I simply can’t go another day without talking about Cauliflower Cheese. I was going to hold this one back for a special occasion, but then Sunset Magazine went and published my image on their Facebook page and suddenly everyone was clamoring for it.
Cauliflower Cheese is one of my childhood all-time favorite food memories; along with Sainsbury’s Steak and Kidney Pie and crinkle-cut chips (fries), and anything topped with mashed potatoes or smothered in cheese sauce. And when I say cheese sauce, I am not referring to anything that comes out of a tube, a container of any kind, and / or glows in the dark, effectively reminding you of the last time you saw one of these.
If I remember correctly, I was making cheese sauce before I could tie my own shoelaces; and to be honest, although I didn’t look up a recipe for Cauliflower Cheese, or even surf the web for a cheese sauce, it doesn’t feel right taking kudos for this recipe. I watched my mother make this countless times, usually while I was sitting atop the kitchen counter, swinging my legs and snatching a few shards of grated cheese whenever I thought she wasn’t looking. Of course, she knew. Mothers always do.
My friend Steve, who lives in England and runs with wolves at the weekends, makes a fantastic Cauliflower Cheese. I was the fortunate recipient of many a plateful back in the ’90s. Yes, cauliflower in cheese sauce has had quite a part to play in my life over the years. It’s one of my go-to comfort foods.
Jonathan wouldn’t approve – so let’s just keep this between ourselves – but sometimes I’ll just eat the entire dish of cauliflower cheese and call it good for dinner. It’s awesome; despite the fact that I can hear Bailor babbling in my brain, “Where’s the protein?” Word to the wise, if you’re like me and do the Cauliflower Cheese deal for dinner one night, make sure you’ve had all your protein earlier in the day. That should keep Bailor bubbling, rather than babbling. You can think of his smiling face as you watch the cheese sauce bubbling under the grill (broiler).
This isn’t something I eat all the time – the milk and cheese make it less SANE than most things I cook – but for me it’s a simply wonderful thing to throw in among all the *SANEity, and I can’t imagine any other way I’d eat an entire cauliflower in one sitting.
If you struggle with getting your veggies in, this might be a good way to help get you there. When we were in the studio recording the other day, Jonathan confessed that he spent most of his life hating vegetables, and now look at him. I am thinking of having him change his name to Jonathan Vegetable Bailor.
Whatever will help you get there, do it. Add them to smoothies, turn them into soups, cover them in cheese sauce. Whatever works. Just enjoy.
In other news – it’s always fun to almost set the kitchen on fire. As long as it’s almost. Kitchen Tip of the Day: Always turn the burner off before you lay tea towels over it. Always.
- 1 large cauliflower
- 2 cups / 1 pint milk ( thin coconut, almond
- 1 oz. / 30g butter
- 1 tsp. konjac flour (glucomannan powder)
- 5 oz / 140g strong Cheddar cheese, grated (shredded)
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- Discard the outer leaves of the cauliflower and separate the head into florets.
- Steam florets in a steamer for 15 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a knife.
- Place florets in a baking dish, head side up.
- Meanwhile, place 1 cup of the milk and the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until hot.
- In a small bowl rapidly whisk the konjac flour and the remaining cup of milk to make a smooth slurry.
- Reduce the heat under the saucepan to low, and stirring constantly add the flour slurry to the pan.
- Stir until the sauce has thickened and then simmer for 1 minute.
- Add 4 oz / 110g of the cheese and stir well.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the cheese has completely melted, giving you a smooth, thick sauce, pour it evenly over the cauliflower florets.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top of the sauce.
- Place under a hot broiler (grill) until the top is lightly browned and bubbling.