Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog, or web site.
Certain produce requires careful examination and scrutiny for any bugs and insects. For more information, please visit : OU Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Chart
So what’s a cook to do when all the produce of summer is now $27 dollars a pound and the spring stuff like asparagus and strawberries are probably 5 months and 2 paychecks away from being affordable. My advice, look to the cauliflower.
A strange looking kind of vegetable the cauliflower is part of the mustard family (its cousins are cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi) and can be found in such colors as white, purple and green. The cauliflower has an earthy, mellow flavor that can be appreciated in both its raw and cooked state.
As they say in that old commercial most parts are edible (yes the leaves and stalks are edible) but most of us just go for the flowerets, the part known as the curd. You should look for a head that is firm and has an even color, no black or dark soft spots. The leaves should be green and the stalks should be firm. You should store your cauliflower in its wrapping in the crisper section of refrigerator and use within a week of when you purchase it.
When you’re ready to use your cauliflower, unwrap it and cut into pieces, rinse well or submerge it in cold water and then drain well. You can boil, it steam it, microwave it or even eat raw but make sure it’s thoroughly clean before you cook it, dirt and bugs can find their way into its crevasses. Some rabbi’s prefer their congregants to only use the frozen variety instead of the fresh cauliflower due to the potential of bugs being present. If in doubt, check with your authority.
Cauliflower contains phytonutrients (the stuff that gives us gas) and releases a sulfur smell when cooked. The longer you cook it the stronger the smell. To keep the smell to a minimum and keep it crisp (not mushy) cook it as little time as possible.
The recipes below are easy to prepare, delicious to eat and most of all affordable when the cost of all other vegetables will break the bank.
CHEESE AND CRUNCH CAULIFLOWER (dairy)
2 heads of cauliflower, washed and cut into flowerets and steamed crisp tender
1/4 to 1/3 cup minced onions
1 stick butter or margarine
1/4 to 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking dish. While the cauliflower is cooking melt the butter in a small pan and then sauté the onions for about 2 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring constantly until everything is lightly golden. Remove the mixture from the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle a little of the bread crumb mixture on the bottom of the pan. Drain the flowerets, pat them dry and place them in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining bread crumb mixture over the top. Sprinkle the top of casserole with the parsley and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.
From my files, source unknown
CREAMY MUSTARD BAKED CAULIFLOWER (dairy)
2 heads cauliflower, cut into floweret’s, steamed to crisp tender
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 to 3 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9X13 baking pan. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise and mustard. Add the steamed flowerets and mix to combine. Place the coated cauliflower into the prepared pan. Drizzle the melted butter over the top of the flowerets. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs and parmesan cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden brown. Serves 6 to 8.
From my files, source unknown
HOT CAULIFLOWER SALAD (pareve)
1 cauliflower, cut into floweret’s and steamed and set aside
1 small red onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 tomatoes, seeded and cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon margarine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Dash of hot sauce, optional
Salt and pepper
In a skillet sauté the celery, garlic and onion in the margarine until just soft. Add the tomato and cook for one minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and season it with salt and pepper and hot sauce if using. Divide the cauliflower between 6 salad plates, top with the tomato and onion mixture and then the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Submitted by Lori Eperson NY, NY
ALMOND CAULIFLOWER (pareve or meat)
2 heads of cauliflower cut into flowerets
2 red pepper, cut into small pieces
1 onion, diced
3/4 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350. In a 9X13 pan combine the cauliflower, red pepper, onion, and 1/4 cup of the broth. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Combine the remaining chicken broth and the cornstarch and then stir it into the cauliflower mixture. Bake uncovered for another 10 minutes, stir in the lemon juice, bake another 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and is bubbly. Sprinkle the top with the almonds and bake 2 minutes and serve. Serves 8.
