I love to play with my food. In this case, this doesn’t mean fondling, squishing it between my fingers or throwing it up in the air. It’s like painting. I like to have a a few raw ingredients in front of me and let my imagination go to town.What flavors will love each other?

A head of cauliflower sat in front of me. I could have made a soup, or roasted it. Instead, I remembered a Tuscan standby that we make every Sunday at La Cucina al Focolare. A spread called paté di cavalfiori con semi di finocchio. Cauliflower paté with fennel seeds. It was always delicious, so why not? As I started sautéing the cauliflower in e.v. olive oil, garlic and fennel seeds, which is traditional, I thought why not add chili and turmeric? Cauliflower is in love with turmeric and turmeric is in love with chili. A winning mix. I was very pleased because I just created a new vegan dish that my friends will adore. Once pureed, the “paté” is quite versatile, not only as a spread on bread and crackers, but it can be used as a filling, a side dish, or a dip with raw vegetables.

1/2 cauliflower, cut into flowerettes

2 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped

1 shallot, smashed and chopped finely

1t of turmeric

1/2 t chili

ex virgin olive oil

whole fennel seeds

1 cup water (the cooking water.. be sure not to throw away..it’s tasty.

salt and pepper

Heat pan on medium. Add extra virgin olive oil, garlic, shallots, turmeric, chili, whole fennel seeds and warm the spices in the oil. Sauté cauli-flowerettes into olive oil and spice mix. Add salt and pepper.  Add the water and cover. When soft, blend with the cooking water, a drizzle of olive oil and check for salt. The consistency should not be too wet, but spreadable.