#29: Chrysanthemum, with Curried Cauliflowerettes

The Select-O-Matic says:

#29: Chrysanthemum, with Curried Cauliflowerettes

I do very much love chrysanthemum the flower, and it’s a pretty fabulous word; I would be disappointed if it got used for a lame cocktail. Disaster averted: the Chrysanthemum cocktail is perfectly pleasant. (Further reading: Erik Ellestad’s Savoy Stomp take)


2 parts dry white vermouth (Lillet Blanc, Noilly Prat)

1 part Benedictine

absinthe rinse (Kübler Absinthe)

Rinse cocktail glass with a small amount of absinthe, discard excess. Stir vermouth and Benedictine with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Y’know, I don’t think I’ve ever actually tasted Benedictine before. Oo-de-lally, that’s some sweet stuff. Tastes sort of like a horehound candy. I tried making the Chrysanthemum cocktail with both dry vermouth (using Noilly Prat), and with Lillet Blanc. I often find that Lillet acts like sandpaper to drinks, smoothing out the rough edges. Here I found it too sweet, and the vermouth did a better job of balancing things out, I think. Even so, it’s a solidly sweet cocktail, but not so much that the sweetness is clobbering the horehoundy, absinthey, orange oily good stuff. Also: my orange peel game could use some work, I think if I did a better job of getting the oils on the surface of the drink, it would have made a more interesting contribution.

Curried Cauliflowerettes

1 med. cauliflower

2 tbsp oil

1 tbsp curry powder

1 med onion, chopped

1 med green pepper, chopped

1 cup water

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 c plain yogurt

(salt to taste)

Cut up cauliflower, set aside. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet, brown curry powder for a minute, then add onion & green pepper and sauté until onions are translucent. Add water, tomato paste, ginger, cayenne and cardamom. (I chose to add a pinch of salt at this point; the recipe doesn’t call for it.) Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir in cauliflowerettes and simmer while covered for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and stir in yogurt. Let stand at room temperature for an hour to let the cauliflowerettes absorb the flavors.

“Cauliflowerettes” sounds like a dance squad at a San Joaquin Valley high school. I say this with admiration; I think “cauliflowerettes” is more efficient and adorable than “cauliflower florets,” which is an admirable speck of the English language to begin with. This is very easy to eat, and I’ll happily gobble up this batch… but there has to be a better interpretation of curried cauliflower out there. I opted to skip the scraped-together chutney made out of marmalade, vinegar and raisins… it’s 2012, and thank goodness, we can get actual chutney at the store.