Broccaulitater Whip

Mashed potatoes, hummph.

Blah, blah, bland, and everyone puts it on the table for the holidays, but we all know it’s just an excuse to slurp down some more gravy, because really now, one mashed tater is nearly identical to any other mashed tater. I like making a little volcano of it and filling the caldera with butter or gravy. But there’s got to be more to it, right? There’s got to be more than “special secret” additives like pepper or cream cheese or cheddar, right ?!?

Well OK, cheddar i can’t resist. But there’s got to be something fundamental about the recipe which can be altered to make a brand-new animal. Here’s where the idea for this recipe came from: tater tots. They’ve been around for 40 years, god bless the food process engineer who thought of the tater tot. I use crispy crowns, myself. They’re more like a coin shape than the regular cylinder tot, and in my opinion they get, well, crispier.

But last month i tried some of the “new wave” of tater tots, the healthy ones that are supposed to make you feel better about yourself because they’re more vegetable-ish or something. And they were fantastic. Picked ’em up because the local grocer had a half-off price-slash as a “discontinued item” but i swear i can’t remember what brand they were. If i could recall, i’d drive across town for them!

So next i tried the ones from Green Giant which are made just from cauliflower and broccoli, but i can not recommend them. Never got crisp, had a back-mouth bitterness, and no matter what sauce i dipped ’em into, they stayed bland. No sirree, the first ones i tried were brocc and cauli, but had a base of potato, and that really made the whole difference.

Got me to thinking, what with it being holiday bring-a-dish time and all, could i use what i learned from new-wave tater tots to make a new kind of mashed potato? And the answer is YES, there is a new land of mashed potatoes, just beyond the lee foothills of that gravy volcano.

A little of this, a little of that, OK now let’s get crackin’ on a Broccaulitater Whip!


a 2 gallon pot (8 liter)

a big bowl and one large bowl

a large colander

a large spoon with a hole in it, or a wire-mesh fryer scoop

a peeler tool

a semi-sharp paring knife

a handheld potato masher with the serpentine metal head

a rubber scraper

a 13×9 3-quart glass casserole dish, god bless pyrex


5 pounds yukon gold potatoes

1 large or 2 medium cauliflower heads

2 large broccoli heads

8 garlic cloves

8 ounce bar of cream cheese

4 ounces salted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream




1. remove cream, butter, and cream cheese from refrigerator for a few hours to warm up. If you’re worried about your waistline and see 8 ounces of cream cheese and 4 ounces of butter and heavy cream, then take a step back, and look at the NINE POUNDS of pure vegetables this recipe calls for. Veggies outweigh dairy 9 to 1 here.

2. peel paper off the garlic cloves, and cut the stemmy end just a bit.

3. wash and peel the potatoes. This is the heaviest “work” in the recipe, but just set your mind to it and you’ll be done in 15 minutes.

4. quarter the larger potatoes, chop smaller ones in half.

5. pare down the cauliflower leaving 1 inch stems on the florets.

6. pare down the broccoli, leaving 1/2 inch stems.


1. add garlic to a big pot of water, let the water run from the cold tap until it’s as cold as it will get, then set it on HIGH heat. Because cold water comes from outside, and hasn’t been sitting in your domicile’s lead pipes for hours.

2. bring water to a boil.

3. add potatoes, let it get it back to a boil before dropping the heat to MED-HIGH.

4. boil 15-20 minutes, stir now and then, then drop the heat to LOW.

5. remove potatoes with the slotted spoon or small strainer, put into the colander, leaving the garlic cloves in the water.

6. bring the water back to a boil at MED-HIGH.

7. dump the taters into large bowl, no need to rinse the colander yet.

8. mash the potatoes. This is much easier than it sounds, using the handheld masher will not wear your arm out, because they’re already very soft and mooshy.

9. when water boils again, add the cauliflower florets to cook for 10 minutes.

10. while the cauli cooks, add to potatoes:
– 8 oz cream cheese,
– 4 oz butter,
– 1/2 tsp pepper,
– 1/2 tsp salt

11. blend using the masher, until butter and cheese are melted throughout. Much easier, when the butter and cream cheese are already soft at room temperature.

12. put broccoli into a bowl, add 4 tbsp water, then drop the heat on the cauliflower to MEDIUM.

13. cover broccoli bowl with a plate, microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes.

14. when cauliflower is done, dump the whole pot, including the garlic cloves, into the colander to drain.

15. dump cauliflower from colander into a big bowl.

16. mash cauliflower, including garlic cloves.

17. remove broccoli from microwave (use pot holders to pick up the bowl), and drain the broccoli in the colander.

18. add broccoli to the cauliflower and mash it.

19. add 1/2 cup heavy cream, mash it all up well.

20. preheat your oven to 350º.

21. scrape the bocco-cauli bowl into the potato mixture.

22. mix it all together, and even now the handheld masher is easy to use because everything’s warm and soft and gooshy.

