Any Kitchen Will Do

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Archive for the category “cauliflower”


2015-10-12 11.31.41

Turmeric is an entertaining ingredient to use. It turns everything it touches a brilliant shade of orange-yellow, so it is sometimes hard to keep the kitchen un-yellow. Be it my hands, the counter, spatula or the food itself, there is no doubt when it was used.

Combining turmeric with the sometimes drab color of cauliflower, it cannot help but brighten up any plate. Big D loves turmeric, and we both take it as a daily anti-inflammatory supplement, so I pulled out our big container of the powder and added some to our lunch’s steamed and seared cauliflower side dish the other day.

Little B came through and asked what was for lunch. When I mentioned steamed cauliflower she excitedly asked if it was going to be mashed….why not?! It was mushed instead of left whole. Our traditional mashed cauli is great, but this yellaflower is quite flavorful and gave wonderful balance to the tomato sauce and cheesy meatballs I served on top of it.

During the gradually darker days of winter I hope this dish gives you some summer sun and joy.


3 Tbsp butter
1 large head cauliflower
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Cut cauliflower into bite sized florets – although it will be mashed later, cooking smaller pieces will let the flavors spread faster. In a medium stock pot over medium heat melt the butter. Add the cauliflower. Stir occasionally until the florets begin to release liquid, about five minutes. Sprinkle with turmeric, salt, ginger, garlic and onion, tossing until the spices coat the florets. Lower temperature and cover, cooking until cauliflower is soft, about five more minutes.

Puree the cauliflower and whipping cream either in the pot with an immersion blender, or by placing the cauliflower and cream in a food processor. The end product should be thick, smooth and bright yellow. Serve immediately in place of rice, polenta or pasta, or as a side dish.

Autumn Apple Chicken Soup

applechickensoupAlthough it is still in the mid-80s and humid here in Texas, my time on the back porch on cool mornings has given me a hankering for chicken soup. After consulting Little B on the contents she desired, specifically apples, I was inspired to tweak a previous snappy and successful chicken soup recipe to honor autumn with apples and some root vegetables. It was a great way to use the meat and juices from half a spatchcocked chicken. The apple, corn and carrot gave the soup a pleasant sweetness while warming and filling our bellies.

This soup can also be made with a traditionally roasted chicken and juices, or some cooked up especially for the soup, along with chicken stock.

You may notice that the the picture has nothing whatsoever to do with soup. That is because I never got a picture of the soup before Little B ate it up. Big D and I each got at least a bowl before Little B at three bowls per meal before it was gone. I substituted soup pictures with a picture Little B took of her lovies (and the leather strip our cat loves killing) after having three bowls of soup for dinner. Enjoy!

Autumn Apple Chicken Soup

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 turnip, chopped
2 celery stalks (plus heart and leaves if available)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Fuji apple with skin, chopped
Corn stripped from two cobs (or 1 can unsalted corn)
1/3 head cauliflower, chopped
8-10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh lemon thyme leaves
1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 pound chicken meat, dark and white mixed (from about half a roasted chicken)
4 cups chicken stock, or juices from the roasted chicken plus 3 cups water

In a 3 quart stock pot over medium high heat add oil. When oil is hot (in about 30 seconds) add garlic, onion, celery and carrot. Cook, stirring every few minutes until onions become transparent. Add cauliflower, turnip, apple and corn. Stir and continue to cook for about five minutes.

Add diced tomatoes with juices, chicken and chicken stock (or chicken juices plus water). Stir in basil, thyme, oregano, parsley and salt. Bring soup to a boil.

Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for at least one hour. Taste and add salt and pepper to desired level. Serve immediately or let cool, then store in an air tight container.

