Delish cauliflower, kale

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 19, 2014

We look forward to our visit out west every summer. Our daughter is in her third year of a general surgery residency, so perhaps we have at least two more years to visit. She was off for the entire week we were there so she had some good restaurants lined up for us. Last year she was only off one night to be with us.

We left Kerrville, Texas, Tuesday morning and aimed to make Las Cruces by lunch for our annual stop at Andelé for posole, a soup made with hominy. And then on to Tucson. Our daughter came over to our favorite hotel in Tucson for drinks and dinner—the Arizona Inn dating from 1930. It was built by Isabella Greenway who had been a bridesmaid of Eleanor Roosevelt and later was the first US Representative from Arizona. The inn is still run by her descendants.

We skipped the Desert Museum this year and went to the local botanic garden. It is amazing how much grows in this desert climate. We paid our usual visit to the Native Seeds store and bought more Tepary beans. We also bought some Runner Beans. We had heard about these large dried beans from Lynn Rosetta Casper recently on her radio show. They are said to taste more like butter beans and I like butter beans. We also bought some seeds and have planted them. Gardens are planted in July in Tucson as this is the time of the monsoon rains. We have been having rain here in Mississippi, but I may have to supplement a little later.

We had our usual fill of Mexican food—burritos filled with potatoes, eggs and sausage for breakfast at a local 4th Street café, a more formal breakfast at the Arizona Inn of Eggs Benedict, southwestern style. We visited our find of last year—Tucson Tamales with all kinds of fillings at this sit down/take out hole in the wall. We went again this year to a restaurant that specializes in local and fresh food, but not necessarily southwestern cuisine. They had a good peas in cream sauce side, but the find was what the chef said was his wife’s favorite—puréed cauliflower and feta with Kalamata olives over sautéed kale. I have repeated this a couple times since coming home. It is a keeper.

We made a day trip to Tombstone. The town has been preserved and lives on its history. The ‘Shootout at the OK Corral’ is a bit like a high school play, but not to be missed. The losers of this battle can be found at Boot Hill, the infamous cemetery that has also been restored. The world’s largest rose bush/tree is in the Rose Tree Inn in Tombstone—a white Lady Banks that was planted in 1885 and covers 8,600 square feet. No great food finds here but we did enjoy a Tombstone Sarsaparilla, ‘the root beer of the west.’

Cauliflower Puree with Feta and Olives over Sautéed Kale
Serves 4
I head cauliflower
8 oz. feta
½ cup dry cured black olives (chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 bunch kale (curly is fine)

Cook the cauliflower in a pot of boiling water about 8 minutes. Separate the florets and purée in the food processor until smooth and silky.

Add the feta and purée for a few seconds more. Add the chopped olives to the cauliflower and feta mixture.

Heat the oil and the butter and add the chopped kale with some water to cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the kale is soft.

Put the kale on a plate and add the cauliflower mixture on top of the kale.

This is a great side dish with any meat or just good on its own for lunch or supper.