Cauliflower, cheese, baked potatoes and other preserves

The Smitten Kitchen Keepers Cookbook

It’s always a great day when I can say something new smitten kitchen cooking book In the world …

I don’t think there’s anyone left on this planet who doesn’t know and love Deb Pearlman, one of the originals Food bloggers (Established by SK in 2006!) She writes down the kinds of recipes people want to cook and eat. (It’s trickier than it looks!) Her qualities are a rare find: creative without being gimmicky. (Remember her Brown rice buttery crispy treats?) From memory, I can now read a catalog of Smitten Kitchen recipes that she relied on for a decade and a half—be it sweet or savory—and her third cookbook, The kitchen guards are smitten, which was published last week, is devoted to “Recipes for Your Forever File,” everything from breakfast salads to nut snacks to family-style desserts to dinners of spaghetti and meatballs that she suggests will be a staple of her Friday night ritual with friends. Take a peek at what I’m talking about.

The Smitten Kitchen Keepers Cookbook

A Pulled Parmesan Cheese Frittata Made Entirely in the Oven (Instead of Starting on the Stove)…

The Smitten Kitchen Keepers Cookbook

Cinnamon Caramel French Toast made with “baguettes soaked in custard, cinnamon and sugar” (good grief!)…

The Smitten Kitchen Keepers Cookbook

“Turkey Meatloaf for the Skeptics” (Look at that glaze)…

The Smitten Kitchen Keepers Cookbook

Gluten free chocolate cake…

The Smitten Keepers Cookbook

and cocktails and mocktails such as salt and pepper limeades. right? Don’t you want to make everything you see? Luckily, we can start with these sweet and sour baked potatoes. I’ll let Deb tell you all about it.

The Smitten Kitchen Keepers Cookbook

Cauliflower baked potato with cheese
From Deb: “I think it’s criminal that cauliflower cheese—cauliflower florets dipped in a sharp cheddar cheese sauce with a hint of chili, then baked in the oven until bronzed and bubbly—isn’t a big thing, or really a thing at all, in the States. I first encountered this delicacy in the UK many years ago and have been doing my best PR ever since – with only moderate success, based on restaurant menus. (I even tried to make the argument that it was lower carb than macaroni and cheese , but a few were enchanted.) While we’re at it, can we start calling our baked potato a “baked potato”? Sounds more bland, right? Here we’re squaring these two sturdy, tightly packed stuff into a baking dish for the kind of winter comfort food you call for. Some days. Don’t even look at this recipe in July—so rich and monochromatic—but it makes perfect sense on the first day the puddles freeze over. Serves 4 as a main course and 8 as a side dish.” Adapted from Innovative Kitchen Keepers: New Classics For Your Files Forever by Deb Pearlman.

4 baking, russet, or Idaho potatoes (each about 8 ounces)
olive oil
1 large head cauliflower (2 to 3 pounds), cut into medium florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper or ground cayenne
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, white and light green, halved lengthwise, cleaned and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons (1 ounce) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons mustard powder, or 1/2 teaspoon fine Dijon mustard
Ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups full fat or low fat milk
1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (about 5 ounces total) grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish (optional)
sour cream

Bake potatoes: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and rub them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the potatoes on the oven rack and bake for 1 hour, or until tender in the center when pierced with a skewer.

While the potatoes are baking, prepare the cauliflower: Coat a baking tray with two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the cauliflower florets and toss to coat. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes total, flipping once, until nicely browned at the edges. Let the cauliflower cool while the potatoes finish.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened. Add the flour and whisk until blended. Cook for 1 minute to make sure you get rid of the delicate aftertaste. Add the mustard powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper or a pinch of black pepper and stir to combine. Drizzle in the milk in a thin, steady stream, whisking all the time so that no lumps form. Season with salt, and bring to a simmer, stirring with a spoon. The sauce should start to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in 1¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese, a handful at a time, letting each handful melt before adding the other. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings if needed. Add the roasted cauliflower and stir to coat with the sauce.

Collect the potatoes: Once the potatoes are ready, cut them in half lengthwise and, using a pot rack, arrange them snugly, cut side down, in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Season the cut sides with salt and pepper, use the tip of a knife to slice into a grid, and cut into 1-inch chunks into the potatoes. Spoon cauliflower cheese sauce over each potato. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese, and return to the oven to simmer until the cauliflower is browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

To serve: Sprinkle with chives, if desired. Served with sour cream.

PS a Creamy cauliflower onion gratin And the Jamal Depp outfit.

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