Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cozy Cauliflower Cheese, gluten free

         The other day we hosted a “Hipster Thanksgiving” for our friends. Named so because we did turkey day before everyone else! Clever, right! Right? It was definitely something that couldn’t happen without all of our friends bringing dishes! We had everything a proper thanksgiving should have... including almost 20 people stuffed into my apartment, and a too small kitchen! It was crazy, and fun, and just what I love to do.

     Ever since then I have been craving comfy cozy foods. This is especially difficult because I live in coastal Florida, which you know definitely never feels cozy like a cool fall day. In my search, I ended up on an english website where I saw this dish, albeit a much simplified version. ANY new way to make common things is great in my book. So I read the recipe... and promptly changed it to something way delicious (at least to me).

     The original recipe was described as "nursery school food" due to its being soft and relatively pale in flavor.

     Now, I don't think that can be said. 

     Please enjoy in the company of people you love, maybe with a furry friend and even... a fire?! Cozy ^3! 

Gluten-free Cauliflower Cheese
Serves 4-6 people

1 large pot, 1 small pot, 1 large strainer/colander, 1 oven proof dish- a 9 inch pie pan would work, wooden spoon, med to large wire whisk, spatula 

      One head, broken or cut into bite size pieces (mostly florets, not the hard stems)
      3 tablespoons
Rice flour
      1 tablespoon
      1 tablespoon, plus extra as needed
Whole Milk
      2 cups
Bay leaf
      3 whole, or a pinch of ground
Very sharp cheddar
     16oz, shredded and divided into 12 and 4 oz portions (or more if you like it super cheesy!)
Worcestershire sauce
     2-4 teaspoons
Mustard- dry powder or a prepared dijon (smooth better than grainy)
     Powder 1 teaspoon, dijon 2 teaspoons
Gluten free sandwich bread (I used Udi's)
     2 slices, cut into 1 cm cubes
     About 1 handful, roughly chopped
Sea salt, and black pepper
     as needed
Optional add-ins
     ½ cup pumpkin puree -OR- ½ cup thawed and drained (squeeze the water out) frozen spinach -OR- 2 teaspoons curry powder -OR- cooked diced butternut squash -OR- cooked broccoli florets -OR- mashed roasted garlic -OR- some sour cream... whatever you like!

  1. Heat plenty of water in a pot over high heat, and add about 1 tablespoon salt. Add cauliflower florets and turn heat down to medium and keep boiling until florets are just fork tender. This took about 12 mins for me, but check frequently.
  2. Meanwhile, add milk, bay leaves, and cloves to a small pot and heat over med low until bubble just form. Don't over heat or the milk will burn to bottom of pan, we just want to “marinate” it a bit. Right before use, remove bay leaves and cloves.
  3. When cauliflower is done, pour into a strainer and allow to drain for a few mins. You may now use the same pot for our next step... (now would be a great time to turn oven on to 375F).
  4. Heat pan over medium heat. Add butter and allow to melt. Sprinkle in rice flour and whisk to combine butter and rice flour. Next, sprinkle in cornstarch and whisk to combine. Turn heat to low. 
  5. Whisking the whole time, add the hot milk a little at a time until fully combined. Now add the 12 oz cheese! 
         *It should be about the consistency of a think pancake batter. If it needs thickening  add cornstarch (1/2 tablespoon dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water, then add), and if it needs thinning, add more milk. 
  6. Add mustard and worcestershire to our cheese sauce. Then add any optional ingredients. I went with the pumpkin! Taste now and add any salt, pepper, or other seasonings. 
  7. Place well drained cauliflower in oven proof dish, pour our delicious sauce over it, making sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies. Top with a bit of parsley, bread cubes, and additional 4 oz cheese.
  8. Bake in our preheated 375F oven for about 25 mins, or until bread cubes are toasty and cheese is melty.
  9. Remove from oven and let it set for 8-10 mins. Devour.
TO PALEOIFY aka make grain free: skip the rice flour and cornstarch and use potato flakes to thicken milk just a bit. Also, obviously skip the bread.

Ready to eat. 

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