Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Putting Cauliflower in a Meat Grinder

So, when you know someone who's getting rid of things in their house, occasionally you get some really nice stuff. This hasn't happened directly to me, but a friend of my mother's was clearing her possessions, and she saw this and thought of me. Thanks, Mom!

Really, only the fish looks particularly distraught at its fate. The birds are unnervingly eager. The sheep are too distracted chasing the cabbage to notice because sheep are stupid.

So naturally, when one gets one of these, one wants to shove various things in it for the sake of seeing them turn to paste. That's normal, right? Anyway, I decided to try a recipe that's been floating around my Facebook friends for a while.

Beige vegetables in a white bowl aren't exactly a feast for the eye, are they?

You're looking at one head of cauliflower, cut up and microwaved in a bowl lined with soggy paper towels until fork-tender. If you make this yourself, don't forget to put a particularly dripping wet paper towel on top.

What we're going to do is smash and mash it, mix it with stuff, and put it in a pan. And here we go! First, a confused moment when we open this box and see a mass of random metal bits:

Why I took it all out and then photographed the box is beyond me, but that's what happens when you're cooking at 5AM.
Fortunately, we also had instructions. So I started putting this thing together and got it bolted to the countertop. Then I realized I have nowhere for the ground up stuff to land. Since I don't like having a mass of dishes at the end, I decided on a different solution than a plate.
This is it! The moment before I turn the crank and grind my first unsuspecting ingredients!

Behold the motion blur!
I had wondered, how does your food come out of this? Does it pour out or what? I didn't see a spout. Turns out your food just sort of... well... oozes out of the front.

Anyway, it works really well. I've often found that with food processors and blenders, the food will stick to the sides of the container while the blades spin in open air, necessitating frequent stops to push it around. This was not a problem- all I had to do was occasionally mash things down so the auger catches them.

However, juice dribbles out of the back. It's no big deal, but it does make one inclined to make sure it's not bolted down above any cabinets or drawers the juice could drip into. Especially if one is grinding meat. You could put a pan right under the counter if you're the type to plan ahead.

The grinder made very short work of the cauliflower and also of the garlic cloves I dropped in there as I was going along. I hardly had to make any effort to crank it; I'd expected a lot of resistance because the last time I made this, the cauliflower bent a potato masher and made the blender emit an unnerving burnt-electric smell. And here is the result!
Beautiful. Just... beautiful.
My newspaper failed under all the strain when I tried to lift it up to pour the pulverized remains of a vegetable back into the bowl. Apparently, even slick paper is not waterproof enough to not fail under the strain.
And I'd briefly entertained the thought that advertisements are actually good for something.

Anyway, the cauliflower (and the four cloves garlic- I don't just like garlic, I believe in garlic- that had been ground with it) went back into the bowl and got mixed with 2 eggs, salt, a lot of pepper, and a handful of Parmesan cheese shreds. Then into the oven it went until it was a bit browned at the edges.
Behold the oddly flexible sheet of cauliflower paste.

Absolutely delicious! It turns out if you put enough garlic and Parmesan on cauliflower, it tastes like garlic and Parmesan. I ate the whole thing. You should totally try this. However, if you're going to eat the whole pan at once, keep in mind you're eating an entire fricken head of cauliflower with lots of garlic in it. You may want to make sure the weather that night's going to be suitable for opening your window.

Baked Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower (or 24 oz. frozen)
4 cloves garlic*
Salt, pepper
2 handfuls shredded Parmesan cheese (not the stuff in the green shaker, it'll taste funny)
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350°. Cut the cauliflower into 2-4" pieces (you needn't be exact). Line a bowl with very wet paper towels. Put in the cauliflower and top with additional soggy paper towels. Microwave until fork-tender, 5-10 minutes. Grind cauliflower and garlic. Mix with the salt and pepper (use a generous amount of pepper), one handful of cheese, and with the eggs. Press out into a well-greased 9x13 pan. Scatter the other handful of cheese on top (you're not going for a complete covering-- well, you can but you'll need more than one handful of cheese to do it). Bake until the edges and the cheese are golden.

*Those who don't like garlic as much as I do would probably reduce it to one or two.


  1. Hello!

    That food grinder is boss and I am sure that you will find a 1001 ways to use it. Can I make a suggestion? Maybe next time try putting one of those thin, bendy cutting boards under it. You know the kind--they are color-coded for different kinds of foods?

    Anyway, welcome to the wonderful world of food blogging! Cheers!

    1. It is, I can't believe I actually got one! Thank you for the idea, I'll definitely see who in my area sells them. I really wish they'd made the thing taller so you could put a bowl under it.

      And thank you for the gracious welcome!


  2. Loovveee all of these so much!! The idea is ever green :)) also been loving light boxes ATM wish I could get one!!
    Loved this
    Meat Grinder