Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spinach, Cauliflower & Bell Pepper Bake, Revisited

This was posted a while back during vacation season...and I just made it again. It was late Summer and  this was a side dish to my husband's grilled (burnt) offering. I was even lamenting the slim pickings in my vegetable garden at the time. Well, I really had nothing to complain about. Because now it is late Winter, and the vegetable garden, is brown and full of dead leaves and other winter debris that has collected inside the fence over the last few cold, dark months. The cauliflower, peppers and spinach are easily available, and good at this time of year, and this does make a great (ova-lacto) vegetarian, gluten free meal for a wet chilly windy night like this one. just too good to relegate to summer only.  With a nice piece of bread or a gluten free roll, a glass of white wine and some fruit  for dessert...and you can sit back and pretend you picked it all in your yard, even if the snow is flying.

Spinach, Cauliflower & Bell Pepper Bake

From last Summer:

Now that we've joined the Big Green Egg cult, I haven't cooked a single piece of meat in the house, unless you count a pan or two of bacon. While I used to be the BBQ Girl around here, regularly loading and running a smoker full of apple logs and briskets while my disinterested DH watched baseball, I am now Kitchen Girl. The Egg has kindled a new interest in outdoor cooking in him and I am relegated to the side dishes. For the moment...I'll be back out there as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, though, it has given me a man-free kitchen to whomp up something to go with the manly burnt offerings (actually he hasn't burned anything, but it sounds good). And when you cook the meat outdoors, there is no roasting pan to wash. So it's all good and I pretty much love our Egg as much as he does, maybe more, since I've wanted one far longer. But I digress...

Remember I was whining about  the slim pickings in the garden last Friday? Well, it still is producing a little of this and that. All good.  Some shallots dug a few weeks ago, garlic, and bell peppers. And I got a very small cauliflower at the farmers market on Friday which, when you are aiming for low- carb, is a godsend. It made the base for a good cheesy dish that's somewhere between a casserole and a crustless quiche. You can add or subtract whatever you don't like here, but the eggs and sour cream proportions need to stay constant, or, well, you have an entirely different dish...possibly not bad, but different.

Note: to grate cauliflower, just scrape it on the big holes of a box grater, or chop it medium-fine in a food processor. To cook it, I just sauté it in a bit of butter until soft. If you want to keep this dish vegetarian, either use vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, or Pickapeppa sauce which has no anchovies in it.
Homegrown peppers and shallots.
Spinach, Cauliflower & Cheddar Bake

3 cups of grated cauliflower, cooked soft
1T extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced 1/2"
5 oz. baby spinach
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. Cholula or other hot sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a 9" square oven-to-table baking dish. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan, and add the shallot, garlic and bell pepper. Sauté on medium heat until the pepper is soft and the shallot is limp. Stir in the spinach a bit at a time and cook until it just wilts. Turn off the heat and set aside in the pan to cool for a minute or two.
Infinite possibilities with fresh-from-the-garden vegetables.
Whisk together the eggs, sour cream hot sauce and Worcestershire in a medium bowl. Stir in the cheese, and the vegetable mixture from the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 45 - 60 minutes until brown at the edges and bubbly. Good side with grilled meat or as a vegetarian main with a salad.

Serves 4-6.

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