Roasted cauliflower, potatoes and butterbeans in spicy red pepper – olive sauce

Roasted potatoes, cauliflower and butterbeans with spicy red pepper sauce

Roasted potatoes, cauliflower and butterbeans with spicy red pepper sauce

When a child tells a joke (my child, at any rate) he always explains it. He always adds a little, “do you see what I did there?” (Except when they tell knock knock jokes, of course – not because they need no explanation, but because there is no explanation. They make no sense, and that’s the point of them.) As they get a little older they might just send it out there into the world, and see how it plays. They start to understand the universal language of jokes, and they recognize that others understand it as well. And if it plays well, they’ll repeat it, over and over and over again. There’s a regular at the bar where I work. He’s a friendly, loquacious guy, and everybody’s always happy to see him, as befits his status as regular. He tells jokes that aren’t always appropriate, and he lets us know they’re not appropriate by saying, “If you know what I mean.” One day, the bartender said, “Everybody always knows what you mean!” She said it in a jolly, joking way, but he seemed a little chastened. He was uncharacteristically silent for a few minutes. When I think about it, which I frequently do, it’s so odd that we can communicate at all. Words are so frustratingly, beautifully inadequate. Either they seem to have no meaning at all, or they have so many meanings you don’t know which to choose. We could lose ourselves in the space between what we mean to say or what we want to say, and what is actually said. We watched Tokyo Story by Ozu yesterday. (Beautiful!) His films are about regular, contemporary people facing problems that we all face, and one of these is, simply, talking to one another, conveying meaning. The characters are speaking Japanese, of course, which is a language I don’t understand, but they’re so clearly sharing the difficulty of sharing, with their gestures and expressions. They use small sounds, single syllables or grunts, that seem to carry more meaning, and be better understood, than whole streams of words. I love this! Each person fills the syllable with their own inflections, the whole force of their personality. Ozu will show one side of a phone call that consists of nothing but these short grunts, and you know what the person on the other end is saying. I read a little bit about these sounds, and they each have their own written character, which is a beautiful thing. I suppose we have something similar in English, but our small sounds, our ums and ers and uh-huhs seem to create little spaces of non-meaning, little expressions of frustration with meaning. Or maybe it’s just easier to see meaning when you’re less entangled in the words, when you’re outside, looking in.

It’s funny how recipes can become construed and misconstrued, made up, as they are, of words. The symbols I take as universal are very confusing to some people. And measurements are so changing and mysterious, especially when you’re talking about the size of a vegetable! In recipes such as this one, it’s okay that the measurements are vague. You can adjust the amounts to your taste. We have roasted potatoes, cauliflower and roasted butter beans (yummy!) And we have a sauce to toss them in, and you can roast just as much of each as you like! You can mix everything together, and fry it in a skillet till the sauce is fairly dry and coating each piece, and that’s tasty. Or you can leave the elements separate, and let people take what they like, which is what we did, because not everyone in the family is as enthusiastic about cauliflower. We ate this with simple herbed farro, and some sauteed kale and broccoli rabe tossed with lemon and butter.

Here’s the Tokyo Story Theme, by Saito Kojun

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Roasted chickpeas and cauliflower with kale, raisins and almonds, and manchego cheese

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas

Welcome to The Ordinary: Extreme sports zone! As you no doubt know, we have an extensive sporting complex, here at The Ordinary: from the pristine olympic-sized pool on the roof, to the climate-controlled underground basketball court, to the miles and miles of jogging track that wend their way through our orchards and vineyards. In all honesty, we’re not that sporty. I like playing tag, from time to time. And I like shooting baskets with the boys, although my prowess has earned me the nickname “misses Adas.” I don’t like professional sports at all – at least in America – and find them bloated, cynical and joyless. But the boys are both playing basketball, and this I love!! Malcolm is at such an age that the sport is starting to be taken very seriously, and some of the parents are depressingly aggressive in their court-side advice. Malcolm seems happily oblivious to all this. Strangely, my son – my son – doesn’t have a lot of competitive instinct. He likes running back and forth on the court, but he doesn’t feel particularly happy about beating friends on the other teams. And Isaac is playing, too, for the first time, and I can’t tell you how beautiful it is to watch a bunch of seven-year-olds play basketball! Isaac-basketballThey don’t understand the rules, they don’t keep score, they can’t keep track of all of the things they’re supposed to do at once. Either they don’t dribble at all, or they dribble with painstaking care, watching the ball as it rises and falls with such rapt attention that everything else fades into a colorful blur. They’re easily distracted, practicing dance moves or pulling up knee pads as the ball rockets towards them. Nobody knows who they’re passing to, least of all themselves, until the ball is lobbed through the air in no particular direction. And they hop around like popcorn, so excited and happy, bopping and dancing, dribbling themselves up and down rather than the ball. And then a coach will yell “hands in the air,” and all of them will throw their hands in the air as in joyous celebration! It’s a beautiful thing, I tell you! It’s a mother-flipping life lesson for us all!

roasted-cauliflower-and-chiI started this meal before we left for the epic hour-long basketball game, and I put it all together when I got back. So it’s a good meal for when you’re distracted, it doesn’t take long to make, and it keeps well, either together or in its separate elements. You roast the chickpeas, cauliflower, shallot, garlic and herbs all together, and if they sit in a warm oven, they only become better. You boil the kale on top of the stove, and then you add the raisins, almonds and cheese at the end, with a squeeze of lemon. If you don’t have manchego, not to fear! Any cheese you like would work here, or no cheese at all! Similarly, if you don’t have kale you could substitute chard, spinach, or collards. The boys mixed this with basmati rice to make a sort of pilaf, and David and I ate it atop lightly dressed lettuce and arugula to make a sort of warm salad. Good either way!!

Here’s Jurassic 5 with The Game.

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Harissa-spiced roasted cauliflower

This is easy peasy. Actually, this would have been good with a squeeze of lemon. I should have but I didn’t. Next time.

I like cauliflower roasted with various spice mixes, and this is my latest effort. It’s loosely-based on the Tunisian fiery pepper mix called “harissa.” (What a great word!) This is so easy I’m not even going to wait till after the jump to tell you how to make it. Here’s what you do…chop up your cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a bowl, mix the cauliflower with 2 minced cloves of garlic, as much cayenne as you like, cumin, caraway seeds, coriander, salt and black pepper. As much of each as you like, depending on how much cauliflower you have. Drizzle a tablespoonful or more of olive oil to lightly coat each piece and stir it all together. Turn it out onto a baking tray and cook in a hot oven 425ish, till it starts to get brown and crispy on the edges. (20 minutes, maybe?)

Here’s Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip with Cauliflower (thanks, Shane!)