RECIPE: The BETTER Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Note to self: when you wake up from a nap with a food idea (Hmmm… I wonder what that under-used potato ricer would do for the cauliflower?!)… OH, JUST TRY IT FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

Trust those instincts… or am I the only one that wakes up with food ideas?!

I do believe this version of the ‘mashed cauliflower’ recipe is better than the previous one… so scratch the other one. OK, you can make the other one if you want… but I like this one better.So, join me half way through the process here. What you see below is cauliflower that has been boiled. And I’m getting ready to drain it.

And these are the ‘tools’ you will need… a large bowl, a measuring cup and a potato ricer. (And yes, I’m convinced… the potato ricer is THE most under-used kitchen tool – but OH SO WORTH IT!)

In the picture below you will see the “press” that pushes the food through the “ricer” at the bottom of the cup.

I put about a cup worth of boiled cauliflower into the cup and first pushed out water, gently.

Once cauliflower started to come through the bottom I moved to the large bowl and firmly pressed out the rest of the cauliflower.

Then I loaded up the cup again and repeated the process until all of the cauliflower was riced…

See all of that water that got pushed out of that cooked vegetable? You want to save this… because you might want to add some back to the mash to bring it to the consistency you want. But at least your cauliflower won’t be all runny…

Then we move on to the flavor that will be added… sour cream, butter, nutmeg, garlic powder, parmesan cheese and salt/pepper.

Mix everything into the cauliflower…

If you think it needs it, add a little bit of water… just a touch. Mix well. You can always add a little more water if you want to… so a little bit at a time.

And there you have it…. what I now consider my best version of mashed cauliflower.

And shhh… my hero-of-a-hubby still thinks he’s eating mashed potatoes!

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

4 cups cauliflower
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons light sour cream
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Kosher salt/pepper to taste

Boil cauliflower until well done, in well-salted water. Drain and add 1 cup of boiled cauliflower to a potato ricer. Over a 2 cup measuring cup, first press the water out of cauliflower. Once the water is out, press the cauliflower through the ricer (into a large bowl). Continue until all of the cauliflower has been pressed through the ricer. Save some of the drained water in case you want to add some at the end. Transfer the riced cauliflower to a hot saucepan. Add butter, sour cream, garlic powder, nutmeg and mix well. Stir in parmesan cheese until it is melted. Add salt/pepper to taste. And now is when you would add some of the drained water if you feel it would improve the consistency of the “mash”. Serve hot.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…


RECIPE: Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Cauliflower can easily masquerade as mashed potatoes when butter, cream and garlic are added. And it’s much healthier than potatoes (1/4 of the calories, in fact!)… even though you’re still adding butter and cream. So, why not?!

Here’s where I started…

I cut out the stem and branches and found the cute little florets hidden in this “tree” …

(Tee hee! It really DOES look like a tree, doesn’t it?! I just love playing with food!)

While I worked on the short ribs I set aside all the ingredients and waited for the right time to start…

::: USE YOUR IMAGINATION HERE: I forgot to take a picture of the boiling cauliflower :::

Then I drained it… and started on the butter, oil and garlic… then added the cream and let it simmer for a minute or so.

I added the cauliflower back in … and mashed.

Confession: I was wishing I could find my immersion blender. It would have whipped up this mashed goodness in a hurry and made it a bit more creamy. The potato masher only got it semi-creamy-mostly-lumpy. But DANG, it was good!

And now I’d like to proudly announce that my hero-of-a-hubby is once again eating cauliflower. (He had previously told me he didn’t like cauliflower. Well, once you add butter, cream and garlic to ANYTHING it’s always better! Who could blame him?!)

Tonight I served this up with Braised Beef Short Ribs. Y-U-M!!!

But don’t take my word for it… try it for yourself!!!
Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

4-6 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 large head)
3 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
kosher salt/freshly ground pepper to taste
Snipped fresh chives for garnish

Place cauliflower in boiling water, allow to boil for about 8-10 mins. Drain and set aside. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil, butter and garlic to hot sauce pan. Allow garlic to cook on medium-low heat for about 3-5 mins. Return
Cooked cauliflower to hot sauce pan. Add cream, salt/pepper to taste. Transfer to food processor for or a quick turn or mash with potato masher. Serve immediately. Garnish with chives, if desired.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

RECIPE: Spinach Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Here’s what I started with…

And it’s this easy… except I learned that I should have chopped the spinach a few times before I threw it in the dish.

Boil the potatoes and then drain them. (I didn’t even take a picture of that part – you know what it looks like.)

Then we get busy… melt butter, saute garlic…

Then add the cream and the spinach and toss until the spinach cooks down.

Add the cooked potatoes back to the pot and find your potato masher.

