Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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In my hunt for other recipes meant to provide a cauliflower version of fried chicken, I ran into THIS post about Popeye’s Fried Chicken.  Here is a picture from that site:

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I have never eaten at Popeye’s or any other fried chicken joint (except KFC & Dinah’s here in Glendale) and I haven’t tasted ANY fried chicken in over 25 years – but my boyfriend Miles eats it all the time.  In fact, he eats it weekly now that the famous Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken opened a few blocks away from him in downtown Little Rock.  Miles is always sending me (at my request) pictures of the food he eats & I find myself looking at fried chicken so much – I have developed an undeniable craving for it.  And – that blogger that spoke of an incredible meal at Popeye’s didn’t help.  And that Delta sauce?  I liked the sound of it & a few clicks here & there revealed that Popeye’s discontinued it.  In fact, there seems to be quite a bit of hand-wringing going on about the now-unavailable Delta Sauce and that piqued my curiosity.  Fortunately, the blogger who loved the Delta sauce posted a copycat recipe for it & I could not resist.  So – I made it & I include that recipe here.  It is like a spicy Thousand Island dressing & it is INCREDIBLE on my – wait for it – Southern Fried Cauliflower!

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Doesn’t that look just like a fried chicken plate?  I was so Goddamn happy with myself yesterday – you have no idea.  If you make any of my zillions of cauliflower recipes – I have to say – it should be THIS one!  So easy & so delicious!  And if, like me, you don’t eat meat but the reasons for that do not include any distaste for meat products – this might really satisfy any existing fried chicken craving you might be in denial about.

That plate above includes yesterday’s recipe for Buffalo Mac & Pepper Jack Cheese.

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It also includes some smashed baked potatoes & a vegetarian white gravy.

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This is quite a decadent meal & the perfect fix on those days when the hole in your heart is bigger than your ass & you just don’t give a fuck.  You wanna eat & you wanna eat something bad.  This is as Paula Deen as I am likely to get but even with this dish – the fried chicken is really cauliflower & there is no bacon (or other meat) fat in any of it (excepting egg & milk) & the potatoes were made with a minimum of butter & WATER – because I’d run out of milk.  So – seriously – AT LEAST try the southern fried cauliflower & Delta dipping sauce.  I am certain you will enjoy!

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Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese

(This feeds about two (very well) so increase the recipes if you are feeding more.  The mac & cheese recipe feeds at least 4.)

INGREDIENTS

For the Southern Fried Cauliflower

(depending on the size of your cauliflower – you may need more or less of the other ingredients – so maybe have extra on hand)

1 head cauliflower

2 vegan eggs

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce

2 cups flour

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp each of S&P

1 tsp chipotle chili powder (or smoked or regular paprika)

1 tsp garlic powder

Lots of vegetable oil for frying

1 gallon zip lock baggy (not necessary but it makes life easier)

For the Delta dipping sauce

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1/8 cup sambal oelek (or other chili sauce)

1/8 cup ketchup

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or another brand)

1 garlic clove – minced

For the smashed baked potatoes

2 large potatoes

olive oil

2 TBS vegan butter

S&P

For the white gravy

2 TBS vegan butter

1 large shallot – minced

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1/2 tsp dry sage

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

For the Buffalo Mac & Cheese

See HERE

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DIRECTIONS

For the Delta dipping sauce

Whisk the ingredients together & chill.

For the Smashed Baked Potatoes

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Rub olive oil on the potatoes & sprinkle with salt.  Bake them – DIRECTLY on the oven rack – for about 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven & allow to cool a bit.  Peel the potatoes (I left bits of skin & browned spots for some color) & mash them up with the butter & some salt & pepper and as much milk or water (I used water as I was out of milk) as you need to get to a texture you like.  I used an old school hand masher & left them chunky & on the drier side.  I smashed them a bit more at the end with an immersion blender.  You do it however you like.

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For the white gravy

Heat the butter in a sauce pan & add the bouillon cube & the shallots.  Cook a minute or two until the shallots soften & the bouillon cube is dissolved.  Add the flour, sage & salt and pepper & stir constantly for about 2 minutes.  It should be quite dry.  Add the milk 1/2 cup at a time & allow it to thicken.  Continue until all the milk is incorporated and heat until the gravy is at your desired thickness.  Add milk if it is too thick.

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For the Southern Fried Cauliflower

In a bowl – whisk together the eggs, water & hot sauce.

In a zip lock bag or in a deep bowl – blend the flour with the rest of the dry ingredients.

