cauliflower-kale roast

Northwest Indiana Times

Myra Kornfeld Reviews and interviews 0 Comments

Will Travel for Food: Cooking with The Muse

  • Jane Ammeson
  • Updated 

To see the full review, CLICK HERE

Collaborating together, chef Myra Kornfeld and poet Stephen Massimilla have put together a luscious cookbook illustrating how poetry, prose and food have been inspiration throughout history in Cooking with the Muse: A Sumptuous Gathering of Seasonal Recipes, Culinary Poetry, and Literary Fare (Tupelo Press 2016; $34.95). Divided by the seasons, this 500-page cookbook pairs 150 recipes with culinary poems, essays and historic anecdotes. Accompanying a recipe for Mediterranean Cauliflower-Kale Roast with Feta, Massimilla provides a few stanzas from Book IX of Homer’s Odyssey and recounts how the cheese, which dates back to 8th century BCE, was originally aged and brined to keep it from spoiling in Greek’s hot, arid climate. And, he notes, the way it was made has changed very little since Odysseus first enter the Cyclops Polyphemus’s cave.

In their recipe for Corn Pudding “Soufflé,” the authors include a po! em by John Greenleaf Whittier as a preface to the simple recipe using fresh corn kernels.

“Up from the meadows rich with corn, Clear in the cool September morn” and then end the recipe with a recommendation for cooking fresh corn from 19th century writer Mark Twain, who was a man who very much enjoyed his meals.

“Corn doesn’t hang on to its sugar long after it has been picked,” writes Massimilla. “The saying goes that you should put up a pot hot water before you stroll out to the cornfield prepared to run back on the double. Mark Twain upped the challenge when he recommended carrying the boiling water to the garden to catch the corn with all its sweetness the moment it leaves the vine.”

The following recipes are from Cooking with the Muse.

Mediterranean Cauliflower-Kale Roast with Feta

Serves 4 to 6

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


3/4 pound curly kale, stemmed and torn i! nto bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives

1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed and chopped

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh oregano

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper

2 ounces feta cheese (preferably sheep’s milk feta), crumbled (1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Have ready a parchment paper–covered baking sheet.

In one bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread the cauliflower on the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.

In another bowl, toss the kale with 1 tablespoon oil. Massage the oil into the leaves so that each leaf is lightly coated. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt.

After the cauliflower has roasted for 30 minutes, add the kale to the baking sheet, return it to the oven, and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is! browned and the kale is crispy. Remove from the oven.

Warm the remaining tablespoon of oil with the butter in a large skillet until the butter melts. Add the garlic, olives, and capers and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant. Stir in the cauliflower and kale, the water, and the oregano; combine thoroughly. Stir in the lemon juice and a sprinkling of pepper.

Serve hot, with feta scattered on top.

Chocolate Tart with Salt and Caramelized Pecans

Makes one 9-inch tart


1 cup pecans

1/3 cup maple sugar, succanat, Rapadura, or coconut sugar

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 large egg white


Oil and coconut flour, for preparing the pan

2 cups unsweetened dried shredded coconut

3 tablespoons granulated natural sugar (such as maple or Sucanat)

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons coconut oil (virgin or aroma-free)

2 large egg whites


1 cup unsweete! ned coconut milk

2 tablespoons maple sugar

Pinch of salt

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1 large egg, lightly beaten


Fleur de sel or other large-flake sea salt

Position one rack in the middle of the oven and another in the lower third. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Have ready two parchment paper–covered baking sheets.

Make the pecans: Toss the pecans, sugar, salt, and cayenne, if using, in a medium bowl. Stir in the egg white to combine. Spread on one of the baking sheets. Bake on the middle rack until the sugar has clumped on the nuts and the mixture looks sandy and dry, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir every 8 minutes or so during the baking so that pecans caramelize evenly.

Let cool for a few minutes; transfer to a bowl and break up the clumps into small pieces. (The pecans can be stored at room temperature for up to a month.)

While the pecans are baking, make the crust: Oil and flour a 9-inch tart pan with a r! emovable bottom. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, and orange zest. Work in the coconut oil with your fingers until everything is moistened evenly.

In a small bowl, whip the egg whites until frothy. Stir into the coconut mixture. Press the dough into the prepared tart pan. (Use a piece of plastic wrap between your hand and the dough to make pressing in the crust easier.) Give an extra press at the juncture where the sides meet the bottom, so that you don’t have a triangular-shaped thick wedge of crust in the corners.

Place the tart pan on the other baking sheet. Bake the crust on the lower rack until it is a deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, checking after 10.

While the crust is baking, make the filling: In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk, sugar, and salt to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir with a whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Cover to keep warm.

Just before the crust is re! ady, whisk the egg thoroughly into the chocolate. Pour the filling into the hot crust. Return the tart (still on the baking sheet) to the oven; bake until the filling is set around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. The filling should still jiggle a little in the center when you nudge the pan. Set on a rack to cool.

Unmold the tart and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Before serving, sprinkle a light dusting of flaky salt over the tart. Sprinkle the pecan clusters over the tart as well. Alternatively, serve each piece with a light dusting of coarse salt, then sprinkle the top with the caramelized pecans.

Cook’s Note

The tart may be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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