I’m still working on cauliflower from the garden. It’s pretty amazing how many different ways one can prepare the same vegetable. I have to admit my cauliflower repertoire was pretty slim – steamed, roasted, au gratin – the basics. I’ve had to get a bit more creative with plants in the back yard. Not that I’m complaining. Far from it, in fact. I’m loving every head of lettuce, cauliflower, beet, squash, you name it that’s coming up. But it does take a rethinking of things. For me, that’s a good thing. As much as I like to cook, I can get into ruts really easy. Stopping and thinking once in a while is a good thing.

Tonight was all about using up another half a head of cauliflower in a way that Nonna would eat it. That means mushy – my least favorite way to eat any vegetable. I hit upon a fritter of sorts. Cook it, mash it, bread it, fry it. How could it be wrong?

Well – it couldn’t be. This was good. Really good. And really simple. I used a fairly good sized half-head of cauliflower for this. Figure out what you have and adjust as necessary.

Cauliflower Fritters

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florettes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • Bread crumbs

Boil cauliflower until over-cooked. Drain well and mash. Stir in 1/2 cup flour and 1 cup grated or shredded cheese. Use your imagination – any cheese or combination will work. Add 2 eggs, salt and pepper, and mix well.

Place bread crumbs in a bowl. Using a small scoop, drop scoops of cauliflower mixture into bread crumbs, flatten slightly, cover completely, and place on a sheet pan.

Fry in neutral oil until brown and crispy.

They were really good – and Nonna ate two of them!

Next up was a mixed grill with a blueberry fig sauce. This months Saveur magazine had a recipe for BBQ Chicken with a Blueberry Sauce. I had blueberries and figs, along with chicken, pork, and andouille sausage. A dinner was born…

Blueberry Fig Sauce

  • 11 oz fresh blueberries
  • 6 fresh figs
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Mash the fruit a bit, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let cook about an hour, stirring now and again.

Remove from heat and use an immersion blender (easier than a real blender) to make it as smooth as possible. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, return to pan, and let simmer, again, until reduced by about a third.

From there it can be refrigerated until you want to use it.

Brush on your meat of choice towards the end of cooking, and have some available to really douse the meat after it comes off the grill.

Once you taste the sauce, you’ll find lots of uses for it – from topping ice cream to making salad dressings.

‘Tis the season for fresh fruits and vegetables, but come winter, this would work with frozen, really easily.