Help me through the cauliflower glut

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.

One of the blessings of a dreadful winter was the terrible effect it had on the usually hardy cauliflower crop.

Every week I get a box full of vegetables delivered to the door. Occasionally there's something in there I'm not fond of, but usually I can find a way to like eating them, or my husband will finish them off as he isn't nearly as fussy as I am and really loves winter vegetables (an example is parsnips, I can just about tolerate these in muffins but my husband enjoys the taste and will slice and roast a batch in the oven).

Our nemesis has finally reappeared on the horizon, and, from past experience, I anticipate a cauliflower a week in the foreseeable future.

Any ideas on how to make this unwelcome vegetable box squatter palatable?

I know about cauliflower cheese (my husband likes this, me, not so much), but that's way too fattening as a weekly feature, and rather pricey too.

Fried cauliflower tempura or pakora isn't an option as we don't have a deep fat fryer nor do I want to use up a bottle of oil just so I can cook this one vegetable.

My main problem with cauliflower is the texture, particularly when it's been overcooked. However, even with the freshest, least sulphuric, examples of this vegetable curd, I just don't like how it tastes. Even my partner is dreading it.

Any ideas? Preferably those that don't rely on fat and calories to mask the taste?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
rehfilet
Bento-ing from: › Germany
Joined: 11 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

cauliflower, my old enemy! so we meet again..
when i was a kid i really hated cauliflower. my mom can't cook, so she just boiled the stuff in water without salt (because salt is bad for you). she never took the time to drain it properly, too. the results were vile grey chunks that leaked on your plate, watering down whatever you were supposed to eat with them.. no merciful sauce hollandaise or cheese or even salt on the table- just cauliflower, plain. horrible.
however, if you add a little milk to the cooking water it will stay nice and white, if you put a bit of sour dough bread or walnuts in the water it won't make the house smell like poor people and if it's still nice and crunchy it makes a damn good salad when cold. choose a tangy, strong dressing, maybe with olive oil, white wine vinegar and lots of fresh herbs from the garden... one of those dressings that would be too strong if you wanted to really taste the ingredients is just right for this.

avlor
Bento-ing from: Sioux Falls › South Dakota › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 46 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

My kids and I dip cauliflower in ranch dressing. Doesn't take much dressing to mask the taste. (I don't mind the cauliflower taste, but my kiddos aren't fond of it.)

____________________________________

Blog and Shop: http://ojami.etsy.com and http://ojamiya.com

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

I'm afraid I'm not that sure what ranch dressing is, it's something I'm only aware about through reputation. Isn't it a really rich mayonnaisey sauce that's loaded with fats and calories?

avlor
Bento-ing from: Sioux Falls › South Dakota › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 46 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Yes, ranch dressing has mayo and quite a bit of fat in a serving of 2T. But who actually uses 2T of it? That would make a salad practically turn into a soup! Eww! I use about 1-1.5t of it for alot of salad or to dip veggies. Seriously, putting cauliflower in a cheese soup would be more fat. I'll use a bit of ranch if it helps my kids eat veggies. ;)

Another thought to help use it up would be to toss it in with a salad. broken or chopped into tiny bits in a salad it may add a little crunch but the texture may be hidden a bit in the salad. Any salad - lettuce with veggies, coleslaw, broccoli slaw, etc.

I also remembered I have the Super Natural Cooking cookbook which from your comments seems like it would be up your alley. There's a Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Brazil Nut Pesto recipe in it. (If you want more recipes from it - buy the book or check it out from the library.) I haven't tried this recipe yet - but have seen people raving about how good it is.

CathyM
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

I've been on a cauliflower soup kick these past two months.

I really like this creamy one although I tend to make it a little less fattening than in the recipe.
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/01/cauliflower-soup/

Also this Cauliflower Cheese soup that goes through the blender...so you can mask the taste and the texture.
http://www.recipesource.com/soups/soups/cauliflower-cheese1.html

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Thank you, soup might well be the way to go (what did you omit to make the first soup less fattening? It has half&half, which I'm not familiar with, but I guess that a cup of it is half a cup of cream, as well as a cup of sour cream. Do you think yogurt could be used instead?)

And I'll definitely be trying out rehfillet's techniques to stop the old socks/stale fart cooking smells.

jfmpls
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Half and half is half milk and half cream, so a little less fattening than cream. If you want to keep down the fat content, use all milk. You could even use skim milk if you wanted but the flavor might suffer. Experiment to see what level of fat content you need from the milk to make the soup taste best.

