The farmbox strikes again! Last week, among other things, we ended up with a large head of cauliflower and a semi-large head of cabbage. We did a corned beef w/cabbage here at the Commissary a few weeks ago, but I don't think that any of us were ready for another round of it yet. And as for the cauliflower, I wanted to....well, I had no idea what to do with it as this vegetable doesn't really have the sexiness of, say, turnips, or the cachet of, say, kale when you think of it. Amazingly, while meal planning for the week, I came across the "Off Duty" section (as it's now described) in the new-look Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal, and what should I see but a recipe involving cauliflower - a relatively easy recipe that actually sounds good. The recipe was contributed by New York chef Andrew Carmellini, who specializes in Italian food, although the cauliflower dish is Indian-inspired, with curry/cumin/coriander/fennel and a mint/lemon/yogurt sauce. I've found that side dishes with yogurt tend to pair well with spicier foods (the yogurt is cooling), so I decided to make it with our house tacos one night as I'm always seeking good veggies (and refried beans don't really count) to go with it. As it turns out, the pairing was successful and Mrs. Hackknife was very pleased (swooning, in fact - had I simply left the pan of roasted cauliflower out on the counter for a while, it probably would have disappeared).
Two nights later, I made a pork roast and decided to attempt a cabbage gratin as a vegetable side for it (pork and cabbage tend to work well together - just ask the Germans). This recipe comes courtesy of my trusty Joy of Cooking, which usually doesn't fail me and didn't this time, either. I was pleasantly surprised how well the flavors of Gruyere cheese, milk/cream, and breadcrumbs integrated with the cabbage, which you boil separately before baking it with the other ingredients. I had a little bit of Vidalia onion left over that I chopped up and threw into the mix as well (surprisingly, it seemed to enhance things, not destroy it). Mrs. Hackknife was even more impressed with this dish, as was I (mmmmm).....
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter or Pam a 2-quart baking dish. Dust the dish with 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese or breadcrumbs. Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 1/2 Tbsp. salt to a boil in a stockpot. Add 6 c. (about 1 lb.) shredded cabbage and cook for 5 minutes. Drain cabbage and press out as much water as possible. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs, 1 c. milk or light cream (ed. note - I used a mixture of 1/2 c. skim milk and 1/2 c. heavy cream), 1/2 c. grated Gruyere or Emmentaler cheese, 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed, and 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom. Add the drained cabbage (and chopped onion, if you include it), mix well, and add to the baking dish. Cover top with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 40-50 minutes.