“Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street” by Christopher Kimball: Cauliflower with tahini

Best cookbooks of 2017

“Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street” by Christopher Kimball

Speaking a global accent eloquently, “Milk Street” makes the case that you can travel the world without a passport. It explains how to make dukkah (Egyptian nut-and-seed seasoning), Basque-style pork tenderloins, spinach-based Peruvian pesto and Japanese fried chicken with clear steps and eye-catching photos. Scientific hows and whys are sprinkled throughout, and explanations are given for why oil is better than butter for fluffy scrambled eggs and how salt and sugar help to remove excess water from vegetables. The book is as good to read in bed as it is in the kitchen and perfect for any food nerd.

Christopher Kimball says: Make sure the florets are medium-sized, about 1½ to 2 inches; small pieces become mushy. The key is to cook it just right. Also, a hot oven and heated baking sheet are key to browning the cauliflower without it getting overcooked.

Thanksgiving plans: I will be holding it in my Vermont farmhouse and doing almost all the cooking. The house has a very small kitchen and it cannot have two people working in it. So nobody else is allowed to cook.

New menu for 2017: For 20 years, I pretty much had the same menu. It was turkey, stuffing, gravy and always three pies — pumpkin, apple and pecan. This year, I’m changing it and want to bring a little surprise. I’m going to make a sweet potato casserole with a little miso, tea-rubbed roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with caraway and mustard seeds, marmalade bundt cake and pumpkin tart. This is risky and the kids might not like it. But well, let us see.

Conversation at the table: There’s nothing worse than talking about food when eating food. I don’t like to talk about food after spending time cooking it. I like to argue about history or books. There’s plenty to talk about this year but I think it’s best to leave some topics out.

Hardest recipe: Apple pie. There are so many different kinds of apples and I mix them up every time and so it is never the same. Sometimes it is sweet, tart and juicy and other times it is not. But the pie always tastes the best the next day for breakfast.

Thankful for: I’m thankful to just be here and for the small things. Starting Milk Street has been a long process. I am thankful for my new son, who is 6 months old.

Cauliflower With Tahini

PG tested

Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil before heating because the tahini mixture will make a mess of an unlined pan.

½ cup tahini

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

2 garlic cloves, grated

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large head cauliflower (about 2½ pounds), cut into 1½- to 2-inch florets

⅓ cup roasted, salted cashews, chopped, divided

⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 500 degrees with a rack in lowest position. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil and set on rack to heat. In a large bowl, whisk tahini, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, paprika and cayenne. Add cauliflower and toss, massaging the dressing into the florets.

Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven and spread cauliflower on it in an even layer, scraping any remaining tahini onto pan. Reserve bowl.

Roast until well browned in spots and just tender, 15 to 18 minutes, stirring and turning florets and rotating pan halfway through.

Transfer roasted florets to reserved bowl. Add remaining lemon juice and toss. Add half of nuts and cilantro and toss. Sprinkle with remaining cashews and serve drizzled with more oil, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

— “Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street” by Christopher Kimball (Little, Brown and Company; September 2017; $40)


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