One lonely head of cauliflower

My first try with cauliflower yielded one (!) tiny head of cauliflower. I don’t know whether I planted the seedlings too late, did not fertilize or water them enough, or whether the extreme ups and downs of the weather this fall stunted their growth. Should I plant cauliflower again I will certainly have to educate myself better, which is perfectly all right, because gardening is lifelong learning.

Of course I had to do something special with that cauliflower. My favorite dish with cauliflower is a yogurt curry that I have often eaten at Curry in a Hurry, my favorite Indian eatery in New York City. I did not have a recipe so I experimented with the ingredients. The result came close to the original although the sauce curdled a bit (things to learn here, too…)

That lonely head of cauliflower was not the only harvest. I also picked the last radicchio and dug the last beets. My other trial crop this year, kale, is still standing. It is less finicky than cauliflower and thrives in cold weather, when the starch gets converted to glucose. That’s the only aspect of winter I look forward to right now – harvesting kale in the snow.

Yogurt Curry with Cauliflower

1 tablespoon corn oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 stick cinnamon

Pinch of asefoetida

1 large onion, finely sliced

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of cayenne

1 bay leaf

8 ounces cauliflower flowerets

1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1/2 cup buttermilk

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a heavy medium-size pot to the point of almost smoking. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, asefoetida and cinnamon stick and fry until the mustard seeds pop, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions starts to soften. Add the cauliflower and 1 cup water. Mix well, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender and falling apart.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the buttermilk and yogurt. Heat throughly but do not cook, stirring. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with basmati rice.

Makes 2 main course servings

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