Cauli n Cheese

cauli n chz

I have made this before but did not have the just right combination for creamy and cheesy, so did not share it. Other cheesy things with cauliflower, like the Cauliflower Mac Bake is cheesy but not so creamy, and the Cheesy White and Green Bake is good, but the fibrous broccoli does not quite bring to mind a replacement for mac n cheese. I think the combination of cheeses and cream really worked this time. The cheese merged with the cauliflower and cream instead of becoming stretchy. This time was different. This time it worked just right. There was a chewiness, cheesiness and creaminess that worked like a comfort food for me. THIS time I was reminded of the nights as a child when mom and dad did not have time to make dinner and grabbed a box of pasta and cheese pouch, threw it in a pot and cooked it up. Sometimes ham or hot dogs were chopped up with it and made it even more salty. The taste of this meal also reminded me of meatless Fridays that were part of the religious aspects of my upbringing. I never actually missed the meat as I dug into the creamy cheesiness. After a few mouthfuls Little B asked if I would make this every night because it was ‘soooooo good!’. I don’t know if I can accomplish that, but it certainly is not hard to do if there is a kitchen nearby and barely took more time than fixing mac n cheese from a box! It would be so cool if she craved cauliflower instead of pasta in 20 years…

Cauli n Cheese

1 head cauliflower
2 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp sea salt, plus more for top
1 tsp ground black pepper, plus more for top
1 tsp onion powder, plus more for top
1 tsp garlic powder, plus more for top
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove leaves and stem from cauliflower. Cut cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces, keeping as much of the florets attached to the base as possible – avoid the crumbling of the florets. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs and cream, then add the salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Whisk in the seasoning. Add the cheese and stir in with the cream mixture. Arrange the cauliflower evenly in a 9″x13″ baking dish. Sprinkle some salt on cauliflower. Pour creamy cheese mixture over cauliflower, spreading cheese to cover the top entirely. Sprinkle a bit more salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder on top. Place uncovered in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until top is browned and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for ten minutes before serving.

Cheesy White and Green Bake


We have been very busy lately, so you may have noticed more often than not my posts include quick, easy recipes, good as leftovers for days we don’t have time to cook. I am so busy I noticed how much of a run on sentence I just wrote. Everything is moving quickly for us at the moment, but we still enjoy cooking a good meal, and want to make sure there is variety and a healthy dose of vegetables. This bake is filled with staples we always have in our kitchen. I hope you try it. As of the date of this posting, Little B inhaled this side dish the day I made it (along with a hunk of steak) then proceeded to request it three days in a row until the leftovers were all gone. This is noteworthy for two reasons: 1) although Little B is a fruit and vegetable nut, she tends toward raw rather than baked, so interest in this dish was refreshing, and 2) Little B is not a fan of leftovers, which may be rooted in our penchant for constant variety, or just a general tendency of a typical five year old. Regardless, she inhaled it and we happily watched! I may throw in some tuna or chicken next time and make it a full on casserole…

Cheesy White and Green Bake

1 small head cauliflower
1 stalk broccoli
1/2 small onion
2 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp ground thyme
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roughly chop onion, cauliflower and broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Toss together then spread vegetables evenly in a 9×13 inch baking dish. In medium bowl combine eggs, cream, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme and lemon juice. Whisk together until eggs are combined with other ingredients. Pour sauce over vegetables, gently tossing vegetables until they are coated. Sprinkle cheese on top of vegetables. Bake for 30 minutes until edges are browning and middle is bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes before serving.

Vegetable Cheese Soup

veg cheese soup

The other day for lunch Big D wanted cheese soup and Little B wanted vegetable soup. We rarely find a canned soup to our liking, much less wheat free, so if we want it we make it. The good thing is we keep a fridge full of cheese and vegetables. The bad news is I did not feel like being a short order cook, so I came up with a one pot wonder. Seeing that there were about three spoonfuls of leftovers, I think they did not mind the merger I came up with. While the sky outside was spitting a mix of rain and snow we filled our bellies with simple warm goodness from scratch. The beer kept us warm too!

