Side Dishes, Vegetables

Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

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Here’s the cookbook that still resides on Mom’s counter. It’s missing the title pages and the tape that reattached the last page of the index, but the duck tape repairs on the spine still hold.

It’s been a part of the Stein kitchen as long as the boys can remember, and it’s filled with treasures and memory.

Mom didn’t ever share a recipe for this, but it started with a classic white sauce and a high quality cheddar, so this is the one from the Good Housekeeping Cook Book.

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I always marvel at how simple this really is.

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Stirring and stirring is the  key to smooth white sauce – while adding the milk slowly.

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Medium White Sauce (cream sauce)

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine

2 Tablespoons flour (some people prefer to reduce flour to 1-1/2 T)

Speck pepper

1/2 tesaspoon salt

Dash paprika

1 cup milk, or part milk and part light cream

1. In double boiler (or in saucepan over low heat), melt butter; add flour, pepper, salt, paprika; stir until blended, smooth.

2. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

3. Cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Makes one cup.

To make cheese sauce, add 1/2 to 1 cup grated cheese and dash cayenne pepper. *

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Our cauliflower was cooked in chunks. Not nearly as lovely as that whole globe.

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*Notes

This original recipe calls for mustard powder here but I never remember that being used in the Stein kitchen. In my memory, maybe my own Mother’s addition of cayenne makes its way in here, but I’m fairly certain it was a part of LaVerne’s sauce, too.

A double boiler was never used, just a good heavy saucepan.

Always use a high quality cheddar. In the Stein’s house, it was invariably Tillamook.

My husband and I couldn’t agree on how the cauliflower was cooked, though it was always whole. Was it boiled or steamed? It was always lovely in the serving dish, that warm pale yellow cheese sauce flowing down the sides of the head of cauliflower.

He doesn’t remember this, but as I recall, his Mom made cheese sauce for broccoli sometimes, too. When our daughter disdained all vegetables except raw ones, she would eat cooked broccoli this way with pleasure. All the various Steins can correct me if I’m wrong…

Do you remember a sauce that made everything better?

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2 thoughts on “Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

  1. Dan says:

    haven’t stopped by here to visit/remember in a while but always glad when I do. The white sauce in this recipe was the base for several things mom cooked (like eggs in whitesauce that my own kids enjoy) so it’s very useful to know just by itself.
    I do remember mom using the mustard powder when we were growing up but she may have dropped it in later years. She never hesitated to modify recipes to suit her own tastes, or to mark them out of the book if she found one she really didn’t like.
    As I remember, the cauliflower was usually boiled whole when we were young but in later years she began steaming. I think she felt the steaming was a better texture and didn’t destroy the flavors and nutrition as much as boiling did. She also had money then to get some better pots to work with than she had when we were little.
    Besides broccoli and cauliflower, mom also made this sauce for brussel sprouts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember her doing this with broccoli, too; James didn’t. One of my favorite notes in her big black cookbook is the recipe that’s Xed out, and says, “Not worth the trouble.” Glad she wrote that. Looked like a pretty interesting recipe to me! I’ve learned so much from her guidance in the kitchen over the last 30 years.

      Like

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