“I’m not responsible for your experience of my work.”

That’s what I said to my father last weekend.  When I stormed (YES!  Hurricane Joanne RETURNS) out of the house.

I’m not usually quite so explosive.  But I think the Real Housewives are beginning to rub off on me.  Soon I’ll be getting Botox injections in my living room.

What’s that you say?  I don’t have a living room?

Minor detail.

What you should know from the get-go.  Is that we were fighting about peanut butter.

And if there’s one food on this earth that I’m passionate about.  It’s peanut butter.  (Also.  Cream cheese frosting.  But if he had a problem with cream cheese frosting.  You’d be reading about me in the paper today.  Because I would have strangled him.)

You see.  I shouldn’t do things like offer to cook vegetables for people who don’t like vegetables.  Or for people who don’t own a bottle of soy sauce.  (Really. I said, innocently, “Where’s the soy sauce?” and everyone looked at me like I was asking for some esoteric ingredient.  Like pig intestines.  Maybe that’s what I’ll do next time.  Feed them pig intestines.  Covered in soy sauce.  And peanut butter.  That’ll show ’em.)  Moral of the story: stay away from people who consider soy sauce to be an exotic ingredient.  They are crazy.

Anyway.  Not having soy sauce can be very limiting.  Especially when your whole plan is to make a fried rice kind of a dish.  So I had to improvise.

And what I ended up with was a combination of hoisin sauce (Yes.  They have a bottle of hoisin sauce.  But no soy sauce.  Because THAT makes sense.), ginger, and peanut butter.  That, actually, tasted pretty awesome.

Until, of course, I made the grave mistake of leaving the jar of peanut butter on the counter.  That’s when the temper tantrum ensued.

Because some people only like peanut butter on bread and not in their foodSome people also deserve to be sent to bed without dinner.  Or to the punishment corner to think about what they’ve done.  But seeing as how I barely fit in the punishment corner, I couldn’t really envision my father.  Who is admittedly larger than I.  Maneuvering himself into it.

And so when he refused to even try the dish.  I stormed.

Thunder.  Lightning.  Heavy winds.

The full monty of bad weather.  It was a fiasco.

When I got home and finally cooled down enough that I could hear myself think.  I asked myself why I cared so much.  There are, after all, foods that I don’t like.

And what I came up with is that even if I think I won’t like something.  I’ll still try it.  I want to taste everything.  And part of tasting everything.  Involves.  Well.  Tasting everything.  I also believe that when people say they don’t like certain foods.  It’s not that they don’t like the food.  They’ve just never had it prepared in a way that appeals to them. Which is why they should keep trying it.  I’m not saying order a whole dish of it at a restaurant.  But one bite never hurt anyone (unless that bite is festering with E. coli.  Then maybe you should pass.  Try again later.)

So when this week’s I Heart Cooking Clubs theme was centered around herbs.  I could have gone the easy route.  And cooked with something I knew I would love.  Basil.  Cilantro.  Chives.

But instead, I decided to cook with an herb that I’m constantly on the fence about.

Mint.  It’s not that I don’t like mint.  I do.  In very specific contexts.  (On my BREAD not in my FOOD.  Shake it out, Jo.  Shake. It. Out.)  Mojitos being one.  But if I see mint as a main ingredient in a dish at a restaurant.  I won’t order it.  It’s just a very strong flavor and one that I’m not generally in love with.

And then there was Bittman’s sauteed cauliflower with feta and mint.  Which somehow managed to change my mind entirely about this whole mint situation.  The sharp tangy feta with the sweet mint against the pretty neutral background of cauliflower.  All tied together by the salty seasoned breadcrumbs. It was a dish that hit every part of my palate.  And made it smile.

Just proving my point.  That you should never unequivocally write off a food or an ingredient.  Because you may be missing out on all kinds of wonderful.

Sauteed Cauliflower with Feta and Mint
Serves 4, adapted from Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

1 lb cauliflower, cored, trimmed, broken into florets
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1/2 cup feta crumbles 

1. Roll the cauliflower florets in the breadcrumbs, pressing them to help to them stick.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  When it melts, add the cauliflower and adjust the heat so that the breadcrumbs brown but don’t burn.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. When the cauliflower is cooked through, toss it with the mint and feta.

I served this with duck sausage that I received from MarxFoods.  It was some kind of fantastic.