And for the Ranch Dressing, try using yogurt in that instead of mayo. If you use the really good Greek yogurt, you will be adding protein as well as reducing the fat, since that is available in 0% fat versions.

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 31 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Try pickling the cauliflower. The crisp texture and tangy soak might mask all the things that you don't like about the vegetable. A little red chili pepper into the jar really makes it sing. I'm sorry that I don't have my Ba-chan's recipe; it was tasty enough that even we kids liked it.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

I think one of the easiest ways to completely get rid of any hint of cauliflower and still be somewhat healthful is to steam it real well and add it to mashed potatoes, it will basically melt into to the potatoes. Plus you don't need to add a ton of fat to make the mash flavorful, my usual is caramelized onions, roasted garlic and whatever herbs are looking good in my garden.

And ranch dressing is definitely a fat based item, the two main ingredients are mayo and sour cream. It is a very common bottled dressing here in the States, here is a recipe http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ranch-Dressing-II/Detail.aspx that is pretty much what I remember eating growing.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 32 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

I put up a recipe for a cauliflower salad in the recipes forum last year. It's yummy.

Half and half is an American milk. It's supposed to be half milk and half cream, but it tastes more like just full cream milk to me. Just use milk.

How about picalilli? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piccalilli There are bound to be heaps of recipes on the net. It's delicious on bread and butter.

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 14 hours 14 min ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

There was a recipe on one of my favorite vegetarian blogs, The Hungry Tiger. I make it so often I have commited it to memory, but here it is Easy copious cauliflower soup. If you don't like the cauliflower taste, make sure you do add the fennel. She has several other cauliflower recipes on her site you could try too.

____________________________________

The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

edna lewis
Bento-ing from: washington › Washington D.C. › USA
Joined: 3 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 50 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

I find this quite amusing: I haven't been able to get enough cauliflower this season.

Start off with Aloo Gobi, a Punjabi-style cauliflower with potatoes with ginger. Although quite a few recipes "fry" the potatoes I've had equally good results roasting the potatoes instead. Next, try a cauliflower and lentil dal. Or do a stir-fry with broccoli and cauliflower; season with s&p, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, red onions, mustard seeds; add some tofu for protein if you want to use this as a main dish. And, my absolute favorite right now: a spiced roasted cauliflower* dish -- substitute olive oil for the butter. What makes this even more wonderful: it's good hot but it's just as good at room temperature and retains its crunch. It's become a lunch bento favorite; I usually snack on it while the rest of the lunch is heating in the microwave.

(*http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetables/SpicedCarmCauliflower.htm)

I just don't understand what a "glut" of cauliflower is. I cook for myself and I could easily go through two heads a month if I allowed myself to indulge. Hmpf. Too much cauliflower; what a silly thing!

This should get you started. Enjoy!

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Happily (for me) your problem - not getting enough cauliflower this season - was my reprieve. There just hasn't been any in the UK either, the winter kept them out of the vegetable boxes and my kitchen.

The glut starts next week, in all likelihood there'll be at least 4 cauliflowers a month to deal with, that's over twice as many as you get through easily as a cauliflower lover. Despite my best intentions, I foresee a few curds making into the trash/bin. That's what I mean by "glut".

Alas, I've been served far too many horrible aloo gobi and other Indian/Bangladeshi style dishes with cauliflower (dishes that I'm certain would never pass muster in their homelands). And getting and preparing the right blend of spices for Indian cooking is an Art I'm nowhere near mastering. Adding some stale garam masala powder just doesn't do it for me.

That caramelised spiced cauliflower recipe does look very interesting and I'll definitely give that a try, thanks for that! (although I won't use the cumin, one of the big reasons I embarked on my love affair with the food of East Asia is the blessed near absence of cumin).

The tip about 'counteracting' the taste of cauliflower with fennel is intriguing. I'm getting fennel delivered at the moment so this is something else I'll try. And piccalilli should help manage another couple of heads (I'll probably try Rick Stein's http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/piccalilli_78865.shtml )
The tip about squashing cauliflower into mashed potatoes is something I've already tried in desperation (I was always obliged by my parents to eat a portion of everything on my plate), all it ever did was ruin a pleasurable experience, I preferred to grit my teeth and swallow down the cauliflower first and reward myself with the potatoes later.

