It’s the season for comfort foods—which makes it the perfect time to page through Melina Hammer’s cookbook, A Year at Catbird Cottage. The Accord-based photographer and self-taught cook makes the most of local ingredients. This recipe for roasted whole cauliflower would be a delicious addition to your holiday table.
Tucked away at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains is a charming, one-bedroom bed & breakfast that Melina Hammer runs out of her home in Accord. Known as the Catbird Cottage, Hammer and her husband welcome guests to their cozy retreat in the Catskills and feed them hearty, seasonal meals. A food photographer by trade, Hammer “made a deep dive into cooking through the relationship I had with The New York Times, cooking, styling, and shooting food for features.” She does it all at Catbird—from foraging and fermenting to searing and roasting. “I also make a mean cocktail,” adds Hammer. She spent two years writing, cooking, and of course, photographing her debut cookbook, A Year at Catbird Cottage: Recipes for a Nourished Life, which serves up over 100 recipes that highlight the bounty of the Hudson Valley, as well as foraging guides and sustainable practices. “I wanted to create a native plant and kitchen garden, forage food right outside my door, and live each day witnessing the many creatures great and small,” explains Hammer. “My cookbook is an adventure and a love story which unfolds, season to season.”
While cauliflower is a blank canvas of sorts, when roasted until caramelized in parts and soft to its core, it is a thing of beauty. I could eat this in its entirety in a single sitting.
Yields 2–4 servings
1 large head of cauliflower
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp water
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
½ to 1 cup harissa
Skin from a quarter of a preserved Meyer lemon, finely sliced
A Year at Catbird Cottage: Recipes for a Nourished Life By Melina Hammer Hardcover $32.50 • Ten Speed Press