romanesco curry with lemongrass + marcona almonds // the first messpin it!romanesco curry with lemongrass + marcona almonds // the first messpin it!romanesco curry with lemongrass + marcona almonds // the first messpin it!
I had huge plans to do a 4-5 day juice feast/fast this week, I was almost treating it like no big thang. I’ve done it before and it felt like my body was kind of hankering for it. “We have tons of greens in the garden and a tree full of apples. I’ll only need a couple things. It’ll be sooooo easy.” I had ramped up my consumption of raw fruit and veg in order to ease into it and then… it was the weekend.

Lots of driving around with Mark for new house stuff, lining all the things and services up, road snacks + coffees, thoughts of demolishing the kitchen completely and follow-up, dread-tinged thoughts of assembling IKEA cabinets with an Alan key and hopefully a beer nearby, stressing about the heap of things to move and the mere existence of the heaps of things. I’ve purchased a preparatory economy-sized bag of chia seeds, a party box of wine glasses, various hydrangeas, and a new food processor. We still don’t have a bed. Packing up your life and moving onto a new thing. Throwing work into the mix and all of those other weird things like trying to get an adequate amount of sleep. It’s a lot. One week from today until it’s really real. Five days of liquified vegetables have to wait.

And, kind of hilariously, I’ve been beating myself up over it. Every snack and meal has been inwardly justified by a need to build up some energy stores (or whatever you’re building up when you’ve been eating hella chocolate-covered raisins). We managed to get a lot of things checked off the list over the weekend, but there was still plenty of salty snack eating while we marathoned The League on the couch. Oh, and that night I came home way past my usual dinner time after spending a whole day road-snacking and made myself a huge bowl of pasta and promptly went to sleep afterward. Totally not my style. Totally was thinking about my dashed plans for juicy-ness, mostly guilt-tripping myself over it and not getting any closer to that “Whooo-ey, so detoxed and vibe-y” feeling.

All of that stuff is so dumb though. It’s just life happening at the pace of life. Sure, a juice fast might help me rule the world a little bit more, but knowing when and how to prioritize certain things is going to keep me in a better spot long-term. So I stopped believing my own bullshit and started focusing on being here and being completely okay with being right here. This article from Kate Bartolotta, guys. Pro tip: read it.

I ate something like this when we were in NY (along with, yes, lots of excellent green juices). It was a little starter/small plate, but it was easily my favourite thing of the whole trip. Just perfectly steamed cauliflower with a super refined coconut-milk curry sauce at the base of the plate and crunchy bits on top. I knew I could fix that up with ease at home and add a few personal preference-driven changes. I bust up the romanesco into large-ish pieces and roast them for a bit of golden crust. I fix up the curry sauce portion like I normally would, but strain it out to keep it easy on the eating front. The pieces are bathed in that rich, fragrant, and lightly golden sauce. As you cut them up, you can kind of drag the pieces through the curry sauce, maybe throw some cooked grain into the mix if you like. Anyway, it’s easy and warming. Total feel-good eats for right now.

romanesco // the first messpin it!romanesco curry with lemongrass + marcona almonds // the first messpin it!romanesco curry with lemongrass + marcona almonds // the first messpin it!

Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 3-4 as a main
NOTES: If you decide to steam this for that more pure + virtuous vibe, place them in your steamer basket and let ’em go for about 9-11 minutes. Remove them from the basket and give the pieces a nice sprinkle of salt and pepper before you pour the sauce around.

1 head of romanesco, busted up into large-ish pieces and florets
grapeseed, coconut or other heat-tolerant oil
salt + pepper
decent knob of coconut oil
1 sliced shallot or 1/4 cup sliced red onion
1 mild hot pepper, halved + seeded
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled + sliced
peel of 1 lime (remove as much pith as you can)
handful of cilantro stems
1 piece of lemongrass, bashed up a bit with your knife
1-2 tsp ground turmeric
1 can of full fat coconut milk
2 tsp coconut sugar
big handful of marcona almonds
chopped cilantro
+ cooked quinoa/rice/millet for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and place the romanesco pieces on top. Brush all of them with oil and sprinkle salt + pepper on all of the pieces evenly. Roast the romanesco in the oven for about 25-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

While the romanesco is roasting, start making the curry sauce-y bit. Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots/red onions and sauté them until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the hot pepper and ginger. Stir it about. Add the lime peels, cilantro stems, lemongrass and turmeric. Sauté and stir the whole mix for a few minutes to cook out the raw-ness of the turmeric. Pour in the coconut milk and stir to evenly mix the turmeric throughout. Stir in the coconut sugar. Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer it for about 10 minutes. Season the whole thing to your liking and then strain out all of the chunky bits.

