For Immediate Release
September 13, 2013
William Troxell
717-694-3596
pvmrp@embarqmail.com

 

Now is the Time to Enjoy Pennsylvania Cauliflower

It’s cauliflower season in Pennsylvania! While local cauliflower is available in the early summer, the main part of the Pennsylvania crop is harvested from September through November during the cooler fall months. About 100 acres of cauliflower, mostly in small acreages, are grown across the state. Nutritionally, cauliflower is high in vitamin C and fiber as well as the cancer-fighting indole compounds, so it is a healthy as well as a delicious vegetable choice for your fall menus. Dietary experts have long recommended including cauliflower and other members of the cabbage family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, and kale) in the diet regularly, at least several times a week.

Some people object to the odor produced by cooking cauliflower and other cabbage family vegetables. The odor is caused by the release of sulfur compounds as these vegetables cook. While boiling cauliflower in large amounts of water in an open pot will minimize the characteristic strong taste that some object to, it maximizes the loss of nutrients. Steaming, stir-frying, roasting, microwaving or quick cooking in small amounts of water minimizes nutrient loss in the cooking process. Of course, cauliflower can also be enjoyed raw with some dip or in salads.

The following recipes from the 2013 Pennsylvania Vegetable Recipe Contest are tasty ways to include cauliflower in your menus.

Asian Style Stewed Cauliflower
Serves 8 as a side dish. Can serve 4 over rice as a vegetarian main dish. If so, replace fish sauce with no-anchovy Worcestershire sauce
1 head cauliflower
1 1/2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 large ripe tomatoes – chopped, (or a 14 1/2 –ounce can of diced tomatoes)
1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 to 3 chopped jalapeno peppers
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup dry roasted, lightly salted peanuts

Trim cauliflower into bite size pieces and heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic, ginger and sauté for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 3 minutes. Stir in coriander, turmeric and jalapeno. Add broth, fish sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil. Stir in cauliflower to coat well. Lower heat to low-medium, cover, simmer about 15 minutes. Stir in greens, peanuts, and sour cream and serve.

First-Place Prize in the Broccoli/Cabbage/Cauliflower category
submitted by Marilyn Goldfarb, Boalsburg

Colorful Cauliflower Salad
Serves 5

2 cups bite-size cauliflower florets
1 medium green onion, thinly sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
8 Kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup torn spinach leaves, lightly packed (curly leaf preferred)
3 tablespoons Greek salad dressing
3 tablespoons lite mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
generous grinding of black pepper

Microwave cauliflower on high for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes until crisp-tender. Rinse under cold water and then put into a salad bowl. Add onion, tomatoes, bacon, olives and spinach. Make salad dressing by whisking together the Greek dressing, mayonnaise and rosemary. Toss all ingredients together with black pepper. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

Submitted by Frances Dietz, York

Roasted Cauliflower Cavatappi
Serves 6-8

For roasted caulifower
1 large head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I use Sorrento Lemon Olive Oil from The Olive Tap)
Zest and juice from 2 lemons
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
Freshly ground nutmeg

For pasta
1 pound cavatappi or other short tubular pasta
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I use Lemon White Reserva Balsamic Vinegar from The Olive Tap)
Handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into thin slivers
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Grated or shaved pecorino, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat for the cavatappi. Meanwhile, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets, discarding the thick middle stem. Spread the florets on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, coating each piece. Sprinkle with lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a good grind of fresh black pepper; toss again. Roast, stirring halfway through cooking time, until there are lots of browned caramelly spots, 30 to 40 minutes. Cook the cavatappi according to instructions. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the butter and swirl it around the pan until it starts to bubble and smell nutty, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Drain pasta, reserving a little of the water. To the pan with the browned butter, add the pasta, a splash of the reserved water, the balsamic vinegar, basil, and half of the cauliflower, and a pinch or two of salt. Toss to combine. Divide pasta among bowls and top each serving with a portion of the remaining cauliflower . Add a few grinds of pepper. Garnish with grated or shaved pecorino and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Submitted by Gretchen McKay, Pittsburgh

Quick buying tips for Fresh Pennsylvania Lima Beans
The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program offers these tips when buying fresh cauliflower:
—          Select tight heads with a white or cream appearance.
—          Avoid heads that are loose, spotted or bruised.

—          Refrigerate in an open plastic bag.

The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program
is a state-wide marketing order established by a grower referendum,
governed by a grower board and funded by grower assessments. The Program’s sole purpose is to serve the vegetable growers of Pennsylvania by promoting Pennsylvania-grown vegetables and funding practical vegetable production research.