Vegetable Cheese Soup

14.5 ounces beef broth
1 cup beer (I used red ale)
2 cups finely chopped broccoli
1 cup finely chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 plum tomato, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups grated mix of cheddar, Monterrey and mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot over medium high heat add the broth and beer. When it is starting to boil add the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomato, garlic and onion. Cook for about five minutes, until the vegetables start to soften and soup is hot. Add 1/2 cup of cheese, stirring until combined and the soup is hot again (after it got cooled off from adding the cheese). Continue adding and stirring in cheese 1/2 cup at a time and reheating soup in between until it is all incorporated. Add cream and stir to combine. Cover and let simmer on low for about ten minutes. Serve.


Broccoli Cauli Mash


If you are looking for a quick, different, single pot, green side dish then your search is over. It really stands out from the ones that leave the vegetables all whole and overly recognizable. I first got the idea for this dish from my mother in law. We started making straight mashed cauliflower a few years ago, and I would like to think that it was contagious and soon after crept into the kitchen of the in laws. During one of our visits to Texas this broccoli cauliflower mash appeared and was delicious! I don’t know exactly what she put in her dish for seasoning, but I did ours the way we like it – buttery with a little help from garlic and thyme. When I first saw it sitting on my plate it reminded me of mushed peas. When I put it in my mouth it was definitely not made of peas, was light, dreamy, and very much complimented the tender smoked salmon Big D cooked up. A weeknight dinner was on the table in no time!

Broccoli Cauli Mash

2 pounds fresh broccoli florets
1 pound fresh cauliflower florets
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup butter, sliced into eight pieces
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp sea salt

In a medium pot pour 1 cup water and add broccoli, cauliflower and onion. Cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are soft, 8-10 minutes. Drain and retain water from pot. Add thyme, garlic, salt and butter slices, stirring until mostly melted. Using an immersion stick blender, puree until vegetables are smooth. If puree is too thick for your taste add a small amount of the retained water, from boiling the vegetables, to thin it out. Mash can be served immediately, but flavors will combine more thoroughly after resting for an hour or more.

Cauliflower Mac Bake

cauli mac bake

Our foster son Tall P makes really good cheesy scrambled eggs. Somehow he cooks the eggs just right and puts in just enough cheese right at the end to make it taste like baked macaroni and cheese. I won’t try to duplicate it, for it is something he does for us, so why try? He is the master! I had a hankering for them the other day when he was busy at school, so I decided to try a baked cauliflower version of mac n cheese. I think I found a great way to do a veggie version, although I bet he would not agree. I have to reveal here that Tall P is not a vegetable lover. He likes corn on the cob and vegetables in soup, and only if they are an unrecognizable puree added as a thickener and he does not know they were added. Yes, Paul, you now know the veggie soup secret! This dish was inspired by the cheesy eggs, created with cheesy veggies.  Go figure. It definitely appeased my craving for baked mac and cheese (not so much the Kraft version I grew up eating, but the baked stuff I discovered later in life). The dish was easy to prepare and bake, allowing me to time it perfectly with the smoked pork Big D made. Add some chimichurri to the pork and what a meal!

Cauliflower Mac Bake

1 large head cauliflower
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, sliced into thin pieces
3 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces, making sure stem pieces are a little smaller. Place white cheddar cheeses slices in the bottom of a 9×9 or 9-11 baking dish. Spread cauliflower evenly over cheese. In a medium bowl combine cream, eggs, garlic, salt, mustard and chile flakes. Whisk until well combined. Add cheese and stir until well coated. Pour cheese mixture over cauliflower, spreading it evenly. Make thin slices over butter and place them on top of cheese mixture. Place in preheated oven for 60 – 75 minutes. The thicker the cauliflower the longer the baking time to make sure the middle is baked soft. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before serving. Slice into six or nine pieces for side dishes – it should come out intact, but if it doesn’t, it will still taste awesome.

