With the cooler weather coming on and a few leaves on the streets, I’ve been craving mashed potatoes. A great bowl of savory mashed potatoes is such a treat. But holy lord is it terrible for you. Well, terrible for me*. And the next day? Oy. I never want to get out of bed. So, as many do, I substitute in pureed cauliflower. It is the PERFECT substitute.
We also have a hefty amount of heirloom tomatoes about to drop off the vine. And I wanted to use those.
What to make…what to make…
I had a conversation recently with a friend from the netherlands about kale and he had mentioned that his mom used to make something that I thought was called baren-cool (I later learned it was boerenkool stamppot…basically mashed potatoes with kale and sausage). He described it as his comfort food. Sounded amazing to me. And I could do it with roasted cauliflower.
I also learned last night that our au pair’s mom makes her something very similar in Italy. Not sure what it is called there.
The Boerenkool Stamppot (variation)
- one large handful dinosaur kale stalks
- two medium heads of cauliflower
- two sausages of your choice…we used sundried tomato chicken sausage (two of us were eating meat, the third not…adjust your sausage amount accordingly)
- half of a large vidalia onion
- salt/pepper/olive oil
- one tablespoon paprika
- one teaspoon dry sage
- half teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup whole milk (or any other dairy…you could use plain yogurt or cottage cheese, too)
- 1/8 cup of feta
- 1/4 white wine
The Tomato/Cucumber Salad
- two regular cucumbers
- one lemon cucumber
- two large, very ripe heirloom tomatoes
- fresh basil leaves
- balsamic of choice
- salt/pepper/olive oil
This was overall pretty easy to do but just took a bit of time.
Preheat the oven to 425 and get a cookie sheet out, covered with a silpat. Cut the cauliflower into medium florets and spread them on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with a healthy amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and the paprika and mix together. When the oven is hot enough, put it into the oven on the middle rack.
Put some olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. While that heats up, cut the onions into thin rings and then add them to the pan. While those begin to cook down, pull the kale off of the stalk and rinse and dry. Add in the kale once most of the moisture is gone, stirring it into the oil and onion mixture. It will start to wilt. Add in the wine now. Keep stirring it, getting even heat on all of the greens. When it is soft and a dark, bright green, turn off your heat and push the greens and onions to the outside ring of the pan, make an area in the center for the sausage. Cut the sausage into 1/4 inch coins and, after turning the heat back on to medium, fill the hole with sausage. Keep an eye on it and turn it when it starts to get brown.
By now the cauliflower should be well roasted. This is where it gets messy. Using a cuisinart (or other chopping device), shred the (hot) cauliflower (using the shredding disk) and transfer all of the shredded cauli back to the pan. Put in the standard blade and add in half of the mixture. Add in half of the milk, half of the sage, half of the nutmeg and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Then do the same with the other half of the cauli.
The salad is the easiest part. Chop the tomatoes roughly, skin the two types of cucumbers and chop roughly. Put them both in a bowl and add the balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then chop the basil and mix.
Cut the barrata evenly between the number of eaters and plate. We put the salad in a bowl to keep it from messing with the stamppot boerenkool bit.
Yup. Delish. And totally in line with my mood.
* I don’t believe one type of diet is correct for everyone. Listen to your body, not mine. Mine tells me that starchy foods make me feel tired and heavy. Yours may say that fruit makes you hyper, or veggies make you gassy, or whatever. My point is: listen to YOUR body. And eat what makes you happy AND healthy.