Monday, June 4, 2012

Creamy Cauliflower and Ham

Cauliflower and I have a tricky relationship. It's in the cabbage family, and I pretty much hate anything that even remotely resembles cabbage. In fact, raw cauliflower smells almost exactly like cabbage to me . (And don't get me started on cole slaw. Cabbage and mayonnaise together? Just try and tell me that's not some kind of torture from a 3rd world country. Force me to eat that and I'll tell you anything you want to know.*  Seriously: is mayonnaise even made from ingredients found naturally in this world?).

*To the people who give me the security clearance that allows me to keep my job: JUST KIDDING! I would totally eat cole slaw! 

But a few years ago, my mother-in-law made some cauliflower roasted with Parmesan and garlic. I ate a little to be polite and discovered that roasted cauliflower does not taste like rotten cabbage soup, which is what I had always kind of assumed cauliflower tasted like. In fact, I went back for seconds.

I promptly flew home and bought myself a head of cauliflower, determined to make the deliciousness for myself. But when I unwrapped the cauliflower and THAT SMELL hit me, I chickened out. She must have had some special West-Coast-Non-Smelling-of-Grossness Cauliflower variety that is not available in the Deep South, because EWWW, that smell was not going away. I gave the cauliflower to my sister.

But then! Then a roasted cauliflower puree came as a "layer" in some overly fancy dish I ordered in some over priced restaurant somewhere. And I was hooked again. I decided I was going to learn how to roast me some cauliflower, even if it meant I had to wear a bacon scented handkerchief to get through it.

And get through it I did. I still don't roast cauliflower often, but that's mostly because a head of cauliflower is more than enough for two people, and let's just say The Professor does not pull his weight when I cook vast amounts of vegetables. Especially when I've had to pull out a bacon scented handkerchief to do it, because then all he wants is bacon.

All of that is to say that I roasted a head of cauliflower last weekend, and since there was only me eating it...I had some leftovers.  I had bookmarked this recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen awhile ago, and thought it would just fit the bill. And it did. Oh my goodness, this is even better. It's not one of those "Please pretend this is mashed potatoes" recipes; It's just a creamy, slightly salty, delightfully addictive bowl of goodness.

I made a few adjustments to the original recipe to use what I had on hand*; either way this dish is amazing. And since The Professor is out of town, it is all mine. And that's what I call planning ahead.

Holy cow this is a crappy picture. Go look at Kalyn's instead.
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped up
  • 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 oz. Laughing Cow Cream Cheese spread (That's one container - This is what I had in the fridge
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt  
  • 2 Tbsp grated Asiago cheese
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Canadian Bacon, diced
  • 3/4 cup grated low fat Colby Jack

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Toss Cauliflower with olive oil and oregano; bake for 30 minutes or until soft.

Mix cream cheese, yogurt, asiago and black pepper together in an oven-proof bowl.  Add Cauliflower and mash to combine all the ingredients.

Stir in the Canadian bacon and top with Colby Jack.

Bake for 30 minutes, until it is completely hot and bubbly.

*My changes: roasted cauliflower instead of boiled; Laughing Cow instead of cream cheese; Asiago instead of Parmesan; Canadian Bacon instead of ham.