On a personal note, Ben and I are going through a lot. First, we finally have a visa appointment for him to finally become a US permanent resident. We have been waiting a long time for this, but never had a process until three years ago when we got married. I’ll have to leave this without explanation, since US immigration law is extremely complicated.
So that’s the good news. The bad news is that Ben’s father who has been chronically sick, has gotten severely worse in the last couple of days, and is currently hospitalized, and we do not know how much longer he will last. The soonest Ben can leave is Wednesday, which is stressing us both out. But I think we are finally getting a handle on it, since worrying about something doesn’t really help, and we are doing everything we can to prepare for his early trip to Mexico to see his family, which will be followed by his visa appointment in Ciudad Juarez, where all Mexican nationals go to get their green card when they marry a US citizen.
So that’s what’s going on. It’s mostly positive. We’ve survived with our immigration issue for more than a decade, and this is the tail end of what we need to do. In some ways, his immigration status has shaped who we are as a couple and what we’ve done, or have not done, with our lives. And it’s a scary, but exciting future moving on to the next chapter where we will never have to worry about his immigration status holding us back, or using it as a crutch or excuse to not pursue other things.
I don’t mind that Ben is going to be gone for about a month, it’s just that he’s leaving sooner than we had planned, and that there are no guarantees that he will make it in time to see his father alive. Aside from that uncertainty, it will be good for him to finally reconnect and spend time with his family and, hopefully, his father that he hasn’t seen for almost 20 years!
I know. It’s a weird little tangent to get so personal, but this is a big deal.
Thanks for listening. I know that this is not exactly food bloggy stuff, but I needed to get that out.
Okay. Let’s talk about food, shall we?
What can you make with leftover mashed potatoes? Lots of things, actually. You can add it to cakes. There are a few recipes out there. I almost went that route, but decided on something savory. This may not be repurposing it all that much, but that’s because mashed potatoes are my next favorite starchy side dish after rice.
Add eggs (one per potato) and make a pie by using a springform pan, then top it with cauliflower sautéed with onions, garlic, and chorizo spices. You can also top with queso fresco and cilantro. I had some avocados, but they didn’t look too hot, so I left them out.
This came about simply because we had leftover mashed potatoes last week. I made something similar last week and posted it only on my Facebook page, but it looks more like a main dish, rather than a side dish, using more dairy and real chorizo sausage and roasted chicken thighs. And it was great, but a tad heavy. I wanted to lighten it somewhat, so I decided to make chorizo cauliflower and use less dairy. I think it works pretty well.
Also, if you’d rather use chorizo sausage, what I did last week was to use a 9 by 13 baking pan, plus added about 3 chicken thighs, cut into cubes, and sautéed with the onions, garlic, and chorizo. Plus you wouldn’t need to make the chorizo seasoning mix, but if you did, it would be good for about 1 pound of ground pork or beef. If definitely becomes more of a main dish with the chicken and chorizo sausage.
This chorizo seasoning mix is versatile in that you can “chorizify” other ingredients, I just happened to use cauliflower. Next time, I might try some tofu, or mushrooms or shrimp.
Mashed Potato Pie with Chorizo Cauliflower
chorizo seasoning mix for cauliflower (recipe follows)
1/2 of one large head of cauliflower, cored and chopped into small pieces (about 12 ounces)
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup red onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons water
salt and pepper to taste
5 medium potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Topping of queso fresco, cilantro, avocado, and/or sour cream is optional
First make the chorizo seasoning mix for the cauliflower. Add it to the cauliflower and let sit overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If using leftover mashed potatoes, take it out of the fridge to get to room temperature. Once it is at room temperature, add the sour cream and butter, unless it already has some in it, or you don’t want all that richness. Beat thoroughly until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add to the bottom of a greased 9″ round springform pan. Level with a small offset spatula, or the back of a spoon. Set aside.
In a medium nonstick skillet, add the olive oil and heat on medium high. Add the red onions and garlic, then salt and pepper to taste. let cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the water and cover with a lid for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Afterwards remove lid to let dry. Adding water makes the onions crispier, I think.
Add the cauliflower (that has been sitting in the chorizo seasonings overnight), and a couple more tablespoons of oil if it looks dry, and sautee with the onion/garlic mixture for about 8 minutes. Careful not to overcook it as it still will bake in the oven. When tender, remove from heat and add to the mashed potato in the springform pan and spread to level.
Bake for an hour. When done, let sit in the springform pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with queso fresco, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, and/or any other preferred topping.
Chorizo seasoning for Cauliflower (taken directly from HERE)
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
5 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons ancho chili powder (If unavailable, use regular Chili Power, cut with some paprika, and or cayenne pepper.)
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients in a food processor, blender, or spice mixer/coffee bean grinder. Use all or to taste. I used almost all but about a Tablespoon.