Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cauliflower: Three Ways

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "Sweet Jesus, she's writing a post on cauliflower...She's done gone and lost it." And there was a time in the not too distant past that I would have been right there with you. For me, cauliflower was always just kind of... "meh" and I more or less considered it broccoli's bastard cousin...less flavor, less pizazz, less likely to be invited to grandma's for dinner. But before your eyes glaze over and you write this post off as one that would put even the most caffinated person into a comatose-like sleep, just give me a chance.

It wasn't until I discovered the culinary versatility of this underrated vegetable that I began appreciating how much it has to offer. Upon learning about the nutrient content, I was surprised to find that it is not only low in sugar and carbohydrates, it's also high in dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and contains several phytochemicals that are extremely beneficial to our health.  These phytochemicals are known to slow the growth of cancerous cells, while a high intake of cauliflower has even been associated with a reduced risk of aggressive prostrate cancer.  So how boring is cauliflower now, huh?  Cauliflower can SAVE YOUR LIFE...Kinda like how T.C. always bailed Magnum P.I. out of trouble...Cauliflower is the T.C. of vegetables, ladies and gentlemen.

So now what? How do I eat the stuff?

I'm glad you asked.

Besides, chopping it up and throwing it raw into a salad (which is an excellent idea),  I've outlined three different ways you can enjoy Cauliflower in all of it's ass-kicking glory.

1). Garlic Cauliflower Mash:  Think mashed potatoes without all the carbs and starch.  First, grab a head of cauliflower, remove the greens, and cut off the stem.  Cut the cauliflower into florets and throw them in a steamer, covered for about 15 minutes or until soft.  Place the steamed cauliflower into a blender with about 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 tsp of sea salt and two cloves of pressed garlic. Pulse until blended to the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Be careful not to puree too long or you will have cauliflower soup, which although sounds interesting is not what we're going for here. In the corresponding photo I served the mash with baked cod and roasted asparagus.  The fun part about a mash is you can get creative, add some rosemary, or  if you really want to get fancy schmancy, use a dash of truffle oil to give a different spin and and make others think you're too hot to trot.

2). Cauliflower Rice: This recipe also calls for one head of cauliflower. Prepare the cauliflower much like you would in the previous recipe, but instead of steaming, pulse the raw florets through a food processor until they reach the consistency of rice.  This is where the magic happens.  I like to use my cauliflower rice in a stir fry, so I simply add whatever veggies I have available.  In the photo above, I used red onion, red pepper, garlic, and lacinato kale. To prepare, saute the chopped onion and pepper in about 1 TBSP of coconut oil over medium heat until the onion is nearly translucent. Add the chopped garlic and saute for another few minutes.

 Now, it's time to add in the cauliflower and the kale. Just a quick note: One head of cauliflower makes a lot of rice, I used about 2 cups for 2 servings of stir fry and froze the rest for use at a later date...I seasoned the stir fry with Bragg's Liquid Aminos and a little bit of coriander and pepper, but feel free to add whatever spices you like...Stir the mixture together, cover and turn heat to low.  Let simmer for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft like rice. Serve warm and wonder how you were able to live so long without such a fun and simple way to eat your veggies!

3). Korean Fried Cauliflower: This little gem was the spawn of my husband's urge to satisfy an intense craving after a two-hour marathon of "Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives"...For those of you who watch the Food Network, you know exactly what I'm talking about, Willis. Since, I wasn't privy to the entire process, and although I'm not a huge fan of fried foods, I've decided to provide you with the link and let you do the rest-. Like everything in life, moderation is key and if you get to the point where you're jonesin' for something naughty, then a little fried cauliflower is probably better than a lot of other things. So knock yourself out. 

Eat Healthy, Stay Happy!


Kristen said...

Did you cut the wheat flour and just use rice flour for the Korean fried cauliflower?

Jenni said...

Absolutley! When it comes to frying foods, you can really use any flower you like-I would also add some corn or potato starch to the flour which will give it a little crisp!