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.
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.