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I think mashed cauliflower really came on the scene back when Atkins was so popular and low-carb was all the rage. Following an Atkins and low-carb diet was the only way I had ever lost weight, prior to my newfound love of fitness, and I remember trying mashed cauliflower in an attempt to eat something resembling mashed potatoes. I made mashed cauliflower at home and tried it at a restaurant, and both times I was pretty much majorly disappointed.
In order to appreciate mashed cauliflower, it helps if you actually enjoy cauliflower. Not rocket science, I know, but oddly enough, it took me a while to figure this out.
Now that I see mashed, or what I call "whipped," cauliflower as simply another way to prepare the tasty, cruciferous vegetable, as opposed to a desperate attempt to re-create mashed potatoes, I appreciate it on a whole new level. And I truly enjoy it!! This particular recipe blew me away. I was literally licking it out of the blender.
The funny thing about this recipe is that I thought I had ruined it. I thought I had undercoooked the cauliflower and after I (unsuccessfully) tried to mash it with the masher, I thought it was pretty much a lost cause. And then Bob suggested I pulse it in the blender. Well, that's what I did, and it turned out AMAZING! Now the only thing I'm worried about is being able to recreate it, since the whole thing ended up being a little "fly by the seat of my pants."
This recipe from Faithfulness Farm was my inspiration, but I had to change it up a bit to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand. I eyeballed everything in my recipe, which I think is a fine thing to do with a dish like this. Just work with what you've got!
Olive Oil, Garlic & Cheese Whipped (pulsed? blended?) Cauliflower
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- a bag of precut cauliflower
- salt & freshly cracked pepper
- big squeeze from my tube of garlic paste (love that stuff! You can get it in the produce department near the fresh hebs)
- hefty drizzle extra virgin olive oil (maybe 1 tbsp or 1 and a half tbsp).
- 1/4 c fat free half-n-half or milk of your choosing
- 1/4 c grated cheese (I used whatever I had on hand -- I think it was shredded, part skim mozzarella but I could also see using Parmigan or Romano)
- Salt & freshly cracked pepper
Use a large piece of aluminum foil to create a packet for your cauliflower. Season with salt & pepper and add your big squeeze of garlic.
Place packet in oven and bake for 45-55 minutes or until tender.
Once you think it's done, remove everything from the packet (it will smell divine!) and put it into a blender. Add your olive oil, half-n-half (or milk), and cheese. Blend until desired consistency. Mine was pretty smooth but still had enough tiny, tiny bit of cauliflower to give it a bit of texture and nice mouth-feel.
Add more salt & pepper to taste.
If you want to be really fancy, you can reserve a few pieces of the cauliflower once it's come out of the oven and use them as garnish. I would have topped this with chives if I had any :)
Seriously so good. The above picture is using the last little bit that was left in the blender because I could not stop eating mine long enough to take a picture and then Bob went back for seconds. I was all like, "we need to stop and take a picture before this thing gets devoured!" Again, doesn't really taste like mashed potatoes, but what it does taste like is freaking awesome.