Meatless Monday: Crave-worthy Cauliflower

     Crave-worthy Cauliflower?  Right about now some may think I am joking, maybe it sounds a little far fetched or just too good to be true.  Maybe one spouse (it’s not just the husbands that don’t like their veggies) turns up their nose at cauliflower or remembers how they ate it as a kid, prepared steamed and perhaps a wee bit bland.  Maybe it is kids squirming in disgust or cowering in fear during dinner around the dining table at the thought of eating or just trying it. Well don’t give up, don’t worry, and trust me.  The crave-worthiness of this is for real and it is really good.  I am also proud to say that this was a creation that Eric created with very little help from me.  This is actually a duel recipe for two different flavors of cauliflower and both are utterly delicious.  These recipes are indeed crave-able, crave-worthy, and if anyone hated cauliflower before, these babies will make any cauliflower cynic a loyal devotee.  I am speaking from experience, the truth is cauliflower wasn’t my favorite vegetable either.
     The first time Eric made this, I was sorry that I did not think of it myself.  It includes one of my favorite sauces, Frank’s Red Hot.  After one of my many gawking sessions over the pictures on foodgawker I came across this recipe for Cauliflower Buffalo Wings.  I placed it in my queue of favorites planning to try it, but it was Eric that checked it out later.  Deciding to go a quicker and easier route his preparation used original Frank’s Red Hot and butter melted together .  After pouring the sauce directly over the raw cauliflower and tossing to coat, he roasted it all up in a blazing oven.  It was so good I suggested we make it again.
     A few weeks ago an interesting opportunity presented itself.  Eric and my bro decided on having a poker night.  A Guys Only game night was planned, (we girls were all too happy to hang downstairs, chatting and watching a movie while they did their Guy Thing, huh!), complete with Texas hold-em and mountains of chicken wings.  I suggested we also make the Red Hot cauliflower as a healthier choice to the chicken wings.  I was interested in seeing what a bunch of carnivorous, poker playing, manly men would think of this recipe.
     Optimistically viewing the outcome of this experiment, and since there was a crowd coming over we purchased two heads of cauliflower and proceeded with the preparation.  After Eric started making the red hot sauce, he suggested instead of making both heads of cauliflower the same, we should do some kind of variation.  I would like to think that what transpired next was a collaboration, but I think I was just the laborer in the kitchen on this occasion cutting up cauliflower florets.  The end of the story is this, all the guys really liked it and some of them loved it.  I am happy to say that the cauliflower was a hit the proof being they were gone before the chicken wings.  So give these florets a try, sneak it in your family’s repertoire of recipes or serve up a platter at the next game night instead of or in addition to traditional fare.  This recipe is for a crowd but can be deconstructed easily to just try one flavor at a time. Pick one and serve it for a snack, or serve one flavor (my pick would be the Thai Chili for this) with rice or quinoa for a delicious lunch. I guarantee it will be requested again.






Two heads are better than one: 
Thai Chili and Buffalo Red Hot Cauliflower print

Recipe by Eric & Jordan (an honorable mention for cutting up all the cauliflower)

Ingredients

  • 2 large heads of cauliflower cut into florets, divided
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp Thai Kitchen roasted red chili paste
  • 1 Tbsp Hoy Fong Foods Sambal Oelek (ground fresh chili paste)
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. For Thai Chili Cauliflower: In sauce pan combine coconut milk, roasted red chili paste, and sambal oelek. Heat until just warmed and coconut milk mixture is able to be poured easy over cauliflower.
  3. Place florets from one head in large sealable tupperware container, pouring sauce over florets. Cover and shake well to coat with sauce.
  4. In a single layer place florets with sauce on large 17x12x1 inch jelly roll pan.
  5. For Red Hot Cauliflower: In sauce pan combine butter and red hot. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted, stirring to combine.
  6. Place florets of other head of cauliflower in second tupperware container, pour red hot sauce over florets, cover and shake well to coat with sauce.
  7. Place florets in a single layer with sauce on second large jelly roll pan.
  8. Place both pans of prepared cauliflower into 400º oven and roast until crisp tender about 25-30 minutes stirring once or twice. Florets should be slightly caramelized.
  9. Serve with dipping sauces: any favorite blue cheese dressing for red hot cauliflower and Brianna’s Saucy Ginger Mandarin dressing for Thai chili cauliflower.
Cooks Note: Thai Chili Recipe is vegan.
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