Monday, October 31, 2022

Butter Boards - Why?

I used to think that Instagram was bad because it created a market for outrageous foods: multiple-patty smashburgers oozing lobster mac and cheese; garbage can nachos; and milkshakes topped with slices of cake and served in mugs with cereal, cookie crumbs, candy, or other do-dads cemented to it with frosting or chocolate. <insert eyeroll here>

I personally witnessed an "influencer" order a burger simply because the patty was deep fried (and perhaps stuffed with was a while ago), pose it for photos, take one bite, and leave the rest behind. The burger was ridiculous and thankfully has been removed from the restaurant's menu. Also ridiculous was the waste created by the douchebag influencer who ordered something that he then did not eat. As for the nachos...there are restaurants that pack nachos in a mini trash can and tip them onto a plate at tableside. WHY? Has it suddenly become desirable to eat out of a garbage can? It seems like mocking the unhoused. And the milkshake thing...ugh. Do people actually eat the crap stuck to the glass? I feel bad for the dishwashers at those establishments. 

Lest you think I'm kidding, here's a chicken and waffles milkshake from
Brownstone Pancake Factory in NJ. This is one of their tamer offerings.
(Check out their IG account!)
While all that Instagram stuff is stupid, Tik Tok presents worse things to an increasingly larger audience. I can't believe that major newspapers need to tell readers that it's dangerous to cook chicken in Nyquil. WHO WOULD DO THAT TO BEGIN WITH? (Perhaps the same people who would take Ivermectin to battle COVID?) And then there's the newest thing to sweep Instagram and TikTok, though it's merely dumb and not ridiculous: the butter board. For those of you who make their dwelling on the nether side of a boulder and didn't see the trend mentioned in the New York Times, CNN, and Bloomberg, it involves softened butter and a serving board. The butter--either flavored or plain--is smeared over a piece of wood, and then littered with whatever debris the creator fancies--honey, nuts, jam, garlic, fancy salt, etc. I've seen versions with cream cheese, and with brie. No matter the fat, it's served with a bread product of some sort to drag through the muck. No doubt early man once served his dairy products in such a manner, smearing wild ground sloth butter on a sun-warmed rock and decorating it with the petals of foxgloves and hemlock and perhaps a soupcon of crumbled smilodon scat. 

My issues: 1) Nobody needs to indulge in this gross amount of pure fat. Ok, maybe one of my neighbors, who resembles a stick insect, could use a cup of butter now and again. However, it's silly to make a butter board for less than ten people. Most recipes recommend using 2 sticks (one cup) of butter, which contains 1620 calories (a cup of cream cheese or brie has about half as many) and no nutritive value. 2) That fat is going to seep into the wooden board it's schmeared on, making for difficult clean-up. And maybe even a rancid-smelling board in the future. Yum. 

So why do it? Beats the hell out of me. Sure, a butter board can be pretty, so it will look good on IG or TT. And that's really all people care about. It's all about the engagement. 

If you're hell-bent on achieving lemming-hood and creating your own shingle plastered with schmutz, why not use something that has nutritional value, and spread it on an easier-to-clean substance. Like a plate. Or a bowl. You know, things that are not porous and meant to be used for wet food. And that are dishwasher-safe. How about hummus, which can be topped with olive oil, roasted chickpeas, herbs, pesto, roasted tomatoes, artichokes, olives, figs, etc.? It tastes yummy, has beneficial protein and fiber, and while it's fine with breadlike products, it's even better when used as a dip for raw vegetables.

Or is hummus too 2021? 

Because it's pumpkin season, I'm giving you a recipe for a pumpkin hummus that's somewhere between sweet and savory. It can be eaten with ginger snaps or with carrot sticks, or both. The garnish can also go both ways. Crunchy roasted nuts are a must, and pomegranate arils or dried cranberries add a punch of tartness as well as color. A drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of harissa powder can take you to the savory side along with a scattering of chives, but maple syrup and finely chopped crystallized ginger will lead you in the opposite direction. Or do all of the above (in which case, I'd leave out the garlic and add the maple syrup in the following recipe)! It's your spread. My only rule: use a fucking plate. There's 0 reason to splodge anything on a wooden board unless you've suddenly time-traveled from the prehistoric era and haven't yet encountered a stone chipped into the form of a butter knife. 

