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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cauliflower

Cauliflower:


The cauliflower is known as the "Queen of Garden Vegetables".  The name "cauliflower" comes from the Latin "caulis", meaning "stem" or "cabbage", and "floris" meaning "flower".  Cauliflower is a "cruciferous" vegetable in the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and collards.   It has been an important vegetable in Turkey and Italy since at least 600 B.C.

There are four major groups of cauliflower: 1.  Italian; 2. Nortwest European (developed in France); 3. Northern European (used in Europe and North America but developed in Germany); and  4. Asian (used in China and India).   There are four major colors of cauliflower:  1. White, the most commonly used; 2. Orange, which has 25 times more vitamin A than white; 3. Green, also know as "brocoflower"; and  4. Purple, which has the same antioxidants found in red cabbage and red wine.

I remember cauliflower as mostly coming to the market pre-wrapped, probably right from the field.  It was easy to handle.  Just move from box to display.  In the supermarket we used to like to package a head of cauliflower with a bunch of broccoli.  They made an attractive presentation and a nice ring at the cash register.

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamins C and K and a very good source of manganese and fiber.  Several studies link cauliflower to cancer prevention in the bladder, breast, colon, prostate, and ovaries.  Steaming or microwaving cauliflower preserves the anti-cancer properties better than boiling.

Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, or eaten raw.   To cut the head remove the outer leaves and cut the floret at the base where it meets the stalk.

Select clean, creamy white compact heads in which the bud clusters are not separated.  Lots of green leaves protect the head and keep it fresh.   Store uncooked heads in the refrigerator in a paper or plastic bag for up to a week.

So, eat up!   Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Simple but Good:


Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
lemon juice from half a lemon
olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer into a baking dish.  Toss in garlic.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over the florets.   Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.

Place in 400 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes or until tops are slightly brown.  Test with fork for desired tenderness.  Remove from oven and generously sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.