This is my submission to IHCC and also to Reeni’s Side Dish Showdown!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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75 Responses to Bittman’s Sauteed Cauliflower with Feta and Mint

  1. Katerina says:

    I love cauliflower and feta. This dish is full of flavor.

  2. monicajane says:

    Hi…Joanne…

    I’m making a rare appearance as I had to tell you I once had a blow-out fight over peanut butter in food as well!

    It was my first counseling job as a social worker at age 22. I was working with 16 – 18 year girls in a group home. Their diet was abysmal and I was trying to broaden their horizons and I made an awesome spicy peanut butter noodle dish…

    they refused to eat it!

    not sure there was a blow out really, but I was very disappointed and hurt too I guess. I wasn’t much older then they were after all and I wanted them to like me.

    I always love your narratives!

    and your cauliflower ain’t too shabby either…
    I’m gonna make this one. YUM

  3. Lori says:

    I hear you. I’ll always try a bite. I take it as a challenge. Stepping out of my comfort zone. Another challenge in life is accepting the picky eating habits of our families. Ha, ha! Would have had the same reaction. No soy sauce?! I shudder at the thought.

    I love mint, but usually in sauces and drinks. This recipe will be great with the mint in my herb garden. I need to try it in more savory ways.

  4. Ameena says:

    I love reading about your family…it sounds as crazy as mine! My dad pretty much refuses to eat a single thing I make, can’t really blame him as I sometimes don’t even want to eat the stuff I make. 🙂

    I love cauliflower! Thanks for the great recipe. Your pictures look fabulous!

  5. Kristin says:

    I love feta. I think that you could put it on just about anything and I would eat it. The recipe looks tasty, thanks for sharing the recipe.

  6. I am not in love with mint in my food either. It seems its rightful place is in desserts or teas or Mojitos, of course. Perhaps this dish would change my mind also since I do love cauliflower.

  7. I would always try food too. I won’t always MAKE something that is too unique but if it’s there, I will try it. I’m on the fence about mint too. It sounds good in this with the cauliflower though. Not a big feta fan though. I would totally take a bite though. 🙂

  8. Suman Singh says:

    enjoy reading your post and delicious recipe…they are awesome…these sauteed cauliflower looks yummy!

  9. Tasha says:

    I am a big fan of trying foods I don’t care for again and again (I once hated mushrooms and blue cheese, and they are now some of my favorite things) but I’ve had a hard time with mint. I want to like it. It seems like I should. Since I love cauliflower and feta, maybe this will be the recipe that gets me to change my mind too!

  10. I am a firm believer also that people will like anything if it is cooked in a way that they would enjoy it. You may have converted me to cauliflower since I normally eat it only blended with garlic and on pasta.

  11. Pam says:

    I always try foods even if I don’t think I’ll like them. I probably wouldn’t try insects or creepy organs though.

    I am loving this cauliflower dish…I just wish my husband would give cauliflower a chance so I could make this dish.

  12. Marcia says:

    That’s too funny! No soy sauce??

    My mom doesn’t have soy sauce either. She doesn’t even have olive oil.

  13. Cauliflower sounds delicious in combination with feta and mint!

  14. Mo Diva says:

    i love cauliflower…. mint and feta… food gasmic.

  15. sra says:

    It happens every time I use mint – I buy it v grudgingly but when I finally use it, the flavour blows me away! I love feta, very expensive to get here and now, the brand I like isn’t in supply anymore, tant pis!

  16. Julie says:

    i’m actually really glad you did this recipe! i just took out his book food matters from the lib the other day! and i want to read so bad but my damn school books are preventing me from doing all things i want to do.

    damn.

    but i want this cauli like NOW.

  17. I still don’t get why some people don’t like vegetables, it took my husband 20 years of being married to me to finally eat them.. and like them!

    Love cauliflower.. it’s sounds yummy with the mint and feta!

  18. Just used mint last night in a couscous dish. This looks so tasty! I am going to have to try this out… probably be fun to do it with a mixture of white and purple cauliflower.

    I do have to say that the piece of duck sausage next to it was a little distracting (gotta love the folks at Marx Foods. 😉

  19. Raina says:

    You are just so funny! Your dad reminds me of my husband and son. There have been many times when I will hide an ingredient I am using when I hear them coming because I know they will snub their noses at the dish. Usually, they do not even notice if they don’t know..lol.

