Monday, April 8, 2013

Garlic & Kale Smashed Cauliflower

Can I write about food here?

I'm on a self-imposed diet.  I'm trying to keep my youthful figure, even though I'm upwards of that half-century mark where everything heads south, best intentions notwithstanding.  So, I've become a low carb, low glycemic kind of gal.  I also avoid fried foods, but more because frying tends to destroy perfectly good vegetables than that it's bad for me.  I know it's bad for me, but the best food in the universe is a french fry, and really crispy onion rings are right behind.  And a few other things, but I won't go on.  I occasionally do indulge.

Mostly I'm good.

I've noticed that when I don't record my recipes, I can't remember how I made something.  This has been vexing for baked goods, because, while I can pretty much improv anything else, I'm not much of a baker.  Tony likes his sweets, though, so it's worse than a shame when, after spending ages trying to force almond flour and sweetener substitutes into ice creams, cookies, brownies and bars that pass the Tony taste test, I can't remember how I made them.  From now on I record.

Today I'm not baking.  Today I am missing mashed potatoes.  I thought I would try to replace it with smashed cauliflower.  I read half a dozen recipes, and then created my own.  Here goes.  Maybe I'll remember to take a picture and post it here before I eat it.  Maybe not.

Garlic & Kale Smashed Cauliflower


One head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
Enough vegetable broth to cover cauliflower in a pot
Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped into smallish pieces
Two cups of kale, cut or torn into medium size pieces
One cup of basil, torn into medium pieces
1/4  cup grated parmesian cheese (optional)

Put the cauliflower and the broth into a pot big enough to hold them with room.  I actually made a vegetable-based broth because I only had left over Turkey broth in the house, and meat and cheese do not co-mingle in my kitchen.  I also think the gamier flavor of meat broth would overpower the basil flavor, but I'm not sure about that.  If you try it, let us know.

Making a vegetable broth, by the way, is an easy way to get rid of vegetables that are limping along in your refrigerator wondering if you even remember they're there.  If you already have broth, that's great.  But if not,  click here to check my fast and easy recipe for Vegetable Bin Broth.

So, where were we?

Oh, yes, the cauliflower is now in a pot, with broth to cover.  Bring to a boil on medium high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer.  While you are waiting for the cauliflower, rinse and chop your garlic, kale and basil, if you haven't already.

After 10 minutes, the cauliflower should be done enough to move a fork through the vegetable easily. It's best not to overcook it, to preserve nutrients, flavor and texture.   Use a strainer to catch the cauliflower, pour off the broth, let it cool, and refrigerate it for another use.

Put the cauliflower back into that pot or a smaller one, and mash it with a potato masher, mixing in a tablespoon of good olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Put the cauliflower aside.

In another pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, and add the chopped garlic.  Stir over medium heat until the creamy shade of the garlic begins to darken to a beige color.  You'll want to watch carefully, because garlic goes from beige to burnt fast.  Burnt garlic gives your oil - and hence your dish - an acrid flavor, forcing you to pitch the oil and start over.

When the garlic is ready, add the kale and stir.  It will begin to wilt within a couple of minutes. If you hear sizzling or cackling, add a bit more oil and reduce the heat.  As soon as the kale starts to wilt, toss in the basil. Stir for another moment, until the basil starts to wilt  too, and then remove the pan from the heat.  If you're ready to eat, move on to the next step.  If not, let it cool, and refrigerate the greens and cauliflower in separate containers until you are ready to eat.

When you are ready to serve, reheat the cauliflower if necessary, stirring in a few tablespoons of the left-over broth. Stir in the greens. If you want cheese, stir that in too.  When the cheese "disappears" into the dish, it's melted and you're ready to serve.  Serves four.

1 comment:

  1. Great information. I liked the Garlic & Kale Smashed Cauliflower recipe and I think I should try it this weekend with my friends.

    Finn Felton
    Kopi Luwak