Jan 19, 2012

cheesy twice baked cauliflower

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I adore potatoes.  So does my sister.  We used to call her the Potato Queen.  Pretty much what Forrest Gump is to shrimp she is to potatoes.  She can name about 20 different ways to prepare potatoes off the top of her head.  It's seriously impressive.

Anyways, a couple of years ago my family started cutting out a lot of white starches from our diet (white flour, white rice, white bread, and yes, potatoes).  Since then, we've gone back to some white flour for baking, but for some reason haven't really gone back to potatoes.

We've been making pureed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes for a while now.  It's good, but we could never get the texture quite right and it didn't quite replace those starchy little spuds like we'd hoped.

That is, until I decided to try twice baked cauliflower.  This is the first good potato substitute recipe we've had.  Boiling the cauliflower and then baking it creates a more potatoey texture.  Plus the extra cheese doesn't hurt.

The recipe looks unhealthy with the number of creamy ingredients, but the quantities of those butters and milks are all small compared to the hearty 4 or 5 servings it'll make.  I'm also sure the recipe can be easily adjusted to include whatever you happen to have in the fridge at the time.

Cheesy Twice Baked Cauliflower

-1 head fresh cauliflower
-1/4 c fat free half and half
-2 tbsp light cream cheese
-2 tbsp butter
-2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
-salt, to taste
-shredded cheddar, to sprinkle on top

Cut cauliflower into large "trees".  Boil them in a large pot of water for 5-7 minutes, until they're just starting to soften a bit.  Using a food processor and/or a blender, puree all of the ingredients together (except the cheddar and salt) until very smooth.  I used a food processor to get the process started and finished pureeing in a blender.  Taste the puree at this point to decide how much salt to add (we used about 1/4 tsp).  Add the salt and mix well.  Spoon the pureed cauliflower into 4 large ramekins or a small square baking dish (8" would probably work best).  Cook the puree in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until it's starting to brown around the edges.  Sprinkle some cheddar cheese (or green onions or whatever else you might like) on top of the cauliflower and bake until the cheese is just starting to melt.  Serve warm.

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