Monday, July 15, 2013

GF Cauliflower "Mac and Cheese" Style

The what and the why about Gluten Free.  Now, I am not a nutritionist, just a woman on her soap box.   Disclaimers aside, I don’t think wheat is inherently bad.  The current Gluten Free craze smacks of a fad diet trend, however I think some people do have a sensitivity to wheat/gluten.  The American diet is probably a little too wheat based, with too much nutritionally light breads and pastas ("ummmm, bread and pasta" said in Homer Simpson's voice). 

That said, we are trying out a Gluten Free diet for my youngest, Noah, who experiences autism.  Some children with autism see their tummy issues alleviated and an increase in their cognitive clarity on the diet.  So far, we have seen a happier tummy and a surprise consequence, an increase in the types of foods Noah will eat.  Now, instead of stuffing himself like a Thanksgiving turkey with bread, he is eating vegetables and meats.  

As we are new to this diet, I am still experimenting with the different products out there.  I have tried a few different GF flour mixes: Trader Joe’s rice based wasn’t terrible but not great, Winco bulk bin garbanzo bean flour made me want to cry, super gritty and awful flavor.  I will report back on our GF product findings.  

Now on to the main event:  

 GF Cauliflower "Mac and Cheese" Style 

As I said in my introduction about me, my family is super picky.  And unfortunately they cannot agree on what they like and what they dislike, with the exception of Cauliflower, they all hate it.  At the farmer's market the other night, I tried to talk them into chocolate/beet cupcakes with no success.  Our compromise was they would try a new cauliflower recipe.  Seriously, it is covered in cheese sauce, so how could it not be good?!  Serves 4 or so as a side dish.

1 head cauliflower, or a bag of frozen cauliflower
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp flour (using the Trader Joe's GF flour)
1 cup milk
1 cup cheese (I am using cheddar and smoked Gouda, that Gouda is my secret to great mac and cheese.  You can substitute Parmesan or just use a sharp cheddar.  If all you have is regular old cheddar, that will work, you may just want to add a little extra so your sauce doesn't just taste like milk.)  
1 squeeze of mustard, honey mustard or Tabasco  (optional)   

  • Cut cauliflower into small florets and boil on the stovetop for 5 minutes.  Drain cauliflower and set aside while you make the sauce. 
  • I used the same pot (save on dishes, yay!) melt the butter over medium heat.  When melted add the flour and make the roux.  Whisk the flour and butter until well combined and cooked for a minute.  
  • Add the milk and whisk.  Continue cooking over medium to medium-high heat.  It is imperative not to allow your milk to boil however, nothing good happens when you boil milk.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, whisking often until the milk mixture thickens.  
  • Add the cheese and  if you like an additional flavoring.  I added a squeeze of honey-mustard (thinking of my friend Amber and her love of honey mustard).  Add salt and pepper (I add a lot), kill the heat and whisk until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.  
  • Add the cauliflower and combine.  If you are feeling decadent, add another sprinkle of cheese to the top. 
  • Transfer to a oven safe pan and put into a 375 oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.      

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