Showing posts with label cauliflower. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cauliflower. Show all posts

Friday, August 18, 2017

What's Up with Cauliflower?

This is a really dumb question, I know, but why have the big frozen vegetable manufacturers started mashing cauliflower? And other vegetables too, but cauliflower seems to be leading the pack. Is it trying to take over the world, and this is a subtle way to try to eradicate it before it succeeds? Or were the giant vegetable companies running out of new ideas and thought consumers would buy anything that says "NEW!" on the package?

Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?

A couple of months ago, I noticed some television commercials--happy mom cooking dinner, happy child watching with admiration--which were celebrating a new dish: mashed cauliflower. They kept appearing, and then I noticed the packages in the freezer section of my local supermarket from more than one maker. And they kept multiplying.

Cauliflower doesn't make a pretty presentation in a commercial. It kind of sits there on the plate and looks like mashed potatoes. (Although I suppose it could be done with yellow cauliflower or purple, which are fun to eat.) 

I like cauliflower. I like it semi-crisp, steamed rather than boiled to death. With some butter and a bit of salt. It has a nice flavor of its own. What's wrong with it?

I will admit that I was reminded of a time many, many years ago when I was traveling in France, and sat down to one of those prix fixe dinners for $3 that you could get back in the last millennium. Three courses plus a glass of wine--those were the days! Anyway, I've forgotten what the main course was, but it came with a side dish of green mush. Ah, mashed peas, I assumed, and tasted it. Nope, not peas. But I couldn't identify it. I finally had to ask the waiter, and it turned out to be pureed string beans. Really? Something about changing their shape also changed their flavor. 

Cauliflower doesn't seem to work that way. It still tastes like cauliflower. Which probably explains why the manufacturers keep adding things to their blah white mashed cauliflower. Like sour cream and chives. Or cheddar and bacon. Maybe the cauliflower has potato envy?

If you're really into it, mashed cauliflower is really pretty easy to make. Take a head of cauliflower and divide into florets. Steam until tender, or boil if you must. (Make sure the florets are soft.) Mash or puree with whatever your favorite tool is--food processor, potato masher, food mill, even a fork will work. Add some butter and milk or cream, and taste for seasoning, adding salt if you think it's needed. 


Puree in food processor
Done. Wasn't that easy?

After that you can go wild. I added diced chives simply because I have some growing outside my kitchen door, but there are plenty of other choices. Experiment!

But as I said, it's really quick and easy to make, so why have the frozen food giants jumped upon this product? Beats me. But there are the same people who make powdered mashed potatoes. I think it's a marketing ploy, and one I don't respect.

The family heirloom ricer

Oh, and then there's "riced" cauliflower. My family has always riced their potatoes (and I have inherited the family ricer and use it), because it gives the mashed potatoes a little more texture than just pureeing them, but the result is smoother than taking a standard potato masher to them. Well, lucky us, we can now buy bags of frozen riced cauliflower, and even one with both cauliflower and broccoli, which is a pretty pale green. Or peas and carrots.

I still like plain old cauliflower, though. In a time when farmers markets are thriving, and people are eating fresh, chemically clean vegetables, why are manufacturers producing glop? (And it's not cheap--a bag of mashed vegetables costs over $4). Or is there a silent war going on, trying to suppress the cauliflower invasion? Any ideas?

In the next Orchard Mystery, A Late Frost (coming November 2017), Seth Chapin helps organize Granford's first WinterFare, a community fair that is intended to brighten up the dull month of February.

Things don't work out quite as planned.  But the apples are fresh (many varieties hold well in cold--not frozen--storage).

Here's a sample from my own crop this year!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Easiest Ever Roasted Cauliflower

At our last Around the Kitchen Table feature, I mentioned that Natasha forces me to keep up with food trends. She doesn't just want to be on the cutting edge. She wants to make the trends!

This is one of those trending recipes. When I first saw this recipe, I was stunned. I knew you could cut a cauliflower into slices and bake them, but it never occurred to me to bake the whole thing. This is now our go-to recipe for cauliflower.

It barely qualifies as a recipe because it's so easy but you're going to start seeing this recipe everywhere (if you haven't already). It's quite flexible in terms of flavor as well. The possible seasonings are endless. I think I would avoid anything too leafy, though, like fresh herbs, because they might scorch. Sprinkling with fresh parsley after baking would be great.

Some people make a lemon or Dijon sauce for it, but we like it plain or with melted butter. After cutting, I like mine sprinkled with a little sea salt. You can bake it in any kind of pan. I have used a metal roasting pan as well as a cast iron pan and both work equally well.

If you hate cauliflower, this recipe will not change your mind because it tastes like, well, cauliflower! But if cauliflower tends to die an ugly death in your fridge because you dread cooking it, this is an easy way to prepare it. No more cauliflowericide!

Roasted Whole Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
high heat-friendly oil like canola or sunflower

Your choice of seasoning:
smoked paprika
lemon salt

Preheat oven to 400.

Carve the stem out of the bottom of the cauliflower. You don't have to go deep, just enough for the cauliflower to sit up. Pour oil over top. Sprinkle with your choice of seasoning.

Place on baking pan and roast 40-50 minutes.

Carve out stem.