Cut the cauliflower into the largest “drummettes” possible so they resemble chicken thighs & a few wings.  I sprayed my cauliflower with water so the flour mix would stick.

Put the cauliflower in the flour mix & toss to coat.  Dunk into the egg mix until covered & then back into the flour.  Coat again with the flour.

I do not have a thermometer to measure oil temp but I think 350 is the correct temperature for frying.  I just let it get hot, put one drummette in there & once that started bubbling pretty rapidly – I added a few more pieces

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Turn a few times & fry until they are a golden brown all over.  Drain on a paper towel.  Repeat until all the cauliflower is cooked.  Now – just divvy up the goodness & fill up that whole in your heart with some old school home cooking!

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Vegan Buffalo Mac & Pepper Jack Cheese Cupcakes

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I woke up dizzy & light-headed & (oddly) filled with a dozen ideas for soul food or otherwise southern menu options.  I had all kinds of aspirations involving chicken-frying something & biscuits & gravy & mashed potatoes and mac & cheese.  I am really excited about the chicken-fried recipe but I only got as far as this mac & cheese idea.  I have enough of just these things to survive here for a week.  And I really shouldn’t eat mac & cheese cupcakes every meal for a week or I might develop type-2 Diabetes.

You can opt to make the cupcakes out of this recipe or just stop at the mac & cheese level.  It is a no-bake mac & cheese but I am certain 20 minutes at 375 wouldn’t hurt it.  Here it is right outta the pan – no baking at all.  If you are not baking it or making cupcakes – this mac & cheese comes together in just a little more time than it takes to boil the pasta.

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That is a little smoked paprika on there.  Pretty, no?

I used this wacky, large shell pasta for my recipe.  Regular macaroni or other small, shaped pasta would work, too.

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Vegan Buffalo Mac & Pepper Jack Cheese Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry pasta – cooked

4 TBS flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp ground pepper

1 pinch cayenne pepper

4 TBS vegan butter

2 celery stalks – diced (plus more for garnish)

3 scallions – diced (plus more for garnish)

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced

3 cups non-dairy milk

1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

4 cups vegan pepper jack cheese (grated)

Crumbled vegan blue cheese as garnish (optional)

Wonton skins (2 per cupcake)

Paprika (as garnish)

Breadcrumbs and/or extra grated cheese to top the cupcakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta according to directions.

Heat the oven to 375.

In a bowl – whisk the dry ingredients together: flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper & cayenne.  Set aside.

In a large stock pot, melt the butter & saute the celery, jalapeno & scallions for about 2 minutes.  Add the flour mix & saute over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the milk – 1/2 cup at a time – and stir it in until it thickens.  Then add the rest of the milk in the same fashion & in 1/2 cup increments.

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Stir in the hot sauce & the pepper jack & heat until melted & combined.

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Stir in the cooked pasta.  You can serve it at this point with blue cheese crumbles, celery & scallions as garnish – and maybe a drizzle of more Frank’s sauce – or a brightly colored paprika!

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OR –

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Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.  Place two wonton skins in each cup.  Fill them with your mac & cheese.

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You might want to add more grated cheese or breadcrumbs here – or not.  I only added breadcrumbs to half to see how they came out.  No big difference.  Bake at 375 for about 12-15 minutes or until bubbly & browning.

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Let them rest for about a minute & then serve garnished with blue cheese crumbles, scallions and/or celery.  Maybe sprinkle some paprika on them or drizzle more Frank’s sauce.  Then get a shoe horn & force feed yourself these things like they do a pate goose.

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Buffalo Cauliflower

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Hey!  Have you heard?  I wrote a really funny & dirty novel!  www.BathingBook.com.   Check out the reviews on Amazon!  Why not buy a copy?

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This baby is pretty easy.  I love buffalo sauce but I do not eat chicken so I am always scouting for other ways to eat it – whether on pizza or with shrimp or to dip French fries in – anything.  This recipe uses cauliflower & is virtually calorie-free.   I used Egg Beaters egg whites in it but you could use buttermilk or soy milk or whatever to moisten the florets before dredging them in flour.   I used regular flour but gluten free flour or a chick pea (besan) flour – even panko or breadcrumbs could also work.  Most recipes I’ve seen add butter to the buffalo sauce but I see no reason to add those calories.

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Buffalo Cauliflower

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower

Egg beaters

1 cup flour

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 tsp each S&P

Buffalo sauce (I used Frank’s)

Celery stalks

Blue cheese (or Ranch) dressing for dipping

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DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 425.

