Eating More Scary Veggies – Romanesco

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At first glance you might think  this was some type of odd undersea creature.   Maybe some type of sedum (succulent garden plant)?   My hubby even said it looked mathematical.   Grant’s take?  Alien ear wax.  Hey, what can I say, he’s a 6 year old boy!  Although I do have to say the vibrant green color does lend to alien thoughts.

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Is it starting to look any more familiar?     What if you took those gorgeous conical spirals and and made them look more like mini trees?   Any ideas yet?

Yep, Romanesco is actually a heirloom variety of one of my favorite veggies – broccoli.  It’s a beauty to look at and one to taste as well.

I really should have taken pictures the day it came in my farm box.   It looked so much prettier.  But I didn’t.   So you get pictures with bumps and bruises after sitting in my veggie drawer for a few days.   It still looks awesomely cool if you ask me!

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Taste wise, I find Romanesco to be a mix between broccoli and cauliflower.    It’s very mild, and the color stays when you cook it.   Sometimes, especially when roasted, it can take on a slightly nutty flavor.

Where do you find such a thing?
I was lucky enough to get mine in my Box of Good  from Klesick’s last week.   Because it is an heirloom vegetable, it’s most likely to be found in the organic produce section.   I’ve seen it in several of the better grocery stores in my area and it’s becoming wildly popular at farmers markets as well.     Look for it at farmers markets when other broccoli hits the stands.    What you find in stores now (and what I had) is coming from California.

How to pick one?
Look for bright vibrant color and lack of blemishes.   If the leaves are still present you want to make sure they are still crisp and not wilted.

How to cook it?
I simply steamed it this time.  You could add it raw to jazz up your crudité platter.   It also works well substituted it in my Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Recipe.     Here are a couple recipes that are on my list to try:

Smoky Romanesco Cauliflower, Celery Root and Broccoli Soup
Pasta e Broccoli

So what do you think?   Will you give it a try?

Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

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It’s hard not to like this simple dish.    It’s even won over a few cauliflower “haters” I know.   It works just as well for a weeknight dinner as it will Thanksgiving and is easy to double or triple the recipe.   I can’t tell you how well it reheats, there’s never been any left to find out.

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower – chopped into 1 to 1.5 inch florets
Olive Oil (for coating – 1 or 2 tbsps)
Garlic Powder
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   In a 8×8 glass Pyrex dish toss the cauliflower and the olive oil.   Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.    Roast for 20 – 30 minutes or until tender and starting to brown.    Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and roast for an additional 7-10 minutes until cheese is melted but not crunchy.   Serve warm.

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Balsamic Roasted Red Cabbage

DSC_4093Cabbage is one of those veggies I didn’t eat as a kid.     I don’t know that it was ever even fixed in our house.   Maybe in the rare cole slaw, but I seem to remember eating that out of little styrofoam containers. So when I got a full head of red cabbage in my farm box  I was feeling serious underwhelmed.    I try desperately to use everything that comes.    It’s a good exercise in being creative and stretching our palate outside it’s normal limits.     But I was REALLY hesitant about what I could do with this cabbage.    The only thing that came to mind was fish tacos and since I’m the only person who eats fish in the house…. well, I knew it was time to hit Pinterest. After doing a bit of oogling, I came upon the theory of roasting it.    Roasting is probably my favorite thing to do with veggies.   You add some olive, oil, garlic, salt and pepper and it’s pretty much a win in my house. So here it is! Balsamic Roasted Red Cabbage Adapted from Family Friendly Food 1 head red cabbage, chopped 1 large red onion, chopped 3-5 cloves fresh garlic, diced (we LOVE garlic) a couple glugs of olive oil (estimated at 3-4 tbsp) Sea Salt Fresh Ground Pepper 1/4 to 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (more = stronger taste, we love the stuff) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Chop the cabbage in half, then in quarters – then cut out the core from each piece. DSC_4096 Rough chop the quarters into about 1” pieces.    Throw the cabbage into your biggest rectangular pyrex.   Rough chop the onion and throw that on top of the cabbage.   Dice the garlic and throw that on top.   Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season.   Give it a glug of olive oil. DSC_4100 Stir it all up.   You want enough olive oil to have a light covering on everything.   If not,  give it a bit more and stir again.    Drizzle on your balsamic and give it a good stir.   Roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring about half way through. And here’s what you get! DSC_4108 Not only is this GEORGOUS, it tastes wonderful! This makes a big pan.    It was great as leftovers, I even ate it cold (but I can be weird like that). Note:  the recipe I based this one on calls for sugar to be added for sweetness.   I think the onions add plenty – but feel free to add a couple teaspoons of agave for the last 20 minutes if you like it extra sweet. © Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.