Anyone know any kickass Indonesian recipes that are supposed to have cauliflower? (It seems wrong in gado gado, but it could be because I like gado gado and dislike cauliflower)

edna lewis
Bento-ing from: washington › Washington D.C. › USA
Joined: 3 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 50 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Check out any of Madhur Jaffrey's books/recipes. She has a lot of vegetarian recipes that are quite tasty. Also, here's a Martha Stewart recipe; an empanada of sorts.

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/best-roasted-cauliflower-and-mancheg...

Hmm... sounds good. I may just have to buy some cauliflower and try this one. Would make a great bento lunch.

[One more thing: if you can't stand the taste of cumin try these substitutes: caraway seeds (use half as much) OR black cumin seeds (smaller and sweeter) OR caraway seeds + anise seeds OR chili powder. From Cook's Thesaurus]

chuney
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

oooh....i love cauliflower. send it my way!! =D

one of my favorite ways to prepare cauliflower is to roast it. cut the head into 1/8 wedges, then slice it cross-wise into thin slices. toss with olive oil and a good amount of salt and fresh ground pepper. lay it out on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for ~ 30 minutes (until the cauliflower starts to get golden brown and crispy). SO GOOD!

i hope this recipe will change your mind about cauliflower. =)

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Week 1
I chose edna's "what's cooking america" recipe with sugar, pepper, cinnamon and smoked paprika and lightly pounded caraway seeds as a substitute for cumin and baked at my oven's maximum temperature of 250C
This is very similar to chuney's suggestion.
I made sure to use the curds the very same day they arrived to ensure there was no whiff of sulphur.

Verdict
The seasoning was very appetising and smelled and tasted great. The texture of the cauliflower was fine.
Alas, the seasoning did little to counteract the essential cauliflowerness of this vegetable, it may have actually 'enhanced' it. If ranch sauce was freely available in the UK I would have considered getting some and salvaging them this way (my husband assures me that dog turds would probably be edible if you put enough ranch sauce on them), but the point of my challenge was to find a way I could tolerate cauliflower without adding lots of cheese, cream and fats to it.
I couldn't stomach more than a few florets, it's my husband who is dutifully going through them.
In all, a recipe I can only recommend to those who actually like cauliflower. But at least it didn't end up in the bin... so a partial success.

Next week the cauliflower comes with fennel so I'll try the Hungry Tiger recipe then.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Just going through my all the stuff in my reader I came across a cauliflower recipe, I haven't tried but I generally like most of the writer's recipes and it sounds pretty good (it is after the cleanse information). http://www.choosingraw.com/welcoming-spring-honoring-winter-and-a-new-sp...

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.
Week Two

Although last week's recipe coated the cauliflower florets with an appetising mix of spices, the flavours didn't mask the essential cauliflowerness of this vegetable, they may have even enhanced this quality.

The fennel had a different relationship with the taste of cauliflower, it seemed to 'cut through it' even if t didn't quite eradicate it.

Which is just as well as the Hungry Tiger copious cauliflower soup recipe yielded just that; copious amounts of cauliflower and fennel soup.

We put some in the freezer and just had a large bowl each. I ate mine as it was. Not my favourite, but pleasant enough to get through without being a chore. My husband went and made some further adjustments (he rather likes BIG flavours and isn't much of a fennel fan). His instinct was to add jalapeños - in escabeche from a can.
Bingo!
It was like having a delicious vichyssoise but with added chilli (the chilli rounded off the almost perfume taste of the fennel). He dutifully ate last week's florets. However, this time he really enjoyed his soup and we're both looking forward to finishing off what's left in the freezer.
Not sure if it was a combination of the fennel and the jalapeños that cancelled out the cauliflower taste, or if the jalapeños would have done it alone. All I do know is that the combination is really good, the soup is easy to make and we'd recommend it to any fellow cauliflower haters.

Verdict - Success!

edna lewis
Bento-ing from: washington › Washington D.C. › USA
Joined: 3 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 50 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

A hat tip to you, my dear. It's nice to see you soldiering through your cauliflower; you are trying your darnest to make this work for you. Continued good luck.

landshark
Bento-ing from: Chicago › USA
Joined: 5 Nov 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 36 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

My new favorite way to make cauliflower is to roast it. I've never tasted this vegetable cooked in such a way where it actually becomes sweet. I don't care for sweet tasting vegetables (sweet potatoes for one...) but this is a mild caramelized sweetness and the combination of garlic, tart lemon juice, and pungent cheese seem to balance everything all out.

