Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower CheeseHoly cheese is this dish good! Cauliflower Cheese. Cauliflower. Cheese. It’s like macaroni & cheese, with cauliflower instead of pasta. The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, so of course it’s good, even one of my kids thought so.

I was thinking you could make a gluten-free version of this—if you’re into that kind of thing—by substituting the 4 tablespoons of flour with whatever flour-free people substitute flour with. It would be a nice way for a person who doesn’t eat wheat pasta to feel the love that is macaroni and cheese.

• Cauliflower Cheese •
from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4 as a side

1 medium head (about 2 to 2 1/4 pounds) cauliflower
4 tablespoons (55 grams or 2 ounces) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons (30 grams or 1 ounce) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons mustard powder (resist the temptation to skip this ingredient)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper or ground cayenne
2 cups (475 ml) milk, whole is best but low-fat will probably work just fine
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (about 155 grams or 5 1/2 ounces total) grated cheddar, the strongest you can get, preferably English or Irish (plain old cheddar will work in a pinch)
Chopped chives or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Trim cauliflower and remove tough core. Cut into 1 to 2-inch florets. Steam (for about 10 minutes) or par-boil (6 to 7 minutes) florets until firm but tender. Drain, if needed, and spread florets on a towel so that it can wick out as much moisture as possible

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk to combine; cook for 1 minute to ensure you get rid of the floury taste. Add mustard powder and a pinch of cayenne or few grinds of black pepper, and stir to combine. Drizzle in milk in a thin, steady stream, whisking the whole time so that no lumps form. Season with salt and bring mixture to a simmer, stirring with a spoon; mixture should thicken. Stir in 1 1/4 cups cheddar, a handful at a time, letting each handful melt before adding the next. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings if needed.

Spread cauliflower florets in a 2-quart baking ovenproof baking dish. Spoon sauce over florets and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake until until bronzed and bubbly, about 30-35 minutes. 

Sprinkle with herbs, if desired.

Fresh pasta lasagna

IMG_3741Shane likes to cook on the weekends, you probably know that about him. Because our family tends to hibernate when it snows—we sit around in our pjs all day, draw, maybe make a fire, cook—Saturday was the perfect day for Shane to take on an elaborate cooking project like making lasagna with fresh, homemade pasta.IMG_3742This time around, he used this pasta recipe from Lidia Bastianich, and rolled it out to a number 5. The pasta had some tooth to it, we think we’ll try thinner next time.IMG_3750We used my/my mom’s lasagna recipe, with some roasted red and orange peppers, and onion for fun.IMG_3752Rose was concerned that there would be “too much vegetarian stuff” in the lasagna, but then devoured it. Wouldn’t you? I mean look at this thing, delish.IMG_3753

Penne with zucchini, gruyere & bread crumbs

IMG_4910We had this dish again. Still delicious, still a hit (even with the younger set), quick to make (particularly with a sous chef like my dad) and chock full of veggie to boot.

This time we used zucchini, which is what the recipe calls for, instead of summer squash, which is what we used last time.

Easiest chicken cacciatore

IMG_4899Tonight is pizza Tuesday. All you need to know about that is we ordered from Otto and it was delicious.

What I really want to share with you is yesterday’s dinner. I made the easiest Chicken Cacciatore ever.

Actually, it’s the only Chicken Cacciatore I’ve ever made, so I can’t really promise it’s the easiest ever, but I managed to make it while carrying a baby in one arm. That’s got to tell you something.

We served the chicken with my dad’s amazing broccoli with lemon (also quick and easy, to be published soon), and a baguette with fancy butter. Weeknight perfection.