Saturday, September 26, 2015

Quiet Saturdays - Potatoes and Cauliflower Mash

I've heard that weekends alone are sad and well, lonely, but then I wouldn't be able to make dishes like this. Mushy leftover cauliflower turns into tender bits of garlicky contrast in mashed potatoes. The massive California drought (and the cost of air conditioning) encourages a reduction in the amount of water boiled. The combined result is simple, quick and delicious, with enough leftover for tomorrow. Substitute olive oil for butter to make this vegan. Enjoy your weekend!

Inspired by my mother, who can handle 4 burners at once when making dinner 0.o

1 head cauliflower
1-2 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp olive/cooking oil
1/2-1 cup water
1 tsp salt (to taste)

1.  Mince the garlic finely and drop at the bottom of a large saucepan. Add the oil and turn the fire to low, stirring the garlic occasionally.

2. Split and chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. When the garlic turns golden-brown, add the cauliflower pieces and toss to cover with oil.

3. When the cauliflower begins to brown, about 5 minutes later, add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Allow to steam until the cauliflower is tender, around 10 minutes. Enjoy it freshly cooked! This recipe works better with leftover cauliflower that's already a bit too soft, and only uses about a third* of the cauliflower anyway.

Inspired by being a cheap grad student...

2 Yukon gold or other potatoes for mashing**
1/2 - 1 cup water
About a third of the leftover cauliflower
1-2 tbsp butter (olive oil works well here, too)
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper (to taste)

1. Peel and chop the potatoes. Place them into a saucepan, adding just enough water to cover the potatoes. Boil for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Poke them with a fork if uncertain.

2. Once the potatoes are done, add your leftover cauliflower and allow to boil again. As you stir, the potatoes will start to break down, essentially mashing themselves. I'm fond of the chunks, but I suppose you can puree them for smooth mashed potatoes.

3. Season with butter/olive oil, salt and pepper. Take a bowlful, sit by yourself, and enjoy quietly. Alternatively, serve and enjoy with family and friends! Either way, it's pretty great :)

* Why a third of the cauliflower? The first third was part of dinner for my roommate and me, the second third was devoured with baby carrots whilst reading webcomics and the third, well, it had become too mushy to eat plain...

** Mine came from the garden. The variety is a guess, at best.