FOOD CHALLENGE | February | Vegetable Two Ways / by Carey

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