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Mashed Cauliflower

April 26, 2011
By Wendy Monro - Food Writer , The Journal

I am a huge fan of the potato. I love looking through all of the different varieties at the store: Russet, Yukon Gold, red, and fingerling (to name a few).

Recently I discovered a purple potato that I never knew existed. The purple potato was not as good as most of the others. It was a bit too starchy. My absolute weakness as far as high fat foods (other than cheese) is the french fry.

Oh, I really do love french fries so much. Sometimes when I take the kids to a fast food restaurant, I just order myself small fries. I figure if I just eat a small fry, that can't be too bad. At least I am not eating a big burger with it.

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Wendy is pictured here mashing the cauliflower.

Actually, all I really want is the fries. I can look at a whole pile of french fries and know exactly which one I want. I look for the one that is slightly crispy on the outside; however, I can tell it is soft on the inside. I just know by looking from afar.

I am a professional at finding the perfect fry for me. I know some people love the extra crispy. Not me. In fact, if someone reaches for that perfect fry and grabs it before I get to it, I will be very disappointed and probably won't get it out of my head for the rest of the meal. I only eat french fries occasionally.

If you haven't had the pleasure of eating fries at In-N-Out Burger, do yourself a favor and get to one.

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Mashed Cauliflower

Serves: 4

Time: 25 minutes

1 head cauliflower

1 cup low fat sour cream

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon fresh dill

Steam the cauliflower in a pot with inch of water. Once the cauliflower is soft (about 20 minutes) drain the water. Return the cauliflower to the pot. Mash it with a potato masher. Add the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. I added a bit of dill for added flavor. You could add any fresh herb. Cilantro or chives would be fantastic.

They make them from fresh potatoes every day. They are phenomenal.

You really should go the extra step and ask for "Animal Fries." Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

There is a chapter in, Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, where she travels to Italy to taste the best pizza in the restaurant known for making the best pizza, in the town known for the very best pizza, in the country known to make the very best pizza.

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So, basically, she eats the world's best pizza. Well, I am pretty sure In-N-Out makes the world's best fries and that is how I feel every time I eat their fries.

I am not just hooked on french fried potatoes, however. I also cannot resist twice baked potatoes, Dauphinoise potatoes, and mashed potatoes.

The only problem with all of these varieties of potato dishes is that I put an enormous amount of cream and cheese and milk into making them so tasty.

So, I am not just overloading on carbohydrates, I am taking the cheese, butter, and cheese calories to an all new level of absurdity. For mashed potatoes, I add two sticks of butter, sour cream, and lots of milk.

For twice-baked potatoes, I add bacon, cheddar cheese, butter and milk. Okay, you get my point. These are not low calorie sides.

So, I have to limit these side dishes to every now and then or for special dinners. Wouldn't it be great if we could just eat things like this every day? We all know that would be gluttonous and we would all be very overweight. So, we have to be sensible.

I search for recipes that provide a healthy alternative to the potato side dishes I love so much.

A year or so ago, I ran across this recipe for mashed cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes. It was at a time when I was determined to be in the best shape of my life by the 4th of July.

I did end up being in very good shape last summer.

Unfortunately, by the end of the holidays, I was right back where I started.

I'm trying to get back to that shape again. I guess it is going to be a constant struggle now that I am forty. I can't remember if I read about this mashed cauliflower recipe or if someone told me about it. If someone did tell me about it, I am so sorry not to mention you here.

You might be thinking there is no possible way cauliflower can substitute for delicious creamy mashed potatoes.

Believe me, I thought the same thing. I liked cauliflower; but there was no possible way cauliflower would come close to tasting like mashed potatoes. Well, I was wrong.

Not only is mashed cauliflower low in calories and incredibly simple to prepare; but, mashed cauliflower is a fantastic substitute for mashed potatoes. You have to give this a try.

A friend of mine told me she made these for her family and they all thought it was mashed potatoes. I wouldn't take it that far. I still think it has a bit of a different flavor and a different texture to mashed potatoes.

However, I do think mashed cauliflower tastes ALMOST as good as mashed potatoes. No low calorie side dish will taste as good as the two stick of butter mashed potatoes I make.

Nothing can compare to that deliciousness; but, no one should eat like that all of the time. I would never suggest making this instead of mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner or anything incredibly crazy like that; but, for an easy weeknight meal, this is perfect.

The mashed cauliflower is so much quicker to prepare than mashed potatoes. You steam the cauliflower for 20 minutes or so, drain it, mash it, add low fat sour cream, add salt and pepper, and you are finished.

Sometimes, I eat it on its own as a snack. It's that good.



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