Friday, June 22, 2007

Pushing new flavor combinations...

Hmm, I think I was being a little ambitious when I was preparing the menu for tonight. By the time I had dinner ready, the kitchen was quite messy with lots of pots and pans scattered on the counters - I then glanced at the clock to see it was already 30 minutes later than when we normally eat... oops!

Oh and before we get started... I did actually get something sweet made today, but you will have to come back tomorrow as it needs to rest overnight in the refrigerator! I will give you a hint though... it involves strawberries and chocolate!

The main portion of tonight's dinner was going to be a little unusual flavor-wise for us tonight, so I thought I would keep the theme going even if the side dish didn't match well. I don't know how authentic the flavor was in this Tandoori-Style Cauliflower, but it certainly tantalized our taste buds! Blanched cauliflower is coated in a pungent homemade sauce that began by toasting whole cardamom pods, cloves, a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf. Once the fragrant spices are ground, they are added to caramelized chopped onions along with ground almonds, grated fresh ginger, turmeric, salt, spicy red pepper and minced garlic. Once heated through, the sauce is placed in a blender and thinned with a bit of water to allow the mixture to be pureed fairly smooth. The sauce at this point is very flavorful, but it needed the addition of plain whole milk yogurt to give it a rich body and a lush creamy texture.

As the snowy white vegetable was tossed with the sauce, the turmeric in the sauce stained the cauliflower with a deep yellowish-orange color - the two then go into the oven to bake until they are thoroughly heated through. The combination of the cauliflower and toasted sweet spices is new to us and I didn't really know how it would go over. With just a bit of heat in the background to play off the sweet, it took us a few bites to really get into this dish with its complex flavor and by the time we had finished, we were both glad that we gave this recipe a try!

We first tried millet just a few weeks ago and really loved the taste and texture, so I've been on the hunt for more recipes that we could use the whole grain in. The directions for these Mediterranean Burgers is fairly lengthy as a few ingredients need to cook first and then cool down before you can proceed. Once all of the prep work was done, the cooked millet is combined with re-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes, cooked onions, wilted baby spinach, garlic, feta cheese, fresh basil and breadcrumbs to help bind the patties together. With all of the additions to the nutty millet, the mixture easily holds together enough so you can cook and flip the patties without concern that they will fall apart. Once the thick patties achieve a golden crust on each side, they are served on crunchy toasted whole wheat English muffins with a bed of tender spinach leaves underneath.

Jeff's only negative remark was for the texture - they don't have that firmness that a meat burger would have - while they have a nice crust on the outside, the inside is more soft than he would have liked. We loved the salty edge that the feta brought along side of the intense flavor from the woven pieces of sun-dried tomatoes coursing threw each burger. You could even make them extra fancy and top each one with an olive relish or even a gourmet ketchup.


  1. Ooohhh, I have the Eating Well book and have that recipe marked since I got it. I brought the millet and it has been sitting it in my pantry ever since.... I really need to get my hands on those tiny pearls and make these burgers! I thought they sounded good the moment I saw them in the book!

  2. Wow! Those burgers look really ambitious, and I loooove the sound of that cauliflower. Anything with Indian flavors is good in my book.

  3. Ana - bust out that millet and give these a try! Worth the effort!

    Erika - they were and I probably should have waited until the weekend, but it worked out well enough!