‘You may not be able to change the world, but the world cannot change without you’
Vegetable Literacy is a new series to help you get more knowledge about seasonal vegetables and ways to cook them and help you implement more green into your diet, a long with a little thoughtful something about life and Inspiration and all that revolves around it. It will run for a month in the heart of every season of 2018, and now it’s all about that winter goodness.
Today: Cauliflower, & how I’m having a better social media experience.
I spent a couple hours doing a social media ‘cleanup’. I approached it just as I do my clothes, in a sort of Marie Kondo way, looking at each element I went through and asking myself wether that thing or person made my heart flutter. I unfollowed every person who uttered a complaint, overshared photos of their kids (they are truly, truly lovely, but there’s a limit to everything), complained about the system, school, jobs, and then all those pages that changed names without me realizing, all apps automatically installed on Facebook from third-party apps, and left all groups that I left lingering there and did not participate in anymore. Then I did the same with Instagram: I unfollowed all accounts that did not contribute to my inspiration anymore and found new, exciting accounts that produce content that make me dream and that I actually want to interact with.
May I say that my life is infinitely better? After all, we change and contexts change, and recognizing change is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.
The opening sentence has a lot to do with this.
The rule that you should put out into the world the things that you would love to see and experience is very true, but I think that there is an important step prior to that: surround yourself with the things that you love, and pick out all the trash. This might seem obvious, but it is a more difficult thing to achieve than one could think. We keep complaining about people complaining on Facebook. We complain about sale prices being deceitful. We complain about Instagram’s algorithm changing. And so on. And it is all fair, because all of these systems are broken.
But we can simply unfollow all the content we don’t like to see on Facebook, and only keep that which inspires us and makes us happy (and let that be kittens or nail art videos – no one will judge you). Instead of complaining about how expensive organic lettuce is, we can choose to investigate the reasons why it is, avoid buying all things that we really don’t need and find ways to be smarter shoppers. Rather than complaining about our photos not being seen on Instagram, we can choose to ask ourselves if we can produce even better photos to post and people who resonate more with our vision to interact with.
And so on.
We cannot change Facebook, Instagram or the market as a whole. But we can change the way we look at all these things, and create a positive movement that will eventually shift behavior.
Someone’s eating the scraps! :)
It’s very simple, really.
So when someone comes to me and asks ‘have you seen Person X complaining about Y??’ I’m like ‘No’. I haven’t. Because it’s not relevant for my day, for my well-being, or for my person as a whole.
Using cauliflower is like using Facebook: everybody complains about it and, to those who don’t use it, it seems dull and strange and it stinks. But, just like Facebook, a cauliflower is just a neutral canvas that adapts to everything and it is your mission to make something great out of it. So if, say, you say you don’t like sun chokes, I’ll take it that you genuinely don’t like sun chokes. But if you say you don’t like cauliflower, there’s 90% chance you haven’t been preparing it well so far.
So here is a look at cauliflower and the reasons why it is amazing:
~ It is very low in calories: with just about 25 per 100g or 28 per cup, it definitely lends itself to being a delicious ingredient too keep in shape.
~ it contains glucosinolates: these particles cause the pungent smell, but are also a potent antioxidant. Cauliflower, along with other cruciferous vegetables, are known to have a high amount of antioxidants, which is a rather important set of nutrients to consider when choosing your veggies.
~ It is full of vitamins and potassium: especially vitamin C. It also contains Choline, which is not that common among foods and helps prevent liver and heart diseases.
~ It contains fiber: to keep your intestine in shape and helps you feel full.
~ It is cheap: cauliflower and cabbage a re some of the cheapest vegetables available: even in their organic version, they’re still so cheap and you get lots of it for the price (tip: you can trim and eat the leaves as well!
~ It can be made into many great recipes: cauliflower on its own is quite adaptable and can be made into salads, veggie balls, soups, veloutés, roasts, and on and on. It is also used to make low-carb versions of many carb-y things, like flatbread, pizza crust, tortillas…
(I added my favorite recipes in this week’s newsletter! Subscribe here to get them!)
The recipe I chose to honor this vegetable is this wonderful baked pasta, which, I have to admit, I am surprised about myself. It turned out so good, and it is all perfectly vegan (though I do add the option to add a little cheese if you want to). The vegan béchamel is one of my favorite things from my book, used in a baked pasta with mushrooms that is my absolute favorite.
And now it’s about time to sort out my wardrobe, as well. Though that seems like an even more difficult task…
- 30g olive oil (you can use vegan butter or regular butter if you prefer)
- 30g flour
- 300 ml almond milk, warmed
- A dash nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil (or vegan butter or regular butter)
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup almond flour, or finely ground cashews
- Pinch salt
- cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
- A few sage leaves or a few rosemary needles, finely minced
- onion, thinly sliced
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- short pasta, your favorite kind (see above)
- ½ cup grated cheese if not vegan
- Add the oil to a pot (or melt the butter if using butter, then turn off the fire). Add the flour a little by little as you whisk, so that lumps will not form. Once you obtain a smooth roux, turn on the heat to low and add the warm milk a little by little as you keep whisking. Add a dash of nutmeg and a little salt and pepper. Turn on the heat to medium and keep whisking until the bechamel starts to thicken, which might take about 5 minutes or less. As it gets thicker, whisk more vigorously. Once the bechamel is thickened enough (it should have the consistency of pudding) turn off the heat.
- Combine all the ingredients and toss them together well, then add to a hot pan and toast the mix for a minute, or until golden brown. Set aside for later.
- Boil the cauliflower in slightly salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside and reserve the pan with the boiling water, we'll need it for the pasta.
- Add the oil, minced herb of choice and onions to a pan and cook on medium, stirring every now and then, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of water to avoid sticking, cover and cook the onions for at least 10 minutes. Check every now and then to make sure they do not stick.
- Add the cauliflower to the pan, along with salt and pepper, and sauté until the cauliflower is coated in oil and flavorful. Break it to smaller pieces and sauté until all moisture is gone. Adjust salt and pepper.
- Transfer ⅓ of this mix to a blender and blend with a splash of almond milk. You should obtain a rather thick cream, so do not add too much liquid.
- In the meantime, boil the pasta until ¾ done - cook it to a little before al dente.
- It's time to combine everything! Preheat the oven to 200 C˚.
- Get a baking pan and oil it generously, then spread about 3 loaded tablespoons of bechamel on top. In a bow, combine the pasta, the cooked onion and cauliflower, the cauliflower cream, the cheese if using and an extra pinch of salt and pepper. Spread everything evenly in the baking pan and top with the topping, and some extra grated cheese if using. (At this stage, you can freeze or refrigerate this tray as is and bake at a later time).
- Bake until the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
I’d love to hear about your experience with social media and cauliflower of course. Thanks to all those who suggested all the wonderful recipes on Instagram!