Pumpkin hummus topped with extra-virgin olive oil, dried cranberries, chives, walnuts,
sunflower seeds, and a sprinkle of harissa powder, served with baby carrots,
Mary's Gone Crackers flax crackers, and apple chips.
Pumpkin Hummus "Board"

1 15-ounce can white beans or garbanzos, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée 
1/3 cup hazelnut butter, almond butter, or tahini 
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Ice water

for savory hummus: 1 clove garlic
for non-savory hummus: additional maple syrup

Toppings (optional):
maple syrup
extra virgin olive oil
chopped toasted walnuts or hazelnuts
roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
pomegranate arils
dried cranberries
finely chopped crystallized ginger
finely chopped chives
harissa powder

baby carrots
apple chips
pita bread or crisps
ginger snaps or those tasty Trader Joe's crisps things in any flavor

Pop the beans, pumpkin, and nut butter into a food processor and pulse a few times until combined and the beans are broken down. Add the lemon and seasonings, including the garlic or additional maple syrup. Blend the mixture until smooth and creamy, at least 2 minutes. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if needed.

The mixture will probably seem pretty thick, so this is where the ice water comes in. While the machine is running, drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the water which will not only thin out the sauce but also make it lighter and fluffier. Add more water to get the desired consistency, and blend until the mixture is super smooth. 

Time to use your palate. Taste the mixture. Is it salty enough? Can you taste the lemon tang? If not, add more juice. Want it more spicy? Duh...add more spice! Want a kick? Add a pinch of your favorite hot pepper (cayenne, chipotle, or urfa biber would work well here).

Once the hummus is flavored to your liking, scrape the mixture into a wide bowl. Drizzle with maple syrup or olive oil (or both) and sprinkle with the remaining ingredients, if desired (maybe not both chives and ginger, but it's your call). Take photos. Post on Instagram and TikTok. Or don't. In any case, enjoy!

* 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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Monday, October 24, 2022

Pumpkin Recipes, With and Without Spice

Basic at Redbubble
Click image if you're basic.

I'd have my Basic White Girl card taken away if there weren't at least a dozen pumpkin recipes on the blog. No chance of that happening, as there are eighteen recipes (so far) using pumpkin as a main ingredient. Most of the recipes are sweet, of course, but a couple are savory. Pumpkin is a vegetable, after all. I am rather surprised that I don't have a recipe for pumpkin hummus here somewhere--a situation that will be rectified very soon. I recently found a yummy-sounding one on the Interwebs but haven't had a chance to whip it up. 

I've made more variations on pumpkin cheesecake (3) than anything else. There are also muffins, cake, cupcakes, breakfast items, plus soup and risotto. One thing I noticed while searching for pumpkin recipes: the older posts have some pretty horrible photography! Going from small digital camera to iPhone camera has made a big difference in the quality of my images. Good lighting makes an impact as well. So this post is recipe-heavy and photo-light. 

Curried Pumpkin Soup This recipe is stupid-simple. 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chai Muffins This is clearly one of my more recent recipes, as I eat mostly gluten-free these days. Plus I'm hoping that the term will attract new followers to the blog....

mini pumpkin cheesecakes
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes Specialty pan alert! You need two 4-inch springform pans for this recipe. I suppose one 6" pan will do, but the cheesecake will need to bake for a bit more time. Don't ask how long. It's in your hands now.

Pumpkin Bread Just to be different, I added a bit of curry powder. 

Pumpkin Butter Don't spend $5 on a jar of pre-made pumpkin butter! Make it yourself for much less.

Pumpkin Cheesecake This is for a full-sized cheesecake to serve to family and friends. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies Rather than the usual cream cheese-swirled brownie, these are topped with a thick layer of pumpkin cheesecake. 

Pumpkin Cornbread There's actually no good reason to add pumpkin to cornbread. But I did it anyway.

Pumpkin Cupcakes Rich and moist, these cupcakes taste better after a day or two.

Pumpkin Fruitcake Don't be afraid--this is more pumpkin bread with dried fruits and nuts than actual fruitcake. Real fruit, not those awful red and green plasticized cherries.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle is a great dish for the upcoming Winter holidays. Make it easy on yourself and use boxed gingerbread and pudding mixes.

Pumpkin Oatmeal sure is cozy on a fall morning!

"pumpkin" pie made with squash
"Pumpkin" Pie There are quotes around the word "pumpkin" because this recipe calls for fresh squash. Pretty much all canned pumpkin is actually butternut squash, and it can be substituted for the other squashes in this recipe. 

Pumpkin Risotto There are no "pumpkin spice" spices in this recipe!

Pumpkin Seed Brittle only uses the seeds, not the flesh. My late Dad said it was "like heaven" in his mouth. 

Pumpkin Spice Cake This is like a blondie, only pumpkin-spicier.

Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Compote Do make the compote! 

