Between intervals on the stair climber, I usually think about chocolate and cheese. I have to think happy thoughts while I’m on the stairway to nowhere, or else I will start to listen too closely to the voice that wants me to stop [even if it means no chocolate or cheese!].
When I leave the gym with cheese on my mind, I usually make a quick pit stop at Whole Foods on the way home. They have a very effective approach to marketing, and it’s called [free] sampling. They also have managed to manufacture some kind of a magnetic pull around their house guacamole – but more on that another day.
Today, I went to Whole Foods with a REAL agenda [beyond getting my sweaty self in and out as quickly as possible]. I wanted to buy English peas – those sweet and tender fresh peas that need to be popped out of their pods.
Like ramps and fiddleheads, English peas usher in spring. I wanted to buy some so I could make something seasonal and write something lyrical about the changing seasons.
But I hadn’t counted on how appealing raw English peas are. It’s just about impossible not to eat them once you’ve gone to the trouble of popping them open. Some are so slight they hardly count, and some are so round they practically just roll right into your hand [and then right up to your mouth, gravity be damned].
In the end, I concluded that shelling fresh peas is much like picking fresh berries: there’s enough work involved that it takes entirely too much discipline to delay gratification. And it’s only natural to be running a little low on discipline after 45 minutes on the stair climber.
So now you have a rather long-winded explanation for know why we aren’t going to talk about peas today, and why we’re going to talk about cauliflower and ovens preheated to 425 degrees F instead.
I know it’s becoming too warm to roast vegetables. I know if you’re going to perspire you want to do it by the grill on the back deck, with an icy drink in hand and more where that came from. But this side dish is so worth it, and it comes drizzled with a light lemon-infused yogurt dressing that at least gives a nod to spring.
With a little bit of patience, the cauliflower will go from hard to soft to golden to crispy. When it emerges from the oven, it will concede the spotlight to dry roasted almonds (the something crunchy), toasted cumin and coriander seeds (the something sophisticated), parsley (the something green), and dried cranberries (the something sweet).
You will be right in thinking that an extra handful of cranberries wouldn’t hurt. The nuttiness from the cauliflower florets & almonds and the tanginess from the lemon juice & Greek yogurt will prevent the dish from becoming overly sweet.
Click here for the recipe.