This summer I needed a white, manchego-cheese layer for a cold vegetable terrine that I was creating, and I started out with cauliflower because of it's lack of color, but also it's chameleon-like flavor once cooked. It worked beautifully, beyond my wildest dreams (no one guessed the cauliflower, either in that terrine or, sans cheese, when gelled and sliced as a foundation for a lobster and tarragon salad. It has proved so versatile that I've made it several times and will be serving it again tomorrow night. Each time, though, since I had to make this one up from scratch, I've varied my approach slightly, in part because time has passed and I've never written it down to remember my exact steps. I'm changing that by posting my recipe here.
CAULIFLOWER AND CHIVE MOUSSE TERRINE
1 whole cauliflower (average commercial size)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup almost boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream
3 packets powdered gelatin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 tblsp chopped fresh chives
Break the cauliflower head into large florets. Place in a large saucepan with about 3/4 c water, bring to a boil, put lid on, reduce to low and steam for 20 minutes. When done, remove lid and remove from heat. Let cool. (Or proceed, but allow the entire mixture to cool somewhat before adding the chives. You don't want to cook them.)
Separately, put the almost boiling water into a two-cup measuring vessel and, using a fork, stir in the gelatin packets, one at a time, until dissolved. Then stir in the sour cream, salt and white pepper. Pour this mixture into a blender along with the cooked cauliflower. Blend until very smooth, adjust seasoning, and stir in the chives. Pour into a mold at least six hours before serving.