If you’ve ever taken an exam, you know the feeling of utter relief as you turn the test booklet in. All power is instantly transferred from you to the grader (unless of course you choose the route of Buttering The Grader Up – always a viable A-game strategy); it’s a blissful surrender. And so went my Thursday–an early morning of cramming after a long week of much of the same, culminating in two back-to-back exams and one glorious moment of Finally Being Done. In that moment I was reborn–my mind suddenly began to swirl chaotically with all the possible ways I could spend my newfound free time. Should I sleep into a sweet oblivion? Should I run 5 miles to a better-than-ever playlist? Should I attempt to Butter the Professor Up? No, no. None of those were right.
Clearly, I must cook.
And not only must I cook, but I must also indulge.
And so I did. And all was right in the world.
Cauliflower “Mac” ‘n Cheese
Makes 6 servings
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus 1/2 cup for the top
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Steam the cauliflower in the boiling water until slightly softened but still tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the cauliflower to the baking dish and set aside. Sauté minced garlic in a touch of olive oil in a medium saucepan until the garlic just begins to brown. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese, salt, and pepper and whisk just until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, pour over the cauliflower, and stir to combine. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes. How’s that for an A+ meal?