I’m not one that rushes to rubberneck the scene of a fire or an accident. Those kinds of spectacles do not attract me, unless I can be of some actual help. Perhaps this is because when I was 10, I saw smoke coming from a garbage can and the garage door of the house on the corner. No one seemed to be there, or to be aware of the smoke. I went across the street to people I knew, and the dad there said I did the right thing to tell him and he called the fire department. I was really struck by the quietness of the moment I had first seen the smoke–I had been alone– and the spectacle that followed: a bevy of firetrucks and police cars, and a thick crowd of neighbors and passers-by straining for a look. The feeling in the atmosphere was one of a carnival or a circus.
Why are they doing that?” I asked my Dad, as we waited for the police to ask me what I’ seen. “Oh,” he said, somewhat derisively, even as he himself strained for a better view now and then. “They just want to see.”
See what? I thought. The fire was now out. The tearful, shocked, grateful owners? The policeman in his helmet writing on a pad? The damage to the garage and the house? It seemed to me that those things should be private. But I learned they are most definitely not.
However, when it comes to food spectacles, I am the first in line to have my jaw drop. When I saw this recipe from PureWow posted on a friend’s timeline in my facebook newsfeed, I gasped. It was so beautiful and spectacular looking, I had to click on it and see if it could be veganized. As I waited for the recipe to appear, I wasn’t hopeful. It looked to me like butter or lots of oil had been involved. But when I actually got there, I gasped again. The main ingredient in the marinade? Greek yogurt. The only oil used was to coat the baking sheet. Veganizing this one would be easier than I thought.
I wanted to make a soy free version, too, so I chose some plain almond yogurt. But even the plain has some sugar, and tradtional Greek yogurt is quite tart. To make up for that sweetness, and offset the fact that I wouldn’t be using salt either, I added some chickpea miso to the marinade, for some tart saltiness, without all the sodium in the kosher salt that was part of the original recipe.
I tinkered with it a bit more, substituting and adding when it came to the spices. Those of you who like super hot may want to follow the proportions in the PureWow original. Or you could certainly also use the spice combination in Susan’s Roasted Cauliflower Bites. No matter how you mix it up, the marinade is a tasty innovation, and the cauliflower smells wonderful as it bakes.
It isn’t quite the shape of a crown roast, but it’s golden, and sure looks regal when it comes out of the oven and gets sliced open. And it reigns over anything else you eat it with.
Crown Roast Cauliflower
1 6 oz container of plain almond yogurt
juice and zest of one lime
1/2 tbs of chickpea miso
1 tbs of cumin
1/2 tbs of tumeric
1 tbs of chili powder
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/4 tsp of fennel powder
1 tbs of garlic granules
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium sized bowl, dissolve the chickpea miso with a little of the lime juice and yogurt, until it’s well blended. Then add the rest of the yogurt, lime juice, zest and seasonings and mix well.
Trim the cauliflower so all the green leaves are gone at the base close to where the florets begin. Turn it upside down and dip it into the spicy sauce, coating it as thoroughly as you can. Set it on a baking sheet or a shallow pan lined with baking parchment.
Bake in the oven for at least 40 minutes. Slice and serve.
Notes: This is, after all, cauliflower, and not roast. The stalk takes a while to cook inside. In my case, it took almost 50 minutes. I stopped after that, though it was still firm in the middle, because I didn’t want the florets to dry out. If the sauce runs a bit as it bakes, you can spoon more of it over the top in the last few minutes of baking, which works well. Although I didn’t think to try it, the next time I might make a tent of baking parchment and aluminum foil to cover it for part of the time, to see if that helps the stalk bake more quickly. If you try that, let me know how it works.
There was still quite a bit of marinade left over, and PureWow says to use leftover marinade as salad dressing or to roast other vegetables. I decided to try the second option. Here are some broccoli florets, parsnip and red cabbage coated with the leftovers:
They were tasty like this (I sampled), but since the high the day I made this was 13, I decided to bake them. They got a little crispy, but were mighty tasty:
They became part of this “bowl,” full of re-steamed leftover brown rice with red quinoa, millet, adzuki beans, and some pineapple and green onion with a little extra lime juice. Pretty darn yummy. And warm.
Actually, I ate most of the crown roast cauliflower in a similar fashion: in a bowl with millet, adzuki beans, spinach and extra “As You Wish” Spice Blend (you may have noticed the As You Wish Ingredients crept into my marinade too).
But you don’t have to chop everything up and put it into a bowl like I do. Slice your crown roast cauliflower if you’d like, and eat it with a knife and a fork. After all, it’s the new white meat, right? I’m betting you won’t be able to take your eyes, or your fork–off this spectacular looking roast vegetable treat.
And if you’re looking for just the right not-so-usual valentines, there are still some packs of I Love You cards waiting for you in the Slow Miracle Art Store. But any day is a good day for an I Love You card–or a crown cauliflower roast, for that matter!