Asides: Creamy Cauliflower

I made some pretty stellar pork chops the other night. I cobbled together a preparation of sorts that I remembered from a cookbook my host family had in France using the ingredients that I had lying around, including a bottle of mediocre homebrewed beer and a jar of lingonberry preserves from Ikea. (Cooking is an excellent use for rejected spirits, by the by. As for dejected spirits, liquor can work, but it’s usually just a temporary fix.) The chops came out smashingly well – tart, savory, perfectly cooked – and I was proud to present them to DG at the dinner table accompanied by a lovely bottle of Washington Riesling and a couple of different vegetable preparations alongside. A little smug, even. As he tasted each dish, I watched his eyebrows rise in approval, and the reaction to the pork chops was sufficiently enthusiastic. Unexpected, however, was the groan of delight upon tasting the creamy cauliflower side dish. This coming from someone who claims he does not care for cauliflower.

At first I was a little insulted. Did he not fully comprehend the glory of the pork chops? Was this a polite rejection? Backhanded compliment? Like when you don’t like your friend’s outfit, so you comment on her nice earrings? Before I jumped to any conclusions or got verbally huffy, I decided to do a little go-round of my own plate, and gauge my own reactions. Sure enough, the pork chops were mighty tasty, the sautéed zucchini a lovely bright note, but the cauliflower caused my eyes to roll back in my head involuntarily. Fine, I conceded. Flipping delicious.

Which brought me to the following conclusion: too often I am focused on the glory of the main act of any meal, and pay less attention to the things I serve alongside. We all get stuck in ruts, and everything is served with a scoop of steamed rice, steamed veggies, boiled potatoes, or what have you. I love rice and veggies as much as the next person, but getting stuck in a culinary rut is no good for any party involved, whether you have only your mouth to feed or a dozen. At a loss for exactly what to do with the cauliflower that night, I’d gone on a quick hunt for something simple that wasn’t just the same old steaming boredom and come across this recipe which I now bequeath to you. Let it be a wake-up call to us all to pay a little more attention to the side elements of our meals. Done right, they can be very simple preparations which really give a meal extra sparkle.

As for the pork chops, I’ll parse out the recipe with measurements, ingredients, and preparation method for you and share in the near future. But for now, get thee a mess of veggies, and serve them with pride. Wait for the eyes to grow wide in pleasure upon tasting. If you’re alone, get a mirror. Watch, and grin knowingly. You have done well.

*Thank you to Horia Varlan for the beautiful cauliflower image.

8 Comments

  1. Rachel says:

    yum yum! how can you go wrong with heavy cream and cheese? Must try this.

  2. Kristin says:

    This sounds awesome! I’ll try this out soon….

  3. casacaudill says:

    I’ve been making cauliflower in place of potatoes a lot lately and will prepare it anywhere from smashed to pureed, but it always gets cream, salt & cayenne. I will have to investigate this cheddar & mustard addition you speak of soon.

  4. Deirdre says:

    My kids love cauliflower w/ cheese sauce. Even the dairy-free ones sneak the sauce. I also make a brussel sprouts w/ mustard sauce that they dig.

  5. Helene says:

    J’en salive d’avance ;-) (further comments in english!)

  6. EmK says:

    My hubby, Chris, cooked this for dinner last night. YUM! He had also sauted some chanterelles and they slipped into the sauce on my plate–the buttery mushrooms and the creamy sauce were amazing together too.

  7. Meghan Day says:

    Oh man. I love cauliflower. This sounds phenomenal. Am so making this.

  8. madwit17 says:

    “(Cooking is an excellent use for rejected spirits, by the by. As for dejected spirits, liquor can work, but it’s usually just a temporary fix.)”
    ha!

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