I mentioned the other day how much I love my crock pot. I have another kitchen gadget that hails from my mother that I should really start using more often — a pressure cooker. I still have the original one from her, but the gasket blew out of the lid years ago so I kept the pot to melt wax in during a candle-making phase of my life. I think it’s in the garage, or maybe it did get tossed during the big “clean-out” last year. I meander, though. Tonight I pulled out my newer one to cook a side dish I’ve made for years using the cooker. I know pressure cooking seems a little out-dated since the dawn of microwaves, but it can quickly — and I mean quickly — cook meats in a fraction of the time with other methods. Plus everything retains its juices and come out soooo tender. Some vegetables take about the same amount of time as any other method once you factor in the time to get it up to pressure, but since my microwave has been evil to us lately, I decided to use the pressure cooker.
The recipe I use comes from my oft-mentioned Good Housekeeping cookbook circa 1979. The only difference is that it suggests using canned mushrooms in place of fresh. YUCK! Now I am no foodie snob, but don’t tell me that rubber in a can resembles anything near a mushroom. They should be banned from the supermarket shelves. I have a very close friend who actually keeps cans of them on her garage pantry shelf — visible! I still love her though.
Cauliflower with Mushroom Cheese Sauce
1 head cauliflower, cored and washed
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Ground white pepper, to taste
Cook the whole cauliflower head according to directions that came with the pressure cooker. You can also steam or microwave the cauliflower, but I prefer using the pressure cooker for a whole head. When it’s done cooking, place it in a deep casserole dish and cover.
Meanwhile, add the butter and mushrooms in a saucepan and cook about five minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the flour, and stir until a paste is formed. Quickly pour in the milk, whisking until all the lumps are out and the sauce has thickened. Add the mustard, then stir in the cheddar cheese until it melts and the sauce starts to bubble. Add ground white pepper to taste. Pour the mushroom cheese sauce over the head of cauliflower. If the rest of your dinner isn’t ready, just put the covered casserole dish in a low oven to keep warm. I sprinkled some dried parsley over top at the end for color.