Yotem Ottolenghi, the master of many ingredients, has published a new book called SIMPLE. It is a beautiful text and in fact does have many simple and ingredient pared recipes. Among them, I found this, and with the preponderance of beautiful mini cauliflowers of many colors still in the green markets, I was inspired to make it. It is indeed simple: ingredients-the aforementioned cauliflower, a Tablespoon each of butter and olive oil, and flaky sea salt, Maldon if you have it. He adds a green dipping sauce, but I found the sweetness and crunchiness of the cauliflower more than enough (I did serve some Greek yogurt alongside because I had a purple cauliflower and it looked so beautiful). I made this with a mini sized head, but the recipe works for any size. Here are the directions. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse the cauliflower, trim the stem to flatten it, but do not remove the leaves (they get crunchy and delicious in the roasting process) and place in salted boiling water head down for 5-6 minutes. Don’t worry if the head is not completely immersed. After 6 minutes, remove and place head down in a colander to drain for 10 minutes. Place drained and cooled head on a sheet pan or an oven proof dish head side up (you can use the dish for serving) and top with butter, olive oil, and a sprinkle of the the sea salt. Roast in oven for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours depending on the size of the head. Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper. Serve as is either on the sheet pan or on the dish. Just break off the florets and eat. It is crunchy on the top, and creamy in the middle, the leaves get potato chip like, just a great vegetarian lunch or dinner side. And so much more inventive than the tiresome cauliflower rice.

Another 3-4 ingredient nibble for really hot and muggy days, like today. Serve with an icy glass of Pernod or a white wine as long as it is cold. Your ingredient list? some good Greek yogurt (or labney if you have it), some chopped herbs: parsley, chives, thyme, whatever you like, salt and pepper and other dried spices to your taste and or liking, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, and some toasted walnuts for crunch. Serve with gluten free crackers (like Mary’s) or pita. And the recipe is? In a bowl, combine yogurt and chopped herbs along with salt and pepper and other spices if using and spread mixture onto a plate. Top with olive oil and toasted nuts. Done. If it is just too hot to toast the nuts, don’t bother. It will still be yummy. Just make sure your libations are chilled. Baby, it’s hot outside.


Roasted beet and yogurt spread with pita. Can be done ahead. Allow time for roasting beets. Easy. You will need 2 medium sized beets, 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic, vegetable oil (or canola or olive), 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon walnuts or nut of your choice, 1 tablespoon of walnut or another nut oil, even olive oil if that is what you have, the juice of a lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. For finishing and serving, pita bread cut into triangles and plain Greek yogurt or Labne–more on that in a minute. First, wrap the beets and garlic cloves in aluminum foil with a bit of the vegetable oil and salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees until the beets are softened-about 45 minutes. Let cool and peel both beets (maybe with gloves?) and garlic. While beets and garlic are roasting, toast the nuts being careful not to burn them. Chop when cooled. Combine the beets, garlic, and 1/4 cup nuts and put into food processor or chop finely by hand if food processor is not available. Add walnut oil, salt and pepper to taste and lemon juice to your liking. To finish, spoon mixture on a flat plate and swirl in yogurt or Labne. Labne has a similar taste and texture as Greek yogurt and if you can find it, give it a try. It can be found in the refrigerator section of your grocer. It can also be found in Middle Eastern markets if you live in an area where they exist. Top with last tablespoon of chopped walnuts and drizzle with a bit more of the nut oil if you wish. Serve with pita triangles and a glass of your favorite libation.