Happy New New Year! Wow, it’s 2015, I really can’t believe it. Unfortunately 2014 was a dismal year on the blog for me; not because I wasn’t cooking a ton and doing fun things. In fact, I think my cooking reached a new level and I was doing so many fun things that I just didn’t get a chance to properly collect my thoughts in this space as often as I wanted.
I’m not making resolutions or promises to blog a lot this year, but we’ll see what happens. Two weeks ago I proclaimed this blog was dead, and now here I am, back at it. Last night I created something so delicious and amazing that I just had to share it. Also, 2015 should be an exciting year for me for a number of reasons. I’m starting a photography course tonight so that means better pictures to accompany these posts, and I have a a few fun trips planned this year. In addition to a handful of weekend getaways, I’m off to the Carolinas for a wedding and reunion with my college friends in March, that will take me to Raleigh, and Charleston (yeah, I’m already hungry for that one), and then in September my dream of going back to Iceland is coming true. Two years after our first visit and becoming completely obsessed with all things Icelandic we’ve decided to do a full island 11 day road trip! We’re also taking a little side trip to Amsterdam to get our proper Euro fix.
So now that we’re all caught up and re-acquainted, I’ll let you in on a little secret I’ve learned. It’s the ticket to perfectly roasted veggies. Before you toss your veg on the sheet pan, rub a good thick layer of olive oil over it (also really great for moisturizing your hands while you cook). Then throw down the veg, and drizzle more olive oil and salt and pepper on top. This ensures that the side that roasts down first gets nice and caramelized in the oven.
And without further ado, the goods. I had an amazing dinner at Pourhouse here in Vancouver just before Christmas that consisted of a cauliflower ‘steak’ on a bed of lentils with a yogurt raita and papadum’s. To me it was the perfect plate of food for a vegetarian. So good in fact, that I left vowing to re-create it, which I did last night. I just ate the leftovers at my desk and felt like I’d had lunch in a little Parisian bistro. This dish is quintessentially French, it’s hearty, it’s healthy, and inexpensive to make. The only thing I need to improve is my cauliflower cutting skills. I only was able to get two actual ‘steaks’ because you need to cut all the way down to the stem. But don’t worry, just toss whatever you get on a sheet pan and roast it up.
Roasted Cauliflower with French Green Lentils and Herbed Yogurt
Pre-heat your oven to 400.
For the cauliflower:
- 1 head white cauliflower, trimmed, sliced in half, and then cut into 3/4 in. steaks as best as you can (start from the larger inside pieces and work your way out)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the lentils:
- 1 cup french green or de puy lentils
- 2 carrots, diced
- half a white onion or 2 small shallots diced
- 1 tbsp herbs de provence
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- water, as needed
For the yogurt sauce:
- 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt (honestly stop wasting your time with low fat dairy)
- 1/2 cup chopped herbs (I used dill and mint)
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice
While the oven pre-heats, boil the lentils over medium high heat with the stock, veggies (feel free to add celery, leeks etc. to this one), and herbs. Cover and simmer about 25 min. until the lentils are tender, but retain their bite, and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add water or more stock throughout this process as needed. I find cooking the lentils in stock vs. water gives a much richer flavour.
Place the cauliflower on an oiled roasting pan, drizzle more oil on top and season with sale and pepper. Roast for 20 min, turn carefully, and roast for another 12-15 minutes, until tender but crisp.
Mix up all the yogurt sauce ingredients and when you’re ready to plate, put a big scoop of lentils down first, top with a piece of cauliflower steak and then dollop of yogurt.