* 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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Friday, October 21, 2022

Mixology with Beetology (sponsored)

Beetology beet-tini
Yeah, yeah, Halloween is for kids to dress up and go door-to-door to beg for candy. Maybe that's your thing, but I'd rather stay home with the lights out and drink. Or, more accurately, I'd rather pack up the pup, leave the neighborhood, and drink somewhere else. (My poor dog is traumatized by strangers at the door, and he is not fond of children. He is much like me.)

Beetology sent me some yummy samples (I LOVE BEETS! Yes, I am Polish.) and recipes to share. Beetology juices are 100% cold-pressed, which means the fruit and veg in their blends retain the bulk of their vital nutrients. And veggie nutrition balances out the booze, amirite? Well, it does in my head.

There are five flavors of Beetology: cherry; tropical fruit; lemon + ginger; berry; and veggie. Any one of them would be great in a Beet-ini with 4 ounces of juice and 2 ounces of vodka or gin. Garnish the veggie version with olives and the others with a lemon twist. The veggie flavor also works in a Bloody Mary. There are more drink recipes on the Beetology web site, plus hummus and chocolate cupcakes. (!)

Beety Mary

4 oz Beetology Beet + Veggie Juice
2 oz vodka
1 tsp prepared horseradish
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
pinch smoked paprika
pinch black pepper
squeeze of lemon

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake to blend. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a celery stick, some green olives, and a lemon wedge. If you're feeling it, add a slice of pickled beet.

Adult beverages with protein and fiber are a great idea, but it might be an even better idea to get your kids to drink Beetology (without the liquor, of course!). Just dress them up like vampires and tell them it's blood....

* 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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Monday, October 17, 2022

Pumpkin Spice Forever!

I don't own a pair of UGGs. (I think they are UGG-ly.) I do love a cardigan, but none of mine are oatmeal-colored or fisherman-style. I most definitely do not decorate the house for Halloween--in fact, Mr Minx, Minxdog, and I flee the neighborhood to avoid the little candy-grubbers on that holy fall holiday. I don't make a turkey feast on Thanksgiving because there are hundreds of things I'd much rather eat. So while I am a white American female human whose favorite season is autumn, I am perhaps slightly atypical. Except that I wholeheartedly embrace all things Pumpkin Spice. Well, perhaps not all things, but many. At least those items that are meant to be sweet and spicy (as I am).

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milanos - real, or fake?
Once upon a time, the only pumpkin spice things to be found were variations on pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie, but it's special, to be consumed solely on and around Thanksgiving. Or so I once believed. The combination of pumpkin (or butternut squash, which comprises most canned pumpkin) with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, is both tasty and fragrant and can be a real mood-lifter. So why limit the consumption of this heavenly elixir to only one or two days a year? Why not dedicate a whole season (maybe a season and a half) to it? 

Blue Diamond Pumpkin Spice Almonds - real or fake?
We can probably blame the geniuses at Starbucks for making pumpkin spice everything a thing. They start serving their OG pumpkin spice latte on AUGUST 30, well before the barest whisper of chill in the air, while leaves are still green, and my cucumber plant is still producing obscenely large specimens. Dunkin' puts out their pumpkin coffee variants even earlier in that month. (I tried their pumpkin spice cold brew last year and still don't understand why people think Dunkin's coffee is good.) August is also the time for pumpkin-y items to start popping up on supermarket endcaps.

Starkist Tuna Creations Pumpkin Spice - real, or fake?
Literally everything from soup to nuts is flavored with pumpkin spice these days. And those two items make total sense. Pumpkin or winter squash makes a lovely creamy soup that can go totally savory or a bit sweet. (Wouldn't pumpkin+cumin+coriander+chiles still be considered "pumpkin spice?") And the thought of a squash-based soup seasoned with dashes of cinnamon and ginger and a wee splash of maple syrup is not at all controversial. The same goes for nuts, which are neutral enough to work well with sweet spices, or curry, chiles, etc. 

Cheetos Pumpkins - real, or fake?
A few years before regular supermarkets started tempting shoppers (well, some shoppers are tempted) with seasonal orange-hued packaging for every product imaginable, Trader Joe's was the king of Pumpkin Spice. I looked forward to their seasonal newsletter, as I imagine most basic white bitches do, and oohed and aahed over the myriad pumpkinified options, from cookies to salsa to body butter (which was usually sold out before I got to the store).

