Cauliflowerful Weekend: Phase 1

If you’ve been on the Internet in the past couple of years, there’s absolutely no way that you’ve been able to evade the onslaught of diet fads that sweep the population every few months. Vegetarian/Vegan, Gluten Free, Paleo, Raw, it seems that there’s a different diet eliminating each vital food group for every reason known to man. (Why can’t we just eat a well-balanced diet of ALL the food groups like the food pyramid taught us!?)

And with these diets comes collections of recipes catered specifically to each and every one. My Pinterest has been overflowing with recipes for Vegan pizzas (why?), Gluten Free cookies (why?), and Dairy Free brownies (why?). And while I generally aim to avoid these “foods” (if you can even call Vegan Popcorn Chicken a food) one trend circulating caught my eye and didn’t let me go. It seems that, according to Pinterest, you can make just about anything out of cauliflower.

This has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past couple of weeks and I decided this weekend that it was time. Time to have a Cauliflowerful Weekend. So I picked a handful of the recipes and picked this weekend, and I’m going to make them.

Here comes my disclaimer: I’m not really a good cook, nor do I pretend to be. I tend to ignore most of the directions on most recipes, and I always forget important items at the grocery store. My cooking expertise is breakfast and the crockpot, I make a mean variety of pancakes that I’ll definitely document on here one day, but outside of those very limited areas, I’m basically a dud in the kitchen. So trying new things in the kitchen is always a stretch for me. But I am willing to take that risk for you, and for cauliflower.

So Friday after work, I made a trip to the grocery store, and I bought lots of cauliflower, eggs, and mozzarella cheese, which seems to be everything you need to make anything out of cauliflower. And I went home, cracked open a beer and got to work. Friday nights call for Friday night food, and nothing screams Friday night more than pizza. So I decided that my first experiment would be this recipe for Cauliflower Crust Pizza (ok, yes I know that that’s a recipe for breadsticks, but I figured just add a little sauce and you’ve got yourself a pizza, see, I’m revealing my disregard for the rules early on in the game. I’m a true kitchen rebel).

The first thing I read was the ingredients, and the first thing in the ingredients was “riced cauliflower.” What is riced cauliflower? I don’t know. Is it expected that I know that? After some carefully calculated Google searches, a consultation with my roommate, and a panicked phone call to my dad (aka “Master Chef”) I found a thing in the kitchen my roommate affectionately referred to as the “slap chop” and I got to work.

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“Slap Chop” at work “ricing” “cauliflower” for “pizza” large knife for added intimidation.

Now, I have never bought a head of cauliflower, and I was amused and intrigued to find that it comes with free lettuce at the bottom, which my dad quickly warned me was in fact, not actually lettuce, and that I shouldn’t eat it. Fair enough.

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Riced cauliflower!!!

So I slap chopped a whole head of cauliflower and it looked a little bit like rice when it was done (it’s supposed to, right? That’s what ricing is, right?). Once that was taken care of you’re supposed to microwave all of it for 10 minutes. Easy enough. It’s hard for even me to mess up microwaving.

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The real star of this photo should be the Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin. TO DIE FOR.

So after ten minutes of microwave, you have a bowl of steaming hot cauliflower that smells like @$$ (who was the first one to decide to eat this stuff anyway). And you mix in a whole bunch of shredded mozzarella, and 4 eggs, then you spread it all out over your baking tray of choice and pop it in the oven for about 25 minutes.

At this point I was starting to get really skeptical about this recipe and my commitment to a full weekend of eating things made from cauliflower. The ricing was hard, almost like an arm workout hard, and cauliflower smells bad, was I really cut out for this?

I took a break from the incessant worrying and played with the alphabet fridge magnets for a while, and created a very accurate for the moment sentence about how I was feeling about myself at the time:

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Hear me ROAR I mean curl up into a ball and whimper for a while until I fall asleep.

So the kitchen timer finally sounded and I slowly made my march toward imminent failure and disappointment, and opened the oven. Choir of angels sounded and church bells rang as I looked into the oven and saw, what looked to be, something straight out of a cooking magazine. I had not failed, or at least it didn’t look like I had.

This is beer #3 quality food photography people, I'm sorry

This is beer #3 quality food photography people, I’m sorry

So I added some toppings (rather, some cheese and sauce, keepin’ it simple, for science, you know) and popped it back in the oven for about 7 minutes to melt the cheese on top and make the whole creation toasty warm.

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Real pizza or fake pizza? The world will never know (jk it’s fake)

When it came out of the oven, it looked so convincingly like real pizza, I got so excited I cut it and dished a few slices before photographing. I nervously sat down at the table, and put a bite into my mouth. My initial reaction was that it tasted like nothing. The crust tasted like nothing. The texture was pretty disappointing (I don’t think you could eat it without a fork) and it was just a little soggy on the inside. My roommate asked how much cheese I put in the crust and when I told her ‘4 cups’ she said next time to do 6, and it’ll just taste like cheese. Maybe 25 minutes wasn’t long enough, and more baking time would have made it crispy? I DON’T KNOW.

It was a good thing I had a pretty bomb sauce on there, or it would have been overall disappointing.

I’d rate this about a 5/10 because there was a lot of work that went into it (slap chop, I’m looking at you) and the outcome was not better than real pizza, but then again, most things that aren’t pizza are not better than pizza. With all the cheese involved, it’s not even healthy, just gluten and carb free. However, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever eaten, and I’ll likely only put up a small stink about having leftovers to eat tomorrow. I’m uber glad I’m not on a diet that restricts my ability to eat pizza and next time I want to make pizza I can go to Trader Joe’s and buy their awesome pizza dough, and put awesome toppings on it, and have real pizza, carbs, gluten, and all.

Stay tuned for Cauliflowerful Weekend, con’t coming up later this weekend (because I know I sold you all hardcore on this recipe just now!).

 

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