Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Puffed Cauliflower Cheese

Do you like Cauliflower?

This recipe raised my love of cauliflower to a whole new level. Sure, we have all served a big bowl of ranch dip with raw cauliflower at one function or another. For years I only used cauliflower in soups and as part of a veggie tray. Play with this recipe, maybe you will discover as I have, a new favorite way to eat and serve cauliflower.

The statistics according to the USDA were shocking for me to read. Americans only consume 2.1 lbs. of cauliflower per person each year.

I will eat them in a house
I will them with a mouse.

Oh wait, that book isn't about cauliflower.

Try them, try them and you may!
Puffed Cauliflower

1 medium head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1/4 cup butter
2 tsps. all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs (divided)
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/2 cup monty jack cheese cubed
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese cubed
(you can play with the cheese type/types)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the cauliflower until tender. (your choice of cooking vessels, stove top, steamer, microwave or whatever) Drain the cooked cauliflower well.

2.Melt the butter in a small pan. Stir in the flour, and cook over low heat for about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Watch this closely, stir it. Season with salt and pepper.
(recipe continued after a short note)

Short note***Now for the bread crumbs. Resist temptation to use more than the recipe calls for. I've done it. Trust me this is not the ingredient to use without measuring.

3.Remove milk from the heat and stir in 1/8 cup of the bread crumbs into the milk mixture. Stir in the egg yolks, cheese, and cauliflower.
*temper the yolks of course*

4. Whip the egg whites in a large glass or metal bowl until stiff. Fold the cauliflower mixture into the egg whites. Transfer to a ceramic or glass 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 cup bread crumbs.

5. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until puffed and golden.

Switch up the cheeses. Sometimes I use sharp cheddar. Depends upon what I am serving the casserole with.

*temper the egg yolks* you know what I mean don't you?

Temper the egg yolks before adding to the hot by stirring a bit of the hot into them first. Then add the warmed egg yolks to the sauce and continue cooking.

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