Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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May 28, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower with Golden Raisins, Mint & Capers

Libations used: 1 cup of white wine...
Libations left over: Pretty much the whole bottle, so serve with dinner...
This past weekend, I was in Ojai with my girl friends for a most memorable bachelorette celebration.  We stayed at this beautiful "compound," which had a couple of hot tubs, a gorgeous pool, two outdoor tiki bars and multiple indoor and outdoor kitchens.  It was like a tropical paradise mixed with a SoCal cabin in the woods.  Because of the amazing cooking and dining set-up, we prepared a few epic meals for the sixteen ladies gathered.  I cooked the last night with a few friends, and because the bride is vegetarian and we had been eating and drinking so much the entire weekend, we opted for a bunch of healthy veggie dishes and salads.  I had been wanting to make this recipe by the talented M.B. Post and Fishing with Dynamite's David LeFevre for a while, plus cauliflower appears to be the "it" vegetable right now.  We made a few alterations to the recipe — I couldn't find sultanas in Ojai, so used golden raisins, we skipped the pine nut and caper berries garnish (because frankly, I forgot) and my friend suggested adding some cumin to it.  We used a Sauvignon Blanc for the wine sauce, since we had been drinking that all week in the hot Ojai sun.  This dish ended up being one of the favorites of the night and the girls were racing back for seconds and thirds.  I had tripled the recipe, and it still wasn't enough!  I know I'll be making this again sooner, than later.

Roasted Cauliflower with Golden Raisins, Mint & Capers - serves 4
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 4 Tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup of golden raisins
  • 1 cup warm white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2 Tbs chopped caper berries or capers
  • 2 Tbs chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbs chopped mint
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • Salt & pepper, to taste 
  • Pine nuts & caper berries, for garnish
- In a small bowl, combine the raisins and white wine and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Place the cauliflower on a roasting pan or baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with the cumin, salt and pepper.
- Roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender and slightly browned.
- In a small pot over medium heat, add the 4 Tbs of olive oil.
- Add the shallots and garlic and sweat them for a couple of minutes.
- Add the raisins, white wine and capers to the pot.
- Cook the sauce until it's reduced by half.
- Cool the sauce to room temperature, and salt to taste.
- When the cauliflower is done, spoon the wine sauce over it and stir in the herbs.
- Garnish with some caper berries and pine nuts.