Cauliflower Piccata

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Winter has officially arrived- all in one weekend might I add- here in Northeast Ohio. We got pounded with over 4 feet of snow, some areas up to 12 feet along the snow belt. Cars were trapped in between mounds of heavy snow, roads became icy where even the snow plows had a hard time keeping up with clearing the roads. The temperature dropped down to 9 degrees with a wind chill of negative 13.  I did recently read that spring is 50 some days away though, good news! Its hard to prepare for a snowpocalypse in Ohio because the weather always tends to be the opposite of what is foretasted. This time however, they were right- it’s a good thing I did my grocery shopping earlier in the week because the grocery stores and gas stations were madness on Friday. 

In the winter, everyone turns to satisfying comfort food, something to warm the soul. Commonly soups, stews, chili, pastas- anything hot and heavy, a kind of amenity to fill you with contentment during this cold and dark time of the year. A favored dish among many-Picatta may not be the first choice for something hearty on a frigid evening, I personally always find comfort in anything with butter, lemons, pasta and everything with a brine.

Piccata is a preparation typically with meat (Chicken or Fish) that is lightly dusted with flour, seared and served with a sauce of butter, lemons and capers.  My recipe is far from the classic as I am substituting a vegetable for the protein and I chose not to do the traditional Beurre Blanc (White wine butter sauce). Not going to lie my sauce doesn’t look the best and I kept it simple as I just melted butter with some aromatics and added in the capers and lemon juice.  If you prefer to keep the sauce conventional, here is a great butter sauce recipe. I found cauliflower to be wonderful alternative as the silky texture from the sauce and pop of acid readily absorbs and gives a great compliment to the produce.

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Mise En Place:

  • (1) Head Cauliflower
  • (2) Sticks Butter, cut into cubes
  • (1/2) Yellow Onion, Julienne
  • (1) Small Jar Capers-in brine
  • (2) Lemons-Juiced, seeds removed
  • (2) Cloves Garlic, sliced
  • Angel Hair Pasta
  • S&P, TT

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Method of Prep:

  • Heat oven to 400 Degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Prepare the Cauliflower steaks by cutting the head in half vertical, then slicing those halves in half again. The steaks will tend to break apart, it happens. Try and keep them together best you can. Drizzle steaks with olive oil, S&P. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes-turning over after 10 minutes to allow even cooking on both sides. If you want to go classic Piccata-try lightly coating the Cauliflower in a dusting of AP Flour and searing on both sides until golden. 
  • Fill a sauce pot with water, bring to a boil and cook off Angel hair pasta. I always add salt to the water for flavor and a little oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Drain water from the pasta and set aside.
  • Prepare the sauce by first sauteing the aromatics (garlic and onion) until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Begin to slowly add in butter cubes and continuing to whisk until melted over low heat. If butter begins to break remove from the heat. 
  • Whisk in Lemon juice and Capers (drain from brine first). Strain sauce from the aromatics, optional. (I kept the aromatics with the sauce to add to the pasta for a little something extra in the dish). Season with S&P, TT.
  • Place a decent serving of Pasta on a plate, top with Cauliflower and coat in Butter sauce mixture. (Optional-toss pasta in butter sauce upon serving).
  • Enjoy!

**Note: Eat immediately to keep the butter sauce from solidifying or breaking upon sitting**

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Twice Baked Cauliflower

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I’m continually looking for new low carb recipes. When this video for a twice baked cauliflower dish popped up in my news feed on facebook, I thought to myself, that’s a new recipe I haven’t seen yet & it looked too good not to try! 

I’ve always loved cauliflower, raw or cooked. The internet has countless recipes that are using cauliflower in place of proteins and other high carb foods. The cauliflower head is very versatile and can be used grated as a rice or other grain substitute, cut thick to mock a “steak”, mashed up as a side dish, pureed as a sauce or into a soup, pulsed fine to mimic “cheese” on a salad. Cauliflower can be a substitute for flour and made into a pizza “dough”, cut into florets and tossed in buffalo as “wings”, even molded together and fried as a “tater tot” in place of potatoes. The Cauliflower possibilities are literally endless.  

I had tweaked this recipe a little bit from the original. I always love the inspiration from other food bloggers but will always put my own twist on a recipe. Obviously this recipe is made vegetarian, but if you would like to go full loaded twice baked, add bacon into the mix! The end result of this is super creamy & makes a great side dish with dinner. I served this as a side of pan seared salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. This baked cauliflower dish is even great on its own! I am looking forward to making this again and next time adding in some different spices or vegetables. 

