Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trick or Treat Mashed Potatoes

(Here we are handing out candy on Halloween. I'm the nurse and Andy is the swine flu. He's wearing a pig nose and a thermometer.)

If you've been reading my blog - you know I adore my husband. BUT - (there's always a but) He's a picky eater. To give him proper credit, he will pretty much TRY everything I make. There's a few exceptions. Like Fruit. Or Cauliflower. There are some foods he's never had but insists he hates them. It's maddening. His friends and family tell me how much he's changed and how much he eats... But to me, the girl who will eat just about anything - it's like saying, "Well, you used to be a Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad eater, and now you're just kinda bad..."

I have a special friend, Sue, who inspired me to start this blog. She's a chef in New Jersey and has a fabulous blog called Also you can read her articles at She's also responsible for my new addiction to Twitter. Recently she posted a recipe for "mashed potatoes". I told Andy that our friend, THE CHEF, had posted a new recipe. I just told him it was a different take on mashed potatoes. Andy replied, "LET'S DO IT!" (Which is code for "Make it for me.")

Now, hopefully you read in the first paragraph how he won't eat cauliflower.... Insert "TRICK OR TREAT MASHED POTATOES" here! For this particular dinner I sent him downstairs with strict instructions not to come up until dinner was on the table.

Here's the skinny on how I TRICKED my husband into LOVING cauliflower. (Ok - maybe he won't admit to loving it - but he had seconds. SECONDS!)

My adventure starts at Open Harvest in Lincoln, NE. I picked up 3 decent sized salmon fillets, 4 huge beautiful scallops, carrots, zucchini and cauliflower. (da da daaaaa! - that's the scary music.)

I've never been a huge salmon eater and needed a yummy way to serve it. So I tweeted, THE CHEF, and asked for a yummy salmon recipe. She tweeted back a Rozanne Gold sauce that she said was so good she'd serve it to the Queen of England! It IS delicious. Here's how to make it:

Boil 1 lb. chopped Zucchini with 1/2 c. Water and 1/2 teaspoon salt for about 15 min. or until soft. I left the skin on the zucchini for color and nutrients! Then throw it in a blender or food processor, water and all and puree with a couple tabs of butter. Taste for seasoning.

For the samlon - I rubbed it down with some good extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper and baked it at 375 degrees until it was just starting to get flaky. I like my salmon more on the underdone side. Dry salmon is awful.
The carrots were also easy - rub 'em down with olive oil and salt and pepper and get them in the oven with the salmon. After I took the salmon out I cranked the oven up to about 450 degrees to finish roasting the carrots.

The scallops looked so good I couldn't pass them up. Plus I wasn't sure how well the "Trick or Treat Mashed Potatoes" was going to go over so I thought I could butter him up with some seared scallops. I dried them thoroughly, seasoned them with salt and pepper and popped them into a hot pan with olive oil and seared them for a couple min on each side.

Now the fun part! This recipe comes which she got from

First, if your husband thinks he hates cauliflower also - buy some potatoes and set them on the counter. Then hide the cauliflower behind the FRUIT in the fridge. After the coast is clear - take out the cauliflower and chop it into big bite sized pieces. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and boil the cut cauliflower until they're easily stabbed with fork. The recipe says 6 min. I think I had to boil for closer to 8 min. Sue recommends putting your peeled garlic whole in with the cauliflower. She says she does this for regular mashed potatoes also.

Then drain the cauliflower and garlic and put into a food processor. Add 1 T. cream cheese. I used neufchatel cheese. It's just like cream cheese but a little lower in fat. Also going in the food processor or blender is a 1/2 teaspoon salt, a pinch of pepper, a handful of parmesan cheese and some butter. The recipe calls for 3 T. I used 1 1/2 T. Then puree away. Unlike regular mashed potatoes you can puree until the cows come home and it won't get gluey. If you live in Nebraska like I do - it's very possible that those cows will really truly come home. Taste for seasoning - I added a bit more neufchatel and salt.

I plated the salmon dressed with the zucchini butter sauce and roasted carrots with Seared Scallops atop a heap of "Trick or Treat Mashed Potatoes". I nonchalantly placed the plate in front of my now suspicious husband. "Ok, what's the trick?" He asked. "They're pureed in a food processor honey! You can't do that with a normal version - but with this tricky version - you can!" I replied. (See? I didn't lie!) Until he asked, "So, is it really potatoes?"
I had a choice. I could tell the truth and reveal that in fact I was about to trick him into eating cauliflower. Something he has professed his pure hatred for. I could be honest and run the risk of him not evening trying it. Sending me into a heap of frustration and ruining our lovely dinner. OR! I could fib. It was for the good of the family. The good of dinner! The good of our health! I mean cauliflower is good for you! I was actually helping him by lying right? It's an important source of something healthy! He needs it!

"Yes, it's potatoes. See?" I lied. I LIED! I pointed to the bag of yukon gold potatoes sitting on the counter. (Please don't forget to have them ready for this exact moment.)

He grabbed his fork and took a bite. I sat there trying not to stare as he steered the fork to his mouth. "Yummmm!" He exclaimed.

What?!? Yum? You like it? I won? All these thoughts started racing through my head. But I thought to myself - victory isn't one bite. Victory is when he goes back for a second helping. So, I waited. I quietly said Thank You and kept on eating. Soon, he was asking for another helping of the "Trick or Treat Mashed Potatoes". I couldn't believe my ears! He ate another huge helping. I couldn't take it anymore! I was going to burst!

"Do you want me to tell you what the trick is?" I coyly asked him. "Uh huh." He stared at his plate, bracing himself for something terrible.

"IT'S CAULIFLOWER!!!!! IT'S CAULIFLOWER! YOU ATE CAULIFLOWER! YOU LOVE CAULIFLOWER!" I cheered. I knew he would like it! I had won! Victory was mine!

"So, seeee? You do like cauliflower don't you?" I teased him.

And do you know what that little booger said?

"Eh, It's Ok."