Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cauliflower Challenge

Do you have trouble getting your family to eat cauliflower? I don't, and here's why.

Cheese-frosted cauliflower.

I learned this method of preparing cauliflower back in the Dark Ages and have loved it ever since. Basically, all you do is mix mustard and mayo in proportions to your taste, smear the top of a steamed cauliflower with said mixture, top with cheese and run it under the broiler to melt.

As usual, I had one ingredient for a favorite dish but none of the rest, so I had to improvise. Some of my best meals begin this way, with hands thrown up in the air as I discover that some key ingredient is missing.

This time, I had the nice, big head of pure white cauliflower. I broke off some florets to nibble while fixing the dish and gave some to Cora, who is very partial to cauliflower, and the rest I cored and popped into a big pot with about an inch of water in the bottom to steam just until tender but not so soft that it falls apart as you lift it out of the pot.

While the cauliflower was steaming, I mixed up a dab of mayo with about three tablespoons of Dijon mustard but, interestingly, this was not my usual Grey Poupon but a new-to-me brand called Edmond Fallot, which My Beloved's daughters brought me from their last trip to La Belle France. It looks more yellow, like ballpark mustard, but the flavor is more like traditional Dijon, only somehow mellower. This I smeared all over the head of cauliflower, letting it drip thickly down the sides and into the skillet.

Next, I went into the fridge for my usual cheddar cheese - and realized I forgot to buy some last time I was at the store. (Hand throwing here, with heavy sighs). However, I did have some raclette cheese left from the last time we had that meal, so I sliced that up and positioned the slices all over the cauliflower before popping it under the broiler with the rack set very low in the oven.

That last part is the only reason I didn't burn the bejaysus out of our dinner - I got distracted trying to get my computer to print out a recipe and you know the rest of that story. Luckily, My Beloved remembered and pulled it out just prior to the disaster point. Usually, I just melt the cheese - this time, I crisped it. And it was delicious! The crispy coating hid a softer layer of mustardy sauce that had melted down between the florets to flavor the whole head. The stinkier cheese was a delicious change of pace from the cheddar, as well.

I guess the moral of the story is "don't be afraid to innovate" and "don't get distracted when broiling." Cauliflower can be a challenge but it's easy if you're paying attention.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Rev. Biggles said...

CHEESE BRAINS !!!!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Burned cheese brains!!!

(captcha = foodi)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Biggles, you are too much!

Cookiecrumb, I prefer "caramelized cheese brains," if you please.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

That's fair. Looks tasty, seriously.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Zoomie, I read your comment on «Louis LaVache's» photo blog about starting up his cooking blog again. Try this blog:
http://aubergechezrichard.blogspot.com

I think you'll like it. I do.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010  
Blogger Ant Kendall said...

Hey...nice flower recipe.....and thx for the graffiti comment.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Carolyn, thanks for the tip - I'll check it out!

Ant, welcome and you're welcome.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

I don't understand, who doesn't like cauliflower?? I love the stuff, any which way, but I'm giving this a go soon. Nights are cooling down round my way (YAY).
PS, Villeroy & Boch - Naif, bit sale at a discount kitchenware emporium, I'm popping in for a look see tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Morgan, oooh, hope the price on the Naïf is low enough - I have really enjoyed using it!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010  
Blogger Lapin Agile said...

That looks simply delicious! Thanks for this.

Thursday, March 04, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Lapin, Annapolis, huh? Hallowed ground for those of us born to Navy men. Thanks for stopping by - I'm going to enjoy your trips to France vicariously, so don't leave out any details! :-)

Thursday, March 04, 2010  
Anonymous Mighty M said...

You're right-- cauliflower is a hard one to make into something yummy-- but, by Joe, i think you did it!!
This is a brilliant stroke of creativity! Now, if you can come up with a way to make cauliflower not give you gas... hmmm...!!

Friday, March 05, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Mighty M, I haven't ever had that trouble with cauliflower - maybe the blessed cheese tames it? :-) Welcome, fellow cheese hound!

Friday, March 05, 2010  

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