Eeyore & Roasted Cauliflower

eeyore_snowEeyore was a great dog. Perfect really. At least he was perfect for the kind of life my sister and I led on Jackson Road and later near Pleasant Lake. He never yipped and rarely barked. He wasn’t the kind of dog that demanded that you constantly throw a ball or Frisbee or otherwise entertain him. That said, he did like to retrieve sticks from the lake. As long as you agreed to throw them, he’d swim out and bring them back. After all, he was a Labrador Retriever. Except for the thing with the sticks, as far as I know, he didn’t have a single trick.

A very loyal friend, Eeyore didn’t so much as play with my sister Brenda and me as hang out with us. No matter where we went, he would lope along. He was happy to join us for an adventure in the woods and just as happy lie in the grass while we read a book. If a bunch of kids got together to play dodge ball or kick the can, he’d patiently wait on the sidelines until we were done. He never tried to intercept a ball or steal the can. Believe me; he was fast. If he’d wanted to take that ball and run with it, he could have.

During the cold, winter months, Eeyore was in his element. He didn’t just tolerate the cold; he adored it. Maybe it’s because he was born at the end of November, in New Hampshire, no less. Nothing made him happier than sitting, face to the wind, in a howling blizzard. Whenever a nor’easter blew in, he would beg to go out. Then, he would sit on the deck for hours; a big grin on his face.

It generally took several appeals to convince him to come inside and warm up. Finally, he would shrug, stretch and saunter into the house. It became quite worrisome in his later years. In spite of his gray beard and arthritic limbs, he still loved the cold. On the coldest day of the year, he’d hobble outside, find a snowdrift and plunk himself down. After indulging his love of the cold, my mother would coax him in and feed him an aspirin to sooth his creaky joints.

But that was much later.

Longfellow Pond was a big neighborhood attraction when I was a kid, especially in winter. After school and on weekends, all the kids in the neighborhood skated down on the pond. We stayed down there for hours. Meanwhile, Eeyore would lie quietly in the snow and observe the action. He never stole the boys’ hockey pucks or ran across the ice, tripping young skaters. If one of us fell, he would come over to lick a face and make sure all was okay. When the streetlights came on, it was time to go home. Eyeore would reluctantly return with us. I’m pretty sure it was his rumbling stomach that convinced him that it was time to go and not his little girls.

When we weren’t on Longfellow Pond, we were with the rest of the kids, zipping down the Dosdall’s hill on our sleds. It would never have crossed Eeyore’s mind to chase the sleds or get in the way. It would be, well, unseemly. He’d have been absolutely mortified if we’d ever had to drag him home in shame like some of the other dogs in the neighborhood.

If we weren’t skating or sledding, we were building snow slides and forts out of the giant snow banks in front of our house. Eeyore would calmly observe. He was more than happy to sit quietly in a snowdrift and watch the action.

I think of Eeyore on nights like this, when the wind is howling and the cold is bone chilling. Many people imagine their best loved dogs are chasing tennis balls or rabbits in heaven. Not Eeyore. If there is a heaven, it is filled with snowdrifts and he sits calmly, watching kids twirl on their skates and fly on their sleds.

Enjoy the latest snowfall and the love (or memory) of a good dog. Bon appétit!

Roasted CauliflowerRoasted_Cauliflower_03
A perfect side dish for a cozy dinner after sledding or skating. This versatile vegetable is good with roasted anything – chicken, lamb, beef or salmon. Enjoy!

Serves 4

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
Olive oil
Sherry vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium onion, cut on the horizontal and then in thin wedges
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup or to taste grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the rack in the upper and lower third of the oven.

Spread the cauliflower onto a large rimmed baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with just enough equal parts olive oil and vinegar to lightly coat and toss. Roast the cauliflower at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Add the onion and garlic, drizzle with a little more oil and vinegar if necessary and, tossing occasionally, continue roasting until almost tender, another 15-20 minutes.

Sprinkle the cauliflower with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and roast until the cauliflower is tender and the cheese is golden, 5-10 minutes more.

While the cauliflower roasts, combine the parsley, thyme and lemon zest.

To serve: transfer the cauliflower, onions and garlic to a large platter or individual plates and sprinkle with herbs and zest.

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One Year Ago – Savory Blinis
Two Years Ago – Lettuce Cups with Shrimp & Noodles
Three Years Ago – Caribbean Black Beans
Four Years Ago – Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower & Bacon
Five Years Ago – Chocolate Mousse
Six Years Ago – Shrimp & Feta

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

Do you have a story about a good dog? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015

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