Just chop a head of cauliflower into small florets and toss with a good amount of olive oil, garlic, bit of salt, pepper, and a splash of fresh lemon juice. If you don't have a lemon on hand, I've found Italian dressing works well for adding that acidic touch. Roast at 400ºF until browned and top with Parmesan cheese if you'd like.

Cassaendra
Joined: 9 Feb 2008
User offline. Last seen 2 years 27 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Aside from cauliflower in soup and stirfry, Sicilian Cauliflower is one of my favorite ways to prepare cauliflower. It is a recipe that I've adapted from a Facebook note by Michael Symon.

It utilizes raisins, pine nuts, capers, cumin, lemon and orange juice and zest, and honey.

Luce
Joined: 22 Aug 2010
User offline. Last seen 4 years 6 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Hi Loretta,

I know this is dragging up an old thread, but I found this while searching for that amazing cauliflower salad recipe (thanks Bronwyn!). I guess that you will still be interested in all the recipes you can get your hands on, even if you're not bombarded with cauliflower at the moment!

Our local paper has a recipe a day, and one during the week was for cauliflower fritters. You need:
- 1 small or half a big cauliflower cut into florets (smaller is faster)
- 3 tbsp flat leaf parsely, chopped (I used corriander instead, still tasted great!)
- 1 tsp garlic, crushed
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2/4 cup flower
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- veg oil for frying

Basically - steam, simmer, microwave (whatever your choice) the cauliflower till tender. Mash them up, mix in the other ingredients (apart from the veg oil!) and fry spoonfulls of the mixture till golden brown on both sides.

This amount made 10 generous fritters.

I didnt use much oil, perhaps 1/2 tablespoon and relied on the magic that is a non stick pan.

Also, I played around a lot with the spices/herbs (both in terms of omissions/additions and amounts) and had to add extra flour.

All in all pretty easy and I thought delicious. NO caulifower texture but a hint of the taste. I enjoyed that hint but I recommend you get generous with the spices ;)

The paper suggests serving with a lime and youghurt sauce (1 cup natural yoghurt - thick, pot set is best, 2 tbsp chopped corriander, zest and juice of one lime, 2 tbsp olive oil) but I was too hungry to bother and just wanted to eat them straight away. It's been hard not to eat the whole 10!

Can report back on how they freeze if anyone is interested :)

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Am not in the mood for soup at the moment so it was with much dismay that I encountered a non advertised cauliflower in my veg box this morning.

I saw a few suggestions for cooking cauliflower in a slow cooker so, having exhausted pretty much every other approach, gave this one a try. Added some water, a little salt, a couple of garlic cloves and set my rice cooker to the slow cook function and left it to cook for about 4.5 hours.
I didn't have any walnuts or sourdough left so I was bit worried about what the smell would be like but the garlic seemed to do a good job of masking the stench, smelled quite good for once.
Once done, I drained the florets, mashed them with a little bit of butter and am pleased with the result. OK, texture wise it's like a cross between wallpaper paste and mashed potatoes, but it tastes nice enough, no hint of that sulphuric element to a cauliflower that I find so unpalatable. So I've finally found my way of neutralising cauliflower and turning it into an ingredient I can use for every day cooking. First try will be a nagaimo/yamaimo substitute for okonomiyaki.

Odd that the slow cooking approach worked, over cooking cauliflower is a big reason why so many people hate it.

Am editing this to post my result:
SUCCESS!!!
Slow cooked and then mashed cauliflower makes the best nagaimo substitute I've ever come across!
I just made okonomiyaki with the mashed cauliflower and used shredded cabbage, wild garlic greens and a few fat prawns (no beni shouga, alas). It's not quite as light as using grated nagaimo but a very, very good approximation and MUCH better than using an okonomiyaki flour mix.
Have just portioned out the remaining mash into some containers and popped them in the freezer so I can make more.
Am really looking forward to preparing this for my husband tonight, I won't tell him it has cauliflower and I'm sure he'll think it's a regular okonomiyaki

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 14 hours 14 min ago.
Re: Help me through the cauliflower glut

Sounds interesting! I'll have to try it out ^_^

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

New forum activity since your last visit

TitleAuthorAnswersLast Postsort icon
Sesame salad dressing Supertaster91 year 7 weeks ago
Authentic paella? maki101 year 8 weeks ago
IMPORTANT: If you have a blog on JustBento... maki21 year 11 weeks ago
Shiso - uses for this herb Loretta01 year 13 weeks ago
Fuki (Japanese Butterbur) Tsukemono Recipes kumo51 year 13 weeks ago