Crunchy Cauliflower Tacos with Avocado Spicy Mayo (and a great book suggestion)

As previously mentioned, I’ve been reading a lot lately.  I sometimes think EE has morphed into a novel-centric space.  I’ve been blessed with receiving some great books.   Such was the case with Deep Breathing.  The author reached out to me and provided a book for an honest review.  Keep reading.

About the book:

Abby Bannister, the CEO and founder Gimps Serving Gimps, is being interviewed for a spot on the local news. A major gimp herself, she is a champion for the rights and independence of all people faced with physical, mental and emotional challenges. Once aired, the interview draws the attention of three people. The first is her best friend, a gay gimp looking for love in all the wrong places. The second is Abby’s long-lost cousin, Fey. Homeless, she has an ax to grind and sees Abby as the perfect grindstone. The third is a self-declared angel of mercy who believes Abby is in need of his special services. As Abby whizzes around Tucson, Arizona in her supped-up electric wheelchair, she is oblivious to the grave danger she is in.

About the author:

Although she writes under the name G. Davies Jandrey, friends call her Gayle. She is a retired educator, poet and writer of fiction. For five seasons, Gayle worked as a fire lookout in the Saguaro National Park and Chiricahua National Monument. It was in these “sky islands” that she first learned to love the richness and diversity of southern Arizona. This double life, one spent teaching teens, the other focused on natural history, informs both her poetry and prose and provides the reader with an experience as complex and rewarding as the environments in which they incubated.

Her work has appeared in Calyx, Bilingual Review, Passager, Portland Review, The Berkeley Fiction Review, The Prose Poem Project and Wildbranch, An Anthology of Nature, Environmental, and Place-based Writing, among others. A Garden of Aloes, her debut novel, was published by The Permanent Press in 2008. Journey though an Arid Land was published in 2014 by Fireship Press. A Small Saving Grace was published by Cortero Press, an imprint of Fireship Press, in 2016.

She makes her home with her husband, Fritz on the desert outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. When not at her desk writing, or in the kitchen cooking, she can usually be found in her garden.

To read samples of her novels, A Garden of Aloes, Journey through an Arid Land, A Small Saving Grace or The Millipede and Other Less Embraceable Friends, a children’s natural history, visit her website:

What I thought…

What a great novel.

Here’s my honest review.

Honestly, it’s wonderful.

 Jandrey deals with the disenfranchised—from the disabled to the homeless veterans.  She does so in a way that is realistic, a portrayal of resolve and empowerment, not with despair or hopelessness or overly sympathetic.

There’s a full cast of flawed characters in the novel and since Abby, the main character, is the founder of GSG, a non-profit catering to the underserved, it’s no surprise that most of the flaws are physical. Abby deals with CP and spinal bifida and speeds around Tucson in her motorized wheelchair. Her best friend and employee, Rita, is an amputee. Another friend, Robert, is gay and suffers from CP as well. To round out the cast, there’s an immigrant one-eyed pole dancer, a dredlocked ex-addict and a battalion of homeless vets.

Even though Abby has established her own business and must be a heck of a grant writer, she still seeks wisdom in self-help books and practicing deep breathing.   Rita directs her to find insight from tea bag tags.  Sometimes she morphs the Karma tea wisdom with her own wry outlook:

Certainly, avoidance of pain is not the path to joy, but it is the path you take if you want to avoid pain. (81)


She is tireless in her pursuit of helping the disabled find meaningful employment or honest contractors. She is dedicated to the disabled orphans of Nogales. She is a loyal friend.

This might sound like a boring tale of triumph but please refer the the cast of characters. Abby finds herself in all sorts of dangerous situations with no fear. She finally decides to take the plunge, so to speak, and dive into dating.

There’s lots of potential story-lines in the novel and Jandrey could have gone down many different paths. She stays with Abby though and the novel is the better for it.

I highly recommend Deep Breathing. It reminded me a great deal of A Handbook for Beautiful People by Jennifer Spruit.