Pillsbury Grands! Pumpkin Spice Rolls - real or fake?
There are, however, some things that don't need to be tarted up with pumpkin spice just because 'tis the season. I'm not sure we need pumpkin spice salsa, or hummus. Or pumpkin ravioli, samosas, or raw vinegar (srsly?). Budweiser has created a pumpkin spice Bud Light Seltzer, and Nissin introduced pumpkin spice Cup-O-Noodles. No thanks.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Beef & Pumpkin Spice - real or fake?
There have been spicy pumpkin beers around for a few years now. Some taste like pumpkin, most don't. (I like Southern Tier Pumpking Imperial Ale. It's sweet and spicy and at 236 calories for a 12-ounce bottle, best sipped for dessert.)

Burt's Bees Pumpkin Fiber & Cinnamon Towelettes - real or fake?
Clearly, the pumpkin spice trend is lucrative. Consumers bought over half a billion $ of pumpkin spice whatnots in 2019. Starbucks sells about 31 million PSLs (pumpkin spice lattes) a year @ $6-ish a pop.

Secret Pumpkin Spice Deodorant - real or fake?
What do you think of the Pumpkin Spice Industrial Complex? Too much? Not enough? What products do you like and which do you think are ridiculous? Do you have any pumpkin spice in your house right now? (We currently have a bar of pumpkin spice-scented soap in the shower.) As always, please leave a comment!

˙ǝɯ ʎq sǝʞɐɟ doɥsoʇoɥԀ ǝɹɐ ʇuɐɹopoǝp puɐ 'sǝʇʇǝlǝʍoʇ 'pooɟ ƃop 'soʇǝǝɥƆ 'ɐunʇ ʇnq 'lɐǝɹ ǝɹɐ spuɐɹפ 'spuoɯlɐ 'souɐlᴉW
* 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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Monday, October 10, 2022

Our Go-To Restaurants

Pre-COVID, we Minxes dined out at least once per week and sometimes 2-3 times if we were invited to restaurant events. Our regular night for dining out was Tuesday, the same day we did our grocery shopping. For the most part, it made sense to eat in restaurants that were close to grocery stores. The Weis Market in Towson Place (still Eudowood to me) is our favorite grocer, so we ended up at Red Robin entirely too often. Sometimes we would go to Spice and Dice for Thai food, or Gino's, and if we were especially tired of all of those places, we'd go to Glory Days Grill. Sometimes we'd go to a different grocery store because they all don't carry the same products at the same prices. Wegman's had a good by-the-pound buffet, so we ate and shopped in the same building. At other times, we'd go to ShopRite in Timonium, and we'd dine either at the Nautilus Diner, Il Basilico, or Yamato Sushi. Eventually, we soured on Yamato. While the fish was always fresh, the rolls were too large and seemed bland for the high price. We started going to Yama Sushi in Hampden/Roland Park/Whatever that area is called and consequently added the Giant in the same shopping center to our list of favorite stores.

in the car with the local bird from Ekiben

During the early days of COVID, we stopped dining out entirely. Our rare trips to the Weis Market were a quick in-and-out involving masks, rubber gloves, and lots of hand sanitizer. We ordered lots of carry-out and delivery from regular favorites Red Pepper, Kathmandu Kitchen, and Yama Sushi. We also discovered how delicious the burgers are at Alonso's, that giant fried chicken sandwiches from Ekiben taste just as good when eaten in the car, and that fries and wings from The Local Fry actually travel pretty well. Once summer hit and restaurants offered outdoor dining, we ate at La Cuchara as often as possible and celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at a table in Petit Louis' parking lot. 

Now that things are pretty much back to "normal," except for the fact that there still is a pandemic going on, we're back to eating indoors on a weekly basis. We still don't go grocery shopping all that regularly, thanks to Amazon Fresh, but we do have a regular Saturday restaurant date. I do Whole30 off and on most of the year, which limits our restaurant choices. However, there are three places that are pretty safe for me, and we end up eating at them fairly frequently.

Lorenzo salad and wings @ Earth, Wood, & Fire

Earth, Wood, & Fire (1407 Clarkview Rd, Baltimore, MD 21209) serves one of our favorite pizzas in town, and they also have really good burgers (which are available on gluten-free buns). A pizza and a large Lorenzo salad (endive, arugula, grapes, macadamias, bleu cheese, in a lemon vinaigrette) constitutes our usual order, but on Whole30 days we each get an order of their spicy dry-rubbed wings in place of the pizza. To be honest, we can make the wings at home because I was able to cajole the recipe out of the chef, but we like the restaurant and want to continue to support them by eating there.

