Years ago I was watching something on TV about picky eaters (mostly small kids) and vegetables. We all know it is hard to get young kids to eat their veggies (some adults too) and everyone seems to love mashed potatoes (except my daughter.) Then shortly after that, I was up visiting my brother and his family in Idaho and the conversation turned to food (shocking, I know) and he told me about how he simply boils cauliflower in milk and smashes it. That sounded wonderful.
Well, for the past few years, I have been cooking not only for El and myself, but for Jim, my best friend, and his son, when he has him. Now Schylar does not like vegetables very much. He’s expected (read forced) to have one full bite and we call it good. He’s not really a carb eater either, preferring to just chow down on protein.
A year or so ago, I started boiling a full head of cauliflower with a few small potatoes. Then I added copious amounts of butter, cheese and sour cream to hide any indication there was a true vegetable in these “mashed potatoes.” I realized I was countering my efforts of having a healthy dish by loading it up with all that fat and yumminess. As I continued making them, I started using less and less of everything.
Now when I make it, I make one entire head of cauliflower and ONE medium sized potato. While I love the flavor of just the cauliflower mash, I am pandering to a different crowd at times and am trying to hide the wholesomeness of this dish from their picky palates, hence adding one potato. That single potato lends its flavor to the entire dish, completely masking the taste of cauliflower. I enjoy eating the cooked stalks for both cauliflower and broccoli, so I often cook with at least half the stalk. There is a lot of nourishment in them to just toss them in the trash. Since this dish is going to be mashed, there is no reason to not use them up. At times, I still top with some cheese and green onions to give it some color but could be eaten plain or topped with your favorite gravy. There are so many ways to jazz this dish up, so stay tuned for future posts involving cauliflower mashed potato!
1 head cauliflower; florets and stalks chopped
1 medium-large russet potato; peeled and chopped
Salt-for boiling water
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter
⅔ cup milk +/-
In a large pot filled with water, bring it to a boil. Generously salt the boiling water and allow it to return to a roaring boil.
If using cauliflower stalks, add first and allow to boil for about 5 minutes. If not, omit this step.
Add chopped cauliflower and potatoes to the pot. Boil for 6-10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well. Removing all excess water as possible. The cauliflower will hide water in its florets, making this dish more soupy. Shake well in a colander or pat dry.
While still warm, return to pan or any mixing bowl. Add some salt and pepper and the butter. Begin mixing with hand-mixer, electric mixer, or whatever your preferred method is. Slowly add the milk and continue to taste for salt and pepper needs. ⅔ cup milk is a gauge, there are times when I need a bit more and other times I’ve only needed ⅓ cup, it just really depends on how creamy you want them.
Top as desired and serve warm.