23. spread whole thing into a 3-quart 13×9 pyrex dish. If you’re clever with a spoon, you can make little peaks which will turn brown in the oven.

24. finish it by baking at 350º for 15 minutes. Either finish it now, or refrigerate and finish it tomorrow, but if so, let it sit out for a while to warm up before baking.

25. eat it.

Now, about that last step, #25… i had more left over which wouldn’t fit in the pyrex casserole dish. Had 1/4 of a pork loin left over from someday, diced that up, mixed it in, and microwaved it for a few minutes. Completely delicious.

This Broccaulitater Whip does not have alot of flavor on its own. Yes, it’s a step above plain mashed potatoes, but it is not meant to be a foodstuff standing alone. At Thankday i tried it in volcano form with a butter caldera. Pretty tasty. Then tried it with gravy, even better.

And i have to say, in both cases it topped regular mashed potatoes by a long mile. But you can’t just sit down and eat a plate of this recipe on its own. It’s at its best when used as a base for something else mixed in.

Plenty of leftovers, so i picked up some of those 10-ounce frozen Green Giant “sauced sides,” found on sale for a buck apiece. One was rice with carrots, peas, and mushrooms in a creamy sauce. Decent on its own, but when added to a few cups of this recipe, it was damned tasty. Then sprussel brouts in a buttery sauce mixed into a few cups of this Whip… wow that was delicious. And it was only a buck extra.

So i submit to you the Broccaulitater Whip. Not truly whipped, but even a simple masher blends it just fine. Not a “thing” to eat and savor on its own, but it makes a bunch of other things better. Have a couple cups of this left, and think i’ll mix in sauteed mushrooms and diced ham. No reason why you can’t mix in whatever you want too.

For someone with kids, chop up hot dogs and mix them into this, and the tykes will be eating their cauliflower and broccoli and beg for more. If you’re fancy, i could see this topped with marsala sauce and a duck breast medallion. You can make it a truly vegan thing by skipping the cream cheese and butter and cream, but you’d have to add some umami to compensate for losing the savour of the dairy items.

This recipe yields about 4 quarts and it responded very well to being refrigerated for a week. Didn’t seep off any liquid or turn into sludge, and it did not harden and crust and crack. As a basic foodstuff, i’m impressed by its durability. Leads me to believe that it could be frozen and thawed with no loss of texture. Maybe next time, i’ll try that.

Non-vegan Vegetable Soup

Is it soup yet? Ageless question, but maybe the real answer is that it was always soup, and will forever be almost becoming soup. You can’t force soup into existence, but you can tease out the soup-like inner natures of various things. In today’s example, it is vegetable soup for non-vegans. Another paradox, ho-hum.

The quest for the vegetable soup of the ages started with meat. Specifically corned beef, and if you keep an eye on various meat markets in the waning days of March, you can find some damned good deals on a corned beef brisket. And for once, someone is using the term “meat market” not as a euphemism, imagine that! Past two years, there were no good scoops to be had, at least not in my neck of the giraffe.

But this year, behold the cornucopia of corned beef briskets on steep discount by March 24th! I bought six. Two in the fridge and four in the freezer, which made my freezer sad and it need to see the freezer doctor. But it was worth it, now it’s August and i’ve still got one in the freezer.

When you cook a brisket, you end up with a few quarts of water, which are normally secondary to the juicy brisket you just fished out of the pond. I’ve always just dumped the bracken water down the sink. But it always smelled so good going down the drain, that i felt pangs of lost opportunity, like i should be using the whole carcass as the natives do.

Last time, i reserved the liquid. Kept it in the fridge until it was time for another brisket, combined the two batches, and that’s a good base for some soup, dontcha think? Yes, think. Veggies coaxed into soup, using meat-water. What could go wrong?

As it turns out, there’s nothing wrong at all. Bash some garlic cloves, scrape out a couple cans of tomato paste, toss in some spices, then make it boil. Made soup before, but this time applied some science to it, and it really works. First, brainstormed and asked others, about what should go into a soup using corned beef stock. Then learned up on each of the ingredients, listing how long each one needs to cook. And once you know the times, you can plot a schedule, so that each of them finishes cooking at the same time.

I know a few recipes where you’ve got to add a certain ingredient at just the right time, but this was the first time i juggled so many at once. Here’s what it ground down to:

* whisk the broth to break up deposits.
* add tomato paste, crushed garlic, and spices.
* make this boil, keep the heat on high.
* add overnight-soaked great northern beans and dry rinsed lentils.
* 12 minutes later, add celery, shallots and vidalia onions.
* 7 minutes later, add potatoes, carrots and leeks.
* 7 more minutes after that, add parsnips and scallions.
* and after 7 minutes, add bok choi stems.
* let it all cook for 7 minutes, and then it’s soup.
* careful, it’s hot.