Pour egg beaters in one bowl.  Mix flour with the spices in another.

Cut the cauliflower into florets.  Dip each into the egg & then the flour mix.  Spray a cooking sheet with cooking oil.  Place the cauliflower on the sheet & bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.  Take them out & coat them with buffalo sauce & bake another 15 minutes.  Put them on a plate & drizzle more buffalo sauce on them.

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Serve with celery & blue cheese (or Ranch) dressing.

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Baked Leftover Pasta with Heirloom Tomato Bisque, English Peas & Three Cheeses in Ramekins

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

As promised, another recipe made up from several other recipes posted this week.  This one uses leftover fettuccine from my Cilantro-Serrano Pasta post and leftover Tomato Bisque and some of my Homemade American Cheese.   You can use freshly cooked pasta or leftover, if you have it.   The soup can be replaced with ANY pasta sauce you prefer from a simple arrabiata to a marinara to an alfredo.  The cheese can also be substituted with goat or Parmesan or whatever you have handy.  I used English peas because I had them & I love them.

This particular effort isn’t that pretty because green noodles & a pink sauce make for an odd combination but let me tell you – it is friggin’ DELICIOUS.  I made it & just meant to taste one & stood there & inhaled an entire serving.   Really, really good!  I had intended to make little wonton baskets for each of these but forgot to – so a version using wontons is likely in my future.   At any rate – if you use a white pasta & a red sauce – or some other more compatible color combination – your effort should come out prettier.

I cooked 6 of these ramekins in a larger pan with water that came up about half way on the ramekins – and one just out there on its own in the oven.  In the future – I will blow off the whole water business because it achieved nothing that I could appreciate except maybe slowing the heating process a tad – and there is no practical purpose for that in this recipe.  So – you will see images of the larger pan & water but I am not recommending you do it that way.  The only thing it adds is a VERY real danger that you will scald yourself with the hot water as you remove these from the oven.

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Baked Leftover Pasta with Heirloom Tomato Bisque, English Peas & Three Cheeses in Ramekins

INGREDIENTS

4 cups cooked pasta

1 1/2 cups leftover bisque or other pasta sauce

1 cup fresh English peas (optional)

2 large balls fresh mozzarella – sliced

1 2″ cube homemade American cheese or other cheese of your choice

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Fresh basil and/or chopped fresh tomato – as garnish

Extra bisque or pasta sauce – as garnish

Fresh Parmesan to shave – as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Blend the pasta, sauce and whatever cheese(s) you are using (NOT the mozzarella) in a bowl.  Add the peas – if using.

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Spray 7 ramekins (sorry – it just worked out to 7) with cooking spray.  Divide the pasta mix among them.  Try not to over-fill them or they will get messy in the oven.  Top with a little extra bisque/sauce & put a slice of fresh mozzarella on each. Grind some pepper on them.

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Place on a cookie sheet & cover each with a sheet of foil that has been greased with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove foil & bake another ten minutes.

Remove from the oven & let cool a minute or two.  These can be served in the ramekins or flipped over & served on a plate.  Either way, garnish each with chopped tomato and/r fresh chopped basil and/or some freshly shaved Parmesan.

Devour & be proud of yourself for using up your leftovers!  Maybe even serve with some leftover Artisan bread!!!

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Leftover Tomato & Artisan Bread Soup with Buffalo Mozzarella

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

Ok, kiddies.  I am going to post two different dishes today that are made from leftovers of the recipes I posted last week.  This one uses the Roasted Heirloom Tomato Bisque and the Crazy Super Easy & Quick Artisan Bread.

Simply, brush some olive oil on a slice of Artisan bread & toast it in your oven (at about 350 – 400 degrees) for about ten minutes.  Add a few slices of fresh mozzarella & return it to the oven for a few minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Plunk this bad boy into the center of a warmed bowl of tomato bisque.  Garnish with leftover basil oil (I forgot to!!) and some fresh tomato (I used some Heirloom cherry tomatoes), fresh basil & fresh cracked pepper!  Ymmmmm!

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Easy Buffalo Shrimp with Blue Cheese Dip & Celery

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Photo © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

Easy as pie.  I just fried the shrimp in a little oil in a frying pan (or you can grill them) and then tossed them in Frank’s RedHot (http://www.franksredhot.com/) & ground some fresh pepper on them.  Put your favorite blue cheese dressing in a little bowl, slice up some celery and you are on!