Yeah, cauliflower. The vegetable kids love to hate has become the belle of the culinary ball. While I won’t go so far as to say it’s a perfect replacement for high-carb foods, I feel pretty comfortable saying cauliflower is delicious on its own.
The trick is in the preparation. My vague recollection of childhood cauliflower is that the stuff was served boiled and flavorless. This was, I am sad to say, typical of the era. Vegetables came from a can, were cooked on the stovetop until whatever flavor remained was eliminated, then served. I make fun of my mother’s anti-vegetable stance, but her palate never served a chance (this despite my grandmother being an otherwise awesome cook). Continue reading “Gluten-Free Ingredient Crush: Cauliflower”
It’s no secret that cauliflower has finally attained favorite veggie status in many households, mine included. After my success with Brussels sprouts, a food my husband eats like candy when I make it, I decided to give cauliflower another try.
Way back in the day, when I was a devotee of the so-called Mediterranean diet, I’d substituted cauliflower for potatoes to make, well, faux mashed potatoes. They weren’t the worst thing in the world, but I didn’t embrace the recipe. Probably because the recipe I tried was on the bland side. I’ve bookmarked this recipe for mashed cauliflower the next time I’m ready to try this idea again. The only thing I would add is some roasted garlic. Continue reading “Cauliflower Ideas to Make Believers Out of Doubters”
This recipe came about after some trial and error. A friend had a similar dish at a local restaurant, and raved about it. When we tried to recreate it, something was missing. We’re still trying.
In the meantime, I decided to try roasting cauliflower florets and drizzling them with a bit of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. One of the problems with the dish my friend and I made was that the cauliflower got soggy when doused in the stuff. I decided a good drizzle was all that was needed.
And so we have it — one of my favorite (and most likely to surprise guests!) side dishes. It’s easy, it’s gluten free, and the flavors of cauliflower and hot sauce mingle perfectly.
As noted in my recipe for Roasted Carrots, I roast almost all of my vegetables. They simply taste better that way. There are two keys to roasting vegetables: high heat and evenly sized vegetables.
Oh, and some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Everything else is just a variation on the theme.
Also, don’t crowd your vegetables, and make sure as much of the vegetable as possible is touching the pan. It’s that contact with the heat that matters. Here are a few more tips on roasting vegetables.
If I’m using my oven to roast veggies, I cook in the upper third of my oven and turn once or twice during the cooking process. If I’m using the grill, I keep an eye on the vegetables to ensure even browning (versus, you know, burning). You want to achieve a nice level of caramelization — a deep golden brown shade.
How to Roast
- Preheat your oven or grill to 425 degrees.
- Make sure your vegetables are about the same size.
- Toss with olive oil (a few tablespoons usually does the trick)
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Other herbs and spices can be used as well.
- Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until you have a good number of caramelized spots. Turn once or twice during the cooking process if necessary. Different veggies cook at different times, so pay attention!
So what can you roast? Read on, my friends, read on. This is, obviously, not a complete list…use your imagination.
- Asparagus. Break off the woody ends, otherwise leave whole. If you’re adding to a pasta, you can cut into smaller pieces, then roast. Asparagus cooks pretty fast, so check at the fifteen minute mark.
- Bell peppers. Cut into strips and roast.
- Broccoli. I love roasted broccoli. Cut into 1 − 1 1/2 inch florets. The ends will get very brown, but that’s a good thing. You can also roast the stems.
- Cauliflower. Oh, roasted cauliflower is especially good (and use the leftovers as the basis for a great soup; or just, you know, roast the cauliflower for the soup). Cut into 1 − 1 1/2 inch pieces. Or make roasted cauliflower “steaks”: cut the head of cauliflower into 1/2 inch thick slices, brush olive oil onto both sides, add salt and pepper, and roast, turning once. Yummy!
- Parsnips. Roast like carrots — diagonal chunks or whole (cut in half if the parsnips are especially thick).
- Sweet Potatoes. Cut into 1-inch chunks, and serve as a meal or make part of a great sweet potato salad. You’re welcome.
- Turnips. Cut into 1-inch chunks and discover what you’ve been missing all these years.
- Zucchini. I usually cut my zucchini in half or quarters (lengthwise) and roast away.
It’s April in Southern California, and I’m staring at the grill every night saying, “Okay, tomorrow. Tomorrow, we grill.” But this being a weird April for weather, tomorrow comes, and it’s just not quite grilling weather. I mean, we had snow falling in the near mountains just two days ago. I can’t even find the energy to clean the grill.
So I’m thinking soup these days. Lots of soup. My trusty Lentil Soup is on deck (I always have the makings for lentil soup because when the craving hits, it hits hard), but a cruise through the refrigerator reminded me that I had leftover roasted cauliflower. I vaguely recall thinking “soup” at the time. Then the moment came and, voila!, I’d made this soup.
[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]This recipe is cauliflower soup the long way, but, as you can see from the above, you can shortcut it by using leftover roasted cauliflower. Heck, ain’t nobody making you do the roasting either. It’s your soup, do it the way that works best for you![/box]