Modified from southernliving.com
CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SOUP (pareve, meat or dairy)
2 heads of cauliflower
the juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of minced onion
2 celery stalks, minced
1/4 cup of butter or margarine
1/4 cup of flour
4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups of cream or non dairy substitute
A dash of nutmeg
salt for taste
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional is making dairy)
Wash the cauliflower and break into flowerets. Cook with the lemon juice in a small amount of boiling water until tender. Drain and whirl cauliflower in blender until pureed or force through a food mill. Sauté the onion and celery in the butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Blend in the flour and stir in broth. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened. Stir in the cauliflower, cream, nutmeg, and salt. Garnish with cheese. Makes about 1 3/4 quarts or 6 servings
Modified from cooking.com
CHEESY MASHED CAULIFLOWER (dairy)
2 heads of cauliflower, trimmed
1/3 cup whipping cream
5 1/3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup cream cheese
1 to 2 teaspoons oregano (optional)
Cut the cauliflower into small pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the salt. Cook the cauliflower until tender, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and press out as much water as you can, really press hard 2 or 3 times with a bowl or small plate. Put the cauliflower into the bowl of a food processor and add the cream. Process until you get the consistency you like. Smooth or chunky. Return the mixture to pot. Add the butter, parmesan and cream cheese and oregano if using and stir constantly until totally combined. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Submitted by Ralph Saladino West Bloomfield, MI
CAULIFLOWER COBB SALAD (pareve or meat)
4 cups cauliflower floweret’s, steamed al dente and cooled
2 to 3 hard boiled eggs
2 stalks celery
1 chopped green pepper
2 green onions sliced thin
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (brown or yellow)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons pickle relish
1/2 cup cooked kosher breakfast beef or the fake stuff, cooked and crumbled
Salt and pepper
Fresh dill to taste
Place the cauliflower into a large bowl. Add the chopped egg, green pepper, and green onions. Season with a little salt and pepper, mix gently and set aside. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder relish, sugar, pepper flakes, dill and salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Pour the dressing over the cauliflower and mix to combine. Place in a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Top with cooked kosher breakfast beef and serve. Serves 8 to 10
Source unknown, from my files
GIADA DE LAURENTIS PARMESAN BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER SALAD (dairy)
2 1/2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
2 1/2 cups bite-sized cauliflower florets
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated parmesean
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups lightly packed fresh spinach leaves
1/2 lemon, zested
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the broccoli and cauliflower in a large bowl. Toss with the beaten eggs to coat evenly. Place the Parmesan in a large tray or baking dish and dredge the vegetables in the cheese, pressing to coat evenly.
Pour olive oil in a large heavy skillet until the olive oil is 1/4-inch deep, about 1/2 cup depending on the size of your skillet. Warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add the Parmesan-coated vegetables. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook in batches, if necessary. Let the vegetables cook until a crust forms, about 3 minutes per side. Turn the vegetables only when they easily release from the bottom of the pan. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
Place the spinach in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the spinach with the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add the Parmesan coated vegetables. Toss and serve. Serves 8.
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
CAULIFLOWER CHEESE TART (dairy)
2 cups shredded potatoes
1/4 cup grated onion
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Preheat oven to 400. Grease a shallow 9 inch baking dish or pie pan.
To make crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, onion, egg, salt and flour. Mix to combine. Spoon the mixture to the prepared pie pan, and push it up the sides. Bake for 30 minutes and then brush the crust with the oil. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove crust from oven, and reduce the oven's temperature to 350.
To make the filling: In a large frying pan over a high heat, heat the oil until hot. Reduce the temperature to medium and saute onion, garlic, basil, thyme, salt, pepper and paprika in the hot oil; cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir the cauliflower into the pan and cook for 15 minutes.
Spread 1/2 of the cheese onto the potato crust. Spoon the vegetables on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sauteed vegetables. Beat the milk and eggs together in a small bowl, and then pour over the vegetables and cheese. Sprinkle paprika over the mixture.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the custard is set and the top of the pie is slightly browned.
Modified from about.com
Browse through the OU's growing collection of nearly 3000 recipes by visiting: OU Kosher & Holiday Recipes
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen's blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen