When I opened my mystery bag and saw that one of my ingredients was cauliflower, I was not so confident as I have never cooked cauliflower before. I thought this was exactly why I wanted to do this contest because it would challenge me to be creative.
I made my first recipe for my husband that I thought was delicious, but he said that I should rethink the cauliflower. Being an avid Food Network watcher, I know that cauliflower is often referred to as the new potato. When I make my smashed potatoes, I keep the skin on for color and taste. So I thought that if I roasted the cauliflower with garlic, it would not only taste good, but also have an illusion of potato skin. I made my traditional potato recipe using cauliflower instead. I always use horseradish sauce to add a slight bite to the flavor.
Because I am in the education field, my apple relish represents me and was a creative take on "pork chops and apple sauce." My two children, Matthew and Stephanie and their spouses came over to do a taste test of my two dishes. They critiqued me on presentation, taste and creativity. This dish won!
My inspiration for this recipe was my husband's favorite comfort food -- Stuffed Pork Chops with Rosemary and canned cranberry sauce on the side -- that I cook for him (fall and winter only). I never followed a recipe, I just tried different spices and different things over the years, and developed my own way of making stuffed pork chops. ... For this challenge, I thought I would try to incorporate his favorite side (cranberry), my favorite dried fruit (apricot) and the secret ingredient of Green Tea with Honey in making the stuffing. The result was terrific -- the green tea brought out the fruity flavor of the stuffing and actually compliments the rosemary and the pan juices you have after cooking. We both really liked this dish, so it's going to be what our family calls "a keeper"!
For the Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Casserole, I wanted to make something I thought that the kids and men would like to compliment the fruitiness of the main dish, and of course, I thought "Who doesn't love bacon?" I found orange cauliflower at a local farmers market this past weekend -- it's vibrant and a little buttery as opposed to white cauliflower -- so I was excited to try it. Even though the recipe is a little rich, the flavor of the cauliflower comes through and the sharp cheddar and bacon goes well with the fruitiness of the stuffed pork chops.