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Counter Intelligence: Chop, sing and dinner is made

By April Hamilton
Lawrence Pierce
Two healthy and tasting ways to fix cauliflower are, top, Cauliflower Couscous and Brussel Sprouts Saute.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Cooking without music is like coffee with no cream, toast without butter, peanut butter with no jelly. Sure, it can be done, but when your favorite tunes are on, the cooking experience is much more complete. Choose your favorite play list and take to the stove.

Recently I have been immersing in my Sheryl Crown CD collection. Chopping, sauteeing and simmering along to "Soak up the Sun" creates a delightful mood in the kitchen. You can't help but smile, singing along. Suddenly, dinner's ready.

In addition to Sheryl's great music, I recently discovered that I can dance along to her inspiring cookbook "If It Makes You Healthy -- More than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons." This beautiful book is a collaboration between the famous rock star and a Nashville chef. Together, with advice from a nutritionist, they share truly delicious seasonal recipes.

The most stained page in my copy of this cookbook treasure is Curried Cauliflower. Sheryl describes 'rediscovering cauliflower,' and this dish is a fabulous and really easy way to make cauliflower sing.

You grate the snow white cauliflower and saute it with onion and bright shredded carrots. Finished with aromatic spices, a spritz of citrus and some leafy fresh spinach, and you have a delicious side dish that's as tasty hot as it is cold.

Another cauliflower discovery in this recipe collection is a symphony of roasted cauliflower and leafy Brussels sprouts, with the subtle sweetness of raisins. The combination is a joyful feel-good dish.

Fabulous West Virginia tip: Mock's Greenhouse in Morgan County grows fresh ginger; Pick some up and make this wheat-free 'couscous.'

Cauliflower Couscous

Shout out to Sheryl Crow who produced one of my favorite 'go-to' cookbooks, "If It Makes You Healthy." This delicious recipe is an easy, and it's loaded with other great Farmers Market finds.

1       tablespoon canola oil

1/2   cup shredded carrots

1/2   medium onion, chopped

2       teaspoons minced fresh ginger

2     cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2       teaspoons mild curry powder

1/2       teaspoon ground cumin

1/4       teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4   cup vegetable broth

1      tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1     large head cauliflower, stem removed, grated*

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1     cup finely sliced fresh spinach leaves

HEAT the oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. When hot, saute the carrots, onion and ginger until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook 1 minute.

ADD the broth and lemon juice and stir to blend. Add the grated cauliflower and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients.

COVER and let the cauliflower steam for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The texture should resemble cooked couscous, tender but not mushy. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

STIR the spinach into the cauliflower and serve immediately.

If you have a food processor with a grating disk, you can first shred the carrots and remove. Then cut the cauliflower into florets that fit the size of the processor's chute and run them through the grating disk. Very easy, no mess. Alternatively, use the large holes of a box grater.

Brussels Sprouts Saute

1 1/2   cups cauliflower florets

4       teaspoons vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

1     pint Brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and leaves separated

1/3   cup raisins

1/4   cup toasted sliced almonds

1/4   cup white wine

1       tablespoon butter

1       tablespoon chopped parsley

HEAT oven to 400 degrees.

TOSS in a large bowl the cauliflower with 1 teaspoon of the oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and softened. Set aside.

HEAT in a large skillet the remaining 3 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat and when hot and shimmering, add the Brussels sprout leaves, roasted cauliflower, raisins and toasted almonds and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

ADD the wine and cook for 1 more minute (most of wine will evaporate).

REMOVE from the heat and stir in the butter and parsley until the butter melts.

SEASON to taste with salt and pepper.



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