MAY IT PLEASE THE PALATE: Clueless in the kitchen

By Nick Roumel

It wasn't that long ago when Alicia Silverstone broke through in the movie "Clueless." To be exact, 1995, which was practically yesterday. (I realize that was 18 years ago, but when I see "1995," my first response is, "That's not so long ago!" That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

Before "Clueless," Silverstone became known as "The Aerosmith Chick" for her turn in three music videos. Based on these videos, she was cast as valley girl Cher Horowitz in Amy Heckerling's smash movie. Catch phrases like "Whatever" and "As if!" became wildly popular. (However, I would not recommend responding to opposing counsel's argument with either phrase, much less the judge's ruling.)

As time went on, Silverstone became an animal rights activist and vegan. She appeared in PETA ads, nude enough that they were pulled from some conservative markets. Silverstone wrote a cookbook, "The Kind Diet," which not only promotes veganism, but ultimately a macrobiotic lifestyle she calls the "Superhero" diet. Silverstone recently had a baby, and publicized a video where she fed him pre-chewed food from her mouth, a practice called "premastication" that is allegedly prevalent in many cultures.

Whatever. I'm not going to give you a premastication recipe. Instead, I'm going to offer a simple but satisfying recipe from "The Kind Diet" that combines cauliflower with fennel, an herb with a aromatic bulb that is delicious roasted.

Christopher's Cauliflower Steaks (serves 4)

* 1 medium - large head of cauliflower.

* 1 large fennel bulb, stalks and fronds removed (optional if you don't like fennel - I love it).

* 2 tbsp Olive oil.

* Fine sea salt, freshly group pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the cauliflower as you would cut a loaf of bread, making 1/2''-3/4" thick slices, slice the fennel. Arrange the pieces on a baking sheet and brush with oil, season with salt and pepper.

Roast steak till golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Flip the slices, drizzle with a bit more oil and roast an additional 10-12 minutes, until browned and tender.

That's it! As if I would give you a complicated recipe. Toss a hearty green salad while the "steaks" are roasting, and you've got yourself a satisfying light meal.

Still hungry? Here's Cher Horowitz again, with a "Clueless" food quote (pre-vegan, of course): "I feel like such a heifer. I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, 5 peanut butter M&M's and like 3 pieces of licorice."

Or you might prefer her law quote: "Daddy's a litigator. Those are the scariest kind of lawyer. Even Lucy, our maid, is terrified of him. And daddy's so good he gets $500 an hour to fight with people. But he fights with me for free because I'm his daughter."

$500 an hour - in 1995?

Chew on that. Just don't feed it to your baby. (As if!)

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Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard, and Walker PC, a litigation firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for "Current" magazine in Ann Arbor. He can be reached at nroumel@yahoo.com. His blog is http://mayitpleasethepalate.blogspot.com/.

Published: Thu, Feb 7, 2013

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