Monday, October 03, 2022

Cauliflower, How I Love Thee!

Recently I noticed that there are a whole lotta cauliflower recipes on this blog. Why? Maybe because it's a versatile and delicious vegetable that can be used as a side dish or an entree, even as a substitute for rice or a pizza crust, but most likely because I am about 80% Eastern European and cabbage and cabbage-adjacent veggies are the food of my people. 

My childhood was fairly cruciferous. (Cruciferous refers to the cross-shaped flowers of many members of the cabbage family. Also, I was raised Roman Catholic, so....) Boil-in-bag broccoli in cheese sauce was always a big hit upstairs in our apartment. Downstairs, Grandma cooked cabbage in any number of ways, with and without pork products and other vegetables. But cauliflower she made one way: steamed. She'd put the whole head in one of her enamelware pots, add an inch or so of water, cover it, and turn on the heat. After the water had mostly boiled away, Grandma would stick a knife into the head to see if it was tender. If so, it was offloaded into a bowl, topped with a tremendous knob of butter, and sprinkled with copious salt and pepper. She and Mom and I would go at it with forks until it was gone while my younger brother ate a boiled hot dog or whatever other food he deigned to eat at the time. (Unlike me, he was a picky eater.)

Many years later I realized that cauliflower was plenty tasty on its own, but it is even better when roasted, spiced, or sauced. Its relative neutrality lends itself to a wide variety of flavor profiles, and it can be eaten raw, lightly cooked, and even cooked to death without stinking up the house (take that, broccoli!) Additionally, cauliflower is loaded with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber, with only 145 calories for an entire 6" head. Cauliflower diet, anyone?

Links to a baker's dozen cauliflower recipes can be found below, though there are probably more than that around here. Besides cauliflower, what is the other theme running through them? Take a guess and leave a comment.

Blackened Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower can be cut through the stem into "steaks," which are lovely roasted until just tender with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt. Top them with sauce, or a fried egg, or both, as in this recipe for Blackened Cauliflower Steaks.

Cauliflower Breadsticks

Cauliflower is low in calories, but not after it's used to create a pizza crust! (Cheese is the magic that glues it together.) Cauliflower crusts don't really cut it for me; I prefer to make Cauliflower "Breadsticks."

Cauliflower Caponata

Caponata is a sweet-and-sour Sicilian condiment usually made with eggplant and other veg. I don't see why cauliflower shouldn't get the same treatment. Cauliflower Caponata

My grandmother used to make vegetable fritters or pancakes all the time, mostly corn or potato, but occasionally with something really weird like canned asparagus. A shame she never worked cauliflower into her repertoire. Here are two totally different takes on the concept: 

Cauliflower Soup Reading this post I got the impression that I wasn't too pleased with this recipe, but dammit, I was going to make it anyway. It does seem a little weird, but it's a Rocco DiSpirito thing.

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

I believe pretty much anything would taste good smothered in a creamy spiced yogurt sauce. Skip the chicken and try Cauliflower Tikka Masala on your next Meatless Monday.

Kung Pao Cauliflower

Our favorite sweet and spicy Chinese chicken dish works well with cauliflower, too. Kung Pao Cauliflower

Mediterranean Cauliflower

Mediterranean food, with its various sauces and condiments and hummuses (hummi?), is fun to play with. Mediterranean Cauliflower gave me the chance to make some sauces, and also use a jarred product that I had just received for review. 

Moroccan-spiced Cauliflower Steaks

There are nearly infinite ways to season a cauliflower and make it delicious. I made these Moroccan-spiced Cauliflower Steaks with a jar of Moroccan grill seasoning I received as a Fancy Food Show sample. Of course I also made various sauces and salads to go with.

Purple Cauliflower Tacos

I probably could have just steamed and seasoned the cauli in these Purple Cauliflower Tacos, but I decided to make things a bit more interesting by turning it into fritters with feta cheese. Tortillas just happened to be a convenient way to get the various sloppy ingredients into my mouth easily.

Spicy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Spicy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a great way to sneak vegetables into a meal. Or to sneak cauliflower into a meal served to my pasta-loving husband who's not all that crazy about cauliflower.

Street Cauliflower

Street Cauliflower is my take on a dish eaten at La Food Marketa, which is their take on street corn.

What's your favorite way to cook cauliflower?

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

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