There’s been a lot of local chatter this week surrounding a recent interview with Tom and Gisele’s private chef and the super-couple’s 80% vegetable-based diet.
It seems Boston’s favorite glam-fam consumes mostly organic produce, brown rice, millet and beans. There’s the occasional grass-fed steak and every once in a while, a banana – for smoothie purposes only. None of this should come as a complete shock when you consider the recipe Gisele shared last year for her healthy chocolate mousse which includes a banana, an avocado, some raw cacao powder, coconut water and two dates. Of course there’s the customary zero-tolerance policy towards sugar, flour, caffeine and dairy, however I was a little surprised to learn that nightshades are off the table. Turns out tomatoes, eggplants, mushrooms and peppers are not anti-inflamatory plants and therefore Tom is not interested – nor should he be. He’s an insane athlete who wins Super Bowls for a living and needs to keep his inflammation slim-to-none. Reflecting on my own diet, I ran five miles Thursday night followed by a dinner of chicken, tomatoes and bell peppers. My inflammation is likely through the roof. I should have had wilted beet greens with cashew sauce, which sounds absolutely
I suspect the Bündchen-Brady’s are likely pro-cauliflower given it’s high fiber-content and cancer-fighting nutritional make-up, but this ‘cake’ would be a total non-starter based on the inclusion of flour and Parmesan cheese. After a recent trip to the Boston Public Market resulted in the purchase of a dozen duck eggs from Chestnut Farms, I decided to make this Yotom Ottolenghi recipe, which I’d wanted to try for a while. If you’re not familiar with Ottolenghi, he’s a British-based chef and author of the beautiful vegetarian cookbooks Plenty and Plenty More. The dish is a little different than what I expected – it’s not a quiche, it’s a legitimate baked good with a leavening agent to prove it. I enjoyed it, though, as did Michael, as well as the folks at work. The two most common responses were, “It’s beautiful,” and “It smells like pizza.” That’s what 1½ cups of Parmesan cheese will do for a cake. You certainly don’t need duck eggs (although they were a fun experiment) and I of course added thyme because (say it with me) I put thyme in everything. This would be a really nice addition to your next brunch with friends.
Savory Cauliflower Cake
Original recipe from Yotom Ottolenghi via The Kitchn
1 small cauliflower head, outer leaves removed, broken into 1 1/4-inch florets (about 4 cups)
1 medium red onion, peeled
5 tbsp live oil (sounds like a lot, but go with it)
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
7 large eggs (duck or hen)
1/2 cup basil leaves, julienned
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp black sesame seeds
Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft. They should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander to dry.
Cut 4 round slices, each 1/4-inch thick, off one end of the onion and set aside. Dice the remainder of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and thyme. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk well and then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up the florets.
Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter, then mix together the sesame seeds and toss them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides and bottom. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It should be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.