Amazing Collie Flower
- See below
- See below
Our Food of the Month is cauliflower, which is a little unlikely given that it has to share March with Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, but so it goes.
Cauliflower is most fabulous because of its chameleon-like qualities, but let’s start with its nutritional profile. An entire head of cauliflower has about 210 calories, so in the unlikely event that you eat the whole thing, it won’t trash your nutrition for the day and you’ll get trace fat, about 45g of carbs (about half each of fiber and sugar), and 16g of complete protein in the deal. It delivers some vitamin C and traces of other macronutrients, and contains mostly water. Not everyone loves the flavor, but it’s mild and makes a good vehicle for dominant tastes like baba ghanouj (eggplant-based version of hummus, with garlic, tahini / sesame paste, salt, and lemon).
Like most “solid” veggies (others: broccoli, peppers, okra – the ones that aren’t leafy and floppy), cauliflower is awesome when roasted. Chop it up or buy florets, toss with olive oil and some garlic or garlic salt, and roast at 350′ for about 20 minutes to make a delicious side dish. You can notch it up a little like this with pine nuts (pricey!) if you’re feeling gourmet or if your mom is visiting.
Now for the “chameleon” part of the story: cauliflower can stand in for mashed potatoes, rice, and even the flour in pizza crust, all of which come in handy if you are avoiding carbs or not having a training day. Really! In order of increasing complexity, here’s what I mean.
1. Cauli puree: steam cauliflower – chop it up, put it in a pot in or over a little water, and boil the water for about 20 minutes until the cauli gets tender (don’t let the water dry up). Carefully slide the tender cauli into the blender or food processor, and puree. You can add a little almond or coconut milk, oil, butter, garlic, chives or sliced green onions, or anything else you would normally put in mashed potatoes (did I mention garlic?). Cauli puree is great on its own, as a side dish, under grilled meats and fish as itself or with the faux-tato alias (faux-tato?? yep, it’s mine and you can’t have it), or as a topping for meat pies or stew.
2. Cauli rice: it’s pretty easy to turn cauli into rice if you have a food processor; it’s harder with a knife, but can be done. I use this blade:
After chopping a head of cauli, shoving it through the food processor, and steaming it, I have this:
This riced cauli is ready for makeup. Let’s head east…it works great with Cajun food, in place of rice in jambalaya – especially under ample Tabasco sauce. The resulting dish is not as heavy as Mama’s jambalaya or gumbo. Much further east, you can sauté it with an egg and some soy sauce to make faux-ried rice. (Get it? foh-ryed? fried? Okay, I’ll stop.)
Tonight, we made slow cooker soy ginger chicken (thighs, soy sauce, ginger, carrots, and chopped onion in the slow cooker for 6 hours on low), and enjoyed it with stir-fried veggies on top of cauli rice. Bok choy – chopped and stir fried – works well with this too.
Of course, I hit it with Sriracha chili garlic sauce, but I put that stuff on everything these days.
3. Cauli pizza crust: you can make wheat-free crusts with just egg, but cauli works a lot better. I’m a fan of both white pizzas and pizzas with loads of sauce. The recipe shown HERE gives you a set of instructions, and you can choose how you top it. Other DNA chefs have shared their cauli pizzas, which you can top with fresh chopped tomato (or sauce, but check for added sugar), grated parmesan and/or mozzarella (dairy splurge!), GARLIC, oregano / basil / Italian seasoning, and whatever else you like – mushrooms, sausage, pepper…BACON. If in doubt, bake at 350′ for 20 minutes. I find that baking the crust on its own first prepares it to take the toppings and crisp up a bit – less soggy.
Feel free to share your favorite cauliflower recipes here. If you’ve never tried it, you should!