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Old 01-17-2013, 11:04 AM   #1
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Where did I go wrong with this mashed cauliflower recipe?

I tried making mashed cauliflower (to replace mashed potatoes) a few weeks ago. This is the recipe I followed:

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, washed, and cut into florets
1 vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Process:

Place cauliflower in a steamer basket in a large soup pot, season with salt and pepper, and steam until soft (about 10-12 minutes, test with a fork).
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat.
Saute onion, garlic, and herbs until onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Place steamed cauliflower into a high speed blender or food processor. Add the sauteed onion, garlic, and herbs, along with the second tablespoon of butter. Process until smooth.
Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, or a sprinkling of fresh ground pepper.

This picture is not my own pic; it is the picture from the site that I got the recipe from:


But my mashed cauliflower did look a lot like that.

Changes I made to the recipe:
1. I didn't have rosemary, so I didn't use it. I did not make any substitutions for it though.
2. I don't know what a vidalia onion is, so I used a sweet onion instead.
3. I don't have a steamer basket, so I boiled the cauliflower in water instead.

The end result was nothing like mashed potatoes. It was wet, sloppy and runny. Further, the texture was not nearly as smooth as mashed potatoes, but came out looking like the picture, which you can tell visibly does not look as smooth as mashed potatoes. Thirdly, the flavor was nothing at all like mashed potatoes, but rather, tasted like cauliflower.

It was nasty; my fiance would not eat it at all. I ate half a serving and got tired of it.

Where did I go wrong? How can I make this more closely resemble the flavor and texture of smooth, creamy buttery mashed potatoes?
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:13 AM   #2
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Seeking......it never will. But let me see if I can help.Boil or steam your caulilower then drain. Now pour your cauliflower onto paper towels or a bath towel. Then squeeze all the water out really well.

Then put the cauliflower in a bowl, add 1 or 2 T. of cream , butter, salt and pepper and mash. It's cauliflower not taters. It will never be smooth like taters.

A vadalia onion is a sweet onion and are very carby. If you are on induction you should stick with green onions ( less carby).

I hope that helps. There will be other people coming in also.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:24 AM   #3
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First of all, that doesn't sound like a very tasty recipe to me...Too much onion, and herbs..

Second of all, you need some cream cheese/butter in that recipe..

Esther is right..get all the water out of that cauliflower and sometimes I use a salad spinner..

Do you have an immersion blender? That makes the bestest, smoothest cauliflower ever. They will never taste exactly like taters cuz they aren't, but add some nommie fat., like a dab of cream cheese/butter and you won't care. Chives are good for that delicate onion flavor or clip the ends of the green onion..
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:29 AM   #4
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Not my recipe, but...Place your cauliflower pieces in a 8cup Pyrex measure. Add 1 or 2T butter and 1 or 2T cream cover with paper plate. Micro 5 min. Stir. Micro 4 min. Process with 1/2c sharp cheddar (or your choice of add-ins). If cooked in water it gets too wet. lol. Any "wet" add-ins would contribute to the sloppy end product.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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When I make cauli-mash, I steam my cauliflower, then squeeze the HECK out of it between towels, you have to get as much water out as you can. Then transfer it all into a food processor. Add butter, cream cheese, and season salt, and process it until it's all smooth. You can also top it with cheddar and chopped bacon and green onion.

Try this, I promise you'll love it. Good luck!
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:45 AM   #6
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My husband refused to eat any of my attempts at making mashed cauliflower until I caved and started using a tablespoon or two of instant potato flakes, makes all the difference in the world and worth the addition of a few carbs. At least those carbs are from potatoes and not wheat.

