You guys, I had my wedding dress fitting this Monday! It might have been the most excited I’ve ever been for a Monday morning. Now I’m wishing workweeks always started with a trying-on-a-very-beautiful-tailored-for-you-thing appointment. It would be zero percent financially sound and one hundred percent awesome.
Unrelatedly, if it’s one thing I’ve learned through this whole wedding process, it’s that I’m pretty sure I’m the world’s worst client. How is it possible to think you know exactly what you want (maybe) but also totally not be able to express it — at least, for me, without hemming and hawing and getting indecisive, or else getting too shy to speak my mind, or speaking my mind then thinking I’ve changed my mind, or emailing two hours later with said changed mind, or emailing again changing my mind after that?
I’m the worst. Any ideas for forgiveness-inducing thank you gifts are appreciated.
But it was still amazing.
Also, yesterday I had a dentist’s appointment. So that was the same amount of excited that I always am for Tuesday.
Anyways, speaking of weddings, B2 and I have both been trying (not very hard, but trying) to eat a little more conscientiously now that we’re getting into these fittings and suit-shopping (wee) shenanigans. It’s nothing too crazy (like, I discovered last week that I finished two 10 oz bags of chocolate chips on my own — without, say, actually baking them into anything — and next week I have this super light except not light French toast thing heading your way) but just green things when we can, fresh and crunchy things, good-feeling things, et cetera. We spent a super fun weekend chowing down on these summer rolls, and a few weeks ago I made a couple of these grain bowls on a whim.
They were inspired by a surprisingly delicious grain bowl I had on a late night in the office — corporate Seamless can sometimes be a wasteland for healthful eating, but that bowl was full of crunch and flavors and, most of all, some amazing roasted cauliflower. I feel like roasted cauliflower has been making the rounds lately (just look at this roasted garlic & cauliflower pasta, or this charred cauliflower carbonara, oh my gosh), and I’ve been meaning to try it for forever and a day. Now that I’ve had it, I’m so sad I hadn’t earlier! It becomes so savory irresistible when roasted, and adds a toasty umami, plus an amazing texture, to everything it’s mixed into.
These bowls take that roasted cauliflower and add a good dose of Parmesan cheese for heartiness (a la these quinoa cakes), toothsome sautéed kale for bite, and some sundried tomatoes and buffalo chicken for piquancy. With quinoa and a handful of fresh greens to tie it all together, I thought it was a perfect weekend lunch, the kind of meal that’s healthy like salad but warm and nourishing like winter food needs to be. Hope you’re all having wonderful weeks!
This serves two. It's easily doubled if you want to keep the separate ingredients on hand to mix the next day for a quick and easy lunch. Does not freeze particularly well, though.
- to roast the cauliflower:
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- sprig of thyme (optional)
- a shake of red chili pepper
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt and a shake of pepper)
- 1-2 tsp grated Parmesan
- to steam the chicken:
- 1 chicken breast
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- parchment paper or foil, for steaming
- salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- to sauté the kale:
- 2-3 tsp olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups kale, ribs removed
- 1 tsp grated Parmesan
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp water or chicken stock
- to assemble:
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (or lentils, wheatberries, farro, etc.) (see Notes for how to cook quinoa)
- 7-8 small sundried tomatoes (about 1/2 cup)
- handful spring greens or arugula
- 1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmesan, or more or less, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil two large roasting pans or baking sheets, or line with parchment paper. Toss the cauliflower florets with one tablespoon of vegetable oil, minced garlic, thyme, and chili pepper, then spread the florets out onto a single layer on the pans, leaving a little room for the chicken on one. Season with salt and pepper to your liking, then set aside.
- Heat a bit more vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breast on both sides with salt and pepper, then turn the heat to medium and sear the chicken for a minute on each side, until golden brown. Place onto a large square of parchment paper or foil, drizzle with hot sauce and brown sugar, then fold the paper in half and crimp to seal. Place onto the baking sheet along with the cauliflower. Roast the cauliflower and bake the chicken at the same time. Remove the chicken after about 20-25 minutes, and remove the cauliflower whenever it’s well-browned on the edges, about 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sauté the kale. Slice the ribs off if you haven’t already, then heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or skillet with the garlic until garlic begins to crackle. Add the kale and sauté until kale is well-coated in oil and just beginning to soften. Add the water or chicken stock, parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste, and continue to sauté until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Finally, assemble the bowls! Slice the chicken, then simply divide all the ingredients evenly between two bowls, top with sundried tomatoes and a handful of greens, and finish with plenty of Parmesan and an extra drizzle of hot sauce. Enjoy immediately.
To prepare the quinoa, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. (For a more savory quinoa, replace half the water with chicken stock.) Add the quinoa, reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer for 12 minutes, or until water is almost all absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for another 15 minutes. Fluff and enjoy!