Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Late Night Roasted Cauliflower

One of my favorite, easy to make, flavorful, and healthy late night dinners. You can do this in a toaster oven, your main convention oven, and even on the grill if you have a grill basket.

There are two keys to doing this well. First, make best attempt to have the cauliflower pieces cut to uniform size so that they cook evenly. Second, make best attempt to evenly coat the florets with the olive oil and spices.


  • One head of cauliflower cut into uniform chunks
  • Olive oil - 3-4 tablespoons to coat the cauliflower
  • Spice mixture: A couple of options here
    • Spicy - Mix of ancho chile powder, pinch of cayenne, cumin, salt
    • Curry - Curry powder, garlic powder, coriander, salt
    • Herb - Herb de Provence works great mixed with salt


Mix cauliflower with olive oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle on the selected spice mixture evenly. If cooking in an oven, spread on a cookie sheet in one layer and roast at 400F. If cooking on the grill, cook on medium-high heat shaking the basket every 10 minutes. Cook until florets are brown and charred in some places, 20-25 minutes.

For Technologists

Sometimes you just have to go back to the basics, like learning data science principals from fourth grade class rules or what agile teams can learn from first graders.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pork Bourguignon with Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower

I love beef bourguignon and thought to give it a try with pork. In this case, I bought a pork shoulder, half that I used to smoke and half that I used for this dish. I made the classic dish, then added roasted cauliflower and potatoes as a bonus add on.

My only issue with the approach was the rendered fat from the pork made for a greasy sauce. You can see it on the rim of the plate in the attached photo. If I used a leaner cut of meat then I doubt it would stand up to the cooking time. Suggested improvements welcome!


  • Four slices of bacon diced up
  • Pork shoulder - about 2-3 pounds, cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • Flour (whole wheat works fine)
  • Large onion and three large carrots diced
  • Tomato paste
  • Cup of beef broth
  • Bottle of pinot noir 
  • Bouquet Garni of thyme, basil, and oregano
  • Small red potatoes cut in half
  • Cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • Package of mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, more basil, thyme and oregano


Put oven on 350F. Mixed the pork with flour, salt, and pepper until pieces are well covered. Warm up the dutch oven on low-medium heat. Cook the bacon until crisp and fat rendered, about 15 minutes. Remove the bacon and save for later. Remove all but one table spoon of the rendered bacon fat and save the rest for later.

Add the pork to the dutch oven and brown in small batches so that each batch has sufficient space to brown. About 5 minutes per batch, and add a tablespoon of bacon fat to fry up each batch.

Add a table spoon of bacon fat and render the onion and carrots for about 10 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and allow to brown. Deglaze the pan with the broth, then add the full bottle of pinot noir and the bouquet garni. Bring to a simmer, cover, and move to a middle rack in the oven. 

While the pork is cooking, slice potatoes in half and cut the cauliflower into small pieces. Mix with olive oil, bacon fat, salt, pepper, and herbs and spread one layer on 1-2 baking sheets. Bake on the top rack for forty minutes.

Saute mushrooms. About 75 minutes into the cooking pour into the dutch oven and mix. Cook for fifteen more minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to settle for 10-15 minutes. Remove the Bouquet Garni. Ladle into bowls and add potatoes, cauliflower, and bacon.

For Technologists

This recipe requires a little bit of planning to have things ready at certain times so that the dish can be completed efficiently. Have the pork ready to add to the oven after the bacon completes. Get the pork baking in the oven and leave you enough time to get the potatoes and cauliflower prepped and cooking.

My post, Defining the Agile Planning Sprint attempts to lay out a similar structure for developing and estimating stories in time for a development sprint. It is a defined, 5-day process starting with gathering business requirements and ending with a structured breakdown of story stubs (not fully defined stories) that can be reviewed and analyzed for software architecture and other considerations.