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Cauliflower with Slow-Cooked Garlic

Monday, October 4, 2010

Unlike writing (allegedly manuscripts do not burn), cooking is a transient art, swept away by Time just as the Tibetan sand paintings. Just as with the sand paintings, the sweeping away itself is a ritual. Business lunch, romantic dinner, coffee break. Just like birthdays meals remind us that we are alive. They celebrate not a full year, but a few hours of being.  One of the reasons I cook, eat, and write is to remember that I am here, and happy to be so.
The important thing is: enjoy your time in the kitchen and at the table equally. The process counts. Today: a very simple, but satisfying Monday dinner that involves, you guessed it, slow cooking. I didn't specify any quantities, because it doesn't matter, and spontaneity is a good thing.

What you need:
turkey bacon
onion, sliced into thin half-moons
garlic cloves, whole and peeled
1 garlic clove, chopped
vegetable oil
several capricorns
greens and ground black pepper to garnish

How to do it:
The key is slow-cooking the garlic. It takes about 30-40 minutes for it to cook to a lovely golden crust and soft sweet flesh. Put some oil in a skillet drop the whole cloves in and set on the lowest setting, so that the oil barely bubbles. As you cook the rest, periodically turn the cloves over.
Boil the cauliflower blooms in well-salted water until just barely raw. Pour out the water. On medium heat saute onion and bacon chopped into pieces with just a little of oil. When the onion starts to brown, add cauliflower and several capricorns. A tiny bit later add the chopped garlic clove for extra garlic aroma. Saute until the cauliflowers are just touched by the gold (at least that's how I like them).
Turn off the heat and add the slow-cooked garlic cloves to the cauliflower. Squeeze lime over the dish and mix.  Garnish with greens, ground black pepper, coarse sea salt, and take your time not just cooking the garlic, but eating it as well. Italians were onto something when they started the Slow Food Movement.


Nadia S. said...

I can smell it... Really. On the wave of imagination. :) What a great light supper.
I have to try to slow cook whole garlic cloves, never did. Sometimes I do it with finely diced garlic and butter, but I don't let it boil and brown even a tiny bit, it becomes translucent and acquires this special aroma - a fusion of garlic and butter. This garlic makes your steamed rice almost a sinful pleasure.

Mad Wombat said...

I think you can get a very similar result with the garlic, by baking it in the oven. Should be a bit faster. Just take whole garlic heads, cut the top off, so a little off the top of the cloves is cut. Pour some olive oil over the top, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put in the oven, cut side up, at 300F for about 15 minutes.

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