The Year I Learn to Love Cauliflower continues to challenge me, and nothing scares me more than the prospect of raw cauliflower, undisguised by potatoes or hot sauce. Recently I decided to take the plunge, with this salad that pairs the vegetable of the year with creamy white beans, salty feta and crunchy pine nuts. Not a disguise, exactly. More like a distraction, with so much texture that I really didn't concentrate on the cauliflower. If you're a cauliflower lover, adjust the proportion of ingredients to highlight the vegetable. If you're a cheese-a-holic, add more feta. The lemon vinaigrette wraps everything together. The longer it sits, the more tender the cauliflower becomes, thanks to the mustard in the dressing. My husband Ted approved this salad for you; I can't say I'm in love with raw cauliflower, yet, but I'm working on it.
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True or false?
In my house, we're so keen on quinoa that we make big batches of it in the rice cooker. True or false: quinoa is more closely related to rice than it is to beets.
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TRUE CONFESSION: I am that crazy woman who stands outside in the middle of winter in a coat and scarf and mittens, tending the grill on the back porch, at the mercy of the elements. The first time I made this Asian-flavored turkey breast, shot through with soy, garlic and my favorite chili paste, that was the scenario; in fact, it was snowing, which made the act of grilling heroic and the result worth every moment of frozen-fingered suffering. Now that the weather is warmer, I grill more often, and more comfortably. Put thoughts of the all-day Thanksgiving turkey out of your mind; boneless turkey breast cooks quickly. If you can't find a whole boneless turkey breast, buy a bone-in and ask the butcher to break it down for you (save the bones, wings and neck for stock). I use this garlicky, spicy turkey to add spark to sandwiches, summer rolls and pasta salads.
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Asparagus season here in Rhode Island lasts for an all-too-brief six weeks, and during that time, my husband Ted and I consume asparagus in one form or another almost every day. I love to throw totally naked asparagus spears on the grill until they're slightly charred, and eat them with my fingers like pretzel sticks. And I love to roast them in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper, or maybe a squirt of lemon. Sometimes I wrap them in wonton skins, for a crunchy party appetizer. The other day I had the urge for something zingier, and what's more zingy than Sriracha? A little drizzle of creamy, spicy Sriracha mayonnaise played so beautifully with roasted asparagus that I managed to polish off most of this plate for lunch, without any help from Ted.
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