Wish Upon A Dish: Vintage Side Dishes - The Recipe Redux Challenge November 2012

November 21, 2012

Vintage Side Dishes - The Recipe Redux Challenge November 2012

Our task this month was to showcase a family Thanksgiving side dish that has either been on your Thanksgiving table as long as you can remember, or to take an heirloom recipe and update it to be healthier and more about the way we eat nowadays.

I have posted about my family carrots, my family red cabbage, my family green beans and my Mom's Brussels sprouts. The only dish that is left to brag about is the way my Mom made cauliflower.

Most people learn how to cook from their mom, my mom's were influential with what we ate as children. Her mom was Swedish, her step mom was Sicilian, and her MIL was Tuscan. Her dad was German and met her step mom while she worked in a German restaurant.

My mom's desserts were full of butter, sour cream, cream cheese, jams and jellies and fruits.
Her pasta was red and her vegetables were sauteed with garlic. She made rouladen and sauerbraten and great potatoes. We ate parmigianna and dumplings.
What a wonderful diverse childhood I had.

This side was from her Swedish side. Extremely easy, it is cooked and baked in one pot and all about the cheese. Corning Ware was our bakeware of choice and since that's what she used, I will make mine in the same dish.

First thing that has to be done is to clean a whole head of cauliflower by cutting off any green leaves leaving the core entact, but cut so that the head still stands upright on it's own.

Place the cauliflower and 1" of salted water in a large dutch oven or oven safe stockpot. Cover and steam until a knife slides cleanly and easily through the middle of the cauliflower but not so soft it will not retain it's shape.
Drain the water from the pot, carefully making sure the head does not break apart.
Pour or brush melted butter that was seasoned with freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper evenly all over the florets and cover completely with the grated cheese.
Place the pot in a pre-heated 350° oven and bake until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Something just happens to that cauliflower when baked with the cheese. I know that when Swiss cheese is browned it gets very nutty and that mixed with the cauliflower makes a very unique marriage and I remember that cheese melting into the florets and down into the stem. In the winter it was always on our dinner table.

Since Swiss cheese is naturally lower in fat then other cheeses, this dish is not all that decadent and unhealthy but there are a few things I could do to make it healthier.

Instead of natural butter I used butter buds and mixed that with the nutmeg and black pepper. Sprinkled over the cauliflower while moist with the steam, it will stay in place.
I also used a lite Jarlsburg cheese which, when eaten on a cheese platter tends to be a bit rubbery then the full fat one, but will work well when melted and still has that nutty flavor so important to this dish.


Ash Jones APD (Off-Duty Dietitian) said...

Yummm! I love Swedish food and this looks divine.

Dr. Barb said...

I love cauliflower with cheese sauce. This sounds similar, but even easier. I'll give it a try.

Mary said...

I like your explanation on how to make this dish. We make a lot of cauliflower here, but i never know exactly how to get it in the oven with the cheese. Thanks for the inspiration!

Deanna - Teaspoon of Spice said...

So fun to hear about all the different food culture influences you've had growing up. I think this would make me like cauliflower!