Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea in the genus Brassica, which is in the Brassicaceae (or Mustard) family. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten – the edible white flesh sometimes called "curd" (with a similar appearance to cheese curd). The cauliflower head is composed of a white inflorescence meristem. Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds as the edible portion. Brassica oleracea also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, collectively called "cole" crops, though they are of different cultivar groups.
The word "cauliflower" derives from the Italian cavolfiore, meaning "cabbage flower". The ultimate origin of the name is from the Latin words caulis (cabbage) and flōs (flower).
Because weather is a limiting factor for producing cauliflower, the plant grows best in moderate daytime temperatures 70–85 °F, with plentiful sun, and moist soil conditions high in organic matter and sandy soils. The earliest maturity possible for cauliflower is 7 to 12 weeks from transplanting. In the northern hemisphere, fall season plantings in July may enable harvesting before autumn frost.
Long periods of sun exposure in hot summer weather may cause cauliflower heads to discolor with a red-purple hue.
- Preheat oven to 375º. Coat a 2-1/2-quart casserole with cooking spray.
- Slice each biscuit into 6 pieces.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Stir in ham, broccoli, and 1 cup cheese. Add biscuit pieces and toss to coat evenly. Pour mixture into casserole dish.
- Bake 45 minutes, or until center is set. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and return to oven just until cheese is melted.
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