Copy Cat in the Kitchen: Leon Cauliflower Cheese
This update has taken far longer than expected. We’ve had the Cat Cave renovated, so we’ve had to manage with a microwave and a grill since December. There’s still some finish work to be done and plenty of dust to clean up, but we now have a fully functioning kitchen.
During all that time the kittens have had birthdays, so I’ll now be referring to rambunctious 10-year-old boy (R10B) and picky 3-year-old girl (P3G). To refresh your memory: We’re a flexitarian family, and I’m trying out new veg recipes from the cookbook library at VT headquarters. I’ll share the non-scientific results from my four-person-family panel of tasters. If something doesn’t impress, I’ll let you know, even if my novice kitchen skills are to blame.
VT recently received a copy of Leon: Fast Vegetarian by Jane Baxter and Henry Dimbleby. It’s a beautiful book that puts the vegetables first, which is something I’d like to do at home.
My first pick: Cauliflower Cheese. It’s an easy recipe to make. Chop up and roast a head of cauliflower, mix up a quick sauce, and bake for about half an hour. Alas, I had to tweak it a bit. The liquid-to-cheese ratio seemed far too wet, and I had to crank up the heat to broil to get the finished dish the golden brown shown in the photo in the book.
We were all very hungry, so bowls were being filled and enthusiastic blowing ensued as soon as the pan hit the table. P3G was in stitches watching her brother’s exaggerated attempts at cooling his serving. However, she was hesitant with her fork.
“I don’t like cheese,” she whined.
“This is pasta. With cheese,” I said. She lies, I lie.
R10B took his first bite. Then his second and third. P3G noticed, but waited, her fork still on the table. Finally, she took a bite. And another, and several more.
“Do you like it?” I asked her.
“Yes.” She continued eating and then looked at me. “I want more.”
We all froze.
“What?!” I said. “Who are you and what have you done with my daughter?”
Our first four-plate recipe! P3G finished three helpings, as did R10B and yours truly; and despite her diet, my lovely bride ate two servings. There were no leftovers from a 13-x-9-inch pan.
When we make this again, I’ll chop cauliflower smaller, reduce the cream, increase the cheese, set the oven heat higher, and remember to add the chives—believe it or not, R10B loves alliums. Also, we ate this as a main dish, but it seemed more like a side. I’ll have to figure out what to serve it with next time.
Four clean plates out of four.