Why is my Cauliflower Green?

Confession: I’ve never had cauliflower, except for on those crudite displays you see at functions. Even when it was (or is it still?) trendy to steam cauliflower and mash it and eat it like mashed potatoes, I never tried that. Which is somewhat strange considering I am usually open to ways of reducing calories. Well I finally decided to try it, using the “Roasted Cauliflower” recipe from Cooking Light. This involved roasting chopped cauliflower with cloves of garlic and chunks of onion. All the veggies were tossed in salt, pepper, and a bit of dijon mustard diluted with water. I also added a little bit of horseradish for extra zing. The result? It was pretty tasty. Not the best thing I have ever had, but my fiance really enjoyed it. However, I think the roasted garlic and onion were more appealing to me than the actual cauliflower, and that’s why I liked the dish. I’m not sure I would like it plain. So anyway… never having bought cauliflower before, I selected something from my farmstand called “colored cauliflower”. I didn’t really think twice because that’s all I had. I forgot about that aspect until I served it, when my fiance started asking about it. I did a search online and came up with this: Brocoflower! Well what did I eat? Broccoli or Cauliflower? I guess a little of both, and I guess I might have to say I truly have not yet tried cauliflower.

I’m sure you can guess that we did not just eat brocoflower and garlic and onions for dinner. It’s not often I’d talk about a side dish before a main dish, but honestly the main dish was nothing to write home about. I made a recipe called “million dollar chicken”, apparantly called so because it won a contest. I can’t remember who posted this, but I found on the Nest cooking board. It had all the right ingredients – salsa, honey, cumin, cinnamon, almonds, and raisins that I thought would be really great together. But it was just so-so. I’ve made better Mexican and I have made better Moroccan and I’m not sure how I feel about the fusion of the two. The recipe called for thighs and I used breasts, which I probably did not simmer for long enough because they weren’t as tender as I would have liked.

On to the recipes, in case you want them!

Roasted Cauliflower, courtesy of cookinglight.com
2 teaspoons olive oil object
2 medium onions, quartered
5 garlic cloves, halved object2
4 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 500°.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Place onion mixture and cauliflower in a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Combine water and mustard; pour over vegetable mixture. Toss to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 500° for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with parsley.

Million Dollar Chicken

1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil (I just used cooking spray)
¼ cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 garlic cloves
8 chicken thighs, skin removed (I used chicken breast)
1 cup bottled salsa, hot or mild (I used TJ’s double roasted salsa)
2 tbsp raisins (or dried currents)
1 tbsp honey
¾ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
3 cups hot cooked couscous or rice (I skipped this)
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add almonds and cook 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from Skillet with slotted spoon. Reserve.
Add garlic. Cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add chicken. Cook, turning once 10-15 minutes or until browned. Combine salsa, ¼ cup water, raisins (or currents), honey, cumin and cinnamon. Add to chicken and mix well.
Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring and basting occasionally, for 20 minutes or until chicken is fork tender and juices run clear when pierced with fork. Add more water if needed.
Stir in almonds.
Serve over couscous or rice.
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