Category Archives: Cauliflower

Primal Prawns (or Cauliflower) in an Indian Coconut Sauce

I was leery about this recipe.  It seemed too simple to have any flavor.  I’m used to reading and preparing Indian recipes that have at least 12 different spices.  And typically, at least 2 of the ingredients are hard to find in our small Montana city that seems to have a hard time selling even the most basic of gourmet and especially ethnic ingredients.

I was pleasantly surprised.  I’ll be honest though, I almost stopped halfway through the prepping of the dish because I was not impressed with the then flavor of the coconut milk and minced onion/garlic/ginger paste.  But, I continued on thinking that I should give it a good try given that all of the prep was done and thus I had nothing to lose.  I even went so far as to think of possible other renditions with the end result.  Oh ye of little faith!

The subtle cinnamon, cloves and cardamom melded together perfectly with the coconut milk and gingery onion.  I think the absolute trick to this recipe is to give it time to let the flavors do their thing.  As with seemingly all Indian recipes, the dish improves even more after sitting overnight.  The sauce is perfect for the shrimp in that it’s quite flavorful but does not overwhelm the shrimp or cauliflower.  This will be one dish that will continually be on my rotation of Indian go-to’s.

I want to give great credit to Meena Pathak  for the great recipes in COMPLETE INDIAN COOKING.  This recipe is an adaptation of one of her recipes and a second recipe of hers that I’ve created a post around.

Pairs great with a mild Pinot Noir (I find most Indian goes great with Pinot Noirs).


Serves 4 – 6

  • 12 oz chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1″ piece ginger, sliced
  • 2 lb large raw prawns; peeled, cleaned & deveined – or –
  • 1 head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets – or –
  • a  combination of shrimp & cauliflower
  • salt, to taste
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dried bird’s eye chile
  • 2 oz Greek yogurt
  • 12 fl oz coconut milk or 4 oz coconut cream with 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup water

Place onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and process to a FINE paste.

Smear the prawns or cauliflower with a little salt and half the turmeric.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan and fry the prawns over a high heat until just golden brown.  Remove and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves.  Reduce heat to medium high and stir spices for 2 minutes or just until they are aromatic and lightly brown.  Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onion/garlic/ginger mixture to the pan.  Stir-fry for approximately 4 minutes.

Add the remaining turmeric and bird’s eye chile.  Sprinkle with a little water and stir well.  Add the yogurt and mix well.  Pour in the coconut milk/coconut cream & water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.  (At this point it is going to come down to preference of thickness.  It can be cooked longer for a thicker consistency if desired.)

Add prawns and cauliflower.  Cook for another 8 minutes for shrimp and 10 minutes for cauliflower (check for doneness of florets).


Primal Eating

Back in July, my friend Jenny came home from a work function where she had run into a co-worker that she hadn’t seen in a while.  The co-worker had lost weight and Jenny asked her how she had done it.  The co-worker referred Jenny to the website Mark’s Daily Apple.

Jenny told me and a few other girlfriends about the site. I immediately checked it out and liked what I found. The idea is to live “primally”, emulating our long ago ancestors through diet and exercise.

I got serious about primal eating at the beginning of August when I got back from Sayulita, Mexico. I cut out all grains, most starches and legumes, and as much sugar as I could. I noticed a dramatic effect in my feelings of satiety, energy and well being. I simply felt content.  And I wasn’t so bloated.

I am still eating a primal diet consisting of lots of organic greens and vegetables, grass fed meats from local producers and berries for my fruit. I cook with bacon fat, coconut oil and a little bit of olive oil.

In transitioning to this lifestyle, I have had great adventures in learning to cook differently so that I am not consuming the grains and starches that I was habitually consuming through breads, crackers, potatoes and beans.

One such recipe is shepherd’s pie. It’s a dish that I tend to make every fall when there is a bounty of game meat that I receive from hunting friends. That and the amazing fall harvest produce that is available at the farmer’s market and from my garden.

The top of the shepherd’s pie is generally made with potatoes and the “gravy” for the filling made with flour. Well, that needed to be changed. This recipe is based loosely on one that was posted on Mark’s Daily Apple by Cherie Randall.  You may notice that the topping is very similar to my cauliflower parsnip gratin in my post “What’s for Dinner? 11/8/2009”.  It is Cherie’s post that got me rolling on the gratin creation.  Thanks Cherie!


