by Wendy Swat Snyder
For Chef Renata Dos Santos, liming is a way of life. In her island home of Trinidad, it is part of the culture. There, liming is local slang for a casual getting-together of friends to share good food and good times.
A winner of the 2009 Laura Hewitt Culinary Legend Award, Dos Santos was shocked when she first landed in the United States and was unable to find locally sourced products readily available.
“In Trinidad, the majority of our food is local,” says Dos Santos, “either grown in the backyard or on local farms.”
She also found the concept of the “family table” lacking in the American mindset, and looked for a way to share her cultural heritage and bring people together in her new hometown.
The pieces fell into place during her studies at The Culinary Institute of Charleston. Dos Santos had watched a program on nontraditional dining concepts in China where people opened their homes to friends and family to share meals.
She loved the concept of getting back to basics, and L.I.M.E. was born. “We created the acronym,” explains Dos Santos, “local, impromptu, moveable, evening, to express the idea behind the event and bridge the two cultures.”
L.I.M.E. dinners unfold with an emphasis placed on mingling and networking during cocktails, and then gathering at a common table for a social feast centered around farm-fresh products. The venue is kept secret until shortly before the event.
“It’s become a huge extended family,” says Dos Santos. “Many of our guests come to all the dinners.”
Dos Santos shares a recipe for a cauliflower dish she learned from Chef Sean Brock, noting how a unique preparation can transform even a non-favorite into a winner. “It’s a long process, but definitely a labor of love.”
Brown Buttered Cauliflower
1 large cauliflower head intact, greens removed, 1 inch of the stem intact
8oz to 12oz butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese- optional
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Place butter in a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet on stove over medium heat. Butter will melt, then foam, then start to brown. Stir it carefully, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Add the entire head of cauliflower, stem down to the heated pan with butter (you can use a cookie cutter or ring mold to hold it upright and in place). To scoop the butter, tilt pan towards you and gently ladle butter over the cauliflower. Repeat until entire cauliflower is golden brown (about 20 - 30 minutes).
Once golden brown, place pan in oven and bake till just tender in the middle (about 15 minutes).
Transfer cauliflower from pan to a plate and sprinkle lemon zest, salt and pepper. Slice into four portions and serve warm. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.
Can be served as a side dish or as the main entree.
Short cuts: To reduce cooking time and eliminate the use of an oven, pre-slice the cauliflower or just use the cauliflower florets for basting step.
Sources: Farmers' Markets, Fields Farm, Kennerty Farms, Legrare Farms