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Curried cauliflower with apple ginger chutney

I like recipes. I know that seems obvious, but a lot of chefs take pride in their ability to wing it. While that certainly has its place in the creative process, I'm a big believer in standardizing recipes. When two chefs have four hours to churn out a 6-8 (scratch made!) item buffet for 40-500 people, there's no time to mess around. I need to know that all this work is going to produce consistent and reliable results. That said, there's something about this dish that defies standardization. The apple chutney, along with my spinach cakes, is among my oldest recipes that I still make. I’ve always just chucked all the ingredients in a pot, eyeballing the amounts as I go. Whenever I’ve tried to standardize the measurements, a certain magic is lost. I feel the same about the cauliflower itself. So I say, follow the recipe the first couple times to get a feel for it, then try your hand at winging it. Harness the magic!

Curried cauliflower with apple chutney

Serves 3-4

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6 cups)

½-¾ t salt

3 T olive or safflower oil

1 T curry powder

Toss all ingredients together very well in a big bowl. There shouldn't be any dry patches of curry powder. Spread it all out onto a large baking sheet. Don't overcrowd the pan; use two baking sheets if necessary. Arrange the florets cut side down, with a bit of space between each piece. This is how you’ll get the best browning and flavor. Roast at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, flip each piece over and roast another 10 minutes.

Apple ginger chutney

1 lb apples (about 3)

¾ c diced yellow onion

1 T minced ginger

¼ c coconut sugar (or any sugar)

3 T balsamic vinegar

½ t yellow mustard seeds

8 cloves

12 cardamon pods

Pinch chili flakes

4 c water

Peel and core apples and cut into a small uniform dice. Combine all ingredients in a big pot and bring to a boil. Simmer rapidly for about an hour, until all the water is gone, the apples are very soft and it's all come together as a dark brown, somewhat syrupy concoction. Let cool and serve chilled or at room temperature.

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