Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

December 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

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These past few months I’ve been away from home nearly as much as I’ve been at home.  My stove could’ve been featured in a magazine — unsmudged, only used to boil water for endless cups of coffee.  But in the last few weeks, my work pace has slowed down a little and I’ve re-donned my canvas cooking apron.  I’d like to share my favorite experiment of late — a grain-free “fried rice” recipe inspired by my kitchen partner-n-crime, Gina.  (You can check out her beautiful photographs and inspiring grain-free recipes over at her blog.)

I’ve made this recipe for all kinds of eaters — for folks with food allergies and those without.  It’s enjoyed by all, but definitely worth noting that this meal is an exciting addition for those on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Candida diet, Paleo diet, among others.  It is also nut-free, gluten-free and can be easily veganized if you omit the eggs.

In this dish, rice is replaced by blended cauliflower florets.  Cauliflower, on its own, has such a mild flavor that in this dish, it takes on the taste of whatever you put into it.  I’ve trial-ed this recipe many times: Sometimes I’ll flavor it with Middle Eastern spices (turmeric, garam masala, curries); other times I’ll veer toward a south-of-the-Border taste (adobo and ancho chile powder).  Every version has been delicious.

Below, you’ll find the Starting Point. This is the bare bones ingredient list for any fried rice recipe that you like.  It’s perfectly good as is, but you can also spice it to your liking, depending on what you’re serving alongside this “rice” dish.

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon garlic, roughly chopped
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup scallions, chopped on diagonal
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2-3 eggs
salt, pepper
additional spices (optional)

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Method:

1. Chop, mince and grate all vegetables and set aside.  In a food processor, blend cauliflower in one or two batches until florets break down into granule-size bits.*

*Be mindful not to overstuff the food processor or the bottom will puree and the top will remain un-chopped.

2. In a large skillet, begin by sauteing the onion for several minutes until wilted and translucent.  Add carrots and peppers and saute an additional few minutes until slightly tender.  Add cauliflower, garlic and ginger and cook and additional few minutes.  Add additional spices if you’d like to; adjust salt and pepper seasoning.

3. Just before adding the egg to the fry pan, stir in scallions and cilantro.  Saute until heated through; add eggs.  Stir constantly until set.  Remove from heat and taste for seasoning.

Serve as a side dish to any meal where you’d normally serve rice.  My favorite lunch of late has featured this rice stuffed inside of romaine lettuce wraps, garnished with a little tahini dressing and toasted sunflower seeds.  The “rice” keeps in the refrigerator for several days in an airtight container.

ImageDiet Notes: SCD-safe, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Candida diet

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Crunchy Kale Chips

September 1, 2012 § 5 Comments

Last week I ate a gallon ziploc big of kale chips that packed a balsamic vinegar punch.  K-chips with chile/adobo powder are an extremely good idea.  A couple days ago I read an article about chocolate kale chips (I’m not holding my breath on that one).  This three-ingredient version is my favorite.

This recipe has undergone seven trials in the past two weeks; each time, I’ve whittled away at a list of ingredients that was, at one time, double in length.  But as I reduced and tasted, I felt that this simple-dimple blend was just as good as the previous versions touting extra spices and peppery add-ins.  (Okay, with a caveat: If you’re a garlic lover, go ahead and add a few minced cloves to this recipe — it’s terrific.)  But rest assured, this combination below is simple and good, no garlic or spicy-heat necessary.

There are only three things to keep in mind when setting out to bake a batch of crispy kale chips: (1) Make sure the kale leaves are completely dry.  If they’re at all wet, they’ll steam instead of crisp.  (2) Don’t be tempted to pile kale onto the sheet pan. Spread the kale in a single layer and when making a large batch, use two or three sheet pans. (3) Keep a close eye on the chips during the remaining 3-5 minutes of baking.  They crisp-up quickly and can burn easily.

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale, stemmed and ripped into large pieces
3-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
sea salt, to taste
few teaspoons olive oil

Method: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stem kale leaves and rip into large pieces.  Wash and spin until dry; pile in a large bowl.  Toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil to coat, nutritional yeast and sea salt to taste (be generous).

