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The True Meaning of Clean

True story: when my parents were newlyweds, my father used to put on a white glove to check for dust in their apartment. No wonder she only made him Swanson’s TV dinners. She was too busy cleaning! Fortunately, that dynamic has changed and now my father even does his own laundry. My mother and I share a similar approach to housework. We surface clean, which means that our drawers are stuffed, our closets are overflowing, and we would  prefer that you not use a magnifying glass on any of our surfaces – you won’t like what you see.

During the dating phase of our relationship, Ryan and I split our time between his apartment in the city and my one bedroom plus den condo in the suburbs. One night I fell asleep on the couch and woke up to find him scrubbing the inside of my refrigerator. I pretended to be asleep probably because I was too mortified to acknowledge it. According to my mother, this one act sealed our relationship. She could stop worrying. Someone was going to marry me.

I didn’t do a lot of cooking in that kitchen and when I did it usually ended in mayhem. I recall one time where I tried to make a cauliflower mash (South Beach Diet days) for dinner only to have half it land on my ceiling where it stayed for years. Thank god Ryan didn’t look up.

The other night I decided to remake the Cauliflower Mash without the mishaps.  I thought it would go well with my Seitan Shake & Bake (seitan mixed with a cup of whole wheat bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Shake and saute in olive oil; serve over Cauliflower Mash).

Cauliflower Mash (from Eating


  • 8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk (see Tip)
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


Place cauliflower florets and garlic in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes.)

Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great idea to use buttermilk! I’m definitely bookmarking this recipe to try 🙂

    February 27, 2010
  2. cherala34 #

    Thanks Allison. I enjoyed your blog!

    February 28, 2010

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