Last week one of our convent dinners included a whole head of cauliflower covered with a flavorful cheesy topping that was most enjoyable. Eating this prompted me to begin speculating about a possible Christmas cauliflower creation that might enhance a holiday dinner table. I envisioned something a little more dressed up with a stylish bit of sparkle and festive flare.
Here is what resulted from my culinary day dreaming: One saucy Head of cauliflower steamed whole, then covered with a combination of mayonnaise, etc., adorned with a skirt of rich dark green kale that has been slightly braised in oil and stylishly fluffed out around it. This basic beginning would then be tastefully embellished with bright red jewel like roasted cherry tomatoes. Thus attired my plain head of cauliflower would be stylishly prepared to make her special appearance at a very special meal.
Festive Christmas Cauliflower
- Steam or boil cauliflower until soft but still firm about 20-25 minutes.
- Combine cheese, onion, pimento, and mayonnaise. Spread over cauliflower completely and place in a baking dish or pan.
- Put in a high oven (400 degrees) for a long as it takes to gain a nice golden glaze.
- Let rest a while.
- Toss the tomatoes with a little olive oil and lay out in a single layer on a sheet pan.
- Season with kosher salt and pepper.
- Roast for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees, until tomatoes are soft.
- Chop kale and sauté in oil and garlic.
- Place cauliflower on a bed of kale. Scatter or place tomatoes around it as desired.
Next week we start harvesting apples. How the year zips right along, from planting to harvest to seed again. We haven’t quite finished dealing with the pears yet, but we are getting there. Many more jars of chutney, and maybe some cordial to warm us in the winter months. I wanted to try the pear chutney in my favorite hot ham and cheese sandwich, so I made up some bread dough, slathered in some of our homemade mustard and a good dollop of the pear chutney, baked it until the cheese was oozing out the sides and it was quite good! Served with a nice bowl of butternut squash soup, who could ask for more on these nippy fall days?
Hot Ham and Cheese Pockets with Mustard and Chutney
- Dissolve yeast in warm water, add sugar, and let sit until bubbly.
- Add salt, olive oil and enough flour to make a just-sticky bread dough that springs back to the touch after kneading for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Keep adding flour until not sticky.
- Put back in bowl, and cover.
- Let rise about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Divide dough into 6 lumps.
- Roll out into 7 inch circles.
- Spread center of each circle with mustard, then grated cheese, chutney, and finally ham bunched on top.
- Pull up edges of circle, and press edges together to form a ball.
- Place with seam side down on a pan lined with parchment.
- Let sit about 15 minutes.
- Brush tops with olive oil, and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.