Friday, June 13, 2008

Caulibroc: Nature's Love Child

Boys and girls, it's time for a little lesson about the birds and the bees. When a nice broccoli falls in love with a beautiful young cauliflower, they express their love in a special way, and we get...


Thanks to a brave Adelaide grower who took a chance (or an illicit love affair in the vegetable patch), my local organic was stocked up with these gorgeous babies. With big purple blooms atop pale green stalks, I think they look like a raw foodie's bridal bouquet - although this would be pretty hefty to carry down the aisle.

With a normal cauliflower, I'd give it a simple treatment: chopped up into small bits, drizzled with olive or flaxseed oil, and sprinkled with salt. I like to think of this crunchy concoction as my raw substitute for popcorn. But with the caulibroc, I wanted to make something a little bit special - to dress it up with colors and flavors. Aloo gobi, the spicy Indian curry featuring cauliflower and potatoes, came to mind, so I looked to the subcontinent for inspiration. To my humble yet exotic caulibroc I added some green peas for a color contrast, mushrooms for texture, and lots of spice to please the palate.

Here's my raw curry fix, a recipe almost as spicy as the vegetable romance that inspired it.

Caulibroc Curry
1 head caulibroc, cut into florets
½ cup fresh shelled peas
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 bunch fresh coriander/cilantro, leaves and stems separated
¼ cup cold pressed oil (olive, flaxseed, safflower, etc.)
Himalayan salt
1 fresh chili
½ cup sundried tomatoes, soaked, liquid reserved
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
½ small onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp honey/agave

Combine caulibroc florets, shelled peas, and sliced mushrooms in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Let the vegetables soften while preparing the sauce.

In a powerful blender, combine the remaining oil, coriander stems, chili, sundried tomatoes, ginger, onion, cumin, tumeric, curry powder and honey or agave. Add half of the tomato soaking liquid and blend, adding more liquid as necessary to create a sauce of medium thickness.

Toss the curry sauce with the vegetables. Spread the vegetables over lined dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 115 F/45 C for 2-3 hours to warm and soften the curry. Remove from dehydrator, top with chopped coriander leaves.

Shown here with tamarillo chutney, made from tamarillos that I sneakily picked from the Botanic Gardens. But that's a story for another day.

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