Mashed Cauliflower for the Holidays

mashed-cauliflowerWe’ve been messing with traditional holiday fare for a long time now:  stuffed, baked, tofu; roasted chestnut stuffing (or dressing or even soup); sweet potato soufflé; pumpkin enchiladas; green beans in an Asian garlic sauce (yum); even chocolate fruit cake. But the one dish which seems too sacred to mess around with is mashed potatoes.  Oh sure, a little garlic, even a little horseradish, but basically mashed potatoes!   So here’s something a little different:

 MASHED CAULIFLOWER

For any Holiday

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of cauliflower
  • 1 apple, grated (if organic, skin and all)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ C grated gruyere cheese
  • 3 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (Note: the amount is entirely up to you)
  • 3 scallions
  • ¼ C chopped fresh chives
  • salt & pepper to taste

 Directions:

  1. Clean the cauliflower, removing any green stem parts and the core.
  2. Break the florets into small, similar size pieces (for even cooking time).
  3. Steam the small florets until very tender.
  4. While the cauliflower is steaming, in a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, cream cheese, grated apple, and the grated gruyere cheese.
  5. You can either sauté the chopped garlic, or add it raw to the mix; everyone has different taste sensibilities about this.
  6. Mix thoroughly, mashing the butter and cream cheese and incorporating everything throughout.
  7. Chop the lighter parts of the scallions and add to the mixing bowl. Reserve the darkest green part for later.
  8. When the cauliflower is thoroughly cooked, remove it from the steamer and add to the mixing bowl.
  9. Stir thoroughly until the ingredients are all thoroughly combined.
  10. Using a hand held food processor (sometimes called a “wand”), purée the mixture until you achieve the satisfactory smoothness (I like a little texture, which is why I’m not using a bowl food processor). Note:  at first, the mixture will appear very thick, but as you blend, it will thin out.
  11. Finely chop the dark green part of the scallions and the chives, and mix into the puréed cauliflower.
  12. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

 You can make this ahead and reheat it in an oven or the microwave.  As a leftover, it’s just as good as the first time ‘round.

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