patty melt @ Nautilus Diner

Nautilus Diner (2047 York Rd, Timonium, MD 21093) has the typical huge diner menu with lots of carby breakfast options that aren't my thing even when I'm not dieting. I usually go for a slab of lasagna or moussaka, but now that I've discovered how good their patty melts are, my regular order may change. On diet days, however, I get a giant 3-egg omelet, with home fries, hold the toast. Broiled or roasted chicken--no stuffing, please!--is also a good choice, with a baked potato, veg of the day, and bonus cup of Maryland crab soup. Even I can't eat an entire half chicken, so there are plenty of leftovers to take home for a lunch later in the week.

chunky dunker oyster with watermelon mignonette @ True Chesapeake

As long as I stick to the oysters and other seafood items and stay away from the bread and other carb-laden goodies, I can have a fine meal at True Chesapeake. But why torture myself? Though we have gone there while dieting, it's more fun to go when I'm not. 

loaded yuca fries @ La Food Marketa

Another place I like when I'm on Whole30 is La Food Marketa (2620 Quarry Lake Dr, Baltimore, MD 21209). While I can't eat the tacos and such, I will get wings, brussels sprouts, and the loaded yuca fries. (Yes, some of those items have cheese on them, but it's my body, my diet so butt out.) The restaurant has a nice patio, so we tend to eat outdoors when we can. Neal is rather fond of their kobe beef hot dogs topped with street corn, and once in a while I order something different, like black bean soup. Those yuca fries are always on our table, however, no matter what else we get. 

beef kabobs and chicken fesenjan over tah dig @ Villagio Cafe

Most of our go-to restaurants are close by, no more than 10 miles in any direction. One, Villagio Cafe (6805 York Rd, Baltimore, MD 21212), is within walking distance. I think I've had lunch with friends at Villagio more often than Neal and I have eaten dinner there. It's never disappointing. My favorite is the un-lovely tah-dig topped with chicken fesenjan (crispy rice with a stew of walnuts and pomegranate with chicken), but I also enjoy their kebabs and lamb shank. Sometimes, when we want to feel young, we go to The Peppermill (1301 York Rd, Timonium, MD 21093), a restaurant that has been referred to as "God's waiting room." It's an old-fashioned sort of place with the kind of non-trendy comfort foods we grew up eating and where applesauce is considered a vegetable. But any place where I can get stewed tomatoes as a side and a hot fudge sundae or coconut cake for dessert is aces in my book. 

various maki and nigiri sushi @ Yama Sushi

Back to Yama Sushi (1030 W 41st St, Baltimore, MD 21211). I believe that maki rolls need to be small enough that I can fit an entire piece in my mouth without having to take a bite--2" in diameter at the very most, and that's pushing it. The rice of a piece of nigiri should be thumb sized, with the fish not much larger. Also, the rice should be fresh and not cold. Sadly, so many restaurants make giant rolls that are impossible to eat, and drape their nigiri with tablecloths of raw fish. The rice is either overcooked and sticky or cold and crumbly. Yama sushi is the optimal size and the rice is always perfect. Sometimes it's even a little warm. I appreciate an inventive roll, like their Red Devil, topped with lightly cooked, Cajun-spiced tuna, and the Christmas Tree, which wears a garland of seaweed salad. Not only is the food always very good, but the prices aren't astronomical and the service is pleasant. (We miss our regular pre-pandemic waitress who addressed us  as "honey" every time she came to the table.)

fish and chips and baby back ribs @ The Crackpot

Stalwart seafood restaurant The Crackpot (8102 Loch Raven Blvd, Towson, MD 21286) gets our business fairly regularly. It has recently come under new ownership and the menu has changed quite a bit. One can still get steamed crabs and a crabcake that weighs 23 ounces, but also chicken momo, veggie samosas, and chicken or beef tikka masala. I've always been fond of their baby back ribs, which are a bargain $12 on Mondays. I wasn't crazy about their crabcakes (which also came in a gluten-free version) and haven't tried them recently, though I'm curious to see what the new owners are doing with them. 

There are also a handful of go-to restaurants for when we're in a celebratory mood. We used to go to Cunningham's, but now that the restaurant is part of the Atlas Restaurant Group, they no longer get our business. Instead, we go to True Chesapeake, Cosima, or La Cuchara, all three of which were mentioned in a recent post. Others of our go-to dining spots that have also been named in prior posts: Red Pepper, Kung Fu 12, Asian Kebab and Hot Pot, and Il Basilico. Sometimes I think we should branch out and try other places, but to be very honest, we're quite happy with the selection of restaurants we currently visit. That's not to say that we haven't tried others--we have. But none of them have been worthy of adding to the list...though there is one we hope to visit again soon. More on that sometime in the future.

If anyone knows of a must-try restaurant in our general vicinity (Towson), please leave a comment!

* 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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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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