Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cauliflower with Bechamel

Trust me there is cauliflower under all that ooey gooey goodness. Both Scottie and I have been feeling under the weather...he even stayed home today. So, I felt we could both do with some comfort food. I'd never made a bechamel sauce before and I kind of winged this one. Inspired believe it or not, by seeing Rachel Ray prepare a gnarly, cheesefest of a pasta dish that she topped with bread crumbs and Parm just before I headed into the kitchen to presumably make steamed cauliflower. Instead I went to the computer and found a quickie bechamel recipe from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. The original called for using regular milk and ap flour, but I figured I'd experiment. I used brown rice flour in place of the ap and plain unsweetened soy milk for the cow milk. I did use butter, but you could easily use Earth Balance in place of that. I almost wish I hadn't been out of it since both Scottie and I are stuffed up and I'm sure the butter didn't help any. Next time I'll try it that way. I'd made lentils with a mustard tarragon vinaigrette (made with onions instead of leeks) the night before having doubled the amount of lentils needed for veggie burgers. All I can say is...what foresight! :-) Dinner came together with a minimum of fuss since I just lightly oiled, salted and peppered tilapia filets and broiled them (~4 min first side, then ~2 more minutes on the other) to go on top of the lentils. We both loved the splurge of having more than just steamed cauliflower, so I thought I'd better write down my recipe before I forgot it!

Cauliflower with Bechamel:

1/2 of one large head of cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed
2 Tbs butter, Earth Balance, or canola oil (I'm just assuming a light flavored oil would work fine)
2 Tbs brown rice flour (or regular ap flour, or whole wheat pastry flour?)
1 1/4 cups plain unsweetened soy milk (or regular milk)
salt and pepper to taste
a couple rasps of nutmeg
a couple shakes of garlic powder
toasted whole wheat bread crumbs
grated Parmesan (I would have liked to use a nice aged Gruyere if I'd had any)
olive oil

Preheat your broiler.
Heat soy milk in a small sauce pan, taking care not to scald it.
While the milk is heating, add butter to another sauce pan and when foamy whisk in flour and cook it for ~2 minutes.
Add hot milk whisking to prevent lumps and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic powder to taste.
Toss cauliflower in bechamel to coat, then arrange cauliflower in a casserole dish.
Combine about equal parts Parm or other hard cheese and whole wheat bread crumbs in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil to moisten.
Sprinkle cheese and bread crumb mixture on top of cauliflower and then broil until toasty.
Easy to veganize if you just ditch the cheese and sub for the butter.
Delicious just as I made it. You'd never know it was made with soy milk! Yay for experiments gone right!

A heinous picture, but man was this a good dinner!

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