Friday, April 24, 2015

Cauliflotato Salad and Wingless Buffalo Chicken

I don't even know how to begin this post.  I have been feeling guilty because I am publicly creating a menu for the week and straying so far from it, that anyone who reads this can see that doing one is mostly pointless.  I truly do not understand how anyone knows what they want to eat tomorrow, much less for the entire week.  If I were smarter I would just have a rudimentary plan "2 beef meals, 1 pork meal, 3 chicken meals, 1 leftover meal, broccoli, asparagus, salad, green beans, coleslaw, sweet potatoes, yada, yada. yada.  That way I could just leave an idea of what I have available to work with and then I could enjoy the surprise of whatever crossed my mind as I started cooking.

As it is I really do try to look at the plan and I honestly intend to stick with it, but then prep time comes and whatever I had meant to make just doesn't sound appealing.  So I do what I do best and most often__punt. The other day, though, all the planets were in almost perfect alignment and I actually cooked a meal that was very close to what I had planned.  So far this week I am batting 1 for 5 in the "sticking with the menu" success category.  Bummer.

A gozillion years ago I was doing a now defunct diet that was very similar to Weight Watcher's, but they had zero added fats in the diet.  It was very hard to stay on it for many reasons, but one of the worst was this fake mayonnaise that was central to about half of their recipe ideas.  I really don't remember the recipe.  Gelatin and dry milk powder were 2 of its central ingredients and I remember keeping it on hand at all times.  I also remember it was horrid, but I used it when I made their various recipes (For the record, that particular diet did not last long with me or the rest of the country.)

One of the recipes I made regularly during that season of diet Hell was their version of potato salad that used cauliflower in place of the potato.  I remembered it being one of the more tolerable foods they had, and since I am doing paleo right now and make paleo acceptable mayo weekly, I thought why not try and recreate it. (Plus I had cauliflower and a lot of mayo to either use or toss.  This homemade stuff has a pretty short shelf life.)

My version of the forgotten diet's cauliflower potato salad which I renamed Cauliflotato Salad because I like the way it made it look like an official recipe. (It's not)

I small head cauliflower, steamed tender, drained, blotted and cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons  mayo (add more or less to your  taste)
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons dill relish (use sweet relish or chopped pickles if you'd rather)
3 ribs of celery, chopped
2 slices sweet onion, minced
1 boiled egg, chopped very fine
salt and pepper to taste

After steaming and draining the cauliflower blot it with a clean kitchen towel to get it as dry as possible. Cut it into small pieces and set aside.  In a small bowl mix the mayo, mustard and dill relish.  Set it aside.  Put the celery, onion, and egg in a large bowl and mix well.  Add the mayo mixture and stir well. Add the salt and pepper. (I tend to under salt because I do not like a lot of it, so I used maybe 1/8 teaspoon) After everything is well mixed add the cauliflower and toss just enough to coat the bits with the mayo mixture.  Cover and refrigerate until it is cold.  Serve chilled.

I served this to both paleo and non-paleo folks and believe it or not everyone really did like it.  I can't even tell you who liked it more.  This is going to be a mainstay this summer for meals at the lake.  It can be made ahead of time, and should transport easily.  If you like potato salad this is a delicious alternative.  I believe it would adapt to almost any favorite recipe for potato salad.  I may even try it with my old standby hot potato salad recipe just to see how it works for that.  I think this is an equal to recipe rather than an almost as good as recipe.  Win!

As an aside I am sharing the "How To" for the wingless Buffaloish chicken.  (I read this, clicked off of it and moved on. A couple of days later I decided to make it, but by then I had erased my browsing history.  Apologies to whomever it was, I would have liked to link this to you. Also I hope I remembered your seasonings correctly)

Grease the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Pour about 1/2 inch of olive oil in a small shallow bowl. Coat the chicken pieces completely with oil and place skin side down in the prepared dish. Sprinkle the chicken with paprika, chili powder, chipotle powder, salt, pepper, thyme, onion powder and garlic powder.  If you are particularly daring sprinkle a little cinnamon on them also.  I did on half of ours and we were not fond of the chicken with the cinnamon.  Pop in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Turn over, sprinkle with the same ingredients. Cook until done (this will depend on the chicken pieces you use)  Spoon a little of the oil from the bottom of the pan over the top of the chicken and let it cook a couple of extra minutes to crisp the skin.

I am giving the chicken an A for ease of prep, and a solid B for taste, but I am giving it a D as a Buffalo substitute.  I will make it the same way next time (no cinnamon for us) but after it is completely done, I will melt some ghee and add a decent amount of Texas Pete's hot sauce to it, then toss the chicken pieces in it just before serving.  I believe that will make it taste/feel a little more like traditional Buffalo chicken.

Go crazy in the kitchen and use a non-traditional ingredient in place of something ordinary and let me know how it works.  I am all for playing with my food!


  1. I thought the Cauliflotato salad was going to have both cauliflower and potatoes in it. Which it could if you wanted, I guess. I will have to try this sometime.

    I think the fact that you cook most nights whether or not it is exactly as planned is great. If you have most ingredients available for what you want to make sounds like a plan to me.

  2. I think you can do anything you want to any recipe! I am not eating regular potatoes at all so right no I wouldn't mix cauliflower and potatoes, but on a paleo free day, anything goes!
    I change my mind about what I am in the mood for often, sometimes after I have even started cooking? Everyone in my family knows the "What's for dinner" question is subject to change at any moment up until it is served.

  3. I too feel like I need to apologize for things that I do or don't do on my blog. It is so stupid. Its life and we shouldn't worry about little things. Just go with it. And with the day that I am having I need to take my own advise.

  4. Take your own advice, but amazingly if it is about everyone else I just think "Oh that's life" . If it is about me I think "what a lame slacker who doesn't do what she says she is going to"

  5. I think that actually sounds good the cauliflower/potato salad. I love raw cauliflower with dip.

  6. I do too GIll and I am finding I use cauliflower quite a bit now that I am doing paleo.

  7. Hey, if you are cooking every, or even most, night(s), you are ahead of the game. I am fortunate that I don't have to cook as Hubby does most of the cooking for us. But cooking at home sure beats the cost of eating out.

  8. I think I am glad TheHub doesn't cook because he can only make eggs, grits and cheese sandwiches. Consider yourself lucky!

  9. home cooking 101: meal plans are not actually for following

  10. I agree Kylie. neither are recipes. I figure both are mainly suggestions.