Friday, 6 November 2009
They say you learn something new every day, and I guess it's true. At least that is the way it usually works for me
Take today for instance . . . Today, I learned that cauliflower is considered to be, not only a cruciferous vegetable, but also an Inflorescent Vegetable. By that, I expect they are referring to the fact that it is a vegetable that is also a flower head, as other vegetables in the Inflorescent family include Artichokes and Broccoli, both of which are quite flowery as well . . . and none that I have ever seen actually glow in the dark . . . or am I missing something huge??!!!
I love Caulifower . . . me . . . I do. It's one of my favourite vegetables. It's very versatile and I think it tastes just wonderful. Low in calories, and chock full of vitamins, I ljust adore it raw, or cooked. If you are low carbing it, cauliflower is a God send as it can replace potatoes in a lot of dishes. The other night we had a chicken curry, and I served some steamed caulifower with it on the side. The cauliflower with some of the curry sauce on it was my favourite part of the meal!!
One of my absolute, ABSOLUTE loves . . . has got to be Cauliflower Cheese.
mmmm . . . those lovely tasty florets of Cauliflower, all tender and sweet, all blanketed, bathed and smothered beneath a lucious cheese sauce, and then browned until crispy on top in a hot oven or under a grill. Ohh, it's so, so, SOOOO good.
Sometimes I even add crispy buttered bread crumbs to the top.
I could make, and often DO make a meal of it!
Some people may eat this as a main course, and it certainly makes for a delicious one. Other's may choose to have it as a side dish. Whichever way you choose, you will not be disappointed.
1 large cauliflower, broken into bite sized florets
1 1/2 pints milk
1 bay leaf
1 onion, halved
a few whole cloves
freshly grated nutmeg
2 ounces butter
2 ounces flour
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 TBS grainy mustard
4 ounces mature farmhouse cheddar, grated
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
additional cheese as desired
First make the bechamel sauce. Place the onion, stuck with the cloves and the bay leaf into a saucepan with the milk. Bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to stand for 30 minutes to allow the onion and herbs to infuse the milk with their flavour. At the end of half an hour, melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Cook for one minute, then slowly whisk in the infused milk, discarding the onion, bayleaf and cloves.
Whisk and cook until thickened. Turn heat to very low and allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently as to prevent it from catching. Remove from the heat and then whisk in the grated cheddar and Parmesan, along with the mustard. Flavour with some grated nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 205*C/425*F.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and then add the cauliflower florets. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the cauliflower is crispy tender. Drain well and then place into a buttered shallow casserole dish. Pour the cheese bechamel sauce over top., cloaking it well. You can leave this plain or you can sprinkle over a handful of additonal grated cheese. (I have chosen to sprinkle over top a mixture of jack, cheddar, and jalapeno cheese here)
Place in the heated oven and roast until it begins to brown in places and the sauce is bubbling. Try not to go past this stage or the sauce will split and turn oily.
Sometimes I even go all out and do something daring with my cauliflower cheese . . .
For instance, what do you get when you pop a cheese covered puff pastry hat on top of your Cauliflower Cheese???
Why . . . a Cauliflower Cheese Pot Pie of course!