It's extraordinary to think that a blender can change your life, but it can. Sometimes the big investments are a struggle though, aren't they? You spend days, weeks, maybe even months justifying the cost, comparing brands, really thinking about it. Then when you finally take the plunge, you can't remember your life without a high-speed blender.
I speak from experience. My Vitamix is one of the best things to happen to my kitchen. I use it at least once a day, sometimes twice. (Sometimes three times!) I make smoothies every morning, blend the silkiest soup, swirl pesto, and grind grains to powder.
Once you start grinding your own flour (with everything from rolled oats to dried beans), you'll have an even more impressive repertoire of recipes at your disposal. To make the journey easier, my friend Erin has written a beautiful cookbook all about cooking with whole grain flours, along with instructions for how to mill them in your own kitchen. (I tested a handful of recipes for Erin, and have been excited to share this book with you for months!)
The Homemade Flour Cookbook is full of approachable, vegetarian recipes using everything from black bean flour to rye flour. In between packing for a big move, I was craving something substantial and filling. A crusty exterior (thanks to ground quinoa), and tender cauliflower smothered in sweet tomato sauce was exactly the fuel I needed to finish packing the rest of my cookbooks.
Quinoa-Flour Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce
Summer tomatoes are just barely making their presence known at my local farmers' market, so I made the sauce with boxed San Marzano tomatoes instead. My cauliflower was quite large, so I managed to get a few more "steaks" out of it.
Serves 2 generously
Recipe slightly adapted from The Homemade Flour Cookbook by Erin Alderson
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup basil leaves, julienned, plus more for garnish
For the steaks:
1 large head cauliflower
2 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the sauce: Warm the oil over medium low heat. Add the shallot and garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Gently pour in the tomatoes, season with salt and bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the basil leaves.
To make the steaks: Strip away excess leaves on the cauliflower. With the stem side down on the cutting board, cut two 1/2-inch thick steaks from the center of the cauliflower, reserving florets as they fall off.
In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and cream. In a separate shallow dish, combine the quinoa flour, salt, and pepper. Coat the cauliflower steaks in the egg mixture, then carefully transfer to the quinoa flour and coat. Repeat the process, creating a double crust.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-low heat in a cast iron skillet. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned and crispy. Transfer the teak to a baking sheet. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and repeat with the second steak. Bake for 15 minutes, until tender.
Serve the steaks with the tomato sauce, topped with a sprinkle of basil.