Tag Archives: roasted vegetables

Mashed Faux-Tatoes, Or, How Pho Girl Pulled a Folgers Commercial on Nacho Man

Around here, we don’t mess with Nacho Man’s spuds.

He likes them creamy and plentiful. And he especially likes that they’re potatoes.

But if you’re wondering what happened when I secretly replaced half his mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower, the answer is…


He liked them. He said they were “Fine.”

That’s a compliment. It really is.

You see, Nacho Man has four phrases that he applies to any situation that requires him to give a response. Ask him a question, any question, and I can guarantee that three-fourths of the time he’ll say, “Fine,” “Pretty good,” “Not bad,” and “Alright.”

The other one-fourth of the time he doesn’t answer because he’s distracted and you have to repeat the question.

Now maybe I’m paranoid, but I don’t take “Not bad” and “Alright” at face value. Translation: “Bad” and “Meh.”

But “Fine” and “Pretty good” are green lights. So let’s proceed.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Take one good-sized head of cauliflower, cut the florets into large chunks, rinse and pat dry. Set them on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the cauliflower is fork tender and browned, about 25 or 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, rinse, and dice 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 7-10 minutes. Drain and mash.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add 1/2-1 cup of milk and reduce heat to medium-low.

The best way to break up cauliflower is to spread rumors that you saw it cavorting with the beets in the crisper. If that doesn’t work, I like to use a food processor to pulse the cauliflower until it resembles very fine crumbs. An immersion blender works (just put the cauliflower into a deep bowl) but it doesn’t pulverize the cauliflower quite as well. If you need to, add a bit of liquid (potato water, milk, chicken stock, etc.) 1 teaspoon at a timeĀ  to the cauliflower to help break it down.

My favorite way to mash potatoes is the push them through a fine mesh sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Use whatever method works for you, and combine the cauliflower and potatoes in a large bowl. Add the heated butter and milk mixture in small increments until you have a consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper.

This makes a lot. They’re great as leftovers. I also like to fry small patties in a little olive oil as a breakfast treat.

Roasted, Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes

serves 4-6 with leftovers


1 medium-large head of cauliflower, washed and cut

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes

1 tablespoon butter (or more, if you like)

1/2-1 cup of milk

salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss cauliflower pieces in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then transfer to pan and bake until tops are nicely browned, about 25 – 30 minutes.

2. Peel and cut potatoes, and boil until fork tender (about 7-10 minutes on my stove). Drain.

3. Melt butter in small saucepan, add milk and warm on medium-low heat.

4. Puree cauliflower in food processor until they resemble a very fine crumb, and no large pieces remain. If needed, add liquid such as potato water, chicken stock, or milk, 1 teaspoon at a time to make the cauliflower smooth. Mash potatoes. (My favorite way to do this is by using a wooden spoon to push the potato through a fine sieve.)

5. Combine cauliflower and potatoes in a bowl. Add butter/milk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir gently until the consistency makes you happy. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Faux-Tatoes: roast a head of garlic, top cut off, with the cauliflower. Remove the garlic from the cloves add to the food processor.


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Roasted Broccoli, Or, A Mother’s Desperate Attempt to Avoid Cheese Sauce

How many of us are eating enough broccoli this holiday season? Not me, unless it’s a secret ingredient in my fudge and peppermint bark.

While Rue will down bushels of steamed or bland, boiled broccoli, I can’t get Lupe to voluntarily eat the stuff. After much coaxing and even more threatening, she’ll pinch off a millimeter with her front teeth, refusing to touch it with her lips and grimacing as she chews.

It’s a delightful sight to behold, let me tell you.

I’d become desperate. Desperate to stop throwing broccoli away. Desperate to avoid eating two servings because a certain someone has a problem with a certain vegetable.

Desperate for a win. My life is simple; my world is small. These small victories are all I have left.

Here’s my solution. Crank up the oven to 475 degrees F and set the oven grate nice and high, up close to the heating element. Toss a head of broccoli that’s been washed and roughly chopped, stems and all, onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the broccoli pieces with some olive oil and sprinkle a little kosher salt on them, then slide the baking sheet into the oven and roast until they are fork tender but crisp.

This doesn’t take long. Maybe 5-7 minutes. Don’t mosey away from your oven. Don’t get on the Internet. Don’t multitask. The broccoli deserves your undivided attention.

Toss the broccoli once or twice while it’s in the oven, and when it’s done the way you like, remove it and serve immediately. You might sprinkle a little more kosher salt on it, if you like.

I wasn’t sure how this would go over the first time I put it in front of Lupe. After all, it’s her least favorite vegetable in a slightly burned form.

Rue can’t stand it. As far as she’s concerned, boiled broccoli ain’t broke. But Lupe, Nacho Man, and I love roasted broccoli. It’s smoky, crisp, and has a wonderful, complex flavor.

Which means we can save the cheese sauce for the tortilla chips.

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