I agree that you have to get as much of the water out as possible. I use frozen cauliflower a lot since it's convenient but I use a Nordic Ware microwave rice cooker to cook it. The cooker comes with a basket type insert and most of the liquid will drain out but I will also mash it down with a spoon to press out as much moisture as possible. I picked up that cooker off the clearance rack years ago and I use it all the time to cook frozen veggies, works great for frozen spinach.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
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Thanks Carolyn I forgot the cream cheese and butter.LOL

I use a Kitchen Gourmet rice cooker and still drain that water out of the cauliflower.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:19 PM   #8
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You have already gotten good advice here! One other tecnique to try- I boil my cauli, then strain it. I use a potato masher, and press down on it while it is in the colander to get as much water out as possible. Then, put the cauliflower back in your hot pan. Stir it around for a minute in there, on the stove. The heat will dry it out even more. Now mash it, and yes, use an immersion blender. Smooth. Use your favorite add-ins as you would making mashed potatoes. If I have a lot of stock, I boil it in broth or stock instead of water. Chicken if I am serving it with chicken, and beef with beef. It adds some more flavor.

Do remember: it's not potatoes. But is a close second!
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:18 PM   #9
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Besides the other comments to dry out the cauliflower, I would also never blend the onions like that. Could be where the "runny" and off-flavor is coming from. I also add a cream (HWC or sour) or half-and-half to it to help cover the cauliflower taste.
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:19 PM   #10
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Ok, so it would seem that my biggest mistake was that I didn't dry the cauli mash well enough and my second biggest mistake seems to be that I didn't puree it well enough.

Regarding the immersion blender, I don't want to spend $40-$50 on a separate appliance that I will not be using that often; would a blender be better than a food processor for this?

I'm much more inclined to buy a blender because I have big plans for other uses for a blender besides just the mashed cauli.

I'll also omit the onion next time I try this.

Thanks guys!

Last edited by Seeking; 01-17-2013 at 02:22 PM..
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:14 PM   #11
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I normally never use frozen vegetables, but I have found frozen cauliflower makes denser mashed cauliflower than fresh does without so much squeezing to dry it out.

I always use a food processor and it's fine. if your cauliflower is dry I think you will be happy with the texture. just work it for awhile, the fineness doesn't happen in like one minute!

I would never put garlic, onion, rosemary, or thyme in this dish. ugh to my palate. and using cream cheese can stiffen it up a little bit too. drop in a good size piece when it's pureed finely. butter makes it runnier, you might want to save it to put on top of the hot cauliflower rather than in it.

it is never going to taste like potatoes. if you hate cauliflower, you might want to make something else.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:31 PM   #12
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Sometimes I make mashed cauliflower daily!

1) Steam it for 45 minutes (no less than 30 min!) You need to add water again or the pot will dry out/burn

2) Remove strainer from pot, dump water, put strainer with cauliflower back in hot pot

3) Let it drip/steam out for 15 minutes

4) put cauliflower in vitamix or cuisinart and blend with 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. REALLY, REALLY blend it. I think the high-speed blending changes the flavor. I am pretty sure this is breaking the cellulose membranes that changes the flavor.

5) put in serving bowl, heat in microwave

If the cauliflower isn't steamed long enough, I don't like it and it doesn't taste very good.

I usually use frozen. Fresh is a little better.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:45 PM   #13
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No...a blender wouldn't be better..

My first choice is my immersion blender, and 2nd choice is a food processor.

The truth is some cauliflower tastes stronger than other cauliflower..
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeking View Post
Ok, so it would seem that my biggest mistake was that I didn't dry the cauli mash well enough and my second biggest mistake seems to be that I didn't puree it well enough.

Regarding the immersion blender, I don't want to spend $40-$50 on a separate appliance that I will not be using that often; would a blender be better than a food processor for this?

I'm much more inclined to buy a blender because I have big plans for other uses for a blender besides just the mashed cauli.

I'll also omit the onion next time I try this.

Thanks guys!
Immersion blenders are about $10-$15 bucks. They are also called stick blenders? I think they work the best. I also use it in soups. I have gotten my money's worth out of it!
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynF View Post
No...a blender wouldn't be better..

My first choice is my immersion blender, and 2nd choice is a food processor.

The truth is some cauliflower tastes stronger than other cauliflower..
Why not a blender? Doesn't the immersion blender do the same job? And why would you prefer a food processor over a blender? Food processors are for chopping and mincing and making things into small pieces but not pureeing. You will still get bigger particles with a food processor than you would a blender.

