It’s averaging 99°F (37°C) here in Texas, and I simply do not want to cook. At all. Which is like saying I don’t want to breathe. In fact, filling my lungs with hot summer air doesn’t even sound refreshing. Developing a pair of gills sounds nice, doesn’t it? Cool water flowing through my throat, delivering oxygen and fluid to my parched body, washing away the odd bits of organic rubbish between my ears…Devolving sounds like a plan.
Meanwhile, a girl has got to eat. I slipped into the local market, lingering in the produce aisle where their finest vegetables were packed into little glaciers of chipped ice. If heat radiates outward, there must be a scientific name for the way ice draws you in. I stood there next to the ice for as long as I could…swiping through Instagram, calling my son, returning emails… Those lucky heads of cauliflower, broccoli and Napa cabbage were arranged in crisp bouquets, pressed deeply into their frosty display. My own head was jealous.
I ended up spending an absolute fortune on four gorgeous heads of cauliflower, just to see what I could do with them. Purple, saffron and white, with a head of lemon green Romesco cauliflower. I was also craving something more substantial than just veggies, so I started thinking about a vegetable fondue I could put together without turning on the stove.
Cruising the international cheese section, I found a box of prepared fondue that was microwavable. Perfect, and let’s just tweak it a bit with Sriracha.
The cauliflower is at its crispy best if it is soaked in ice water before serving, about 5 minutes (no cooking, yay!) Meanwhile, prepare the fondue according to package directions for the microwave, and then stir in ¼ cup of Sriracha. From washing and trimming the cauliflower to sitting down to fondue took all of 8 minutes (That’s a perfect ride in rodeo lingo…)
Regular cauliflower and queso dip would have been more budget minded, but not as pretty, and much less tasty. The prepared fondue was made of Emmentaler and Gruyere cheeses, flavored with kirsh and mustard, and absolutely luscious. The Sriracha gave the fondue the perfect kick, and you can certainly add more if you want a spicier cheese dip. A crusty baguette would have made this a complete meal, but I didn’t go so far as to enter the warm, cozy bakery at the market. I was staying near the refrigerated section.
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