All Things White, Light and Healthy (almost)

Considering that cauliflower seems to be what all farm-to-table chefs up and down the East coast served in 2015, I think it’s safe to say that it has joined its green cousins (kale and Brussels sprouts) as a “hot and trendy” vegetable in the culinary landscape.

So, what better vegetable to serve up in the New Year than this white cruciferous vegetable that is packed (like a snowball) with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits and lots of vitamin C, and can warm a January soul on these cold winter days.

From cheesy cauliflower soup to hearty cauliflower gratin to spicy roasted bites, enjoy all things white, light and healthy this month, beginning with the cauliflower recipes below.

Further below you’ll find another round, white “snowball” treat, perfect for afternoon tea!

Spicy Cauliflower Bites

Ingredients for the cauliflower:
4 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. hot sauce*
1/2 cup water

Ingredients for the spicy sauce:
4 tsp. hot sauce
2 tbsp. butter or coconut oil (coconut oil gives it an nice additional flavor)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of salt

Instructions:
For the spicy sauce combine the 4 tablespoons of hot sauce, the butter or coconut oil, garlic and salt in small saucepan and heat on medium low. Set aside.

Prepare baking tray with sheet of aluminum foil. Combine the flour and salt. Combine the 1/2 cup of water and 1 tablespoon hot sauce and pour into the flour/salt mixture and stir well. Coat the cauliflower pieces in the batter and place on the baking sheet. Bake in 450 degrees F oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove and drizzle the heated sauce on the roasted cauliflower pieces and serve with Ranch dressing or your own favorite sauce.

*ATG suggestions for hot sauce and something new to try: Captain Mowatt’s “Canceaux Turbeau” – “Burning the planet one tongue at a time” based out of Portland, Maine, or “Slap Ya Mama” , a Cajun Pepper Sauce out of Ville Platte, Louisiana. 

roasted cauliflower recipes

Cauliflower Gratin (ATG’s adaption from various recipes)

Ingredients:
1 large head of cauliflower
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 & 1/4 cups milk, heated
1 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly made bread crumbs (I always use thick-cut bread crumbs and brown them in a little butter in large frying pan on the stove until slightly crunchy.)

Instructions:
Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and heat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash cauliflower and separate into a mix of small to medium sized florets. Place cauliflower pieces on foil and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 10-20 minutes until cauliflower browns in spots.

Meanwhile, to create the cream sauce, melt the butter in saucepan and then stir in flour whisking continuously making a paste and then slowly add the heated milk stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper and add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.

Place the cauliflower in square or rectangle baking dish and pour sauce over and then sprinkle bread crumbs. Bake in 375 degrees F oven until the edges begin to brown and the cheese begins to bubble. Turn oven off and turn broiler on and place under broiler for 2-3 minutes until nicely browned.

Cauliflower Risotto (taken from Nordstrom Cookbook)

Ingredients:
2 cups Arborio Rice
1 white onion (1/2 cup diced and the rest thinly sliced)
4 cloves garlic, halved
1 small head cauliflower
1 can low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Scatter sliced onion and garlic in baking dish and top with cauliflower pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for about an hour until the cauliflower is tender. Discard most of the onion and garlic. Smash cauliflower into medium pieces. While cauliflower is cooking, bring broth to simmer in saucepan. Then, in another saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add diced onion and sauté until translucent. Add rice and coat well with butter mixture for about 2 minutes. Then add wine and let come to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until most of the wine evaporates. Then add 1/2 cup of the heated broth to the rice and stir on a low simmer until the broth is absorbed. Repeat until all but 1/4 cup of the broth is incorporated. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes stirring continuously and then add remaining 1/4 cup of broth, 1/2-cup Parmesan cheese, and 1 tbsp. butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Orange Glazed Cauliflower (taken from The Kitchen Prep)

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, rinsed and cut into medium-sized florets
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1-2 tbsp. water
1 bunch scallions, sliced on sharp angle

Instructions:
Prepare baking sheet by placing a sheet of foil on top. Place cauliflower pieces on foil and drizzle with olive oil and salt making sure to coat the pieces evenly. Place in 450 degrees F oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until dark brown spots begin to appear on cauliflower.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, red pepper, ginger and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Stir in orange zest. Pour orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and cornstarch into saucepan, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer whisking often until the sauce is slightly thickened. Pour sauce into large glass bowl and add the roasted cauliflower and stir making sure to completely coat each piece. Transfer to a serving dish and top with sliced scallions.

See also our recipe for cream of fresh cauliflower soup.

Pecan Cookie Balls

The recipe for the Pecan cookies below is an old recipe taken from The Museum of Fine Arts Boston Cookbook (1981). I used to make these every Christmas and forgot how delicious they are until I rediscovered them just recently. Perfect for afternoon tea or with a morning cup of coffee, “You’ll make these again and again,” the book says…which I can attest is true!

Ingredients:
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla (we used Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract)
2 cups flour
2 cups pecans, finely chopped

Pecan cookie recipe

Instructions:
Cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and the finely chopped pecans until thoroughly combined. Shape into balls (the dough will be loose and crumbly-like as if it won’t hold together but once you pick some up it forms nicely into a ball). Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 300 degree F for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and roll in powered sugar.

Note: these cookies don’t spread when baking but will start to brown around the bottom edge, which will indicate that they are done. Be careful not to over bake.

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