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tahini cauliflower with lemon and smoked paprika

After over a year of blogging, I’ve hit a snag: I can’t seem to remember to photograph my food.

The situation has gotten desperate. I’ll identify a recipe, test it a few times, write the post, then plan the photo shoot. Unfortunately, plan the photo shoot roughly translates to “grab a smudge-free bowl and make sure the camera’s in the vicinity.” At dinnertime my artistic attempts are derailed by the fading light, and at lunch I’m just too hungry. I need to shoot this, I’ll think, regarding my plate with twitching fingers. In the battle of the wills, hunger beats out creative vision almost every time.

My family, while supportive in theory, is no help at all. Arranging roasted cauliflower florets in a bowl is the work of a minute, and I manage to snap a few photos before returning to the kitchen to rummage for props. When I return the bowl is empty, resting on the arm of my mother’s deck chair. I try to be upset about the missed photo opportunity, but am far more saddened that she polished off the dish before I could.

Which brings me to the one advantage of being a lazy food photographer: it makes the recipes better. I’ve been making this cauliflower for months (since early June, to be precise), each time growing more anxious to photograph it and each time devouring it warm from the bowl. Granted, it’s a simple dish. But when I made it for the sixth time I realized a longer roasting time was preferable, and somewhere around the eleventh version I stumbled on the “South African Smoke” seasoning my parents picked up at Trader Joe’s. I can now post the recipe with confidence and something close to addiction, albeit after a significant delay. I blame it on the photos.

Tahini Cauliflower with Lemon and Smoked Paprika

If you can find “South African Smoke” seasoning at TJ’s I highly recommend it, but any smoky pepper flakes will do nicely.

1 large head of cauliflower

olive oil, salt and pepper

1/3 cup tahini

juice of 1/2 lemon

smoky pepper flakes or smoked parika

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and toss with a generous amount of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until florets are nicely-browned on the edges.
Meanwhile, whisk together the tahini and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower straight from the oven and toss to coat, adding a tiny bit of water or more juice if the dressing is too thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and finish with the smoked paprika.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sara, I was looking for a recipe on your blog and was particularily enticed by this one. When I went to write you a comment I saw that my brother and Debbie Murphy had done the same! Your recipes and blog entries are delicious. Thank you

    October 31, 2012
  2. Anna #

    Ha! I can relate to the “grab a smudge-free bowl and make sure the camera’s in the vicinity” line :) This recipe sounds amazing, putting it on the “make immediately” list.

    September 18, 2012
  3. Gabriel #

    Awesome stuff! Great to see you at the farmer’s market the other day. Keep up the great work. Cheers!

    August 29, 2012
  4. Debbie Murphy #

    Yum! Chowing down on a large bowl of the Tahini cauliflower right now with Gabriel Lozada and Cass. Really tasty stuff. What I love is that I would never make this recipe if I saw it in a magazine or on a random online site. It is because I adore you and your family that I take your suggestions seriously. Thanks for bringing new food to our table. Thank you!

    August 20, 2012

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