FOOD CHALLENGE | February | Vegetable Two Ways

Today on the 20th comes the second installment of my Food Styling Challenge.  In case you missed the first, check out my raspberries here.  Yet, this month I bring you Vegetable, Two Ways.  When I first looked over the list of monthly projects, this was the only one that didn't send a tiny quiver of fear down my spine.  I thought, "oh! I got that!"

Yeah.... at this point in my life I should pretty much assume that the easier I think something will be, the harder the reality of it is.  Turns out, this whole food photography and food styling thing is even more challenging than I gave it credit for, and I was already giving it quite a bit of credit.  Yet, it has been so very rewarding to give myself something new to learn and come out on the other end with something I'm rather proud of.  Not to mention the newfound foodie camaraderie we've found in our little group.  Never knew something like this could be so fun with fellow enthusiastic friends!

I chose the lovely Cauliflower for my vegetable.  A veggie Underdog of sorts.  Cauliflower has always been a vegetable I enjoyed immensely, but not one that Shawn liked at all.  Honestly, I don't know that I've met too many that cared for it.  So it has been a personal challenge of sorts to find ways to prepare it that pass muster with Mr. Shawn.  A few weeks ago, Roasted Cauliflower came up on my E-Mealz weekly menu.  The recipe was more of a method than a true 'recipe'.  I confess I was excited to eat it, but was not anticipating the delicious factor we experienced.

I mean, it was out of this WORLD yummy.  Even Shawn loved it.  Huge, folks, huge.  As I battling the urge to lick my plate clean that evening, I knew then that my veggie and recipe for this challenge was found.  Roasted Cauliflower.  Two Ways.  Raw.  Cooked.  Without further ado, may I present to you the Vegetable Underdog: Cauliflower.


Carey Pace Lifestyle Photographer Food TN
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As I said earlier, this is more of a method.  Below you have the before and after.  On the left, you see the cauliflower in the pan, doused with olive oil and salt.  Then on the right, roasted in a hot oven (450 F) for 20 or so minutes, turned occasionally, until nicely caramelized.  One thing to note -- The first time I made this, I was in typical hurried dinner mode and sliced my cauliflower to get the florets.  For this challenge I carefully broke them off, cutting as little as possible, thinking I was doing myself a favor and making beautiful cauliflower.  Turns out, cutting it, and giving it several flat edges to rest on the pan evenly results in a lot more golden roasted goodness on the cauliflower.  Honestly, it was much better the first time I made it.  So go ahead and slice with abandon at that cauliflower when you make this.  You are planning to make this, aren't you?  You've already added cauliflower to the grocery list, right??

UPDATE:  the day of this post I happened to make this for dinner, again.  And I figured a few things out, recipe/method wise.  First let me say:  Shawn and Little Buddy simply could not get enough of this cauliflower!!!  I do not know what happens when you roast it, but the flavor changes and it is incredible.

Now, as far as recipe and method:  I sliced the cauliflower so there were two flat edges to the pieces.  And I let it in the oven for 15 minutes, untouched, before I brought it out to flip.  Then another 8 minutes on the second side and they were complete and roasted, oh my stars, to perfection.  So brown and so, so, so yummy.  I really wish I'd captured the dark caramelization for my photo, because the dark, dark, darkness is what transforms this from simply cauliflower to delicious overload.  I flipped the pieces every 5 minutes for the photo version and while it looks fairly pretty, the flavor was just not the same.  I still cannot believe Little Buddy was begging for thirds and fourths of this cauliflower!

Carey Pace Photography Kingsport TN 2012

But the part that really, truly sends this recipe over the edge is what comes next.  Melt some real butter in a pan and saute a little bit of garlic until it is nice and fragrant.  Then toss that yummy roasted cauliflower in your garlic butter.  Seriously, this is one amazing side dish.  I look forward to making it again!

Carey Pace Photography Kingsport TN 2012

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Please continue on in our food Project Group to circle around back to me.  Visit my friend Kay Pickens Columbia MO photographer who never disappoints.  I know I can't wait to see what she prepared!  And when you make it back here, leave me a comment and let me know which veggie photo was your favorite!


I shot these with my D90 Sigma 30mm f1.4

11 comments:

  1. Whoo-hoo Carey!! You rocked it - I love both the raw and cooked presentations! Very clever idea to stack those little dishes in the cooked shot - that height added some beautiful drama to the lowly cauliflower. I actually make this at least once a week - my son loves broccoli but still won't eat cauliflower!!

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  2. Wow!! You almost make me want to eat cauliflower! Seriously, I'm going to try thi! Your photos are lovely. The finished dish looks so delicious!

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  3. I have wanted to try roasted cauliflower for ages but I detest that veggie so much I never get brave enough. This has converted me. So trying this! Gorgeous before and afters. That green leaf on the veggie just completely makes the photo. Love the bamboo mats too!!

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  4. You sure made that cauliflower look delish. I love roasted cauliflower....it's the only way I'll eat it. I love the clean white bowls and the bamboo mat, all the different textures and neutral tones. I really like this :)

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  5. These turned out beautiful Carey! Love that you rocked the cauliflower :) I love the texture of the bamboo mat and the background-lovely job!

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  6. mmmm....totally mouth watering. I'm a fan of cauliflower to begin with, but this sounds awesome. Your images are excellent. Great job!

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  7. Beautiful beautiful beautiful!!! Your use of color and light here are amazing Carey!
    Who new cauliflower could look so gorgeous and appetizing! I'm so glad your in our group!! xoxo

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  8. I love that final shot SO much! The stacked bowls, the fork, the cauliflower....all of it is just lovely!

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  9. mmmmm, I love roasted cauliflower! I do mine with curry spinkled in....so good (and not very curry tasting, but so yummy!). Such beautiful photos to show off such an overlooked veggie!

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  10. I can't wait to make this, I've seen this in Pinterest a ton lately! Your images are gorgeous! Saw this in the Bloom Forum :)

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  11. Carey, with such high recommendations I'm going to try this on my non-cauliflower loving husband. He turns his nose up at nearly everything veggie, but will occasionally clean his plate if I find the right thing. Cauliflower is one of the things he will eat raw, and now I'm going to try this!
    As for the photos... wow! I adore the black background and the brightness of the veggie on the bamboo mat. Just beautiful! And your styling with the dishes stacked is brilliant. (Hope you don't mind if I borrow your idea!).

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