Monday Night Dinner: Cauliflower Grilled Cheese and Bell Pepper Soup

When Miss Mioux and I first started cooking together, there were not a lot of vegetables she liked because there were not a lot of vegetables she had tried.  She knew she liked cauliflower, so we made cauliflower everything:

Tots
Alfredo
Pizza Crust
Fried “Rice”
Hummus

Each dish continued to surprise and be delicious.  We talked about revisiting them until we saw a recipe for Cauliflower Grilled Cheese.  Oh. My. Damn.  Low carb and cheesy?  Heck yeah!  And if you are having grilled cheese, you need soup to dip.

I found cauliflower grilled cheese on Kirbie’s Cravings.  My favorite part is the methodology.  Anyone who has tried to make cauliflower pizza crust has had to wring the water out of crumb sized pieces of steamed cauliflower, and personally I think it is a giant pain and messy.  This recipe dries the cauliflower out in the microwave.  I am telling you this is a game changer!  The soup recipe is from Cookin Canuck and is a nod to Miss Mioux’s Canadian heritage.  It turned me on to the book Eating Clean by Amie Valpone.  The ginger cashew pesto in it sounds amazing.

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CAULIFLOWER GRILLED CHEESE

  • 1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and cut into small florets
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
  • 4 deli slices of muenster
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place cauliflower into food processor and pulse until it is in rice-sized pieces.
  2. Place cauliflower into a large microwave safe bowl and microwave for two minutes.  Stir the cauliflower and place it back in the microwave for three minutes.  (At this point if you want to wring the water out of the cauliflower be my guest, from this day forward I will choose to use the microwave to dry out my cauliflower.)  Remove and stir again so all the cauliflower cooks evenly.  Place back into the microwave and cook for 5 minutes.  At this point, you will start to see the cauliflower dry out.  Mix and place back for a final five minutes.  Pro Tip: With the moisture released from the cauliflower, this is a good time to wipe down the inside of your microwave with a paper towel to clean it, after you have removed the cauliflower.
  3. Allow the cauliflower to cool for a few minutes.  If you have ever used the wringing method, by now it should look the same, but SO much less fuss.  Can you tell I am excited by this?  Innovative I tell you!
  4. Add in egg, parmesan, and seasoning.  Stir to combine until smooth.  Divide the dough into four equal parts.  Place onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.  Having neither at that moment, we just sprayed a glass baking pan.  Using your hands, shape the dough into square “bread slices.”  Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes.
  5. The cauliflower crust is too delicate to flip on the stove, so put two slices of muenster cheese on two slices of cauliflower “bread.”  Using a spatula, place the other slice of “bread” on top, sliding it back into the oven until cheese begins to melt, just a few minutes.  If you were working with a harder cheese, like a thick hunk of cheddar, I would set it to broil for 5 to 10 minutes to get the cheese melty.  For a softer cheese like muenster, just placing it back in the oven works fine.

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GOLDEN RED & ORANGE BELL PEPPER SOUP

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 8 yellow, red, and/or orange bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large sleet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 6 tsp dried marjoram
  • Fage greek yogurt, for garnish
  • croutons, for garnish
  • sliced avocado, for garnish
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt and black pepper.  Cook until vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the bell peppers and cook until soft, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and broth.  Season with salt and black pepper, cover the pot.
  4. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and add the marjoram.  Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Let the soup cool slightly, and then in batches, transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.  If needed, thin the soup with water.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper if necessary.  Return the soup to the pot to keep warm until serving.  Serve garnished with a sprinkling croutons, a dollop of the Fage, and avocado slices.

The “bread” firms up well, considering each slice is basically just a quarter head of cauliflower.

 

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Snuggling with Miss Mioux’s kitty, Olive.  She likes my hair.

 

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