Spicy chile cauliflower & garbanzo beans

Cauliflower is the gift that keeps on giving. Honestly, you hack off enough florets to feed a band of maurading pirates, come back the next day and it’s regenerated. I’m convinced that we’re still eating the same head we bought back in ’72.

Of course, on these dark days of winter that’s no bad thing, is it? You scratch your head and wonder what’s for dinner and the answer is there staring you in the face: cauliflower. Friends drop over unexpectedly and you’re stumped for what to feed them? Not any longer: cauliflower. Who needs to run out to the grocery store and buy something for dinner. It’s right there, taking up 99% of the veg shelf: cauliflower.

Yes, it’s white. Very white. Ghostly pale and let’s be honest, rather sulphurous when your old Aunt Edith cooked it for 3-4 hours before she was sure it had been beaten into submission. But tuck it into a roaring hot oven with a lick of some spices and suddenly — va, va, va, voom — it’s transformed.

Those of you impatient souls who race to the recipe will note that we’re using our Abiquiu Steak Marinade for this dish. You will also note that there is no steak in the recipe. Clever clogs. Just because we call it a steak marinade doesn’t mean you can’t use it in other things. Like cauliflower. Now get cooking.

Slice the cauliflower florets so they cook faster.

Spicy chile cauliflower & garbanzo beans

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

8 oz. cauliflower florets (about 2 large handfuls), sliced thinly

1-14oz can of garbanzo beans, drained

2 scallions, sliced into large dice

1 Tbsp Abiquiu Steak Marinade

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

zest of one lime, plus the juice

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

To garnish (your choice – go crazy):

Chopped cilantro

Cumin seeds

Chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the sliced cauliflower and garbanzo beans in a large roasting pan. Mix together the Abiquiu Steak Marinade, turmeric powder, lime zest, salt, and olive oil. Spread over the vegetables and give them a good stir so the vegetables are evenly coated.

Place in the preheated oven and roast for around 15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Add in the chopped scallions and cook for another few minutes. Remove from the oven, spritz on the lemon juice. Taste and add some more salt if needed and top with your choice of garnishes.

Spiced Butternut Squash & Bean Soup

‘Tis the season for multi-tasking madness! Yes, it’s the time of year to over extend yourself and your credit card. Commit to far too much. Eat and drink yourself silly. Send holiday greetings to friends you haven’t seen or spoken to since you sent them a card last year. Ask yourself why stores insist on playing Christmas music months in advance. Buy your nearest and dearest something they’ll dislike and discard. Then collapse and promise you’ll never do this again.

Or you could turn your phone onto silent. Channel your inner Scrooge. No Christmas cards. No Christmas sweaters. Scowl at those cute carollers who come to your door. Then slip into the kitchen and make yourself a restorative pot of soup.

Accompany said soup with a hefty wedge of bread, some really good butter and a good book. The book, I might add is to read, not eat. Although if you enjoy reading you’re a voracious reader who devours books so maybe you do ‘eat’ them up. I digress…Perhaps something to listen to (not Mariah Carey singing ‘All I Want for Christmas’ for heavens sake). Something classy like Elvis.

Breathe deep and sigh. Do feel smug if this feels appropriate. For soup, you’re spoiled for choice. At our Scrooge Grotto this year, we’ll be serving a Spiced Butternut Squash & Bean Soup. It’s packed full of health-giving goodness (yawn) and is easy to make. Do share with someone if you must or store the rest in the freezer for a cold winter’s day.

Spiced Butternut Squash & Bean Soup

Serves 4

1 butternut Squash, around 1.5-2 lbs.

14 oz. can of beans (garbanzo, black eyed peas, you get the idea)

A hefty handful of cavolo nero (black cabbage), kale or spinach

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 New Mexico red chile pod

1 1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. ancho chile powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

Heat the oil in a medium-large saucepan over low heat. Saute the onion slowly until soft and translucent. Don’t rush this step folks. While the onion is cooking, peel the squash, slice in half, remove the seeds (you can save them to roast if you’re feeling energetic) and chop into 1/2″ dice.

Add the garlic to the softened onion, saute for another minute then add the spices, including the chile pod. Stir to coat and cook for a minute or two to bring out the flavours of the spices. Add the diced butternut squash and stir to coat. Cook for a few minutes then add the stock. Increase the heat to medium (it should be at a low simmer). Cook until the squash is tender — this won’t take long, perhaps 15 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, wash your greens. If using kale or cavolo nero, strip the leaves from the woody stems and chop. If using spinach, take a break, check your Instagram ‘likes’ and then get back to work.

When the squash is cooked, drain and rinse the beans, add them to the soup along with the greens. Stir, taste and add salt and more chile if desired. Remove the chile pod and serve.

Cinco de Mayo Hot Tootin’ Sale

Okay, listen up. This is where I’d normally put everything in cap letters (LIKE THIS), but I’ve been told it’s “not polite”. So here goes…Order online and you get 25% off everything. EVERYTHING (sorry, I had to do that).



Q: What if I oversleep and wake up on the 31st and realize I haven’t ordered yet?
A: Too bad.
Q: What if I develop amnesia and forget about the offer?
A: See above.

Why are we being so ridiculously generous? Trust us, it hurts. But it’s our way of celebrating Cinco de Mayo. As Wikipedia kindly tell us, Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the fifth of May (thanks for that guys). It commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over the French (those darn French). Now it means big time party.

And parties mean food. I’ll leave the menu up to you but why not try something different like a Mole? It’s a traditional Mexican dish and we make it easy with our Southwestern Mole mix. It will taste like you’ve slaved over a hot stove for days but you didn’t. We like that kind of thing. Or if the weather looks good, throw some steaks on the BBQ – a little Abiquiu Steak Marinade adds some extra zing.

But whatever you do, make sure you’ve got some nibbles on hand. There is nothing worse than a hungry crowd. They get restless and they get mean. We’ll be whipping up a batch of our Spicy Garbanzo Beans. They’re very easy to make (a plus when you’ve got a crowd) plus they go down a treat with a beer or margarita (or three).

So party on and don’t forge to type in those five magic letters — CINCO — to get your 25% off OKAY?

Spicy Garbanzo Beans

Makes enough for me if I’ve had a bad day or 4-6 more civilized people.

2 ½ Tbsp olive oil
14.5 oz can of garbanzo beans
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground green chile

Place the beans in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain. Heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan until hot but not smoking. Add the garbanzo beans – careful because they may spit. Cook over high heat until the beans are crisp and crunchy – this will take about 10 minutes depending on the heat of your stove.

garbanzo snack 1garbanzo snack 2

The beans will shrink and change in color from a light creamy color to a deeper golden brown. Try one – it should be crispy on the outside and slightly yielding inside. Remove from heat, add the spices and put back on the stove for another minute or two to toast the spices. Add a sprinkle of sea salt flakes if you like and serve hot or at room temperature.

garbanzo snack 3