London chef Yotam Ottolenghi has yet to disappoint me -- and I have no reason to expect anything less than deliciousness from his creative recipes. Indeed, his “Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake” was brilliant and gorgeous. This recipe poses a question: what makes a cake different than a pie, different than a quiche, different than a frittata? Even though Ottolenghi’s dish includes eight eggs, as would a quiche or frittata or omelet, it also includes all-purpose flour and baking powder. These particular ingredients allow us to embrace this as a cake -- and a fine cake it is.

Thrill in the basic beauty of cauliflower, olive oil, rosemary, eggs, and cheese. And truly, you should not skimp on any of these ingredients. The cake takes on the golden glow of turmeric; the red-onion rings sit like smiles atop the cake. Using a springform pan was a revelation, as it releases the cake intact, ready to slice. Rather than pursuing black sesame seeds to coat the sides of my cake, I applied raw chia seeds, which provided a cute, crunchy contrast to the outside of my cake. Explore the hype of the chia seed, and you’ll learn that they are harvested from the Salvia hispanica plant, a type of sage in the mint family. The seeds are high in dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and were a staple of the ancient Aztec diet. They are now grown commercially in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico. Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water. I’m sure I’ll play with these seeds again, some time soon…

Everyone will like this cauliflower cake. Refrigerate your leftovers, and eat slices until they are all gone. It’s grand, it’s beautiful, it’ll make you giggle with glee.

I also made a vegetarian soup that was warmed by toasted cumin seeds. The “Carrot and Lentil Soup,” by Angie’s Recipes, requires a metric conversion. Use 1 lb. 7 oz. carrots and 4 oz. green lentils; use 4 2/3 cups vegetable stock and 2/3 cup milk. My young child is a fan of carrot soup, and this one proved true again. I am a fan of my immersion blender, and this soup permits its use once more.

Grate your carrots in a food processor. My lentils needed 25 minutes to simmer, until softened. I added 3 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper to the final soup. The magical sprinkling of toasted cumin seeds does make this soup extra special.

PRICES
Cauliflower (2.09 lbs.) = $3.18
Red Onion (1) = .29¢
Basil (handful) = $2.12
Carrots (1.5 lbs.) = $1.89
Green Lentils (4 oz.) = .31¢

RECIPES: follow Ottolenghi’s instructions and be dazzled by the eggy cauliflower cake; tribute your colorful carrots with this soup
PREP TIMES:
enjoy a slice of your cake after less than two hours of prep and baking; the soup needs much less than an hour
TASTES: multiply the flavorful power of cauliflower with the additions of olive oil, rosemary, eggs, and parmesan cheese; thickened by lentils, carrots dance with cumin

Next time, inspired by the recipe for the “Herbed Turkey Burger,” from simplyrecipes.com, I’ll make lamb meatballs. I’ll also make the “Braised Red Cabbage with Cider & Apples,” from angiesrecipes.blogspot.com. These recipes reek of autumnal marvelousness. See them when you return to my site on Friday, November 26.