Drizzle with heat-friendly oil.

Sprinkle with seasoning. This is smoked paprika.
After roasting.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Mashed Cauliflower "Potatoes" #Recipe @PegCochran

For me one of the hardest things about a low carb diet is giving up potatoes.  I love potatoes--fried, baked, scalloped, mashed, shredded...whatever.  I think I must have at least a drop of Irish blood in me somewhere!

But sometimes you've just got to stay on that low carb stint for awhile for your own good!  And mashed cauliflower makes a decent substitute for a pile of mashed potatoes.  Actually, even if you aren't on a low carb diet, you would enjoy these!

1 head of cauliflower
1 leek
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
Pinch of nutmeg

Break the head of cauliflower into small pieces and clean and slice the white part of the leek.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add cauliflower and leek.  Boil until both are tender--approximately 15 minutes.

Drain vegetables and return to hot pan briefly to dry.

Place vegetables, cream, butter and nutmeg in food processor and puree.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Orange Cauliflower with Parmesan from @DarylWoodGerber

I love to find new things in the grocery store, like a seasoning I haven't used or a cheese I've never tasted. I don't go as far as purchasing some creepy looking fish with tentacles—who knows where that thing has been?—but I can go out on a limb for veggies.

So there I was, walking down the vegetable aisle, ready to pick up a few zucchini when I spied orange or "cheddar" cauliflower. Okay, it looked sort of weird, not quite alien, but weird. However, it was also pretty and goes with the ringing in of autumn. White cauliflower really needs dressing up to look pretty. Not this new version. I gather (from looking online) that there are a number of variations in the color of this vegetable, from coral to sunburst. Fun, right? And they have been around since 1970!!  
Which means I'd probably seen it before but it simply didn't register. According to an article on Saveur, the hue comes from the extra beta-carotene which is naturally stored in its florets, which gives the orange cauliflower 25 percent more vitamin A than the white variety. I'm not a scientist, but I'm buying that explanation. 

FYI, the flavor seems to be the same, maybe a little sweeter. It cooked exactly the same as regular cauliflower. It's a wonderful addition to any plate. I'm not sure why it turned a little "paler" after cooking. I only boil for a short time. So that's a "hmm" moment for me. Maybe that extra beta-carotene seeps out with the steam??



1 large head orange cauliflower, split into florets
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons bouquet garni (*I use Penzeys)
1-2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper
½ cup Parmesan cheese
More Parmesan for garnish, if desired


Blanch cauliflower: In a sauce pan, put 1-2 inches of water. Bing to a boil. Add the cauliflower and boil, with a lid on, for two minutes. Drain off water. Remove cauliflower from pan.

In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the blanched cauliflower. Sprinkle with garlic salt, salt, bouquet garni, and cracked pepper. Stir-fry for five minutes, until cauliflower is tender.

Turn off heat and add Parmesan cheese. Toss. Serve immediately.  Garnish with more Parmesan, if desired.

Savor the mystery!

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cauliflower Dill #recipe ala from author @DarylWoodGerber FUDGING THE BOOKS


I've been flooding you with sweets lately: chocolate, fudge, more chocolate. You know why. I had a book to pitch, FUDGING THE BOOKS, and well, that is the theme in the book.  Chocolate Month and a chocolate cookbook club (plus pirates). 

But it's time to move into the end of summer and taste some of the lovely flavors of the garden. Smell something savory. Enjoy something with tang!

I remembered I had a head of cauliflower in the veggie drawer of my refrigerator. Hmm. What to make?

I know many of us on MLK have shared recipes using cauliflower, even as a substitute for pasta dough or for rice (risotto). But I wanted something simple.  S-I-M-P-L-E.  Why? I'm in full edit mode for the next Cheese Shop book (#7), FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE. That means I need something easy to put on the table! I can't tax my brain! It's mush.

So I went searching on the internet for a recipe. I love how easy it is to find something there. Type in a word. Type in another word. Voila! 

What did I type:  cauliflower > dill > recipe 

Yep, I also have a lot of dill!  

This is the recipe I stumbled upon, on  And it is SO SIMPLE! Even my protagonist Jenna, in the Cookbook Nook Mysteries could do it!! And it's super tasty, with a nice tang! A terrific side dish for any meal. And it would probably be a great appetizer at a party. Bring on the toothpicks!




1 large head cauliflower, split into florets
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard **
1 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
2 lemons (juice of)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

fresh ground black pepper to taste – I did this after it was cooked!


Preheat oven to 400°F

Place cauliflower florets in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, combine all other ingredients to make a sauce, whisking until blended.

**Note: My mistake; the recipe called for 2 teaspoons, I used 2 tablespoons. I LOVED 2 TABLESPOONS! 

Include generous amounts of fresh ground black pepper.

Pour marinade over the cauliflower and toss until coated.

Spread on baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining marinade over the cauliflower.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until tender but not mushy.

Toss once, if desired, halfway through cooking. The cauliflower should have some browning around the edges.


Savor the mystery!

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

Friend Daryl on Facebook
Friend Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
Check out our website.

FUDGING THE BOOKS, the 4th Cookbook Nook Mystery, is HERE!  Click to order.

Click to order.

If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!