Okay, I want to end this series of mishaps. Then I can move on to more important subjects. Like pizza. (And pizza mishaps.)
Speaking of mishaps, I’m out of the ankle boot but still on orders to take it easy. The gastritis (I think) that the naproxen seemed to cause has cleared (I think), as has the cold/cough that hit me the day I got the boot off… I’m hoping for a healthier 2013. (You may recall that January 2012 was the start of a long line of stomach annoying-ness, including my lactose intolerance “diagnosis.”)
But honestly, I’d rather have another bout of gastritis than something more serious. This year was really not so bad, universe! Excuse me while I knock on wood.
And now let’s talk about cauliflower.
This was actually the third dish I cooked on a day of many dishes. First I made a tuna salad. Second I made a kale salad. Third, I made this stew, which I found via Pinterest. And then I churned some almond milk ice cream for dessert. (Why not?)
And then like two days later I fell and sprained my ankle, so it’s good I got my cooking in.
I was pumped about this recipe because I already owned all the spices I needed. And I was excited to use San Marzano tomatoes, which come in such cool cans. I also bought a bucket of tricolor couscous for the occasion, because I like tricolor everything.
My closest grocery (Albertson’s) doesn’t sell pre-chopped onions, so that was my SECOND chopped onion of the day. I chop them under cold water, with more emphasis on FAST than technique.
There’s something very satisfying about breaking a head of cauliflower down into florets.
Somehow it didn’t really compute in my mind that all that crap wouldn’t fit super easily into my biggest pan. I was just like… oh, everything will reduce when it cooks. Vegetable shrinkage.
Really, the first mishap was the crushing of the tomatoes.
My mom has this classic story about how she went on a date, a fork was stuck into a tomato, and wardrobe stain-age ensued. But for some reason, I squeezed into these whole, peeled tomatoes without a clue as to what might ensue.
Tomato juice got everywhere, is what ensued. (See the photo at the top.)
But I forged ahead, adding everything else. (Again, see the photo at the top.)
At that point I was like — I cannot bring this to a boil. It will explode. So I called upon my new soup-making pot, which had been sitting unused for a while. And a great migration began.
While that boiled, I rinsed and chopped some farmers’ market spinach, hoping it was approximately 5 ounces.
And vegetable shrinkage eventually did occur!
The spinach got added in the last two minutes. I have pictures of it, but it’s spinach. You know the drill.
I was also excited about this recipe because it utilized that really simple couscous cooking technique of just adding a bit of hot water and letting it sit. It’s a handy technique if you’re going to serve the couscous with a hot stew or something liquid-y — because the couscous doesn’t cook 100% until you add said hot liquid thing to it. If you just want plain couscous — boil it with some olive oil, or whatever the instructions are. Trust me. Or you will be eating hard couscous.
This was the finished product:
I didn’t love it at the time, I think because the blog from which the recipe came really RAVED about this stew, and I felt they’d oversold it a bit. Also, it was really filling, and I realized that it would take way too many meals to get this out of my fridge. (One night, a friend came and helped me eat it — bless her.)
I was like — wow, I have a crapload of “meh” food, mostly vegan. All in a day’s work!
But I think in the transfer, I may have lost some of the spices (maybe they were sticking to the pan)? And, a few weeks later, I am weirdly craving this stew like no other. So… I guess it was kind of a hit, with my stomach. I’ll probably cook it again soon.
Next time I’ll know to start it off in the big pot. And I’ll probably buy pre-cut, pre-washed cauliflower and spinach… out of laziness, I guess. And I’ll hold the tomatoes way down into the pot when I squeeze them, to minimize the mess.
This concludes my trilogy of mishaps… until next time.
Because these things always happen in threes, right?