Friday, October 22, 2010

picture perfect


"...that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm." 
-Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

Traipsing through the Louvre last week I was stunned to discover that you are free to photograph ANYTHING you want in the museum! No flash allowed, but that rule was ignored by the masses clustered around the Mona Lisa. Indignant art history major, I worried about the future of these gorgeous masterpieces, and wanted to enforce the rule myself, but thought better of it as I was seriously out-numbered.
If you can't beat them, at least follow the law of the land. I took a few flash-free snaps of some of my favorite images like this one:
How could I resist this charming Dutch lass?
Paintings of food never fail to grab me. I have a future fantasy life of being a vegetable portrait artist. 
When I came across this magnificent cauliflower at a local produce store this week I felt compelled to bring it home and at the very least, take it's pic. And then eat it.
Doesn't it look like a sexy lady with her dress falling off? Well, I think so:)

My recent sojourn in Paris  failed to turn up much in the way of many interesting vegetable recipes. In fact, I believe the French are not all that different from Americans in their vegetable eating habits. Most French meals are based around a prominent meat offering with vegetables as serious second fiddlers. Admittedly, The French know their way around a salad and I bow to their vinaigrettes.

For simple, insanely delicious vegetable recipes Mario Batali knows his stuff. I looked up cauliflower in his Molto Italiano cookbook and found Penne with Cauliflower which in his own words is "...a recipe so simple that it seems, well, almost pathetic."
Pretty funny, Mario!

Penne with Cauliflower-adapted from a recipe by Mario Batali

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs. crushed chili peppers
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
salt & pepper 
1/4 cup white wine
1 lb. penne
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs- parsley or basil
1/2 cup grated parmasean

Heat oil in saute pan and add the garlic and crushed chili, cook for two minutes till garlic is golden. Add the cauliflower and salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup water and cover the pan, cooking for another 10 minutes. Add a splash of white wine and continue cooking, uncovered till the cauliflower is tender, maybe two more minutes.
Cook the pasta al dente, drain and add to the cauliflower, tossing to coat the pasta. Add the chopped herbs and the grated cheese.

ps- has anyone been to EATALY yet? Have not had a chance to get over there and battle the crowds. Maybe next week.

I have heard a lot about Eataly, but have not yet had the opportunity to make the trip. One of these days I will venture into NYC to check it out. I've heard it's a mob scene, as one might imagine. But I am sure it is well worth it!

Deb, once again, your pictures are so beautiful! Especially the one of the cauliflower - you should enter that one into a contest!

I have some cauliflower at home - so I might just make this dish for dinner! Looks great. Deb, how long does cauliflower last when kept in the fridge? I bought mine several weeks ago, and it still looks perfect. And did you use the leaves in this dish? It looks like you did in the picture. Just wondering since I never thought of using them.

I think any white wine would really work here. I would buy a decent bottle of white, and use it for the dish, and also for sipping. I would be inclined to go with a nice Pinot Gris - just keep it on the dry side. Pinot Gris is rich and has great texture, with nice acidity as well. It is extremely food-friendly. The grape is known for producing wines with flavors of peach, citrus, apple or pears. Pinot Gris from California will be rich and fruit forward, while in the cooler climates of Europe the wine tends to be more crisp with greater acidity. In Italy, this wine is known as Pinot Grigio (which would also be a great choice for this dish).

Zind Humbrecht is one of my favorite Alsace producers who makes an outstanding Pinot Gris. Not inexpensive, their regular bottling can be found for around $20. Trimbach is another terrific producer in Alsace to look for. But because there are really no "bold" flavors, seasonings, spices, sauces, etc - you can really not go wrong with your wine choice here. I would, however, stick with white.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, in fact, I did use the leaves, another Batali inspiration! And cauliflowers can last for several weeks in the fridge.


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