Friday, May 24, 2013

Cauliflower Wraps from Empowered Sustenance

About a month ago, I started seeing pins like this one all over my Pinterest feed.  Cauliflower tortillas?  Could this be true?   Gluten free, Grain-free, Nut-free, & dairy free tortillas?  Really?

The first version I found was at Slim Palate.  He mentions that Empowered Sustenance had posted a recipe for cauliflower tortillas before him. Her recipe is here and it is entitled, "the Original Cauliflower  Cauliflower Wrap."  
My mind is picturing the beginnings of a West Side Story turf war over cauliflower wraps/tortillas.  The recipes are very similar.  Its funny while I search for recipes to review how often I find sites with virtually the same recipe.  I think there is room on the internet for two cauliflower wrap/tortilla recipes.  Really, there are only so many ways you can cook certain things.  I decided to use the version from Empowered Sustenance as it gave flavored tortilla options.  I must say I do like the specificity as to how much cauliflower is to be used in Slim Palate's version though.  I've decided I'll make Slim Palate's version this weekend and do a separate post, just to be fair!  I don't want get cut!  

I gathered my ingredients which were few.  After pre-heating the oven, the second step stated in the recipe is to prepare the baking pans with parchment paper.  I decided to hold off on prepping the pans until I was ready to fill them.  It was easier for me given my lack of counter space.   

I started my preparation by cutting up the 1/2 cauliflower I needed into florets.  I decided since I had everything out that I'd make two batches: one of the curry wraps and one of the garlic herb.  Once I had one half of the cauliflower cut into florets, I was skeptical that this would be enough cauliflower  but I stayed the course.  

I processed the cauliflower by hitting the pulse button until it was the consistency I'd use for rice.  

For the first batch, I used my 12 inch covered Scanpan saute pan that I already had out for steaming the cauliflower.  The second batch I used a small saucepan as the recipe calls for and the result was the same.  I added the riced cauliflower to the pan with 1/4 cup of water.  I covered the pan and set a timer for 8 minutes.  

After eight minutes, the cauliflower was tender, it had also browned a bit.  This happened with both batches.  

I placed the cauliflower fine mesh sieve lined with a cotton handkerchief.  The sieve really wasn't needed as there wasn't any "free" water to drain.  

Sorry for the shaky shot! I need to have a kitchen assistant some days!
I took hold of all four corners of the handkerchief and twisted them together so I could use tongs to squeeze the water out of the cauliflower.  She says to use a clean kitchen towel which would certainly work but I keep handkerchiefs around as a more durable version of cheese cloth, so that's what I used.  I know I'm not making his version, but Slim Palate has a picture of this step of his recipe where he is using his fingers to squeeze the cauliflower.  Unless you have waited for the cauliflower to cool, do not do this step with your fingers.  You will burn them.  Period.  

This picture shows the limitation of cooking and taking pictures without an assistant.  Obviously I'd hold the tongs in one hand and the handkerchief in one hand while actually squeezing.  Here's my squeezed cauliflower.  There was likely a little more moisture in there, but my hands were tired.  

Next, I combined the cauliflower with the remaining ingredients and mixed them up in a bowl.

Then I lined 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and carefully spread one wrap on each.  I wondered why you couldn't do 2 wraps on one sheet pan and decided to do that with the second batch.  

How large will it be?  You just have to feel out how your "batter" spreads and refill holes that develop.  I hoped I spread mine out enough.  Here is a curry wrap before I put it in the oven.  It's not a perfect circle but it will do.  

While the curry wraps were in the oven, I prepared the Garlic Herb wraps so I could spread and put them in the oven as soon as the curry ones were done.  I minced one clove of garlic into the a bowl.  

The recipe suggests using basil, oregano, or thyme, so I decided to use an Italian herb blend.  

Once the curry wraps were done, I spread the Garlic Herb ones out on one pan.  It fits, its fine.  

Here is a curry wrap right out of the oven. 