    I agree with you about mint. I have just recently started coming around to it too. My mother-in-law uses it in many of her dishes even her tomato sauce, and I am starting to really like it.

    Your dish sounds great as usual. I am always looking of new ways to make veggies more appealing and this is definitely an excellent one. Thanks!

  20. Cristie says:

    You are too funny! I can almost see steam coming out of your ears! Soy sauce should really be in every kitchen, it’s a staple. Guessing your not a fan of mint jubilee?

  21. no botox please! love cauliflower! have a great weekend girl 🙂

  22. Karen says:

    I’m the same way with mint… it’s not my favorite, but you are right… we should all at least try a taste of something… you never know!

  23. RamblingTart says:

    You’re so splendid, Joanne. 🙂 I LOVE your honesty. 🙂 I cannot wait to try this cauliflower. I got over my mint hurdle when I made a potato salad with it!! YUM!! 🙂 I have some non-foodie people in my life – one of them actually ate McDonalds before coming to my house so he wouldn’t go hungry if he didn’t like what I was making. Grrr. 🙂 Ah well. To each their own, eh?

  24. polwig says:

    Love Cauliflower and this recipe looks so good. I love Feta, who doesn’t. Feta makes anything good 🙂

  25. Stella says:

    Hey Joanne, yes, people who think soy sauce is an exotic ingredient are, well, crazy! I would have to agree with that. And one should try things before acting like a child and not even tasting it-this is after all a way of acting like a child!
    The cauliflower looks wonderful by the way…

  26. Simply Life says:

    i get so excited when I’ve seen you’ve posted because I know I’m in for an entertaining story and good laugh! 🙂

  27. Kelsey says:

    first of all i can totally understand the blow up! even if its minor to some, i totally get worked into a tizzy when it comes to specific things .. and with food or making meals or baking, thats no exception. im pretty hot headed in general.. and have adult-temper-tantrum-syndrome A.T.T.S. i totally just made that syndrome up but i think it would fit us both huh?

    but i definitely enjoyed the luagh so thankyou for sharing ur hilarious malo-dramatic kitchen story:)

  28. I’m the same way with mint. I like it in small doses. However, I would definitely taste this dish with mint, and with feta it sounds fantastic.

  29. Chef Dennis says:

    first of all you did a simply outstanding job with the cauliflower (the much maligned vegetable)….secondly be thankful they didn’t give you a couple of old soy sauce packets that had been in their drawer for ages…(but who has Hoisin and not Soy…. weird is right!) and Soy Sauce is as much a condiment as ketchup. And I don’t mind foods I normally wouldn’t eat in other foods, but I don’t know there in there no harm no foul!! then after i like it tell me….and as for pig intestines…hmmmm it could be fun….perhaps peanut butter stuffed pig intestines, marinated in soy sauce (and Sirancha)….hmmmm
    anyway, you did a great job with the cauliflower, and don’t stop using peanut butter!!
    Cheers
    Dennis

  30. Lovely dish. Love cauliflower in any form. Sauteed, Stir-fried, in a curry or what not.. Looks great!

  31. Kim says:

    Mint definitely shines when paired with a tangy cheese like feta or goat cheese and I bet this is a fantastic recipe.
    It’s funny that your parents can be picky about what they eat, usually it’s the other way around 🙂

  32. Claudia says:

    Aren’t you glad you got brave about the mint? It’s something that just keeps on growing by our water tank, so I’d be a fool not to use it. And, this one sounds so good, it’s been saved to my recipes file.

  33. elra says:

    JOANNE, your cooking is getting better and better on each post. It really manage to make me drool ….

  34. Sounds interesting and delicious! ~LeslieMichele

  35. Sippity Sup says:

    I know I shouldn’t laugh. But I can’t help myself. All storms pass. GREG

  36. botox in a living room LOLs. i should consider that too…maybe in the kitchen. the dish looks smashing!

  37. Amy says:

    Your family stories absolutely crack me up. Let me it known that I would never fight with you about peanut butter. Ever. I know when I’m out of my league.