Quote:
Originally Posted by millergirl1976 View Post
Immersion blenders are about $10-$15 bucks. They are also called stick blenders? I think they work the best. I also use it in soups. I have gotten my money's worth out of it!
I can't find them that cheap anywhere. Cheapest ones at Target start at $30.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:40 PM   #16
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Well, my personal experience with the food processor is that it produces a pretty even product with thicker ingredients, like cauliflower. The blender has a hard time blending
things that are thicker. Of course, unless you have a Vitamix..(which is what I want).
I use my food processor to mix up muffins, etc..breads, etc..I put that mixing blade in and off we go.

The thing about the immersion blender is that you can put the blender right in the middle of the food and blend until it is all mixed up. You move it around until everything is smooth.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:44 PM   #17
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Oh, I have a thing about "chunks" of vegetables. I like to puree things so I can't see any, especially onions.

The thing with the cauliflower is it seems to get a little starchy tasting if you really, really blend it. I have the old Braun immersion hand blender, but it doesn't get the cauliflower to a starchy consistency. Maybe the newer ones are better; I bought the Braun when they first came out (not sure - early 90s?) and it has never broken down! I have been waiting to get one with the cool chopper attachments, LOL. It may never happen.

Anyway, if I put them in the cuisinart, flip the switch for a few minutes, or put in the vitamix, it really does taste more like potatoes, at least to me. I think this breaks the celluose membranes.

I have the cuisinart from the 70s, I think. I bought the one that looks like my mother's when I was a kid on Ebay. It also never breaks.

So, with my old machinery, Vitamix 1st choice (steaming just 30 minutes is fine here - the Vitamix can even puree frozen cauliflower that has been microwaved on high for 8 minutes instead of steamed, it can puree bricks!), cuisinart food processor 2nd (it will puree if the cauliflower is steamed the full 45 minutes), Braun hand blender 3rd.

You can make some really great soup with the Vitamix! Don't believe the commercials about heating soup in the blender. It is so loud your nerves woudl be shattered before it is done. I cook soup on the stove and blend to puree. Makes for great butternut squash soup!

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Old 01-18-2013, 01:42 AM   #18
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Hmm, what about a 3-cup Oster food processor at Walmart (19.xx) or a manual Progressive food chopper/processor for around $15, same place. Or a potato ricer, then mix everything up.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:17 AM   #19
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One of the best ways to neutralize the strong cauliflower taste is to steam it in milk or cream and no water. I cut it into chunks about 1"x1" (stem and all), steam it for 10 minutes or so in the microwave until tender but not mushy.

Pour off all of the liquid and let the steam coming off of it dry it out a little further. I don't find any need to dry it more, when I do it this way.

Put it into the food processor with a little cream, salt, pepper, and sour cream. Puree until very smooth. I also find that adding about 2 tsp of instant mashed potato flakes works some magic! (I have some left from a little bag I bought years ago and only use them for this purpose.) The old Dixie Diner's Instant Mashers had a little potato flakes, after all. It only adds about 5 carbs to the whole recipe, which is about 8 servings.

I taste then and add a little butter or more sour cream, salt, pepper, if necessary.

While this is not mashed potatoes, it is very similar. DH, who LOVES mashed potatoes, often tells me he likes this just as well or even better. Good luck and keep trying!

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Old 01-18-2013, 08:42 AM   #20
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You have lots of tips and advice here so let me put in my two cents' worth!

I only use fresh cauliflower. Frozen has a taste that I don't care for.

Cut the head up into smallish pieces, put in a large microwave-safe bowl (I use a 2 quart Pyrex batter bowl), add a couple tablespoons of water, cover, and nuke on High about 8 to 10 minutes, until the tip of a steak knife easily pierces the cauliflower with no resistance. Dump the works into a big colander over the sink, and press with a large metal spoon or similar to express any extra water.

