aliens of earth and sea

I was in New York City last weekend for TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat.” Embarrasingly, one of the most satisfying part of that trip was finding Romanesco broccoli for sale at Eataly. For $6.50 a head, I hesitated for a second because $6.50 is a lot for aesthetically pleasing cauliflower, but I have been on the prowl since I was 15 and seven years is long enough. Finally, this martian vegetable was mine!

I roasted the Romanesco broccoli, also known as fractal broccoli, with salt and pepper. When I took it out of the oven to cool down a bit, I shuffled all of the florets into the same corner of the pan and sprinkled it with rice vinegar to absorb as it cooled. I love how otherworldly it looks, and it is simply delicious. I hope that I’ll be able to grow it someday.

This meal had significantly more black in it than most meals I eat. The stuff on the right side is Lalibela Farm Organic Black Bean Tempeh from Dresden, Maine, roasted with soy sauce and sesame oil until the outsides crisped up. Tempeh is traditionally fermented soybeans and usually sold in stores vacuum packed to submission, petrifying in its wrapper in the vegan section of the produce aisle. This tempeh, however, is made with organic black turtle beans and it is unbelievably creamy and  fresh-tasting. It is the only tempeh I have been able to enjoy plain, but roasting it was over the top.

The other black stuff in the foreground is kombu from Ironbound Island Seaweed in Winter Harbor, Maine. The long pieces of dried seaweed were broken up and cooked in the pot with brown rice, salt, and a dried chile. I learned this technique from Justin at Mano Farm and it perfectly reconstitutes the kombu.

Topped with a sprinkle of red dulse flakes from the Maine Coastline, a fried egg from my colleague’s son, and a drizzle of sesame oil from nowhere near me, this meal was nothing short of perfect.

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