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Mise En Place:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, florets removed, chopped up small
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Scallions, as a Garnish
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Turn oven to 350 degrees. Remove core and stem from cauliflower. Cut florets into smaller chunks. Cook in a medium pot of salted boiling water until cauliflower is tender but not soft, approximately 5-7 minutes. Drain well and & mash with a potato masher, still leaving some chunks.
  • Mix in butter & cream cheese until smooth. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Once cauliflower is mixed well and creamy, add into a gently greased casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake in the oven, uncovered 15-20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.
  • Garnish with scallions & Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Steaks

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It’s a well known fact that fresh is always better than frozen products. When it comes to vegetables though, the shelf life for them being fresh and kept in the fridge goes faster than I can keep up with in my back and forth work schedule.

During the slow winter months, also knows as our off season at the Country Club, I try to use this free time to do a lot more cooking at home. The only thing I wish this side of Cleveland would offer is more farmers markets. I would much rather spend my money there than at the grocery store any day. Even though I’m doing a lot more cooking at home, I’m still watching how much produce I bring home. I can only use up so much of it at one time during the week. Like I said, fresh vegetable always seem to wilt or rot on me before I get to using them.

I’ve always had a liking for cauliflower, raw or cooked didn’t matter to me. A fellow co-worker mentioned how she will make roasted cauliflower for her 2 little kids at home. She roasts it in the over with oil, salt and pepper and then sprinkles loads of Parmesan cheese and tops it with fresh made pesto, she really talked the roasted cauliflower recipe up. I figured if 2 kids under the age of 6 will eat it, it’s gotta be good. Usually I steam cauliflower so I was ready to try something different with roasting it. I took the basic ingredients: salt, pepper, and EVOO and added a few more spices to it to really make the flavor pop. The recipe makes the best entree, or side dish, you choose.

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Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, stem & leaves removed, cut (You will get 3 steaks out of 1 head)
  • 1/2 Cup EVOO
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning Blend
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Heat Oven to 350
  • Once cauliflower is cut, place on a sheet tray
  • In a small bowl mix together EVOO & seasonings
  • Using a pastry brush, brush oil over the front and back of cauliflower, brush along the tops and sides as well. Season with S&P.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 10 Minutes. Turn over and place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until tops of cauliflower are golden brown.
  • Enjoy!
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Lentil & Cauliflower “Rice” Tacos

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When in doubt: Tacos! OR put an egg on it… whichever path you choose you will end up happy..I promise.

When I first heard of cauliflower rice I thought that doesn’t even makes sense. Whats crazy about this concept is it looks pretty darn similar to rice once its crumbled up. As for me, I personally think it looks more like cous cous, but we’ll just stick with rice because it sounds better. The technique is quite simple. You just cut up a head of cauliflower into smaller pieces, place it inside a food processor (or robot coupe to all my kitchen speaking folks) and pulse the cauliflower about 10 times or so until you get a crumble. Be careful not to pulse too much or you may end up with dust!

Instead of adding vegetables or other fixins to this “rice”…I decided to use it as a filling for tacos. The cauliflower is my healthier substitution to ground beef that you would use for tacos. Take the seasonings you would use for the taco filling (ie: cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, etc) and add it into the cauliflower crumble. You don’t have to add in the lentils but you should because they are delicious and a different addition.

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Mise en Place:

-1 Cup Lentils, cooked

-1 Head Cauliflower, cut into smaller pieces

-1 Large Yellow onion, small dice

-4 Cloves Garlic, minced

-2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

-1 Tablespoon Cumin

-1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

-1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne

-Salt and Pepper, TT

-Taco shells and toppings of choice

Method of Prep:

-Prepare the cauliflower “rice” by removing the leaves and bottom stem from cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and process a 1/4 of the batch at a time. Pulse on and off until grated. (You can use a box grater as well if you don’t have a food processor)

-Once the cauliflower is grated, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add in garlic and cauliflower. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring often.

-Add in spices and lentils.  Mix to combine.

-Continue cooking until cauliflower is tender, approximately 4 minutes.

-Grab some tortilla shells and fill with cauliflower mixture. Top with your favorite taco fillings!

Enjoy!

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