Put the whole works into a food processor. Add a tablespoon of butter and about 2 ounces of Brie cheese, cut into cubes. Put on the top and process until very smooth. Taste and add salt/pepper if it needs it. Sometimes I add a little garlic powder too.

My DH was not a fan of mashed cauli until I started using the Brie instead of cream cheese. Funny thing is - he says he HATES Brie! So I didn't tell him that's what I was adding until about the 6th time he had the mashed cauli and said, once again, how much he liked it!
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:55 AM   #21
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Hmm, what about a 3-cup Oster food processor at Walmart (19.xx) or a manual Progressive food chopper/processor for around $15, same place. Or a potato ricer, then mix everything up.
My boyfriend has a very small, cheap food processor. He makes mashed cauliflower for me and it comes out just fine as long has he steams the cauliflower until it is mushy first. Just be sure to add plenty of butter and salt and it will be just fine!
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:05 AM   #22
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Always steam my cauliflower till tender. Never used blenders, food processors. Just mash with fork, add some cream cheese mash again add a little shredded cheese and mix in. Then top with more shredded cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and then nuke for about 45 secs. The "nuking" makes it kind of "fluff up". This is delicious!!!!! Top with scallions and bacon bits!
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:30 AM   #23
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I've made mashed cauliflower a couple of times (steaming rather than boiling) and it's just not worth the effort for me, and my DH feels the same. I prefer to roast fresh (not frozen) florets in a hot oven (somewhere between 375-425 F) with some olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper for about 30-35 minutes. It's much easier and tastes great. Sometimes I add garlic, cumin or other spices/seasonings for variety.

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Old 01-18-2013, 12:10 PM   #24
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I've also used a bit of glucomannan to thicken them up and that will really soak up the moisture. It takes very little, 1/8-1/4 tsp and that small of an amount doesn't cause any weird textures.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:52 PM   #25
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Lots of good advice here, and I'll definitely be considering all your tips the next time I make mashed cauliflower.
For what it's worth, my first attempt at it, I boiled a whole head, drained the water out and mashed it by hand with a potato masher (I prefer mashed potatoes prepared this way also). Added a touch of butter and HWC but not nearly as much as I would with potatoes as there was quite a bit of liquid already (next time I will try steaming and pressing the water out). Then I added some garlic salt, seasoning salt and a bit of shredded cheese. I used to make my mashed potatoes the same way so I thought I'd try out my first go at the cauliflower mash this way.
It was runnier than mashed potatoes but I didn't have a problem with that. I could still eat it with a fork. The batch lasted several days, re-heated nicely and I found it to be more filling, ie I ate a smaller mound than I would have with mashed potatoes.
Just some other prep ideas and...in the interest of full disclosure...I *HATE* cauliflower. I think it tastes like feet but prepared like this I was ok with it.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:08 PM   #26
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Ok guys, thanks for the great tips so far! Tomorrow is cooking day and I'll be retrying my mashed cauli, I'll see how it all goes!

Thanks again!

Last edited by Seeking; 01-19-2013 at 02:04 PM..
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:31 PM   #27
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For low carbing, you can't go wrong with an immersion blender! Truly, I make ranch dressing, the fauxtatoes, sauces, salad dressings, soups etc. Once I purchased it I started getting pretty creative! You might even find one on craigslist, ebay or amazon that is inexpensive.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:14 PM   #28
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Amazon has quite a few below $25 - just put "immersion blender" in their search. Some of the ones at $16 or so have 4 star ratings, which is better than some of the more expensive ones have!
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:54 AM   #29
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Like everyone else said, cook then drain it REAL well!

I dont' use an immersion blender, just mash the heck out of it. Sure is yummy with just butter/cream/cream cheese/parmesan cheese on it
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:15 PM   #30
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Agree with the above suggestions..

Another thing you can do is after you drain your cauliflower, put it into a hot pan and let the steam continue to evaporate as you stir... this will help to get rid of more moisture.


if you want to add onion to the recipe, I would recommend sauteeing some diced onion in butter until it caramelizes, then stirring into your already mashed caulifower. Blendng a boiled onion probably gives a icky flavor and adds moisture.

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