I overdid it when I went produce shopping, Monday.  I really have no idea what I was thinking.  Walking through the store, stuff just kept jumping into my cart.  I had dozens of ideas for everything and yes, I’m sure I’ll be able to get through it all (there’s always a big pot of vegetable soup that can be made) but I just wasn’t thinking of how many meals I actually had to cook… (Not as many as I bought for, for sure!)

To top it off… we’ve been getting garden-fresh produce from friends and neighbors.  It figures that as soon as we decide to start eating less, food starts multiplying.

It’s a communist plot.

But I digress…..

One thing I did want to make was Michael Chicarello’s Cauliflower alla Parmigiana.  I had seen the recipe a while back and it really intrigued me.  I’m glad I kept it!

Cauliflower alla Parmigiana

FROM: Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking Cookbook-Signed
Cauliflower is much more respected in Italy than it is in America, where its main role seems to be as an inexpensive filler on cruditý platters. Italians prefer to cook it with butter and Parmesan until it’s richly browned and caramelized from its natural sweetness. This is the alla parmigiana method, and cauliflower is only one of many vegetables prepared this way. You can use the same technique on asparagus, broccoli, fennel, zucchini, Swiss chard stems, or artichokes.

Serves: Serves 4

  • Unsalted butter for the baking dish, plus 2 1/2 tablespoons
  • 1 cauliflower, about 1 1/2 pounds, separated into large florets
  • Sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter an 8-by-10-inch oval baking dish, or a dish of equivalent size.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the florets and boil until they are slightly softened but still retain some crispness, about 4 minutes. Drain well, then slice them lengthwise so the stems are about 1/4 inch thick.

Arrange the slices, overlapping them tightly, in the prepared baking dish. Season with salt and several grinds of black pepper, then dot with thin slices of butter, using 2 1/2 tablespoons. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake uncovered until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Even as written, it’s only about 125 calories per serving, but I used about half the called for butter and cheese. It still was really good and a great accompaniment to the chicken.

The potatoes were thick-sliced and then oven-roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper.  Into the same 425° oven with the cauliflower. About 160 calories.

4 ounce chicken breasts sauteed in olive oil.  Half a red onion, an orange bell pepper, one huge meaty tomato, a handful of mushrooms, garlic, and fresh basil and oregano from the garden.  A generous 260 calories.

All that food and less than 600 calories.  Not too shabby.

I really do think the key to my success is going to be NOT eating at work all day long, and I’ve been really good, thus far.  I haven’t been eating the handfull of cookies that used to start my day, I stayed away from the creme brulee I served all day on Tuesday, and today, I cooked up three pounds of thick-sliced, applewood-smoked bacon for the crew…  three pounds of it – and didn’t touch a slice.  None.  Nada.  Zip.

I figure if I can pass up bacon, I  can do this!