Serves 6 – 8


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-3 tablespoons cream (optional)
  • salt & pepper taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided into 1 tbsp each
  • 1 beet, peeled and cubed into ¼ “ cubes
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled, cut into 1” lengths, the fatter lengths then quartered
  • 2-3 carrots, cut into 1” lengths, the fatter lengths then quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground grass-fed beef, bison, goat, antelope, etc.
  • 1 tablespoon almond flour
  • 3/4 cup beef, veggie or chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Break the cauliflower into chunky pieces and steam until just tender, approximately 10-12 minutes.

While cauliflower is steaming, heat butter in small saucepan over medium low heat.  Add garlic to the butter and keep on low heat, infusing the butter with the garlic flavor.  Don’t get the butter too hot or it will burn the garlic.  Let the garlic and butter mixture sit on low heat for approx 4-5 minutes, swirling the mixture on occasion.

Put the cauliflower in the food processor with the garlic butter and grated parmesan and process until smooth. At this point, you may want to add cream to give it a smoother consistency.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Heat 1 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add beet cubes and toss to coat with the butter.  Cook beets, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned and just fork tender.  Place beets into a medium bowl and return pan to heat.  Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter and add the parsnips and carrots.  Toss to coat and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and just fork tender.  Add to the beets.  (It’ll take about 15 minutes to cook each the beets and the carrots/parsnips.  Don’t turn the heat up too high otherwise you’ll brown the veggies before they are done on the inside.) (Don’t over cook the veggies either, you want them just fork tender because they’ll continue cooking in the pie mixture as well and “finish”).

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté several minutes until soft. Add beef and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to break up the meat so it browns evenly. Add beet/parsnip/carrot mixture and cook another five minutes.

Stir in the almond flour. Add broth and herbs and reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from skillet and put into a medium glass or metal casserole dish. Spread the cauliflower over the top.

Scatter 2 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces on top of the cauliflower. Bake 30-35 minutes until top is browned in places and pie mixture is steaming hot.



What’s for Dinner? 11/8/2009

I just finished a yummy dinner of leftovers from the previous night.  They were from a dinner that I shared with my friends Cooper, Erin & Jeremy before we went to the last showing of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” at the Myrna Loy Center

It was a lovely time replete with gin martinis expertly mixed by Cooper for a pre-dinner cocktail,  a Fess Parker chardonnay with dinner, and good conversation over delicious food.  Ah yes, the food.  We had Souvlaki beef skewers made with tenderloin steaks from MT City Meats, Greek yogurt tzatziki, a cauliflower/parsnip gratin and a “house” salad with homemade salad dressings.

As for my rendition of the leftovers, I simply sauteed the remaining beef and onions with the marinade over high heat to make a “gravy” out of the marinade while cooking the beef.  I reheated the cauli/parsnip gratin at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  I added sauteed cubed sweet potatoes as another side dish.

Souvlaki Leftovers

Rendition of leftovers. Plate by Emily Free Wilson.


serves 4-6


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2″ square pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons crushed, dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds beef steak, cubed into 3/4″ cubes


  • 8 oz Fage Greek Whole Milk Yogurt
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced lengthwise, deseeded and shredded
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.  Place cubed meat and chopped onions into ziplock bag.  Pour marinade over meat and onions, seal bag and work the marinade around in the bag so that it completely coats the beef and onion.  Lay bag flat in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to overnight.

Mix the tzatziki ingredients until well combined.  Place in refrigerator to let flavors meld. 

30 minutes before you are ready to make skewers of the beef and onion, pull the marinating bag out of the refrigerator and let sit on the counter.  When ready to start creating the skewers, light your outdoor grill or start heating the Cuisinart Griddler (what I used).  Skewer the beef and onions.

Cook over searing heat, turning every couple of minutes.  Grill for 8-10 minutes.  Place on serving plate and let rest for a few minutes.  Serve with Tzatziki sauce.


Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 large head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 4 – 6 parsnips, peeled, cut into 2″ long pieces, the thicker pieces further cut into halves and/or quarters
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan; divided
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Place cauliflower and parsnips into steaming basket and steam over boiling water for 12-15 minutes until very tender when pierced with a fork.  When done, pull off of heat and let them slightly cool.

Meanwhile, make garlic butter.  Melt butter over medium heat  in a small saucepan.  Once melted, add minced garlic and swirl pan.  Turn heat to low and let the garlic meld with the butter.  Do not brown the garlic.  Let sit on low heat for 3-4 minutes, turn heat off.

Put steamed vegetables into mixing bowl of large cuisinart.  Pour 1/2 cup cream over the top.  Add garlic butter and 1 cup parmesan.  Puree mixture until you reach a desired consistency, adding more cream as necessary.  I like mine to be that of mashed potato consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spread mixture into buttered 9″ round metal baking pan.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese on top.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Broil for 4 minutes.  Serve hot.