Cruciferous Vegetables Provide Autumnal Joy

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Autumn is the peak time for cauliflower and cabbage, as well as their cousins, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, to name just a few family members.

The entire clan of cruciferous vegetables is endowed with vitamins A, C, B, plus potassium, phosphorus and soluble fiber.

When buying cabbage, look for a head that is heavy for its size and one with fresh crisp-looking, shiny, unblemished leaves that are firmly packed without holes, splits or yellowing. Store cabbage in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

When buying cauliflower, look for tightly packed heads with fresh-looking leaves on the bottom. Cauliflower now comes in pale orange and light green as well as creamy white.

Bon cruciferous vegetable appétit!

Cabbage & Carrots With Raisins And Cranberries(Serves 6)2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, as needed

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 medium head green cabbage, core removed and thinly sliced

2 to 3 carrots, peeled, julienned or shredded

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup raisins and/or sundried cranberries

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Optional: Pinch or more of red pepper flakesTo prepare:Coat the bottom of a large non-reactive skillet with oil and cook over moderate high heat.

Add onion and sauté briefly.

Add garlic and sauté until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add celery seed, salt and pepper.

Add cabbage and carrots and sauté until vegetables begin to glisten.

Add water and continue to sauté until the cabbage is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.

Add raisins and/or cranberries and stir and continue cooking a minute or so.

Whisk vinegar and oil together and pour over the vegetables.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer to a bowl and serve at once.Tuscan Cauliflower Purée(Serves 4 to 6)1 head Tuscan cauliflower, core removed and broken into even-sized florets

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 lemon, juiced

Optional: 2 teaspoons unsalted butterTo prepare:Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil over high heat.

Drop cauliflower florets into the water and cook until they are very tender to the point of a fork.

The cooking time will depend on the temperature and size of the cauliflower, about 15 minutes.

Drain well, then return cauliflower to the pan and shake to remove excess water.

Immediately transfer the cauliflower to a food processor and purée until almost smooth.

With the machine running, add enough olive oil through the feeding tube until mixture is smooth.

Scrape down the sides, then taste and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Add butter, if desired.

Transfer the purée to a serving bowl and serve at once.Roasted Cauliflower, Celery, and Parsley With Hazelnuts And Pomegranate Seeds(Serves 6)1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets

4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup hazelnuts, with skins

1 large celery stalk, cut on the diagonal into thin slices

1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves plucked and left whole

1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to tasteTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Toss florets and about 2 tablespoons of oil to coat in a bowl.

Add salt and pepper.

Spread florets in a shallow roasting pan.

Roast on the top oven rack until cauliflower is crisp and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees.

Scatter hazelnuts on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and toast until light brown, about 15 minutes.

Cool, then coarsely chop and toss with cauliflower.

Meanwhile, whisk cinnamon and allspice into vinegar and maple syrup, adding in remaining olive oil.

Taste and adjust the seasonings, then drizzle over the cauliflower.

Add celery, parsley leaves and pomegranate seeds to the mixture and toss well.

Serve at room temperature.

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