October 1st, 2012
There’s this thing, a process, that happens every fall. It starts with denial that summer is over. I just pretend it isn’t. Then, right around this time, I enthusiastically jump into fall. With two feet and sweaters, squash, light scarves and apples. (Lots and lots of apples.) My enthusiasm for a new season lasts a surprisingly long time—I think that the many birthdays and holidays carry me through—and then, somewhere around January 6th I get sad. So, so sad that summer is over.
Or maybe those are just the mid-winter blues? The point is that once I accept fall (even if a little late), I love fall. And fall food, too.
I may be wearing a bright pink sun dress in my latest video for The Bump, but the warm and cozy Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower is all about fall. This is a stick-to-your-ribs side dish that’s actually quite light thanks to protein-rich Greek yogurt. It gives the mash a creamy texture with only two tablespoons of butter and three of grated Parmesan. That’s for a whole head of cauliflower, too! Genius.
This was a go-to baby food recipe for both of my kids and I still make it to this day. Despite the fact that they happily gobbled cauliflower in many forms as wee ones, the hungry boys aren’t big fans anymore… except when I serve it like this. I’m happy to oblige since the hungry papa and I love eating this in place of mashed potatoes. You know, because it’s healthier and lighter. (We save real mashed potatoes for holidays and restaurants where we can be sure that at least 2 pounds of high-fat, European style butter was used.)
If you are thinking, “That sounds so good, but cauliflower is such a pain to prep,” stop. Stop right now and hit play. Cauliflower is easy. Cut out the core and whack off any florets that are holding on. They don’t need to look pretty—this is for a mash! Then use my trick.
Yes, my TRICK! Watch and see.
Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower
(can be shared with babies 6+ mos)
1 head of cauliflower, about 2 lbs fresh florets
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons plain Greek-style yogurt, non-fat is fine
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Juice of 1 whole lemon
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chives, for garnish (optional)
1. Core the cauliflower and cut into florets. Steam by your preferred method until thoroughly cooked through.
2. While the cauliflower is still hot, put in the bowl of a large food processor and add butter, yogurt, salt, nutmeg, zest and lemon juice. Puree until smooth or your desired consistency.
3. Add Parmesan cheese and pulse 1 or 2 times to mix it in thoroughly. Do not process for a long time or the heat from the blade will break down the proteins in the cheese. (Alternatively, you can remove the puree from the food processor at the end of step two and simply stir in the grated Parmesan.) Serve warm; garnish and add more salt to taste for big kids and grown ups.