It seemed pretty pliable, but it did crack if I tried to bend too far.

 Here is a glamor shot of the Garlic Herb wrap.  I was trying to show the thickness that resulted.

Yes, I took a bite, but I wanted to show that the wrap didn't break apart once I had folded it up with filling.  I hate it when that happens.  

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You can find everything you need pretty inexpensively at your “big box” grocery store. 

Preparation & Cooking Time:  Empowered Sustenance doesn’t give stated preparation time.  It took me 21 minutes to get the cauliflower wraps ready to go into the oven for 17 minutes.  Give gave me a total cooking and preparation time of 38 minutes.  

Clean Up:  Thankfully, since I have a dishwasher, everything I used except for my cooking pans went into the dishwasher.  I had an extra sauce pan to wash since I tried the steaming the cauliflower in two different pans to see if it made a difference with respect to how the cauliflower turned out.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumps Up!  At first, when I took the Curry batch of wraps out of the oven and tried them without any filling, the egg flavor was prominent and I was disappointed.  I waited a few minutes filled the wrap with ground chicken that had been seasoned with Paleo Powder, the curry flavor came through.  Very tasty and very filling.  I could see how the curry flavor would go great with a Chicken Tikka Masala

When the Garlic Herb Wraps came out of the oven, “Yum” was the first word that came into my mind.  These were immediately awesome alone or with filling.  

Something I didn’t immediately think about was how filling these would be because of the egg content.  Its more of a part of a main dish than a side that I’d typically think of a tortilla back in my corn/gluten eating days.  From a meal planning perspective, I would probably prepare a sautéed vegetable filling for these in the future.  

I think I felt like this was a large time commitment because I had the mind set of this being a side and because I made two batches.  Next time, even if I make two batches, now knowing I can put 2 tortillas on one sheet and I’ll only have the 1- 17 minute cooking time.  

Storage:  The recipe says that these are best served within hours of baking.  After all my work, I really didn’t want to throw my 2 left over wraps away, so I used the parchment paper from my last batch to layer the two wraps in before tucking them into a plastic storage bag in the refrigerator.  I took them to work with me for lunch the next day.  I heated them in the microwave under a paper towel at first for 20 seconds and then 2 more 5 second intervals.  I didn’t want the wraps to get hot or even warm, just not cold.  They were not soggy and held up just as well as they did fresh out of the oven.  What was interesting is that on the second day, the Curry wrap tasted far better to me than the Garlic Herb.  The  flavor of the Garlic Herb had faded a bit.  My storage experience could have been a fluke, but if you make this and have extra give layering them in parchment and storing refrigerated in a plastic resealable bag a try. 

So, if you’ve seen this recipe floating around the paleo blogosphere like a unicorn floating on a rainbow, it’s no unicorn, it actually works and is tasty!   

Blog Note- Small Kitchen Organization Victory!!!  I had to share my most recent small kitchen organization victory.  My tiny kitchen only has one lower cabinet.  In my 5 years in my house, I have struggled with this cabinet.  I fight with my cutting boards and a avalanche of bowls every time I needed something.  I felt ashamed of this situation, but organizing it was made difficult by the fact that the gas cutoff for the stove was in the back lower portion of this cabinet that made some the space unusable.  That’s right, I have one partially obstructed lower cabinet in my kitchen- thank you kitchen designer of Newmark Homes!  While at Lowe's this past weekend, I came across a pull out double drawer system and thought about how lovely that would be if it would fit.  I’ve bought many organization tools before only to have to return them due to the piping issue.  One more try couldn't hurt and I bought it.  

I’m so glad I gave this a try.  Behold!

Bottom drawer: Bowls, Sieves,  Pyrex

Top Drawer:  Sheet pans and Cutting Boards
Best thing!  The drawers fit!  And the cabinet door closes.  Swoon.

I have had so much fun the past few nights while cooking just because of these drawers.  Oh, I need a cutting board, voila!  No more avalanches!  Awesome!