Tonight for dinner I wanted something comforting. To me, that usually means mac and cheese. But, I remembered I had this beautiful little head of cauliflower that I got at the Farmers’ Market and said to myself, “This will do just fine.” The head, really no bigger than my fist, was the perfect size for dinner for one. I steamed it and made a simple cheese sauce from cheddar cheese and soy milk, since that’s the only milk I had. Simple, yet deliciously comforting.
If you haven’t tried cauliflower lately, you should. It’s in season now and can be prepared in many ways. It’s also high in vitamin C, which we all need plenty of during the winter months. Check out the orange, green and purple varieties too. Many Farmers’ Markets have them.
Here are a few interesting facts that I found on Wikipedia. The nutritional facts were especially enlightening.
Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head (the white curd) is eaten while the stalk and surrounding thick, green leaves are used in vegetable broth or discarded. Cauliflower is nutritious, and may be eaten cooked, raw or pickled.
Cauliflower and broccoli are the same species and have very similar structures, though cauliflower replaces the green flower buds with white inflorescence meristem.
Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. As a member of the brassica family, cauliflower shares with broccoli and cabbage several phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed. In addition, the compound indole-3-carbinol, which appears to work as an anti-estrogen, appears to slow or prevent the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate. Cauliflower also contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances that may improve the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances. A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed or eaten raw.