There are times that I spend a lot of my time standing in my tiny kitchen chopping this, stirring that, testing, tasting, creating, changing, making, baking, cooking, roasting and thinking. Summer is one of those times. I pick tomatoes or kale or peppers or herbs or broccoli or cauliflower every morning and every evening. I make trips to the markets. Sometimes I pull out my favorite cookbooks (two of them are written by Beth Dooley) and pages torn from magazines to be inspired and think about the flavors and dishes I wish to create.
I think that really good cooking comes from inside, from memories and experiences, just like good writing. I think you have to understand the complexities of flavors and textures and food, in general, to create tasty dishes. I think you have to appreciate those complexities and care what dishes look like and taste like to create truly delicious meals. I think you have to be willing to try new foods and new flavors.
I may not be a professional chef, but I do have lots of memories and experiences centered around delicious food from which to draw from, and I do understand and appreciate flavors and textures. And I'm not afraid to experiment. Not everything works out, but when it does….YUM!
Inspiration and opportunity struck the other day.
The bacon was made for BLTs. After all, summer is the best time for BLTs when the tomatoes and lettuce are fresh from the garden, the lettuce crisp and tasty and the tomatoes, deep red and juicy and full of flavor. Actually, summer is the only time I eat BLTs.
Well, I was about to dispose of the bacon grease on the baking sheet when a thought struck me.
We had just cut 3 small heads of cauliflower from our garden and I was contemplating how I was going to prepare them. I also had several mini bells from the garden and shallots from the market.
AHA! I had it.
I roasted the chopped cauliflower with chopped mini bell peppers and shallots, tossed them with chopped garlic, bacon grease, salt & peppa, a tad bit of good olive oil and a fair amount of raw honey.
OMG! It was so good. Sweet, salty, smoky and caramelized. Delicious. It makes a great side for almost any meal (unless you're serving a vegetarian) and it's quick and easy.
I'm going to share my recipe with you. The only bad part is that I never measure anything out. So, I'll do my best, but you really need to taste and see if the flavors are to your liking, but it was just too good not to share.
Honey Bacon-y Roasted Cauliflower
Make some bacon.
I bake it in a jellyroll pan on foil. Remove the bacon from baking sheet when done to your liking. Leave the foil in place along with the bacon grease.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Chop up 1 large head of cauliflower or 2 or 3 small to medium sized ones.
Chop up 1 regular sized bell pepper or 3 to 6 baby bell peppers.
Chop of one medium onion or 3 to 6 shallots, depending on size.
Toss with 1 tablespoon of diced garlic, 1 to 2 tablespoons of good olive oil (depending on how much grease you have in pan – if you have plenty of bacon grease to toss veggies in, don't add the olive oil), salt and pepper and about ¼ cup of honey, or to your taste.
Roast for 20 minutes. Stir and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Stir again and cook for 10 more minutes on 350 degrees, if not tender enough. Keep cooking at intervals of 5 to 10 minutes until cauliflower is tender and caramelized.
Now, if you have no other purpose for the bacon, you could crumble some and toss on the cauliflower.
You're Welcome! Bon Appetit!