Thursday, May 21, 2009

The magical cruciferous veggie: Cauliflower!

Let's face it, white rice and mashed potatoes are delicious side dishes but not so great for us in terms of weight control. But don't despair...there is a fabulous susbstitute that comes pretty darn close to both rice and potato...and it's cauliflower! Don't laugh! Just read on and see how the magic happens. But first, a little about our friend, cauliflower:

Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. As a member of the brassica family, cauliflower shares with broccoli and cabbage several phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed. In addition, the compound indole-3-carbinol, which appears to work as an anti-estrogen, appears to slow or prevent the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate. Cauliflower also contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances which may improve the liver's ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances. A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Sounds like we should be eating a lot of it! :) onto how cauliflower replaces mashed potatoes and rice:

Mashed Faux-tatoes

2 pounds cauliflower, trimmed
sea salt
1/4 cup whipping cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese


Cut the cauliflower, including the core, into 1-inch pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt lightly. Add the cauliflower and cook over medium heat until completely tender, 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Drain cauliflower in a colander. With a bowl or small plate, press on the cauliflower to remove all water. Toss the cauliflower and continue pressing out the water. This step is very important to the texture of the dish. Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor, or a blender. Add the cream and puree until completely smooth. If you like a chunkier texture, mash by hand, adding the cream after cauliflower is mashed. Return to pot. When you are ready to serve, heat over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the butter, parmesan and cream cheese. Stir until incorporated. Season to taste with salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

For "rice" just put the cauliflower through the food processor or chop by hand to a semi fine consistency. You can now steam, microwave or sauté with butter, but make sure not to overcook it.
Bonus recipe, just because it's so darn delicious!

Roasted Cauliflower


* 1 head of cauliflower
* 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
* Lemon juice (from 1/2 or a whole lemon)
* Olive oil
* Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Parmesan cheese


1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Toss in the garlic. Squeeze lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If the oven hasn't reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.

2 Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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