my eye out for them at my Farmers’ Market.

I like eating the Fuyu like an apple. I just slice it and eat it. I have read and heard that some prefer to peel the skin before eating, I don’t.  I’ve also discovered an enjoyable way of eating them at breakfast. I make my oatmeal, adding a little cinnamon before I cook it. Then, chop a Fuyu into small chunks and add it to the cooked oatmeal along with a small handful of coarsely chopped walnuts then finish it with a nice sized dollop of unflavored Greek yogurt. It’s a really nice way to start the day. I also use Fuyu in salads, much like I would a tomato in the summer.

If you have a favorite way to use persimmons please share them with us. And speaking of sharing here is a little trivia tidbit for all you golf enthusiasts.

Persimmon trivia for golf enthusiasts: Persimmon wood was heavily used in making the highest-quality heads of the golf clubs known as “woods” until the golf industry moved primarily to metal woods in the last years of the 20th century. In fact, the first metal woods made by TaylorMade, an early pioneer of that club type, were branded as “Pittsburgh Persimmons” (Wikipedia).

A WordPress Review of 2010

I received this email from WordPress today and although my main purpose for writing Anniespickns has nothing to do with tracking how many people read or search it I found this interesting and thought those of you who are into stats might too.

Here’s their email:

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 86 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 135 posts. There were 236 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 783mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was January 12th with 1,624 views. The most popular post that day was Turnips. Why not give them a try?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were wordpress.com, facebook.com, kimtb.wordpress.com, en.wordpress.com, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for satsuma imo mash, watermelon slice, spaghetti squash, meyer lemon panna cotta, and watermelon.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Turnips. Why not give them a try? January 2010
28 comments

2

Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta – Light, Creamy and Perfectly Delicious! March 2010
6 comments

3

Who is Annie? November 2009
27 comments

4

103° Today! July 2010
2 comments

5

Satsumaimo or Japanese Sweet Potatoes April 2010