Where the recipe says “spices”, insert your own faves. I think this is basic enough a veggie soup to take on whatever spice regimen you throw at it, and wear it well too. Spices i used were marjoram, thyme, sage, parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, fennel, savory, a bay leaf, black pepper, white pepper, pink pepper and pink Himalayan salt, whew. Oh yeah, turmeric and paprika too.

Someday i might make this with mace, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon and cloves, skipping the garlic. I can taste that in my mind’s tongue, and it’s not half bad. Parsnips would positively have an orgy with cloves and allspice.

Come to think of it, parsnips would easily become intimate with ginger, say fried in butter alongside a ginger-root slice, then topped with cinnamon sugar… oh boy, that’s a million dollar recipe right there. Ah, someday.

Broncos-Panthers Supper Bowl Chow [sic]

The skeleton of this recipe is from another blog, with [my tweaks and advice in brackets like this]. It turns out in the colors for this year’s Bowl teams if you use blue corn chips, and it’s one of those rare snacks which is really yummy but also, through no fault of its own, very healthy snackfood. Don’t tell anyone this! From

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Yield: Serves 8-10
Prep Time: 15 minutes [this is a lie]
Cook Time: 35 minutes [this is also a lie]
Total Time: 50 minutes [duh, you know what this is]

[My advice: should take under an hour to get this into the oven, then 30 minutes baking, so figger 50 minutes of activity and 30 minutes of relative leisure, and 20 minutes of futzing around, so 100 minutes total]


1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed,diced [*]
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 cup corn frozen kernels [sic]
Juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin [*]
1 tablespoon chili powder [*]
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups red enchilada sauce [*, and does it even come in other colors?]
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

[My advice: skip the spray and just use a glass baking dish, then when it’s done just run a spoon around the edge]

2. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

[My advice: rinse quinoa in a wire mesh strainer under cold water for a minute or two before cooking]

3. In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

[My advice: green peppers work just fine, but i do like the color of the final dish with the red/orange peppers and the black beans. Use blue tortilla chips to scoop this snack, and it turns out very appropriate for a Broncos-Panthers SB]

[My advice: skip the salt and pepper, just use 15-20 pickled jalapeno rings and chop them into bits… those will contain salt already. Black pepper + jalaps just clash in my mouth, yours might be different, though]

[My advice: enchilada sauce already has cumin and chili powder, so this recipe is easier if you skip them here and just make your own sauce (way cheaper). My recipe for enchilada sauce follows…]

4. In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sauteed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese. [Stir more]

[My advice: use mild cheddar instead of “Mexican cheese” (queso), for more flavor and better gooiness for chip dipping]

[My advice: put 1 cup of the cheese into the mixture and 1 cup on top, not 1/2 cup inside and 1+1/2 on top. Holds together better for chip scooping, specially with cheddar]

5. Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

[My advice: if you did like i said and adjusted the cheese amounts inside versus on top, then adjust these baking times too. 23 minutes under foil, then 7 minutes uncovered, instead of 20/10]

Toppings: Sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour cream, optional

Note-this recipe freezes well! If you need the recipe to be gluten-free make sure you use a gluten-free enchilada sauce.

[My advice: don’t garnish with anything, screw gluten-free enchilada sauce unless you have Celiac Disease, serving at room temp is just as good as warm (just not cold), and scoop it with unsalted tortilla chips, because you’ll never know the difference here.]

[My advice: If you have any left over, then tomorrow, nuke it a little to soften it up, get some round soft flour tortilla discs, spread this stuff in a stripe across the middle of the tortilla, lay some chicken down on top, fold ’em up and nuke them (seam-side down) to warm them up. Sour cream as a dipping sauce works great here.]

[And final advice: yes it’s really tasty, but it is also really good for you, so eat as much as you want. Only the cheese is even halfway a health concern, but the beans and quinoa will strip the cheese’s cholesterol out of you automatically. Pig the hell out on this, no guilt.]

As promised, my stupidly easy enchilada sauce:

If you make this, skip the cumin and chili powder in the recipe above. This makes a little more than you need for the Enchilada Bake, but this stuff is good on anything, scrambled eggs even. Try it, it’s good on anything. Except pancakes.

* 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet. Heat it up on high.
* Add 2 tblsp flour (all-purpose flour) + 1/3 cup chili powder. Heat this on medium for a few minutes until the flour turns brown, stir it a lot so it doesn’t burn.
* Add one 8-oz can of tomato sauce, 1+1/2 cups water, 2 tsp cumin, a big pinch of garlic powder and a big pinch of onion salt. Two pinches each, if you have small fingers.
* Stir it all, heat on medium until it thickens a little. You want it thick like tomato soup, not tomato juice.

Emeril says to use tomato paste and 2 cups of chicken stock instead of the tomato sauce and water. Rachael Ray says to add slivered almonds and a cinnamon stick… but then it’s not a stupidly easy enchilada sauce anymore, now is it? Skip the fancy stuff, simpler is gooder.