Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be,
along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown,
and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.
~ Wendell Berry~
Quick Cauliflower Masala, or Gobi Masala in India, comes together in about 25 minutes flat. This version is vegan, made with coconut milk instead of yogurt, and can be served with naan bread, pita or rice. It’s a quick, satisfying meal that feels clean, light, and nourishing. Feel free to embellish with spring veggies like spring peas, asparagus, or new potatoes or add chickpeas or chicken for additional protein.
On the home front: Oh my goodness friends . . . huge changes happening this year! I’m excited and scared-to-death at the same time. As some of you know, we’ve been catering for last ten years. I feel blessed because our business, Feast, has thrived. But as you can imagine, it’s challenging work, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally because events can be really stressful. At times I can literally feel the cortisol levels rising in my body.
For the last couple years we have gradually cut back. This year even more so. It goes against everything I was taught about business (basically to grow as big as possible and build an empire). But this slow-down has felt amazing and really increased our quality of life. And as some of you can imagine, it has been easier on our marriage because we work together (picture for a moment working with your spouse or partner, in a high-stress situation. Not always pretty). So there is that, too. What I’m getting at here in a roundabout way is that we made a huge decision to retire from catering after this year and focus on the blog and traveling.
It’s my favorite work of all, being here creating recipes and I’m so excited to be able to do this full-time. And the best part is that we can do this from anywhere!
However, one of the conditions of this change was downsizing. Selling our house – the one with the awesome white kitchen that I love so much. The idea of downsizing, let me be honest, did not come naturally to me. Truthfully, when I think about it, my whole life has been mostly about up-sizing. Downsizing, living a simpler life, is my husband’s influence. It took some time to get my head around it. It took some convincing. But eventually I began to see how doing this would give us so much more freedom and allow us to live the life we had only dreamed about. The house was way too big for us and filled to the brim with too much stuff we didn’t need. It began to feel heavy and burdensome. But somehow I felt so stuck. Where would I put all my stuff?
In the beginning I just began to notice, how much stuff I had collected and packed into every corner of the house and into that giant basement of ours. With the passing of two parents, I inherited many of their things which I could not part with emotionally. Even though a lot of their things, I actually didn’t love or would never use, I kept down in the basement because, to get rid of it felt like I was getting rid of them, it felt disrespectful and almost unloving.
I began noticing how much emotion I had tied up into all these things. While on our trip to Bali, I listened to the podcast called The Minimalists. They have a book, too. And apparently they will be speaking in Spokane this coming Wednesday! All I can say is, it really helped me understand my emotional attachment to “things.” It helped me realize the memory would not disappear if I let go of the object attached to the memory. When we got home from our trip, we had a HUGE garage sale. Eventually I ended up just giving so many things away to people who expressed an appreciation for something. I can’t tell you the joy this has brought me. It feels so freeing. It feels so good knowing that these objects are bringing someone else joy.
One of the last rooms for me to go through in our house was our kitchen and pantry. Oh the things I discovered! So many jars, I could probably open up a mason jar store with all my inventory. Thirteen packages of opened pasta. Six cans of pumpkin puree. I don’t even like pumpkin puree. Six jars of sesame paste. A ridiculous amount of different flours, grains, beans, legumes, that I have had for probably a decade. It was disturbing. I went through my two freezers. Same thing. Packages of edamame dated 2011-14. Meat from a quarter of a cow I purchased in 2012. I have kept these things because what if one day the world goes to hell and we are all starving? Honestly friends, I am ashamed to say, I could probably live another 5 years without out buying one more ingredient.
My closet was the same. No, I haven’t worn those jeans in 10 years, but I might get skinny again, so I better keep them just in case. A vintage dress I’ve had for 20 years that I’ve never worn, but still I need it because, well, it’s vintage and it’s part of my identity and makes me feel good about myself, just knowing it is there, even if i never wear it.
It turns out that it looks better on my friend, who immediately wore it the day after I gave it to her. At least now I get to see it out and about in real life rather than stuffed in my black hole of a closet. The funny thing is that I basically wear the same thing everyday, with minor variations. Why on earth do I feel the need to hang on to 90% of clothes I do not wear? Of course there are the clothes that contain the memories. Can I still hold on to the memory of that special day, without having the actual dress? Still working on this one . . .
Oh the stuff I’ve held on to – like a weight. Slowly but surely, room by room, I shed the weight. It feels glorious. It feels liberating. It feels like I’m making room for more of what I really want in this life – creativity and adventure. And the things that remain are more precious to me, because they are fewer. And I can actually see them now, because there is some space around them.
So here’s a little snapshot of ours lives right now. It has been such learning experience for me.
And now back to the Quick Cauliflower Masala . . . I should note the leftovers taste especially good the next day after the flavors have time to meld.
Spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika and garam masala (or curry powder) give this Quick Cauliflower Masala its beautiful color. To bring it up a notch, add mustard seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek leaves – all optional, but tasty.
Quick Cauliflower Masala – a simple, fast, one-pot meal that is flavorful and nourishing . . . hope you like it!Print
Quick Cauliflower Masala
Quick Cauliflower Masala, also known as Gobi Masala in India is a delicious one-pot meal! This version is made with coconut milk – vegan and gluten-free.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Vegan Gluten Free
- Method: One-Pot meal
- Cuisine: Indian
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, olive oil or ghee
- 1 shallot – chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 4 fat garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon paprika or chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala or curry powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds- optional
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds- optional
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves- optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 can diced tomatoes (or two medium tomatoes, diced)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 red bell pepper – big diced
- 1 head cauliflower – sliced into 1 inch pieces, or small florets
- squeeze of lemon
- cilantro for garnish
Serve with naan or pita bread, or rice.
Heat oil in a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.
Add shallot, ginger and garlic, and reduce heat to medium to prevent burning, stirring frequently about 3 minutes until fragrant and golden. Add spices, seeds and salt and lightly toast, while stirring 1-2 minutes, which will enhance their flavor.
Add diced tomato, cook 2 more minutes, then add the coconut milk and stir to incorporate, bringing to a simmer. Add cauliflower and red bell pepper, give a stir, cover and let simmer 10-12 minutes on medium low heat. Check the cauliflower – it should be just tender, and continue cooking uncovered until desired tenderness (the smaller you cut the pieces the faster this will cook). Taste, add a squeeze of lemon juice. Add more salt if necessary.
Serve in bowls over rice or with naan or pita bread. Garnish with cilantro.