(I also love the cover art!)

The Food…

When Jandrey reached out to me, she cautioned that there wasn’t a lot of food in the novel.  In an email, she wrote, “Though food is not central to the book, empanadas from Tucson’s best Mexican bakery, La Estrella, are a regular part of my couple of my characters’ diet, with a nod to chiliquiles and tamales.”
Acontraire, Ms. Jandrey.
Here’s the food in your novel:
  • Cauliflower tacos, pulled pork and sweet potato fries
  • Karma tea
  • Eggs, bread heals, skim milk, strawberry yogurt
  • Lamb chops, potatoes and arugula
  • Apple pie a la mode
  • Skippy extra crunchy peanut butter with flour tortillas
  • Yogurt and banana
  • Green corn tamales (dangerous when used as a weapon)
  • Fry bread, green chile stew, pickled cholla cactus buds
  • Three sisters (beans, squash, corn), figs, quince, Mexican lime
  • Day old donuts
  • Eggs, toast, peach
  • Hot eggnog
  • Delivery pizza
  • Strawberry waffles
  • Apple, prune, kale smoothie
  • Sonoran hot dog
  • Pizza slice and coffee
  • Mango and apple empanadas
  • Coffee and oatmeal
  • Waffles, bacon and maple syrup
  • “Fellowship” oatmeal cookies
  • Chilaquiles for breakfast (“if all goes well”)
  • Pozole
  • Roma tomatoes, onion, zucchinni, bell pepper and artichoke spaghetti
  • Cinnamon toast and hot milk with honey
  • Scrambled eggs, toast, grapefruit
  • Cup-o-noodles
  • Thanksgiving food
  • Calabacitas, triple chocolate cake
  • Carne asada, ham, mac ‘n cheese, nopalitos , mole
  • Campbell’s chicken noodle soup
  • Slumgullion stew
  • Chicken piccata, pilaf, zucchini (and capers)
  • Shrimp fried rice, sweet & sour spareribs, egg rolls, chow mein
 I had researched a couple of mango emapanada recipes but in the end I decided to try my hand at creating a cauliflower taco.  (Cauliflower is the newest “it” vegetable of the moment anyway.)  It seems like the length of this recipe might lend to the complexity.   No.  Super easy but the taste is amazing!

Crunchy Cauliflower Tacos with Avocado Spicy Mayo


You won’t miss the meat in this taco! (I based this recipe on a Cauliflower Po’ Boy recipe which is delicious, too.)


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 t. fine pink Himalayan salt (plus an additional pinch for the avocado spread)
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 small head cauliflower (cut in 1-inch florets)
  • cooking spray
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 t. fresh lime juice
  • 1 T. olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 T. sriracha
  • 1/2 c. shredded carrots
  • 1/2 c. shredded red cabbage
  • whole grain tortilla


  • 1 lime, cut in wedges
  • crumbled cotija cheese
  • cilantro
  • pickled jalapenos
  • more sriracha or other hot sauce


  1. Preheat oven 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs with salt, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Place breadcrumbs in a separate large bowl. Toss cauliflower in the egg  mixture then roll in the breadcrumbs to coat evenly. Place coated florets on the prepared baking sheet.  Spray with cooking spray.
  3. Bake on the center rack until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes.
  4. While cauliflower is baking, mash avocado in a small bowl. Mix in lime juice, mayonnaise,  sriracha and a pinch of salt until well combined.
  5. Remove cauliflower from oven.  Heat tortillas (using a stove top griddle).  To prepare, spread 1 tablespoon of the avocado mayo on a tortilla (depending on the size of the tortilla you might want a bit more).  Top with cauliflower.   Add some shredded carrots and cabbage.  Garnish as you wish!

Yield: 4

Prep Time: 20 mins.

Cook time: 30 mins.

Total time: 50 mins.

Seriously, amazing eats.    The crunchiness is reminiscent of a fish taco (except these are obviously vegetarian). 

You must try these and you must read the book.


I’m linking up with Foodies Read.

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