Next? Serve it up as a side dish for a yummy dinner.


Spinach Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

6 medium yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1” pieces
1 ½ cups fresh spinach, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup cream
Kosher salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Salt water generously and boil potatoes until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside. Reduce heat to medium low, melt butter and cook garlic for 3 – 5 minutes. Stir in cream, add the chopped spinach, stir well. Season spinach with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add potatoes to the pot and mash to desired consistency. Taste to see if you need to add another pinch of salt or another nob of butter.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

RECIPE: Braised Yukon Golds

Tonight we made Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches and needed a good side dish to go along with them. And braising is yummy.

Easy decision.

The picture shows what you need… except I’ve pictured 5 potatoes here and I really only used 3 because these are on the larger side.

Slice them up… thick is good here. They don’t have to be super thin. In fact, too thin and they’ll just fall apart during braising.

Lay them out in a large skillet, add oil, chicken stock, garlic and salt/pepper. Place the lid on the skillet and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes…

2o minutes later… remove the lid and allow the chicken stock to reduce…

Serve them up by themselves or with some killer french dip sandwiches… that’s what we did! YUMMY!

Braised Yukon Golds
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

3-4 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic-infused
1 cup chicken stock
3 garlic cloves , smashed
Kosher salt and pepper

Slice potatoes and lay into a large skillet, on medium-high heat. Add garlic-infused olive oil and the chicken stock. Toss in the garlic cloves and a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Place cover on skillet and allow the stock to come to a slight boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, turn the heat to medium-high; cooking while the liquid reduces. Toss the potatoes once or twice. They are ready when the liquid thickens and coats the potatoes. Plate potatoes, sprinkling with freshly shaved parmesan or chopped rosemary. Season with additional kosher salt and pepper, if needed.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

RECIPE: Grilled Stuffed Portobello

It’s Sunday… and you know what that means! I’m playing in the kitchen!

Turn on the grill and get ready for a REALLY yummy lunch (or dinner)…

This is where I started… my special garlic infused olive oil, parsley and basil from my garden, an heirloom tomato, a lemon, soy sauce and a few other things…

But first let me show you some of the bounty of my garden: italian flat-leaf parsley and african blue basil.

The basil is so fancy that it deserves a fancy chiffonade…

It’s so fancy we’re going to make confetti out of it…

Set it aside… we’ll use it later.

Next we mix together the goods that are gonna go inside the grilled portobello: cheese, tomato, black pepper and some of that yummy oil.

Prep that portobello…

Take out the stem, scoop out the gills and clean it up…

And then it gets some great flavor …

To the grill we go (or, in this case, the panini pan… the most versatile tool in my kitchen)…

Stem side down to start with… then give her a flip… and fill her up…

Sprinkle with basil and cover for the last couple of minutes grilling. This will help the cheese melt faster and partly steam the tomatoes… mmm…

Serving it up with bread is a must… because the mushroom will leave behind some amazing juices that you’ll want to sop up. Just trust me on this one…

But trust me soon… because you want to make one within the week. Especially while the GOOD tomatoes are still in season.

Grilled Stuffed Portobello
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

2 portobello mushrooms
1 medium heirloom tomato, diced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon garlic-infused olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Juice from one lemon
Fresh parsley, chiffonade
Fresh basil, chiffonade

Prepare the grill. Combine cheese, tomatoes, black pepper and ½ teaspoon of oil. Remove stems and gills from inside of Portobello. Mix together soy sauce, other ½ teaspoon of olive oil and juice from one lemon. Brush both sides of Portobello with soy mixture. Place Portobello on hot grill, stem side down. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes and turn over. Once turned over, fill each Portobello with tomato and cheese mixture. Sprinkle basil on top. Cover with domed lid and allow to cook for another 3 – 5 minutes. After cooking, sprinkle with parsley. Serve with bread, to sop up the juices that run off the Portobello.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Carnitas tacos and Not-Your-Average-Corn dish…

We’re having a heat wave this week (and probably for the next 4 months). So, it was another quick taco night.

I bought already-cooked carnitas. (Yes, I’m cheating again! Or, I’m one smart-cookie! I guess it depends on how you look at it!) So I made some quick tacos. Corn tortillas enveloped the carnitas, sauteed vegetables (orange bell pepper and red onion), a drizzle of salsa, cilantro, green onions and cotija cheese.

We had some leftover black beans from two nights ago and I have been craving my favorite spicy, creamy corn dish.

So, let me show you what it looks like!

Here’s what you need: steamed corn, diced serrano (or jalapeno), cream cheese, butter and kosher salt.

Start with hot corn and very finely diced serrano pepper… if you don’t like a lot of pepper heat then remove the seeds/ribs from inside the serrano. I usually take out about half of the seeds and ribs. (I’m a wimp!)

