Debbie Dance Uhrig
A couple of weeks ago I featured a recipe with cauliflower and I mentioned a recipe for smoked cauliflower dip. I received a phone call from my good friend, Terry, who asked for the recipe.
At first I told her I would fire it right back to her as it was in my archives. When I went to my reserved files it just wasn’t there. But I’ve got it by golly, and we’ll talk about it a bit here in print.
First of all the cauliflower is smoked. When you smoke foods whether its cheese, meat or vegetables it is important to remember the smoke taste develops at the very beginning. For my fast smoking, like for this dip, I use a Cameron Smoker. You can find them on line and they’re certainly fun to use. They will go on your gas stovetop, bbq grill or electric stovetop, as long as it’s not glass top. I have even used a portable burner, which is a cinch to use. Even in the house, as long as the fans are running, they don’t make a horrible smell. These simple gizmos will smoke 2-4 steaks in no time. I use mine for pulled smoked pork and turkey breasts, more than anything else.
This simple step of smoking can change the outcome of many meals. It also provides lots of conversation at the table. One of my friends had to keep buying the little smokers because every time they had company, they ended up sending the smoker home with their guests!
The cauliflower in this recipe should be broken down into small pieces. Remember you will be processing the flowerets in a food processor after they are smoked. Whether you eat this dip cold or warm will certainly be a personal choice. Our son, Phillip, thinks this spread is the best thing since sliced bread.
Cauliflower has become the new potato for a great deal of people. At the local Walmart store they even sell it vacuumed sealed so it takes no time to cook. This would be particularly handy if you were mashing the cauliflower. Now let’s make another clarification. If you’re bulking up to avoid eating starches make sure you are eating resistance starches. As I’ve indicated in previous columns: ‘Any rice, pasta or potato that is cooked and allowed to cool becomes a resistance starch.’ Your body now processes the carbohydrates turning them into fiber and nutrient versus all sugar. I’m not trying to turn anyone against cauliflower, only making you aware that there are ways to keep eating some of your favorite foods.
The original purpose of this recipe was to create a low fat appetizer! The first time or two I did just that. Then when I used it for consumption outside our home I upped the delivery, adding bacon. I also used full strength cream cheese instead of light cream cheese. If desired this this cauliflower spread could be turned into a mashed cauliflower casserole.
Like various beans, cruciferous vegetables, i.e. cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, radishes, watercress and many more may cause various symptoms. Because of the hydrogen sulfide these vegetables produce, we hear about problems with flatulence and bloating. Also known as ‘rotten egg syndrome’. Hopefully you’re getting the picture about now? Humans lack the enzyme called raffinose which aids in digesting cruciferous vegetables including beans. The vegies can pass through the stomach and small intestine undigested. When they reach the large intestine they are supposed to be absorbed as nutrients. But for some folks the bacteria causes fermentation which is where all the lovely side effects originate. How can we continue eating these vegetables and not suffer greatly? Start by eating small amounts and gradually increasing. Just like we recommend for beans. Lastly eat them cooked not raw for less discomfort.
Here’s something you might also try. A few years ago I was introduced to ‘Kombu’, which is a type of seaweed grown in the orient. You will have to order it on line or go to a good health food store to purchase. Lots of my friends chop up about an inch of dried Kombu and put it in their beans because it aids in digestion. I’m sure the same principle would apply with the cruciferous vegetables. It’s also found in many oriental teas.
Alrighty lets explore one more: The Mexican Herb, ‘Epazote’, pronounced, eh pah soh teh is often added to black bean dishes and it does the same thing as the Kombu in the previous paragraph. Do some of your own research on this subject, it’s truly interesting. Most people like to use fresh, but I found the Penzey Company does sell dried too.
OK, science lesson complete. Here’s a big tip for those wanting to keep cancer at bay. Sprinkle small amounts of turmeric on the broccoli before eating, it’s a great boost for fighting cancer and eating well. We receive lots of Vitamin C, proteins, potassium and manganese from these outstanding vegetables.
Simply Yours, The Covered Dish www.thecovereddish.com
Smoked Cauliflower Spread
1 average sized head cauliflower
1 small sweet onion
¼ cup ranch dressing
4 ounces cream cheese
½ teaspoon Black Kettle Seasoning or alternate all-purpose seasoning spice
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon white pepper
2 strips hickory smoked bacon
Wash and break/cut cauliflower and onion into small pieces. Place inside smoker and cook over alder-flavored wood chips for approximately 30 minutes. (A Cameron stovetop smoker was used.) Place in food processor after smoking and mash until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the bacon. Crumble bacon and stir in ‘if’ the spread is to be used immediately. If served later, wait until serving time to sprinkle generously over the top. Serve this appetizer warm or cold with chips or crackers. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of spread.