To serve, arrange the roasted romanesco on a serving platter or individual plates. Pour the curry sauce around the florets. Garnish with the marcona almonds and chopped cilantro. Serve with cooked grains if you wish.

  • thecitygourmand03/10/2013 - 4:48 am

    A nice, thoughtful post. I’m glad you’re happy with your meal choices because they look amazing. We’d be hard pressed to find romanesco broccoli here in Australia!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle03/10/2013 - 5:58 am

    Mmm, sounds fantastic and simple. I agree that “knowing when and how to prioritize certain things” is key, but it’s a constant assessment and re-assessment to find that balance. We’re only human :) and the article you linked to is the perfect reminder to revel in that.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar03/10/2013 - 6:29 am

    This curry looks soooo good! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan03/10/2013 - 8:02 am

    Annnnd but of course you have hit it out of the park..again! I hear your words about the believing your own bullshit. Come now, life is wayyyy too short to fret about that shiz, just eat pasta, sleep, and be happy!ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf03/10/2013 - 8:21 am

    That article is brilliant. Also, so are your photos. I absolutely love the one with the spoons. Gorgeous post Laura.ReplyCancel

  • Ali @ Inspiralized03/10/2013 - 8:45 am

    You are incredibly talented. Your recipes are amazing and your photography makes it look that much better. I wish one day I could take as beautiful photographs as you do! What camera/lens do you use for photos like this?ReplyCancel

  • Elvira03/10/2013 - 11:32 am

    This recipe is so inviting! They way you transform a humble ingredient like the broccolo romanesco is a delight for taste and eyes. Your blog is just beautiful. A presto! :)ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea//TheNakedFig03/10/2013 - 11:36 am

    I just posted yesterday about similar anxiety with my juice fast last week. Glad to know I’m not alone in some of my feelings about it. If it turns in to something that makes you feel bad about yourself, let it go. It will be there when we are ready for it.

    In other news, this looks DIVINE! I can’t wait to try it. I love love love romanesco and curries. You are brilliant and inspiring.

    love and light,

  • Katie @ Produce on Parade03/10/2013 - 2:07 pm

    Wow, what an absolutely beautiful dish! Lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey03/10/2013 - 2:20 pm

    Sometimes the best stuff in life can be so ridden with anxiety that it’s hard to look past, and enjoy the times in life that are full of excitement and joy. It’s not always the easiest balancing act. I’ve never made curry. My husband and I have both had a very negative experience when we had it in a restaurant. But I totally love the flavors here; looks light and beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Emily von Euw03/10/2013 - 7:18 pm

    Oh, how I missed you.


  • Sophia04/10/2013 - 5:50 am

    Thanks for the link to the NYT article – really enjoyed reading it.

    I tend to plan similar things like your juice fast when life gets a little crazy – like ramp up mileage big time the week I am moving house, plan to hit the gym at least 5 times when I know work will keep me in the office past midnight most days and leaving me with too little sleep as it is – I think it’s may subconscious way of trying to regain control when life gets a little out of hand and stressful and when the best thing to do would actually just to give myself a break and make sure I am being kind to myself and my body and maybe leave the intense exercise regimen, diet etc until a time when things are quieter again. That being said, I think this dish is the perfect way of being kind to yourself when life gets a bit hectic – now that temperatures are dropping, I have been enjoying a few similar bowls and they are so delicious, the mix of vegetables, some crunch and some grains when I feel hungry or leafy greens when I want something a little lighter is perfect. I like serving these bowls with some grated cucumber and lime on the side – the acidity from the line and the cool crunch from the cucumber pairs incredibly well with these kind of curries (out of all places, I picked this up from a chain restaurant in London!).

    PS I love the ingredient shot, absolutely stunning.ReplyCancel

  • Sara04/10/2013 - 8:42 am

    Made this recipe last night substituting regular almonds, basil and increasing the pepper content and loved it. Served with lentil buckwheat kashi. Thanks for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt04/10/2013 - 12:01 pm

    Lovely post. Beautiful recipe!ReplyCancel

  • The Cheerful Kitchen06/10/2013 - 2:45 pm

    This is so delightfully simple and gorgeous! I often read curry recipes and think, “I won’t be making that because it has seven ingredients I’m not buying just for this one dish,” but this recipes is accessible and sounds absolutely delicious.ReplyCancel

  • Gintare @Gourmantine08/10/2013 - 4:28 pm

    The 4-5 days juice feast sounds quite tough to be honest, but glad to hear you’re taking it easy on yourself. After all, life is meant for enjoying to the fullest :)
    By the way, the recipe sounds absolutely delightful and your photos are jut stunning!ReplyCancel

