Cauliflower Cake

I found this recipe from Smitten Kitchen as soon as I came home from the farmer’s market last week. I knew I wanted to prepare it for my mom and sister who were staying with me on the eve of the Rally to Restore Sanity this weekend.

It was delicious but very filling. We have plenty of leftovers so go along with our halloween candy and birthday cupcakes (today was also my roommate’s birthday) to eat all week long!

Cauliflower Cake (from Smitten Kitchen)

What You Need
– 1 medium cauliflower
– 1 large red onion, peeled
– 5 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
– 10 medium or 8 large eggs
– Handful basil, chopped
– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
– 2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
– Salt and black pepper
– Butter, for greasing pan
– 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (recipe calls for black, but I used white and a bit more than 2 tablespoons)


What You Do
1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
2. Break cauliflower into medium florets.
3. Place floret in a pot with a teaspoon of salt, cover them with water and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until quite soft.
4. Strain and let drip in the colander for a few minutes so they dry and cool.
5. Halve your red onion and cut a few thin rings off the end of one side; set them aside.
6. Coarsely chop the remainder of your onion.
7. Heat all of your olive oil in a saucepan and saute the chopped red onion and rosemary together until soft, about 8 minutes. (This smells so good!)
8. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
9. Whisk eggs and olive oil and onion mixture together. Stir in basil.
10. Whisk flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and many grinds of black pepper together in a separate bowl.
11. Add to egg mixture, whisking to remove lumps. Stir in cauliflower gently, so most pieces remain intact.
12. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round pan with parchment paper.
13. Butter the sides generously.
14. Put the sesame seeds in the pan and toss them around so that they stick to the sides.
15. Pour in the cauliflower batter, arrange the reserved onion rings on top and bake cake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Yum. More on cauliflower to come!

Fall Gardening in 90 Degrees

The new fall greens are growing really nicely. The okra plant is still giving me some okra and the green beans and growing and producing as well. The only loss so far has been that the squirrels have demolished the lettuce. So, we put in extra wood around the broken fence to keep the creatures from coming in through the holes. And, we planted some more lettuce and more greens. We also spent time thinning out the radishes and greens.

Here is the happy little plot:

Disregrard the trash heaps on either side, my landlord is finally getting rid of the shed that was destroyed during the summer storms.

Read this Book: Eaarth by Bill McKibben

Barbara Kingsolver, who I love and adore and love some more says: “Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important.”

I couldn’t agree with her more. Eaarth by Bill McKibben is such an important book to read. It will reshape the way you think about climate change and really challenge you to think about what to do now, since we have already irreversibly changed the climate on our planet. McKibben says, “Imagine we live on a planet. Not our cozy, taken-for-granted earth, but a planet, a real one, with darkpoles and belching volcanoes and a heaving, corrosive sea, raked by winds, strafed by storms, scorched by heat. An inhospitable place. It’s a different place. A different planet. It needs a new name.”

You have to read the first half of the book quickly. It is a depressing picture of our world and the harsh realities of climate change and our culture of growth and bigness. McKibben says, “We have, in short, goosed our economy with one jolt of Viagra after another, anything to avoid facing the fact that our reproductive days were past and hence constant and unrelenting thrust was no longer so necessary. (I suspect global warming is the planetary equivalent of the dread ‘erection lasting more than four hours’ that we’re warned about on the TV commercials.)” (I thought the metaphor was pretty funny, anyway).

Much of his solution to living on this new planet, Eaarth, has to do with investment and revitalization of local economies. The first local economy he discusses in the book is the food economy. He says, “So it’s unsettling (but also the first unambiguously good news this book has to offer) to learn that serious people have begun to rethink small-scale agriculture, perhaps just in time to help us deal with the strains of our new planet.” I enjoyed his presentation of the many facets of local economies and how to meet human needs on Eaarth (not just in the US but around the world, even in the developing world).

Another part of the solution is working to get our atmosphere back on track by lowering the amount of CO2 to 350 parts per million. Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. Currently, we are over 388 parts per million. You can check out his organization on their website There are organizing a global action day on 10/10/10. Check it out here.

Read the book, check out the website, and really start thinking about ways you can help solve the complex issues we are confronted with by McKibben.

Grilled Tomatoes

I found some wonderful heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market before Labor Day.

Charred Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs (from Bon Appetit– do you see a pattern for my recipes from Labor Day?)

What You Need
– 4 large firm heirloom tomatoes (about 10 ounces each), cored, cut horizontally in half
– 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, divided
– 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
– 5 tablespoons (about) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

What You Do
1. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on rimmed baking sheet.
2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then 1 1/2 tablespoons each oregano and thyme leaves.
3. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil.
4. Let stand at room temperature.
5. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).
6. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on rack (they said to brush the rack with oil, but I didn’t).
7. Cook until bottoms are charred, 3 to 4 minutes. (Be careful with these guys on the grill!)
8. Turn tomatoes over and grill just to sear, about 1 minute.
9. Turn cut side up onto platter.
10. Sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon each oregano and thyme, then drizzle with more oil, if desired.

Serve warm.


So, you saw the cukes I got from the garden. I’ve also harvested two okra pods. I see two big tomatoes turning red as well as plenty of baby tomatoes. Additionally, looks like we will have nearly 7 peppers. Wooohooo! Here of some pictures of the produce:

I planted the brussles sprouts and cauliflower yesterday. We also started some lettuce inside the house. On Sat., we will get out and plant much of the greens and other veggies for the fall garden.

Back into the Garden

As you might have guessed, the mess in my backyard has really gotten me down and driven me out of my garden. Top that off with the hot weather that kept all my plants from producing fruits, and I was very discouraged. But, thankfully, my new roommie talked it over with her dad (a farmer) and took another look before I gave up the whole thing. And, although my squash and cukes got a fungus of some sort, some of my plants have finally started producing. I’ve got some green tomatoes (baby and big varieties), cukes, okra, and sweet peppers.

Here are the cukes I picked today:

With this new information and renewed enthusiasm, I started cleaning up the yard. I decided to no longer wait for my landlord to get the debris from the fallen trees out of the way. So, I cleared off the top half of the backyard and then went through and pulled out all the dying plants in the garden (lettuce, squash, peas). I also cleaned up the cukes so they take over less area and tidied up around everything else:

I have plenty of new seeds for fall and also some seedlings (Brussels sprouts and cauliflower below). This weekend I intend on finishing up much of the backyard cleanup and planting all the new seeds and seedlings. We will be focusing on greens but also have a whole lot of good stuff (kale, spinach, mesclun, radishes, kohlrabi, speghetti sqaush, lettuce, arugula, collards, and some flowers).
I’m thinking the fall crop is going to be a much bigger success than the summer. We’ll see if mother nature plays along.

Update on the garden

Since the crazy rainstorm and disasters in my backyard, I’ve been reluctant to tend to the garden. Not only is it a bit depressing to go out there in all the mess, but every time I do I get about 1000 bug bites. My legs look like they did when I was a 10 year old at sleep away camp– bruised and fully of bug bites– not good. But, thankfully, we’ve gotten some rain recently and despite all odds things are still growing. I even have a second tomato and some baby tomatoes.

Take a look:

I hope I am able to eat something from the garden before the end of August. We will see…