  38. teresa says:

    it’s funny, as much as i love my mint chocolate, i’ve just learned myself that i’m not a huge fan of the herb mint in my dishes. but, per the words of wisdom in your blog, i’m not ready to give up on it yet. goat cheese on the other hand might not get such a chance (i’ve tried, so many times, its just not working out).

    i think this all looks wonderful, and i love the way you improvised. my dad is insanely picky too, my mom and i do everything we can not to roll our eyes everytime he complains of a cooked veggie or legume!

  39. i loved the recipe,something different and delicious one..

  40. How dare he not try it! Although I must admit, I will not try a dish with tomatoes in it, unless they can easily be picked out. Tomatoes are one thing I will never ever like. Period.

    I like mint in small quantities. Cilantro is a no. Basil probably my favorite herb. Love the pairing of the mint and feta here! I feel like that’s in a lot of Middle Eastern dishes. Wise decision.

    Happy weeeeeekend!

  41. M D says:

    Oh boy! This looks deliciously good. I love cauliflowers and with feta cheese, breadcrumbs and mint they must have been fabulous!

  42. Debinhawaii says:

    Feta and mint is one of my favorite pairings ever–I am definitely going to have to try this one. Good for you for keeping an open mind and trying things. 😉

  43. This is too funny. My picky-eater husband and I used to fight about these things until I one day had a fit of tears (yes, tears make him do what I want). And he agreed that for the rest of our lives he would always try a bite. Just one bite is all I ask. And he’s been great about it. Plus, it turns out he likes green beans, and kiwi, and tahini – who knew? So yes, trying is good, and since I make him do it, I have to do it too!

  44. I have never tried caulifowers together with mint…..but then again, with feta…mmm…that must have tasted heavenly!

  45. Johanna GGG says:

    mint is a challenge for me to but I think you nailed it with this dish – and how strange that in my last comment I compared you to Jeffrey Steingarten the Man who ate everything and here you are with his attitude to trying everything – good on you – your dad still has much to learn about peanut butter and food

  46. tigerfish says:

    We are on the same page of cauliflower and it is cilantro for me, mint for you. Talking about that, I think mint is rarely used in my cooking. Time to explore!

  47. sweetlife says:

    i hardly use mint, but with cauliflower, wow had never thought of that combo, and feta, hmm I am intrigued..great story, as awlays

    sweetlife

  48. Lea Ann says:

    Totally Agree, I get frustrated with people who won’t even “try” something. Not even a bite? Just to see? Makes me crazy. I’m a cauliflower freak, this recipe looks good.

  49. Hannah says:

    Truly, there is nothing worse than a close-minded eater! I’ve vowed that I will try absolutely anything that is vegan, at least once. You really can’t judge a dish without tasting it, and even if you think you don’t like something, it might just be the way it was prepared the first time.

    Anyway, I’m all for creative combos, and cauliflower + mint would certainly fit that description!

  50. grace says:

    many people, myself included, will love the taste of something until the split second they learn that it contains an undesirable ingredient. posers. myself included. 🙂
    great dish, joanne–cauliflower never had it so good!

  51. Kevin says:

    Nice looking salad. Mint works surprisingly well in savoury dishes like this.

  52. I knew I missed reading your blog for a very good reason. OK, 2 reasons … one being the obvious, your delicious meals. The other being your sense of humor. Each time I read a post I giggle! You crack me up.

  53. Julia says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂
    I have learn’t to use things and pack them away quickly as between the hubby and kids they can get very picky with what is in the food. Don’t sweat the small stuff – life is short 🙂

  54. Faith says:

    This looks like a wonderful use for mint — it pairs so nicely with feta and I bet it’s great with the cauliflower too. By the way, I completely understand what you mean — I’m pretty passionate about peanut butter too. 😉

  55. Sophie says:

    I also love Mark’s recipes. I even have 2 books from him!

    This is one tasty dish!! Very flavourfull!!!

  56. Mari says:

    I would love to hangout with your familia lol but I feel your pain…I try and TRY to get my family to try new things but they always say “no” =/

    I use peanut butter on EVERYTHING! I would love some right now…

  57. I have never tried cauliflower with feta; It sounds delicious and the mint is always a welcome flavor add-on.

  58. I have surely found that to be true – preparation means everything and can change your mind about something you thought you didn’t like – all it takes is one bite. What a way to perk up kind of bland cauliflower – delicious! I just planted mint in my garden and ordered Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. Seeing all the fantastic recipes the cooking club has been cooking up convinced me it’s a book I need to own. And cook from.