Chicken Faux Fried Rice

faux fried rice

Chopsticks are fun. Whenever there is bite-sized food I like using them. Little B likes using them, too, and is still working on mastering their use. I do use a bit of rolled paper and a rubber band to connect them on tip, then she can practice the squeezing and picking up of food, knowing that free range chop stick use is in her near future. I don’t eat rice anymore, which makes ordering in Chinese restaurants a little challenging, but I enjoy the flavors and textures of the dishes, including fried rice. As I continue to explore the many and varied uses of cauliflower, I did some research about using it instead of rice. In the end, using it as a rice substitute, especially in a fried rice type dish, is a lot faster than using traditional rice. The saute part of this one-dish wonder is just enough time to cook it and keep it at a firmness similar to rice. The cauliflower, combined with using gluten free soy sauce made it fun to make and eat. I’m thinking next time I will make a beef and broccoli concoction on top of some faux rice. I bet it will turn out great!

Chicken Faux Fried Rice

1 large head cauliflower
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mustard
3/4 cup gluten free soy sauce
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups mini portabello mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped
1 cup mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrots), optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. In a medium bowl place 1/2 cup soy sauce, ground mustard and ground ginger. Whisk together, then add half the mixture to the chicken, making sure it is coated. Place in refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes. Cut cauliflower into pieces small enough to fit in food processor. Fill processor with cauliflower and pulse until at least 3/4 of it is the size of rice grains – having some slightly larger pieces remaining is fine, for they will break down a bit during the cooking process. When all the cauliflower is chopped set it aside. Cut celery into rough pieces and pulse in processor until very fine, almost a paste. Pull the chicken from the fridge and separate the chicken from the marinade, discarding the liquid. Add the chicken to the pan and toss until cooked through, about five minutes for small pieces. In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat add the coconut oil. When hot add the celery, garlic and onion. Toss in the oil until it all begins to brown. Add the cauliflower to the pan, turning up the heat slightly to make sure the cauliflower sears. Toss the whole mixture every minute for five minutes. Add mixed vegetables if you are including them. In a bowl stir together the egg and remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce. Make a ‘bowl’ in the middle of the skillet/wok, all the way to the bottom. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and let it cook for a few seconds. Start stirring it with the chicken and cauliflower mixture until it is all coated. Continue tossing the pan contents until the egg is no longer runny. Add the spinach and toss, letting everything cook for another minute until the spinach starts to wilt. Serve immediately with salt, pepper and more soy sauce as desired.


Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower

shepherds pie whole

Last year for St. Patrick’s Day I made the traditional American St. Patrick’s Day meal with corned beef. That is all well and good, but not the only Americanized Irish food available. The Shepherd’s Pie is another dish that actually has Irish roots much closer than the corned beef. Here is a version that is very Americanized, or more accurately low carb-ized, for it has not a speck of potato, but as with other manipulations that can be done with cauliflower, you might not miss the ‘taters. This dish is usually called cottage pie when beef is used, and Shepherd’s Pie when lamb is used. I used ground lamb, so I at least kept to some traditional aspects, even if the top is from a cauliflower patch! If I did not tell you, you would never have known. I got the idea for the topping here. I hope for you fun and festivities on this St. Patrick’s Day, and eat cauliflower!shepherds pie piece

Shepherd’s Pie

For the Stew

2 Tbsp butter
1 pound stew beef or lamb, ground or cut into small bite-sized pieces
½ – 1 cup red wine
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped carrots
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn

For the Topping
1 medium head of cauliflower
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
½ cup plus 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 egg whites
Salt & pepper to taste

Clean and trim cauliflower, adding florets to a microwave safe bowl with ¼ cup water. Cover with cling wrap or a vented cover and microwave for 5 – 8 minutes until soft. Drain water. Add the cream and butter to the bowl and toss until butter is melted. Add the cauliflower and ½ cup of cheese to a food processor or use a hand blender to process until the mixture is a smooth consistency. It should look like thick mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet over medium high heat melt the butter, then add the meat. Saute until browned, about five minutes. If an overwhelming amount of liquid is in the meat, partially drain and continue cooking. Add red wine and cook until sauce bubbles. Add tomato paste, garlic and Worcestershire sauce, stirring until blended. Add onion, corn and peas. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes over low heat. Turn off heat and set aside while you finish the topping.

