Dinner Novel Vegetarian

Broken dreams and Charred Lemon Cauliflower Recipe

I have a strange relationship to cauliflower. I suspect that it might be because it was what we made the night before I broke up with my boyfriend. We had been together for nearly a decade. And while my heart was still very attached to the thought of being with him for a lifetime, my heart knew that I had to leave.  I had to leave because I deseprately wanted a family with children..at least 2, and at best 5. Since we started dating, I imagined our family traveling to places unknown, sitting around our the dining table, laughing, eating freshly baked breads and dishes from around the world. He shared that vision as well, but our timing was not synchronous.

As I started to approach  40 evolutions around the sun, I become anxious. Each time a friend of his would ask, “So, when are you getting married. Or don’t you want kids? These questions stung my heart. And each time, we would go to family gatherings and I saw his cousins’ families expanding with more and more children, I became resentful. I became resentful towards my boyfriend, and angry that “he was not quite ready” to bring children into our lives.

And so, on July 27th, a couple of weeks after our Birthdays on the 3rd and 4th of July respectively, I held my breathe and made one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

We held each other tightly for over an hour before he had to take leave to catch his flight back to Madrid. His arms were wrapped around my neck and shoulders like a thick scarf.

Our silence expressed more to each other than we had ever said in the years that we had been together.  I felt intoxicated by the lemon-sage scent of his skin.

The screech from the wheels of the train rubbing against the metal tracks made me loosen my grip. His marble green and amber eyes held my gaze, and he said exactly what I wanted to hear.

“You know that I’ll always love you!”

I mouthed the words, “I love you too,” as my tears outlined the contours of my cheeks.

I watched him step inside of the train and held my body tightly, as if to prevent myself from exploding. I followed his manly gait, clothed in his dark blue army jacket and his tan jeans, which fit so beautifully around his body. I followed his feet, covered up in his timberland shoes, that we bought together the year before. And then, he was in the train. Gone. I watched the train disappear into the darkness of the tunnel, and knew that this could very well be the last time I would ever see him again.

It was that night, with my sheets drenched in tears, that I started to have dreams about Carl; a boy whom I had not seen since I was 7 years old.

The night before the breakup, we enjoyed this amazingly delicious, and flavorful cauliflower recipe by Gordon Ramsey.


[lt_recipe name=”Charred Cauliflower Steak with Mushrooms, Olive and Lemon” servings=”4 main servings ” prep_time=”45 MINUTES” cook_time=”45 MINUTES” total_time=”45 MINUTES” difficulty=”Medium” summary=”A Gordon Ramsey inspired amazingly delicious Cauliflower steak recipe” print=”yes” image=”” ingredients=”For the Charred Cauliflower;2 medium heads cauliflower (each should be large enough to produce 2 “steaks”) ;11 tablespoons) olive oil ;4 tablespoons harissa powder
; Zest from 1 lemon
; Juice from 1 lemon;4 tablespoons unsalted butter; 1⁄2 cup vegetable stock;  For the Olive Pistou; 1 cup Black Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered;1 Cup Green Castelvertrano Olives, pitted and quartered; 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
;2 lemons (for juice and zest)
;2 tablespoons flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped ; Salt and pepper to taste;For the Mushrooms (Porcini Mushrooms); 4 Tablespoons of Olive oil; 
8 porcini mushrooms or any other type
;4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced ;1 tablespoon unsalted butter Zest of 1 lemon ;8 mint leaves
;Sea salt or kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste;For the garnish: 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin oil; lemon zest and juice;2 packs of garlic or hive blossoms ” ]Preheat  your oven to 325°F/165°C. ;Prepare your cauliflower by peeling off the leaves and cutting off the stem, so that you have like a flat base for the cauliflower. Wet your knife generously, as Gordon suggests, before slicing into the steaks, as this gives you a nice clean cut; Cut off 1 inch from the left and the right side of the cauliflower. This will leave approximately 2 inches of the centre. Now, slice this centre into two and you will end up with 4 one-inch slices of cauliflower. Prepare your baking pan with about 8 tablespoon of olive oil. ;On top of the oil, you want to sprinkle 2 tablespoons of your harissa powder and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. ;Rub the sides of each sliced cauliflower “steak” with the olive oil and harissa mix. Pour another tablespoon of olive oil mixed with the remaining harissa powder over the sides. When you are done coating all of the steaks, sprinkle each one again with 2 teaspoons of the sea salt.;;Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your large cast-iron skillet and put on  medium-high heat (If you have more than one pan, you can heat up both simultaneously).;;Once the pans are “smoking,” put in the steaks and let them brown on each side for 90 seconds, or until the edges begin to char. ;Once done, add 2 tablespoons of butter (or unscented coconut oil mixed in with a tablespoon of a nut milk if you are vegan). Cook the butter until it is slightly brown, and it releases that beautiful nutty flavour.;When the butter froths up, add the vegetable stock. Let this cook until it just begins to boil.;Remove the steaks from the stove and put them in the middle rack in your preheated oven to roast for 8 to 10 minutes.;Test your steaks to make sure that they are done. If your knife pushes through the cauliflower easily, then they are done. You should not feel any resistance. When they are done, let them rest on a serving plate while you work on the Olive pistou and the Mushrooms.;;To make the Olive Pistou: Mix the olives, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley; Season to taste with salt and pepper. ;To make the Mushrooms: Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cut the mushrooms into 1⁄4-inch slices lengthwise and put aside. ;Cut the shallots in half lengthwise? then turn them onto the cut side for stability to thinly slice. ;Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the shallots and garlic are translucent. ;Zest the lemon into the pan and add the olive pistou. Stir together. ;Lower the heat to medium-low. Thinly slice the mint and sprinkle it over the mushrooms. ;Turn off the heat and season to taste with more salt and pepper. ;Plate 2 steaks with the cores facing each other. Spoon the olive pistou/mushroom mixture over the steaks. Finish with a drizzle of the olive oil, a sprinkle of lemon zest, and a drizzle of lemon juice. Tuck the garlic or chive blossoms into the mixture atop the steaks. ;Plate the cauliflower steaks individually if serving as a main. ;;[/lt_recipe]


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