Candace Karu

Smack n' Cheese

RecipesCandace2 Comments


For years, my mother has had a subscription to People magazine. She dutifully reads it from cover to cover and passes it on to me the following week, as the most current edition hits her mailbox. I often let these back issues stack up until I have a chance to read them. This is most likely to happen on a plane flight or a rainy Sunday afternoon.

And rain it did this past Sunday. The cold, gray day forced me onto the couch, surrounded by snoring dogs and the waterlogged pages of People. Did I mention that my mother often reads these in the bathtub? I'm not sure when it happened, but there is now a recipe or two in every issue, often by a celebrity chef or even the celebrity du jour -- Beyonce! Kim Kardashian! That dude from Survivor!

Mostly I just skip over the recipes, but one recent entry caught my eye...and my imagination. You see, I'm on a low-carb tear these days. For the past year, I've been successful in controlling my weight and my pre-diabetic condition by cutting out sugars and carbohydrates. More and more, doctors are telling us it's not fat that's making us fat, it's refined carbs and sugars. Sadly, this means my pasta consumption has declined dramatically.

And I miss it. Like nobody's business. I miss spaghetti bolognese. I miss pasta pesto. And boy, do I ever miss macaroni and cheese. But here was a recipe that seemed to be offering me a reasonable alternative, from the winner of a reality cooking show called MasterChef.

The inaugural season's winner, Whitney Miller's recipe for Cauliflower "Mac n' Cheese" gets a huge thumbs of from me. It's easy to make, completely delicious, and fits my new food lifestyle perfectly. I'm going to give you Whitney's recipe, but the changes I made are in italics.

Smack (your lips it's so yummy) n' Cheese

8 cups cauliflower florets (1 head) I used more, almost two heads

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. kosher salt I used Maine sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 tbsp unsalted Cabot butter

2 tbsp. flour

1 1/2 cup fat-free milk

1/2 cup heavy cream I used Half & Half

1/4 tsp. table salt

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese I used Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar. I also added about 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese for a little kick.

Next time I'm going to add a bit of diced pancetta for a flavor and texture boost.


This Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farm is pretty amazing!


Preheat oven to 400º. Toss florets in oil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and lightly browned, about 20 - 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven and reduce heat to 350º.


I used a white head of cauliflower and a pretty pale orange one.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for one minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, two to four minutes. Whisk in cream and cook for five minutes.


Remove pan from heat and stir in salt and pepper and all but two tsp. of cheese. Stir over medium-low heat.


Yummy Cheddar and Blue Cheese sauce.

Place cauliflower in an 8 x 8 glass baking dish or four 10-oz. ramekins. Pour cheese sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until sauce is bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.


Drool-worthy Smack n' Cheese