Acres and acres of open landscape dotted only with the occasional heard of cattle. Mountains rising in the distance of every vantage point. The sounds of nature, the wind blowing through forests of pine trees and the rushing sound of snow-melt filled rivers. Cows were given names and pigs wore costumes at the annual county fair. This was the scene of my introduction to the way livestock was raised.
Feedlots and animal abuse was a joke in my mind, based purely on my first hand experience of the ranching lifestyle, yet thousands of people chant and rant about being nice to the animals. Boycotting the consumption of steak and eggs and even milk. I guess it might seem odd that humans are the only mammals that drink another mammals milk for sustenance, but that is an entirely separate matter. I have seen, first hand and in pictures, what feedlots are for and what conditions the animals exist within.
My vegetable only dinner has nothing to do with either situation described above. I simply did not have any meat prepared to cook today. The pork tenderloin in the fridge is still thawing out for tomorrows lunch during the Big Game. Nevertheless, I ate only vegetables for dinner and oh.my.goodness. what a meal!
It started with a memory of a family dinner during the Christmas Holidays in which roasted carrots took center stage. Whole, peeled carrots with only a drizzle of olive oil and a touch of sage sprinkled on top then roasted in the oven at 325 degrees for just under an hour. Here is the result, plated with slow roasted garlic cloves and Italian parsley:
For the second part of dinner, let’s start with the picture first, shall we?
Green onions on mashed potatoes? Not exactly…
I’ve heard that there is a way to turn the oh, so awkward and “resigned-only-to-party trays” vegetable, Cauliflower, into a mash that resembles a much more popular meal. Mashed potatoes are delicious, savory, warm and hearty and they serve as a wonderful side dish to many meats. Today, the potato was traded for Cauliflower and the meat, well it didn’t make the menu.
The head of cauliflower was washed then chopped, and the pieces dropped into boiling water. Approximately ten minutes later I added crushed black pepper, chopped parmesan cheese, and 3 whole cloves of slow roasted garlic and a dash of whole milk. A few spins of the immersion blender and tada! Cauliflower mash!
The earthy spice and warmth of the garlic, and the bold flavor of the parmesan cheese, mixed with the tasteless cauliflower to create a fantastically rich mash. I added some green onions for a fresh bite of flavor to slice through the garlic and some parsley to help clean the palette afterwards. I set the carrots carefully on top and dinner was served!
Bon Apettit from my kitchen to yours on this Saturday evening!