Melt the softened cream cheese and butter in the microwave real briefly and mix well until creamed together…

Pour it over the corn and serrano pepper… and mix well.

Salt to taste… at times i’ve also added a dash of cayenne pepper for some color and another layer of heat. Oh yum!

Serve it up with your favorite dinner… and make extra! ‘Cuz you’re going to want it again the next night!

Not-Your-Average Corn
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

4 cups of cooked corn
½ stick butter
½ package of cream cheese, softened
1 serrano pepper, diced
Salt/pepper to taste

Melt butter and cream cheese in small sauce pan, on low until completely melted, combined. Add corn and jalapeno – mix well before serving.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

the PERFECT (yummy and quick) summer lunch…

It hit 90 degrees F here this weekend (which doesn’t make me very happy – I’m more of a cold-weather gal)… in fact, let me ask: am I the only one who plans my summer meals around how long it would require me to stand in front of a hot stove? I CANNOT stand the heat!

So on to more positive things… I took the opportunity to make a yummy, quick summer lunch.

(Um, have I said yet how yummy and quick this was?! )

First, asparagus in my (NEW) cast iron grill pan… drizzle with a lil’ bit of olive oil and garlic salt.

Next, panko-crusted shrimp. But this isn’t just any ol’ plain panko crust… to the panko I added onion powder, garlic salt and chili powder. Just adds a few layers of flavor … they aren’t over-powering flavors, just a background of flavor.

Quick steps for panko-crusted anything…

1) One egg, beaten. Place shrimp (or anything else, for that matter) in egg and thoroughly coat it. 2) Transfer to separate bowl that has panko in it (don’t forget to season it for some extra flavor). 3) Toss shrimp in the panko a few times to ensure it is completely covered.
4) Transfer shrimp to medium-hot saute pan with a bit of olive oil in it so it fries up nicely.
And last …
5) Once fried on both sides, transfer shrimp to paper towel to drain off excess oil.

And voila…

Aren’t those beautiful!

Quick sprinkle of kosher salt (not too much – just a touch)… and it’s ready to plate!

So let’s take another look at it…

You could sprinkle some lemon juice over the top … but I didn’t have any lemons on hand. So I hit it with a few sprinkles of orange zest.

Wow… I’m a genius! (baa haa haa!!!) What a great flavor layer! Try it for yourself…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

RECIPE: Taboule salad

The weather is starting to warm up around here… and it’s almost like summer already. If you know me at all you know I’m not very happy about that. My perfect temperature is about 65 degrees F. Yes, that’s cold… just like I like it!

Because of that slightly odd peculiarity about this California native… I am already making cool salads to enjoy for the early onset summer.

And yes, I’m cheating slightly on this recipe… (using a boxed mix which includes dried herbs) instead of buying several bunches of fresh herbs.

And below you’ll see what bulgur wheat looks like (right out of the box)…

It’s rather small… put it in a bowl and follow the instructions on the box. Quick run through of those instructions: add wheat and seasoning packet in a heat-safe bowl and pour 1 cup of boiling water over the top. Stir briefly and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes…

While that steeps, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. Starting with olive oil…

Lemon juice…

and give it a quick whisk…

Let’s get to chopping… cucumber first…

Cherry tomatoes (rather “grape tomatoes” in this instance)…

When your 30 minutes are up fluff the wheat with the tines of a fork. This prevents the small clumps of wheat from sticking together too much and makes it light and fluffy. A spoon won’t work, a spatula won’t work… just trust me on this one and put that fork to use…

While the bulgur wheat is still somewhat warm add the olive oil/lemon juice and stir slowly until all the liquid is absorbed.

And this is where it all starts to come together rather quickly.

But first do me a favor… pretend that I already told you about the green onion, ok?

And now that that’s behind us…

Let’s start piling it all on…

And the last and most important ingredient… some REALLY great feta cheese. Chop it up rather small… a little smaller than the cucumber/tomato pieces.

Another quick toss…

And a nice little plate… where did that fork go?!

Enjoy this quick and easy salad this summer… and this salad is great stuffed in a pita!

Taboule Salad
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

1 box Near East Taboule, prepared according to directions on box
¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (approx 2 lemons)
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup green onions, minced
1 hothouse cucumber, halved and sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
¾ pound feta cheese

Prepare taboule according to package instructions. As soon as the rice is done fluff with a fork and add lemon juice, olive oil and pepper. Fluff again with a fork and allow to stand at room temperature for about an hour. Add green onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Fluff again before serving.

If it’s dry, drizzle a little bit more olive oil over the top. Serve with shards of feta on top or stuffed into a pita.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…