Cassa-my-roling with Cauliflower
Thinking about food, creating dishes in my mind, and vacillating back and forth on old favorites. So what do I share with you today? Cauliflower. Yes, cauliflower. Continuing on my casserole kick, but with one of my favorite vegetables, cauliflower. The origin of cauliflower is from the Latin word, caulis, which means cabbage and flower. And it’s good for you, too – high in Vitamins C, K and B and low in fat and carbohydrates. There are different varieties on the color spectrum, with purple, orange and green showing up in the finer produce departments, but the most common is white.
Right now on the food spectrum, cauliflower is cool, like kale and quinoa. You hear about cauliflower mashed potatoes, cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza, cauliflower everything. But I loved cauliflower before it was cool, when no one ate it, and most turned up their noses at it. I once heard it referred to as a white broccoli, boring and bland. It’s anything but!! It’s all in the seasoning and preparation, like most vegetables. We love it simply steamed with olive oil and lemon; roasted, steamed with a mild cheese glaze – you name it. And it’s a great raw veggie served with a great dip on a vegetable tray. To jazz it up a little, I make a Cauliflower Gratin that is so good, so cheesy, so comforting. Like a true casserole! Make this for your next dinner party as a side item, and I promise everyone will be fighting for the last spoonful. No more boring and bland! Here’s my version:
Twink’s Cauliflower Gratin
- 1 large head cauliflower, separated into small florets (about 6 cups)
- 3 T. butter
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
- 2 ½ cups half and half
- 1 8 ounce package shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat water in saucepan, and when boiling, add cauliflower. Boil for 5 minutes, drain well. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat, then add onions, stirring constantly, until soft. Stir in flour and dry mustard, stir constantly for about one minute. Slowly whisk in half and half, cook 3-5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add cheddar cheese, cream cheese and half of the parmesan cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Add cauliflower, salt and pepper and stir well. Pour into a greased (cooking spray) casserole dish. Mix panko and remaining parmesan cheese, and sprinkle over cauliflower mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Enjoy!!
Make sure you use dry mustard powder, not the liquid prepared mustard. You can substitute milk for the half and half, but it won’t be as creamy.
Until next time, be kinder than necessary, always. Stress makes you believe that everything has to happen NOW, but faith assures us that it happens in God’s time.