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Buffalo Cauliflower

Let’s be honest. You miss certain things when you give up meat. People always talk about bacon, and of course bacon is tasty. But for me, nothing will ever replace the Mussaman Curry Beef at Indochine, my favorite restaurant in Tacoma. The tofu version pales in comparison. Or the Braised Carnitas at Matador, with that wonderful orange and savory profile. I can’t imagine a substitute. Literally my mouth watered typing that. BUT I’m totally happy with my choice. Let’s move on…

Sometimes, what I miss is not actually the meat, but something else about the eating experience. That is definitely the case for buffalo wings. The chicken wings themselves are an awkward, greasy, boney mess. Never really liked them. But, oh the buffalo sauce. When you think sports, when you think relaxing with beers, you think buffalo wings. It’s almost ritualized, the perfect combination of flavor and eating occasion. And I was craving it something fierce during the playoffs this year.

Great news: cauliflower buffalo bites. Thank you, PETA. You just do so much good in this world.

These are amazing, and I make them more frequently than I would like to admit. Here’s the original recipe. And here are my preferred modifications.

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Ingredients:

  • half of a large cauliflower head, broken into bite-sized florets
  • 1 cup flour (I just use all purpose, bet any kind would work to be GF)
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1.25 cups regular unsweetened nut milk (my preference is Coconut Dream)
  • .5 cups buffalo sauce (Frank’s Red Hot is the classic, I actually think Tabasco’s version is better if you can find it)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Grape seed oil spray or other high temp cooking oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil or other high temp liner and spray with grape seed oil
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the milk and stir until the lumps are out
  4. Dip florets in the batter and arrange on cookie sheet – you might want to adjust the amount of milk in the batter to get your ideal consistency
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through
  6. In the meantime, mix buffalo sauce and olive oil in a medium bowl
  7. When the battered florets are done, toss in the buffalo sauce mixture and serve right away
  8. Celery sticks and blue cheese dressing are the classic accompaniment, but I never bother – too good already!
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