  59. Carolyn Jung says:

    Tell your Dad he’s setting a bad example by not trying your dish. That will guilt him into trying it and discovering that he loves it. 😉

  60. Allie says:

    I am always trying to find new ways to eat cauliflower. This looks good! Beautiful photos by the way 🙂

  61. MaryMoh says:

    Haha….your post makes me smile….trying to count how many times my temper was at explosion point because of food 😛 But well done for trying out the mint. Your dish looks delicious. I have a piece of feta cheese in my fridge. I think I can try this. I love mint so I would love this.

  62. Barbara says:

    Agreed. We should sample everything before we make up our minds. I feel the same way about mint…it is NOT my favorite ingredient. I’ve noticed Giada uses it in practically everything and I always leave it out, except perhaps in a few drinks, where it seems to shine.
    Strange to combine mint and cauliflower, but I’m willing to try!

  63. Kerstin says:

    That’s funny because we just bought a bunch of herbs to grow on our balcony this summer and I decided not to get mint because I didn’t really use it last summer! I wish I would have seen this post first 🙂 This dish sounds lovely.

  64. Looks delish!!!I’m drooling….

  65. Tiff says:

    I love anything with feta!
    And it sounds like your dad missed out, I can’t count the number of favorite foods I have discovered by having an open mind!

  66. Marisa says:

    Totally agree with you! I get pretty irritated when having to cook for fussy eaters, luckily TheHusband will eat (literally) anything, so I don’t have to worry about that too often.

    As for this cauliflower, mint & feta explosion? Gorgeous. As in – I need some, stat.

  67. Your posts are always a good read. So sorry that sometimes they’re not always happy endings 🙁
    Thanks for a new twist on how to use up some of my overgrown mint.

  68. Giovanna says:

    I love this dish! Can you believe that I just recently met someone who had never peeled a piece of garlic before. To top things off, she went to the store to buy garlic, popped off one clove of garlic from the bulb and went to the check out to try to buy one clove! Ugghhh!
    And I freak out the same way over food : ) Maybe it’s the Italian gene…..

  69. ohtastensee says:

    Love the way you narrate..you have a beautiful way of expressing your love for food…and the cauliflower looks great..

  70. I agree on the mint! I don’t usually enjoy it but if the rest of the dish sounds goods I’ll try it out. I’ve actually started infusing it into whipped cream. Mint in desserts is yum. Mint in main dishes is.. to be determined. It’s hard to love food so much and just exclude certain foods or preparations! I don’t care what your dad says. Peanut butter makes EVERYTHING better.

  71. Dana says:

    Yes! My husband was absolutely convinced he didn’t like cauliflower until he tried it roasted and now he asks me to make it. I would love to mix it up a little bit and this looks like the perfect option. I understand what you are saying about mint. I do love it but can see how you don’t. 🙂

  72. msmeanie says:

    Oh my gosh, I will never understand how some people don’t like peanut butter. Hello? It’s peanut. butter. Butter of peanuts. Just saying it sounds good.

    This looks like an interesting way to cook Cauliflower. I would have never thought of combining it with mint. The feta sounds like a fab addition too.

  73. I recently discovered how amazing peanut butter and hoisin are together! Yum. Your dad is crazy. 🙂 I too am usually scared of dishes with mint (savoury dishes anyway) but I know I should give it more of a chance, and this dish looks like the perfect opportunity. I can imagine how yummy it was with the feta!

  74. What a vegetable this is. I love how versatile cauliflower is. I so tempted to try your recipe later this week (I have 3 heads of cauliflower waiting for me at home.) I will come back to your site and report on how your recipe turned out for sure! Would you like to take a look at my most recent cauliflower creation? http://cuceesprouts.com/2010/09/marinated-cauliflower-salad/

  75. Amanda says:

    Thanks for posting and for the beautiful photography. As a long time vegetarian and Registered Dietitian I love to recommend this most tasty way to get your veggies! I originally made this from Bittman’s cookbook as well. I used egg whites to roll the cauliflower in first to make them stick a little better and add just a little protein. I also used reduced fat feta cheese, which worked just fine in this recipe. Thanks again for sharing this one! I’m a “mint skeptic” as well..unless it is in my mojito 🙂 This recipe opened me up to mint more!

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