September 25, 2013

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

I joined a Fantasy Football League. Yeah. It still sounds a little weird for me to hear those words coming out of my mouth. 

Until I got married, I'd never even watched an entire football game. But my husband went to Michigan. Go Blue! See? It's a reflex. I literally can't say "Michigan" anymore without following it up with "Go Blue!"

I hear it's impossible to go to a Big Ten school without becoming a football fan. Apparently the same is true of Big Ten spouses. So I watched the games. Slowly but surely, football was reeling me in.

Then I went to a game. Michigan-Notre Dame. At Michigan. My first real football game. (Unless you count the time I went to see my college team, the Columbia Lions, play Yale. At a stadium in the Bronx. That required a long subway ride. For which the visitors had more fans than the home team.) 

It wasn't until I entered Michigan stadium that I got hooked. No, check that. It was before we got to the stadium. It was when we joined the masses of students and alum, all wearing their maize and blue, heading towards the stadium. It was a Saturday afternoon and every single person in Ann Arbor was walking together, towards the same destination, with a common purpose.

And the best part? Michigan's quarterback that year was Tom Brady.

Soon after, Brady started playing for the New England Patriots. So now we were watching Michigan games on Saturdays and Pats games on Sundays.

The more I watched, the more I learned. First the basics. Then the finer points. But I was still just watching our two teams.

Then, a few years ago, my sister's husband started talking about his fantasy football league. I was intrigued. So this year, I asked him how to join. He took my question and ran with it. He created a league and got the whole family involved -- my husband, my sister, my sister's husband, cousins, brothers-in-law, even my nephew and my dad -- joined our fantasy football league. 

But here's the thing about fantasy football that you may not know if you've never played. (At least I didn't.) You don't pick an actual, existing team to be your team. You pick a bunch of players, from different teams, that make up your fantasy team.

You know what that means? It means you watch Thursday Night Football. And Sunday afternoon football. Followed by Sunday Night Football. And Monday Night Football. Because you've likely got some skin in almost every game.

That's a lot of football. And a lot of food. Because what's Game Day without snacks, right? But if I'm going to watch football three days a week, I can't very well reach for buffalo wings and nachos every time.

That's where these buffalo cauliflower bites come in. I know it sounds strange. But trust me when I tell you it'll satisfy your buffalo wing craving without all the fat and calories and guilt. The key is the rice flour coating. It gives the cauliflower a satisfying crunch and helps the sauce to stick. The buffalo sauce is similar to what you'd use on wings. But it's made with canola oil instead of butter. You can dip the bites into blue cheese or ranch dressing to get the full buffalo wing experience. And best of all, it's finger food that you can pop in your mouth without taking your eyes off the game.

Start with the cauliflower, broken down into florets.

Combine rice flour, water, salt and a dash of hot sauce to make the batter.

Coat the cauliflower in the batter. I found it easiest to toss a few pieces of cauliflower into the batter at a time, then pull them out with a large, slotted spoon. Let the excess batter drip back down into the bowl. Then lay the cauliflower out on a baking sheet coated with nonstick spray.

Bake until the batter hardens.

In the meantime, combine the ingredients for the buffalo sauce.

When the cauliflower come out of the oven, brush them with the buffalo sauce. Bake again until the cauliflower get crispy.

Serve warm or at room temperature with blue cheese or ranch dressing and celery sticks.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets

For the batter:
A dash or two of Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup water
Pinch salt

For the Buffalo sauce:
1/2 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
1/2 cup canola oil
Pinch salt

1.    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2.    Mix batter ingredients together in a small bowl. Dip the cauliflower in the batter until evenly coated, then place on greased baking sheet. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the batter hardens.

3.    Mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

4.    Once the cauliflower are done baking, brush them with the hot sauce mixture and bake again for a few more minutes, until cauliflower is crispy. Remove from oven.

5.    Add more buffalo sauce to taste. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing and celery sticks.


1 comment:

  1. That sounds delicious! And our team is playing tonight too. If only I could find the time... But I'll have to keep this in mind for Superbowl...uh...not that the Niners will be there, however!


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