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Mashed cauliflower.

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.

However!   
 That was back when I didn't really like cauliflower.  I went from never having eaten cauliflower to trying to cook it and whip it and thinking it was going to taste exactly like mashed potatoes only healthier!  Well, that's a fairly tall order, and I think it also holds the key to whether or not you're really going to like mashed cauliflower.  

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.

Ingredients:
  • 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

Directions: 

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.  

The original recipe says it can be made ahead and reheated in a 350°F oven until piping hot, and I am thinking about trying that this coming weekend.  We'll see!

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.
3/28/2013 03:16:51

Teggin -- thank you for your nice comment and the shout out in your post. Your version looks delicious!! This has been such a hit at my house that it will appear on the Easter dinner table this weekend :)

Blessings!
Gail

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