Thursday, January 3, 2013

Moosewood Cauliflower Cheese Pie

Well things are starting to return back to normal after the fun holiday season. I never take down our decorations until mid-January (gotta hang onto those pretty white glowing lights for as long as I can), but I'm back to cooking meals at home (thank goodness) and my first day back at work yesterday after 11 days of vacation was actually pretty painless.

I haven't done a meals planning session in a few weeks since we had so many holiday parties and dinner plans in December, but now that I'm back into the swing of everyday life, it was definitely time.

While coming up with this week's list I was leafing through one of my favorite childhood cookbooks - the Moosewood vegetarian cookbook, which was a gift from my sister a few years ago - and came across an interesting-sounding dish: Cauliflower Cheese Pie.

I adore cauliflower and use it in mac & cheese, soups, curries and the like, but never thought to use it as the real basis for a dish. I was intrigued!

I loved this pie so much I had to share it. It has a crispy potato crust and a cheesy, quiche-like center filled with cauliflower. I made very few changes so the credit goes squarely back to Moosewood.

It is a little time consuming to prepare, but is totally worth it. The flavor is rich and the aroma is mouth watering. Plus you get your carbs, protein, veggies and fats all on one delicious plate.

This'll definitely be making an appearance on our dinner table again.

Moosewood Cauliflower Cheese Pie

Serves 4-5

Ingredients - Crust
2 cups packed grated raw potatoes
1/4 cup grated onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg white

Ingredients - Filling
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 head of cauliflower, cut in small pieces
1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 cup skim milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Dash paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine grated potato and onion, salt and egg white in a bowl and mix well. Transfer to the pie plate and pat down, building up the sides of the plate (use floured fingers if the crust is wet). Bake crust for 30 minutes, then brush with a little olive oil and bake for 10 more minutes, until golden brown. Remove crust from oven and set aside; turn temperature down to 375.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs, and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Add cauliflower, stir to combine, and cover. Cook until the cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Spread half the cheese onto the baked crust; spoon the sautéed veggies on top, then top with the remaining cheese. Beat the egg, egg white and milk together, and pour this mixture on top. Sprinkle the paprika over the whole thing.

Return the pie to the oven and bake 40-45 minutes, or until set and cheese is golden. Serve hot or at room temperature.