Garlicky Cauliflower

This is another one of those recipes that is very simple and bursting with flavor.  However, the first time someone brought it as a sidedish, it kind of grossed me out.  Steamed cauliflower, mayonnaise, and garlic – lots of garlic.  As much as I love mayonnaise, the thought of putting it on cauliflower seemed sacrilegious, as if it were spoiling a really healthy vegetable.  As I watched her make it in my kitchen, mincing a whole head of fresh garlic, my eyes widened, and I shook my head as I turned to complete my other dishes, thinking, “there is no way I’m eating that!”.  But then, of course I had to try it as all of my family oohed and aahed over it.  And you know, the cauliflower was perfectly steamed and bathed in a rich and creamy, and mildly garlicky sauce.  Mildly?  How a whole head of freshly minced garlic was transformed into a creamy mildly garlicky sauce was beyond me. 

After nearly 15 years of making this dish, it never ceases to amaze me how the heat of the freshly steamed cauliflower causes the mayonnaise and garlic to be transformed into such a mildly garlic dish.  And it all disappears, each and every time. 

Like many other garlic heavy dishes, do not be put off by the amount of garlic.  You’ll be surprised at how this is transformed once the three ingredients are combined. 

The source of this recipe?  From a friend.  Where did they get it?  I have no idea.  I even looked through the Hellman’s mayonnaise website, but found nothing, nothing through google, either.

  • One large head of the whitest, freshest cauliflower obtainable.
  • Mince one small head of garlic or half of a large head of garlic.  If you have a garlic press, this is an excellent option, too.
  • ½ to ¾ cup of your favorite mayonnaise (I usually start with 1/4 cup, and add as needed)

Trim the florets into bite sized pieces.  The smaller sections of the stalks can be chopped also; the larger stalk can be trimmed & peeled, and sliced into thin coins.  Like broccoli, the stalk is actually very sweet and nutty.

Steam the cauliflower.  Transer to a mixing or serving bowl (depending on your presentation standards and how many dishes you want to wash).  Immediately dump the garlic and mayonnaise, and combine while still steaming  hot using a rubber spatula.  Once it is well combined, garlic and mayonnaise are well distributed, let sit till ready to eat.  This can be rewarmed in microwave on low; I’ve never had the “sauce” separate.  It is good the next day, too, but depending on the age of the garlic, sometimes it can become a little stronger.  This is a great sidedish for any meal.

Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Macaroni Salad or The Best Macaroni Salad Ever

So, I made this tonight with some BBQ chicken on the grill.  It’s not something I normally make – too much pasta, too much mayo.  I had about 1 cup of Barrilla Plus Elbow Macaroni, and after inviting a 2 more people over, made this to round out the meal.  Most of the kids loved it (except mine, of course).  Some ate the pasta, and some at the celery that the other one left on the plate.  In all, it all got eaten, and “most” loved it.  I felt bad for trying to explain that it wasn’t really a “new” dish, just not one I had ever made for a meal to be shared with friends and family.  After today, I’m guessing it’s going to be put into rotation.

So, the story is, shortly after we first got married, DH was offered a job on the west coast, 45 minutes north of Los Angeles.  The money was REALLY good, in Louisiana terms at least, but, when we actually started to move there, and realized that our apartment was going to be HALF of the take home salary of this faboulosus high paying job….well, we only ended up living in SoCal for about 8  months.   But, if you don’t try, you’ll never know. 

While we were in California, Sundays were our days to explore.  Remember the old fashioned Sunday drive?  Sometimes I think that is what brings us together; we travel well together.  On our first Sunday drive, we drove around south LA for so long, just looking for, what, I don’t know, that I finally had to ask Chris to pull over to the nearest potty break. On any given day, that might be easy.  On a Sunday afternoon, in south LA, good luck.  We were looking for some real mex food, nothing specific, we thought we would just stumble upon it.


We ended up stopping at a KFC, for food and potty break.  When I went inside, the order counter was encased in bulletproof  something.  I ordered something, didn’t use the bathroom, went outside and told Chris about the “new” situation, he came inside to pick up the food so I could use the potty.  You know, a fast food joint that has bullet-proof enclosures?  It was like being at the bank, slip the check & deposit ticket in the drawer, wait for the cash.  In this case, it was wait for the food.  We are NOT fans of KFC, but, by this point, we were STARVING; both our blood sugar levels had dipped below the “be nice to people” level.  So, we ate KFC.  And then, a few weeks later, thanks to the Internet,  Chris discoverd Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ.  Suddenly, we had a destination.  We could cruise LA, drive down Santa Monica Boulevard, yet still have our destination lunch in sight. AND, it was never, ever crowded.  Even considering it’s location (Van Nuys), this I never understood.  Maybe it was packed on friday and saturday nights? Or, maybe it was packed for the lunch crowd?  Either way, I was EXTREMELY happy that it was relatively calm for us on our old-timey, sunday drive lunch.

Well, the BBQ is awesome.  There’s a touch of brown sugar with the seasonings, and, I’m always the one to say, I don’t like sweets with my meal, The food is awesome.  One of the things that DH and I both fell in love with was their Macaroni Salad.  All it looked like was macaroni, and, mayonnaise.  But the taste was much, much better.  There was something in there that set it off the chart.  So, we set out to “crack” the recipe.  And, we did.  Delicious.  Yet, we never served this at ANY of our neighbor, friends, or family gatherings.  Why?  I guess I always thought that, well, pasta salad?  Not even a fake healthy pasta salad, just elbow mac and mayo?  I’ll make X, Y and Z, and it will be so much better.


Tonight, the girls, and friends, proved me wrong.

They loved it!  Asked for seconds….get the picture?  Need to put this into rotation, but, only with the “good” pasta * (Barilla Plus Elbow Mac).  Every once in a while , it’s a nice addition to add to a grilled lunch.

Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Macaroni Salad

  • 4-6 cups boiling water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni, Barilla Plus is a good choice
  • 3/4 cup Hellman’s mayo
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh celery
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

Heat water to boiling point.  Add salt, and cook pasta per package directions.  Once cooked al dente (or to desired “toothsomeness”), drain and rinse.  Let cool. Place in fridge if in time constraints.  Place finely chopped fresh celery in bottom of bowl.   Add cooled pasta. Add seasonings, & mayo.  Mix well.  Keep refrigerated!!  If making a larger bowl (closer to 2 cups dry pasta), increase seasonings and mayonnaise slightly.  Eyeball it.

Those who will like it, will love it.  Those who will not, too bad….More for us!

NOTE:  Oh, and for all of you who don’t have celery salt or celery seed in your spice cabinet, it is THE seasoning that sets this apart.  I kid you not.  If you check out your old german cookbooks, or even some of the older “women’s auxiliary” books, you will see a lot more celery salt & celery seed in your potato salads and coleslaw’s, from which this version of macaroni salad is derived.  Think about what seasonings would have been on the shelf of an old deli.

ALSO, per their website, Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ is still open, and still getting great reviews and accolades by continuing their traditions.  I’d love to go to LA, just to eat another meal there.