Right before putting the cauliflower on top of the meat filling, whip the egg whites to a stiff peak. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cauliflower mixture to lighten it up. Then fold the remaining egg whites into the cauliflower mixture and gently mix until combined. In a 9×13 baking dish add the stew and spread until even. Gently top with cauliflower topping, spreading it evenly and not pressing down too far. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese over the top. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until topping is puffed and cheese is browning slightly. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Sprinkle more Worcestershire Sauce on individual servings if needed.

Dublin Coddle

dublin coddleI adore the name of this dish. And oh my flippin’ floopie, it is rich and delish! It reminds me of a chilly, rainy day I spent in Dublin many years ago, popping into a pub to warm up a bit with some food and drink. I did not have a coddle, but the feeling was the same. It totally has a comfort food vibe, and is considered such in Ireland. I thought of it with St. Patrick’s Day coming up and my Irish-ness starting to raise it’s head here in my blog. It is called a coddle because of the slow simmering manner of cooking the dish. Dublin, of course, comes from the popularity of the dish in the Dublin area. I read one place once that the convenience of slow cooking the one-dish meal and the ease of keeping it warm in the oven has a logical basis – it allowed for a warm meal to be ready for the man of the house when he came home late from the pub, after the rest of the family was already in bed. Heh. From my experience there are almost as many variations of this dish as there are mothers and grandmothers. Just like in the US there are delicious recipe variations for meatloaf, chicken soup and apple pie, each cook makes it their own way. I probably committed some form of blasphemy by excluding potatoes from my version of this dish, but we are stubborn about our use of cauliflower as a potato substitute in our diet, so I happily blasphemed. The results were like a beef stew. I know, I know, there is no beef in the recipe. It is just a bunch of pig. That is what I thought! I think the beer mixes with all the other juices and just makes a darned rich broth that is reminiscent of beef broth. Sooooo good! A layer of thinly sliced potatoes as the top layer is the more traditional route, so I included it as an option in the recipe. I thought the quantities would serve four, but we did not have any sides, just a big bowl of coddle. Since there were so many veggies and protein in the coddle it ended up being healthy servings for two very hungry people. If you are not serving sides with the coddle I would recommend doubling the recipe for a party of more than three.

Dublin Coddle

8 slices thick bacon
6 thick pork sausages (mild Italian or ideally some Irish bangers)
1 Tbsp butter
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup water
1 head cauliflower or 3 medium potatoes
1 large carrot
1 12-ounce beer or hard cider
1 Tbsp dried parsley leaves
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces. In a large frying pan cook the bacon over medium heat until browned. Transfer cooked bacon to Dutch oven. In bacon grease over medium high heat add sausages and cook until browned, but stop before they are completely cooked through. Cut the sausages into one-inch pieces and transfer them to the Dutch oven. In what is left of the bacon grease add the butter. When the butter is melted add the onion and garlic. Saute until onions are softened but not browned. Transfer onion and garlic to Dutch oven. You are now done with the frying pan. Salt and pepper the stuff in the Dutch oven to your liking, then pour in the water. Slice the carrot into coins, no more than ¼ inch thick. Chop cauliflower into bite-sized floret pieces, or peel and slice potatoes, no more than ¼ inch thick. Add to the Dutch oven a layer of carrot, followed by a layer of cauliflower. You may not need the whole head of cauliflower, but there should be an even layer of it over the top of everything else. If using potatoes make an even layer of slices on top, overlapping them so the other ingredients are substantially covered. Sprinkle the parsley and thyme on top of the cauliflower/potatoes, followed by salt and pepper to your liking. Add the beer or cider. The liquid in the Dutch oven should come up to about the middle of the pot and not totally submerge all the ingredients. Cover the Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid or two layers of foil. Place in 400 degree preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes, then turn heat down to 325 degrees and cook for another 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the cauliflower/potato layer is soft and ready to eat. Turn off the oven and leave the coddle inside it until time to serve. It will stay hot for quite a while.


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