  • I would also find happiness in following up eating hella chocolate covered raisins with a perfect platter of this glorious dish! Good luck with your move.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey08/10/2013 - 11:42 pm

    I’ve only recently discovered romanesco and I’m sold! I always *intend* to meal plan or do a week of really good, clean eating, but things always tend to get in the way (like my out-of-control carb addiction…) In any case, I hope that the move goes smoothly and you get around to that juice fest ;) In the meantime, this sounds lovely. xReplyCancel

  • Ashley10/10/2013 - 9:29 am

    Yup. To all of it. xoReplyCancel

  • sarah10/10/2013 - 11:32 pm

    I appreciate you so much. All kinds of things I needed to hear in this post.
    What beautiful photographs! xoReplyCancel

  • […] for beautiful pictures, I had to make this dish as an adaptation from Laura’s recent post on The First Mess.  The mild flavor of the romanesco screams to be added to a curry. It absorbs the flavors of the […]ReplyCancel

  • Irina @ wandercrush12/10/2013 - 2:58 am

    So much simple truth in that article.
    I remember the first time I saw romanesco at the farmer’s market, I felt like the mutant veg gods had smiled upon me that day. I guess not much has changed, aside form the mutant association :) Beautiful photos, as always. I love Brassicaceae with nutty accompaniments!ReplyCancel

  • dervla14/10/2013 - 10:51 pm

    your photography! to die for.ReplyCancel

  • sara forte15/10/2013 - 11:30 am

    Good luck, lady! I HATE moving. I mean, maybe if it was into a place I owned and was thrilled to make it “ours” I would be excited, but the whole transport your life deal makes me a crazy lady. It may be me mad I keep collecting shit when I say I am not a collector of shit. I’m just not a fan. I am however a fan of, like you said, not listening to your own bullshit. I keep a nugget from Cheryl Strayed’s book about not listening to the voices that are telling you lies and negative things, it’s essentially bullshit. You are a wise woman and we’re all guilty of getting caught in it. Best of luck in the process, miss. Juice will be on the other side.ReplyCancel

  • Beth Young16/10/2013 - 6:10 am

    Lovely colour combinations! This looks like it’s one of those things that is so colourful that it MUST be really good for you too!ReplyCancel

  • Cara18/10/2013 - 1:52 pm

    So lovely. I look forward to romanesco coming into the markets every year, but I never do anything more exciting with it than a simple roast. I’m so excited to try this recipe! You’re the best.ReplyCancel

  • slywlf15/11/2013 - 10:35 am

    This line “stressing about the heap of things to move and the mere existence of the heaps of things” totally had me rolling with laughter, as it totally sums up my life at the moment ;-) My move is less than two weeks away, and even after getting rid of so much stuff my local thrift store couldn’t take any more I still have too much stuff! The Salvation Army is going to be very pleased (I hope!) on my next trip to town! My decision was to go for a more Zen lifestyle in my new home, so I am eliminating anything that doesn’t fit the criteria ‘do I absolutely love it or do I absolutely need it?’ – if it doesn’t fits it gits! So far I have eliminated 90% of my books (sacrilege!) and about the same of my CDs and DVDs, all of my VHS and most of my LPs. As soon as I get closer to D-Day – departure day ;-) – I will take the last of my winter clothes to the thrift store. After all, I am leaving the Catskill winters behind in favor of Florida – yay!!!
    Now I need to find some romanesco – the last time I saw some at my farm stand it was –well — kinda sad looking – not very appetizing. If I can’t find any I’ll try it with cauliflower and/or regular broccoli as it looks too yummy not to make ;-)ReplyCancel

  • […] 2. Roasted Romanesco Curry with Lemongrass + Marcona Almonds from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Jan Plotkin31/03/2014 - 7:32 pm

    Beautiful dish! I am making it tonight. Our local Coop did not have romanesco today, so I am going to substitute cheddar cauliflower (orange color) and broccoli. I love the simplicity of this dish and we will eat it with some free range, stir fried chicken and fresh cilantro. Thanks for sharing such beautiful and tasty dishes with all of us!ReplyCancel

  • Cocopetitpois04/06/2014 - 6:04 pm

    Swapped the romanesco for cauliflower (that’s what I had in the fridge!) and served it on red rice. Amazing! I love the simplicity of the dish. Sometimes, we try to do too much. :)ReplyCancel

  • […] from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] 1. Roasted Romanesco Curry with Lemongrass and Marcona Almonds (via First Mess) […]ReplyCancel

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