Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, the joy of home ownership and the occasional rant!

The cauliflower experiment

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In my search for interesting food to cook myself I’ve seen, and been sent, the recipes for cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower garlic bread, etc.  Supposedly you use cauliflower as a substitute for the bread part.

Okay.

Thing is, I’ve become quite cynical about recipes that purport to make substitutes for carb based food.  I’ve been trying them and the results are:

  1. Disgusting, inedible messes.  Like the “pancakes” using coconut flour and many eggs.
  2. Don’t look anything remotely close to what appears in the photographs accompanying the recipes.
  3. Descriptions and instructions do not jibe – what the recipe says is not what happens.
  4. Recipes writers LIE!

I know how to follow recipes and to troubleshoot when something isn’t right.  I trained as a chef for a year right out of high school, and worked as a cook and a baker, so I know my way around an oven and food processor.  I’ve followed a lot of recipes in my life and they pretty much always turn out very well.  So you can imagine how I felt trying these recipes and experiencing such massive fails!

Nonetheless, this cauliflower thing was intriguing.  I like cauliflower.  So I spent a few weeks checking out the recipes that popped up on my Facebook feed, or that my sister and friends sent me.  Some were so involved that I lost interest part way through reading them.  Others spent 2000 words describing how great they were and how you couldn’t even tell it was cauliflower… really?  Now why don’t I believe that?

Several recipes described cooking the cauliflower then wringing it out in a towel to remove moisture, which seeing as they cooked it with water… made sense. But why would you bother cooking it with water to only have to wring it out?   Some said to grate the cauliflower into “rice” first, or after cooking.  I came across one that pureed the cauliflower and then microwaved it without water and didn’t wring it out, that made more sense.

I bought a cauliflower (putting my retirement at risk at the expense) so today was the day I tried this idea out.  Realizing, of course, that it was going to taste like, well, CAULIFLOWER!  What I wanted to end up with was a patty or fritter type thing.  Hopefully crunchy.

I started by chopping up a cauliflower head and processing it into a coarse grind in the food processor.

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I did not puree it, it was a dry fine chop.  You could do it by hand too if you didn’t have a machine to do it.

Then I microwaved it for a total of 10 minutes on high – stopping at 5 minutes to stir it.

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While it was cooking I grated up a hunk of parmesan and some mozzarella.

I decided to add bacon to my recipe – I always have real bacon bits in the fridge (I put that sh*t on everything!  LOL) and some spices.  This time I used ground white pepper, paprika, ground thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, chilli powder – I didn’t add salt as I figured the bacon and the parmesan would add enough.  And eggs to bind it together.

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I let the cauliflower cool to room temperature and then mixed in the spices, then the bacon and cheeses.  I wanted to make sure they were well blended before adding the eggs.

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Then added the eggs and mixed it up really well.

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I had got three eggs out but thought two might be enough, but it did need the third one.

Then I put heaping spoonfuls on the parchment paper and pressed them flat and shaped the sides with the spoon.  One large head of cauliflower made enough for what’s in the photo.

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They aren’t bad at all.  Next time (yes, I will do this again!) I am going to use a lot more spice and different stronger flavours.  And I am going to cook in oil on the stove – like potato pancakes – I want them crunchy!  These are firm, but not crisp.

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CAULIFLOWER, BACON & CHEESE PATTIES

Preheat oven to 425F.  Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

Ingredients used in this batch shown in the photos:

Large head of cauliflower

1 cup (by volume) grated parmesan (or other hard cheese)

1/2 cup (by volume) grated mozzarella (or other softer cheese)

1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon

Spices:  ground white pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli powder, ground thyme – less than 1/8 tsp of each.  Next time I would use a lot more!

3 large eggs

Directions:

Coarsely chop or grind cauliflower to an even consistency. Place in a microwave safe bowl or dish, cover with lid or plastic wrap, and microwave on high for a total of 10 minutes, stirring once at the 5 minute mark.

Remove cover, stir and let the cauliflower cool to room temperature.

Once the cauliflower is cool, stir in spices, bacon and cheeses.  Once well blended, add the eggs and mix until combined.

Scoop onto the parchment lined cookie sheet and shape into desired size/shape – flatten and even out the sides.

Bake in the centre of the 425F oven for a total of 25 minutes, rotating the sheets at the 15 minute mark.  Check for desired doneness as your oven may be hotter or cooler than mine. Edges should be dark brown and the top should be starting to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool before removing from tray.  It doesn’t take long.  These turned out to be firm and solid so are suitable to hold other things.

Eat as is, warm, with condiments of your choice – guacamole, sour cream, dijon mustard, more cheese, etc.  Or, make a sandwich with them like I did – guacamole and sliced turkey!

Store leftovers in the fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap (to avoid condensation in containers.)

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This turned out well… and yes, this would work for a pizza crust very well.  HOWEVER, it is cauliflower and tastes like cauliflower but it is a neat way to eat it!

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