Now I am in Seattle

The freak snowstorms have passed, and the week of Denver weather seems to be gone, too. A slow, gray drizzle has descended upon Seattle, discernable from that of London or Paris (from my experience) in that it’s a litte passive-agressive, with teasing blasts of sunshine that last just long enough to make me forget to waterproof myself. Real Seattle has returned.

Only in Seattle does my blown-dry, half-heartedly styled hair curl up into fashionista waves after an hour walking the dog in the mist. I’ve worked years for this effect with no luck; what a shame that I’ve seen my day of perfect curl, and now it’s gone.

Only in Seattle would a youngish mother of three stop me at the rocks across from Red Mill to ask me a question with zero preamble, as if we’d been in the middle of a dinner conversation. “Do you know how Ghandi died?” she asked, as normally as if she was asking the time. “Starvation?” I guessed. She’d assumed so, but wasn’t sure if it had been in prison, what continent, etc. We volleyed our ideas back and forth, each equally historically oblivious, while her kids (all under 10) stood rapt, learning how to talk to strangers about strange things with an ease and confidence no native New Englander could fake.

I was completely wrong, as you know. Ghandi was assasinated in New Delhi.

Only in Seattle would my lunch date roll her eyes, half horrified and half incredulous, as I stepped out into the crosswalk on a deserted downtown street five or six seconds before the light switched to walk. “You’re not from Seattle, are you,” she observed. Seattleites wait for the light.

Only in Seattle would the two guys in front of me in line at the grocery store bicker politely about who deserved to go first in the newly opened lane (neither wanted to be first), only to avoid the conflict entirely and pass the honor onto me, the new kid in line behind them, then proceed to line up behind me and start tapping their feet while my cauliflower and baguette got scanned.

Now I am in Seattle. I feel at home. But of course, just when I’m starting to get the feel of a place, we shake things up.

I’ll be in Hawaii for the next few days – recipes should post automatically, gods of technology and my limited technological education willing. Back on Tuesday.

Warm Cauliflower Bruschetta

Recipe for Warm Cauliflower Bruschetta
Recipe 38 of 365

Bruschetta sometimes seems too trite to me – and this time of year, when good tomatoes are scarce, the traditional tomato/herb combos are irrelevant anyway. Here’s a wintry bruschetta, made with sautéed cauliflower, Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, and bleu cheese. It’s delicious on baguette croutes, but it would also be great to stir into a little leftover pasta, top ravioli, or pile into a sandwich with a few slices of salami.

The anchovies give it a deeper, almost nutty flavor (the final result has absolutely no fishy taste), but you can omit them if you’d like.

TIME: 25 minutes
MAKES: appetizers for 4 to 6

1 baguette, cut into 1/2” slices
Olive oil spray
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2 anchovy filets, finely chopped
Florets from 1 large head cauliflower
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1/4 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese (or 1 4-ounce log goat cheese, crumbled)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the baguette slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spray both sides of each slice with olive oil spray, and bake the bread for 5 minutes on each side, or until the croutes are brown and crispy on both sides. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut the little cauliflower florets off the stalks and into about 3/4” pieces, reserving the thick part of the stalks for another use.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil, the garlic, and the anchovies, and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant (but not browned) and the anchovies begin to melt into the oil. Increase the heat to medium, add the cauliflower, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the cauliflower is almost cooked through and beginning to brown in places, about 5 minutes.

Add the olives and sundried tomatoes, and cook another 2 minutes, stirring. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the parsley and cheese, and check for seasoning. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the cheese has a chance to melt, stir it again to distribute the cheese, and then pile the topping onto the croutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

5 Comments

Filed under appetizers, bread, commentary, recipe, Seattle, vegetables

5 responses to “Now I am in Seattle

  1. Nancy

    You know, I keep hearing that Seattle pedestrians wait for the light to change, but I’ve got to wonder, do I live in the same city? Is my Seattle in an alternate universe? Because the pedestrians in my experience tend to wander out into the street whenever they choose, often nowhere near a crosswalk, without so much as a glance over the shoulder to check for cars, discussing things like “Do you know how Ghandi died” with fellow pedestrians as they amble through the drizzle …

  2. I would love to find your Seattle. I get great pleasure (much to my husband’s horror) from darting out in front of cars.

  3. Jenny

    I really appreciated your observations on the Seattlite. I have had all these experiences as well having been transplanted here from the Detroit area some 3 years ago. I swear, the first year I was here I offended so many people by actually saying hello, or driving faster than 50 on the highway and not having the northwest “women’s haircut”. I am really exhausted by passive-aggressive behavior that always has me puzzled! By the way, I get great enjoyment from reading your daily blog. Thanks.

  4. Oh yes, I know the haircut. But people have been pretty liberal toward me with their hellos – perhaps because I’m almost always with a dog?

    Thanks for reading!

  5. Jenny

    Yes, the haircut. My locks defy and argue with the spitting mist/humidity – the only way to tame has been with a drawer full of expensive products and I flat out refuse to concede to the short, pracitcal look. Not happening, definately not me. Hellos have been liberal as of late, but I think it is because I have learned how to react to the Seattle quirkiness. Maybe, I’VE changed!!! Ha.

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