From looking at my previous cooking posts, you might get the impression that I subsist off of bonbons and sugar-coated peanut butter balls. I really don’t. In fact, my diet consists mostly of vegetables, fruit, nuts and yogurt. I don’t eat meat, or eggs, or cheese. You probably think this sounds horrible. It’s not. To prove it, I dare you to try this recipe for Moroccan cauliflower. It might just make you want to go veggie! (and if not, you can always just eat it as a side dish for your bloody, T-bone steak.)

Moroccan cauliflower

Moroccan cauliflower

This recipe began, as it often does, with someone else’s recipe. Originally, this dish came from Paula Wolfert’s amazing book, The Food of Morocco.

Not only is this book filled with delicious veggie recipes, it has tons of beautiful photographs (and a description of how to make Moroccan pot brownies. You can try that for dessert!)

Here is the recipe with my modifications:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cauliflower, divided into florets

2 tsp. sugar

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tsp sweet paprika + 1 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. kosher salt

4 garlic cloves

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tsp. lemon zest

procedure:

1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the cauliflower and sugar, cover with a tight-fitting lid and head for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, uncovered, until the moisture in the pan has evaporated and the cauliflower is slightly browned.

pan frying the cauliflower

pan frying the cauliflower

2. Add tomatoes and paprika. continue cooking for 5 more minutes.

3. Crush cumin seeds, garlic and salt in a mortar (yes, I do it this way. I’m sure the food police will not arrest you if you use a mini food processor or something.) Add to the skillet and cook, uncovered until the moisure is evaporated (20 minutes)

grind the cumin before adding the garlic and salt

grind the cumin before adding the garlic and salt

4. Stir in lemon zest and parsley. Devour with your face.

My version is different from the original (it’s called “Marak of Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Olives” in the book) in a few ways. First off, The original recipe called for “2 ripe or canned tomatoes, peeled, halved, seeded, chopped, and drained.” That seems like a lot of steps. Using canned tomatoes would cut down on some of the work (have you ever tried to peel a ripe, fresh tomato? Bitch, please.) Canned tomatoes still pose a problem, however, because you only need two. So you’re going to open an entire can of whole tomatoes and only use two? Now, really. Who does that? My rule for tomatoes is to use the whole can, always. None of this save-half-for-later bullshit. Throw it all in there!

Paprika!

Paprika!

Second is the paprika. The original just called for two teaspoons of sweet paprika. I replaced one of those with smoked paprika because I love that smoky flavor. It goes really well with cumin. If you don’t have smoked paprika, a drop or two of liquid smoke would probably do the trick. If you don’t have liquid smoke either, then I just don’t know how to help you. Sorry.

A few other things: I skipped the lemon juice Wolfert calls for and just use zest instead because that’s what I like. (I use a microplane grater to zest lemons.) She also calls for preserved lemon. Do you keep preserved lemons around? No. Neither do I. Notice the original title of this dish mentioned olives. I’m not that into olives. There is also a mysterious last step that involves letting the cauliflower sit for 30 minutes after cooking (yeah. right.)

Now, about those pot brownies…

moroccan brownies

Moroccan brownies! Like the hat?

Okay, so they’re not actually brownies. I’ve never tried this (no, really) but here’s what it says:

Place 1 pound of Smen (Cooked and Salted Butter) in a casserole with plenty of water and about 3 cups stalks, seeds, and leaves of kif (Cannabis). Bring to a boil let it simmer for 2 hours, then carefully strain it into a large, deep roasting pan. Then, throw away the stalks, seeds, and leaves and let the butter cool and rise to the top in the refrigerator overnight. Then place the butter in the casserole with 1 pound chopped dates, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon aniseed, 1/2 cup dark, heavy honey, and 1/2 cup each ground almonds and walnuts (these proportions are from The Hashish Cookbook). Then cook all this together until it gets very thick, bubbly and brown. Add some orange flower water and ras el hanout to taste. Pack the majoun in clean jars.

*eat with care! enjoy and play fun music for hours of fun!

There you go: a healthy, vegan veggie dish and a mind-altering dessert — a complete meal! My job here is done.

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