We like to think of cauliflower as a versatile, guilt-free cravings-buster. It works well as a substitute for pasta in “mac-n-cheese.” We’ve seen recipes for cauliflower “fried rice” that look good enough to try sometime when we feel like Chinese food, but don’t want all the calories. One of our vegan cookbooks even has a recipe for cauliflower “meatballs.” (A little skeptical about that one). I’m not about to tell you that cauliflower will satisfy a craving for a juicy ribeye or tender filet mignon, but these cauliflower steaks are a hearty and delicious option for a vegetarian dinner. As much as we love our roasted potatoes, this recipe for garlic-roasted cauliflower is a great alternative with less calories and carbs but similar roast-y flavor and texture. Even better, the cauliflower cooks in about half the time as the potatoes and does not require parboiling. Win, win! Now if only someone could please come up with a way to make cauliflower taste like fried chicken, we would be forever grateful.
It probably seems pretentious to use the Italian translation in the title of this post, especially considering that we don’t speak Italian. “Vino bianco” or “vino rosso” (depending on the time of day and/or season), is about as bilingual as we get. But the title of this post is the name of a beautiful salad that we found at one of our favorite local Italian restaurants. So let’s just say we’re being “authentic” rather than pretentious. Speaking of authentic, one of the things we love about this Italian place is how they pride themselves on their authenticity. They even incorporate this aspect into their name, “Trattoria D.O.C.” According to their website, “D.O.C. is an acronym for ‘Denominazione di origine controllata,’ a wine appellation which requires that a product be produced following strict guidelines to ensure quality standards. Our attention to detail and time honored recipes, along with our dedication for fresh ingredients, is the reason we call ourselves ‘D.O.C.'” (“Appellation” refers to a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where grapes for wine—or other foods—are grown. Yes, I had to look it up. Who’s pretentious now?) We love Trattoria D.O.C. so much that we once ate both lunch and dinner there in the same day: blinded by an intense pizza craving (SUCH good pizza there) during a bike ride break one afternoon, we completely forgot we had dinner reservations with friends there in just a few hours, but we kept the reservations and enjoyed some delicious pasta that night. They have amazing, authentic Italian food there, is what I’m saying. The Sedano e Mela salad is my go-to (in addition and as a precursor to pretty much any of their pizzas), so much so that it became necessary to recreate it at home. Aside from the taste, the best thing about this salad is how easy it is to make—so easy that it doesn’t even warrant an actual recipe. Celery, apple, radicchio, pecorino cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and salt & pepper. That’s it. An authentic, simple, fresh—and decidedly unpretentious—flavor explosion. Buon appetito!