2. Spread kale leaves in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 15-22 minutes, tossing half way through, until crunchy and slightly golden-brown around the edges.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan

Preserving Summer’s Bounty: Dried Tomatoes

June 5, 2012 § 4 Comments

Today is the fifth of June and down in the southwest, we’re harvesting tomatoes in full swing.  In fact, we’ve been popping sweet cherries into our mouths for the last month.  In light of this fact, and given that we have several more months of lycopene-glory ahead, it’s never too early to start preserving these suckers.  Canning recipes are coming, but for now, I thought I’d start with a dehydration recipe.  Don’t worry if you don’t own one of these mammoth electrical appliances.  If you’re eating tomatoes now, your backyard is an oven.

Ingredients:
tomatoes sliced 1/4 – 1/2″ thick (cherries cut in half)
sea salt

Method:

Slice tomatoes in thick slabs and remove seeds.  Arrange evenly on a dehydrator (or mesh screen for outdoor use).  Sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Dehydrate at 135/140 degrees for 10-16 hours (depending on thickness) or until chewy and crinkled.  If dehydrating outside, keep a fine mesh cloth (ie. cheese cloth) over the tomatoes to keep bugs and debris at bay.  When cool, store in an airtight container. Will keep for several months.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan

MAKE THIS PRONTO: Tangy Cabbage, Avocado & Basil Slaw

March 10, 2012 § 4 Comments

My mom claims that this salad is how I’m going to make my first million.  (Bless her.)  This slaw is creamy, crunchy, tangy and a little sweet from the basil and avocado.  I’ve made multiple batches of it this week so that at any time of day, a forkful is mere seconds away.  That’s right: even the slaw leftovers are good (not gloppy).  Give it a try.  I’ve never been so emphatic about a brassica recipe in my life.  In fact, it actually takes the cake — literally. I ate a second helping of this cabbage salad instead of a chocolate coconut muffin, hot outta the oven.  (Recipe coming.)  Now that’s sayin’ something.

Ingredients:
6 cups cabbage, shredded
2 avocados, sliced
1/2 cup basil, ripped
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
salt

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup plain kefir (or tangy, sharp yogurt)
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
salt, to taste

Method:

1. Cut cabbage into thin strips.  Place in a large bowl and salt lightly.  Toss and set aside.

2.  In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing.  Whisk until thoroughly incorporated.  Taste and adjust lime juice and salt as needed.

3. Chop scallions and rip basil.  Toss with cabbage.  Slice avocados and dunk in the dressing (to prevent browning).  Drizzle dressing and avocados over cabbage.  Toss carefully until cabbage is coated.  Eat immediately or chill until serving.

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, SCD-safe

Quick Bread & Butter Apple Pickles

November 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Quick pickles are my go-to recipe when the cucumber crop goes gang-busters.  But it wasn’t until this past fall, when I cooked side-by-side with Cammy at Super Chilly Farm, that I added apples into the vinegar brine.  We made this recipe six times in three weeks and since coming home to Arizona, my mom has kept the crisper drawer stocked with cucumbers.

Two things to note:

(1) Use the very best apple cider vinegar you can find.  If you can, seek out a local apple orchard and buy vinegar in bulk (we buy gallon jugs).  The cost isn’t prohibitive (in fact, it’s often comparable to grocery store prices, or cheaper when purchased in larger quantities); it only requires a bit of extra effort.  While I lived in Maine I tracked down Sewall’s cider vinegar.  I brought home a bottle for my mom who tried it and said it tasted like wine and was the best she’d ever tasted.

(2) At Super Chilly Farm I was fortunate to have a stock pile of heirloom apples at my disposal.  With each batch of pickles, I sliced up different kinds of apples — softer, crisper, sweeter, tarter.  My favorite pickle batch used sweet, only slightly acidic, very crisp crab apple varieties called Chestnut and Pipsqueak.  Close runner-ups were Red St. Lawrence and Garden Royal apples.  (Photographs here.)  I suspect that this recipe would be quite good with the conventional varieties Pink Lady, Fuji, Braeburn or Gala.  Or, if you live in apple country, visit an orchard growing out apples native to your area and try out a couple that strike your fancy.

 Ingredients:
4 medium-sized pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced
4-5 small/medium apples, unpeeled, cored
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 early onions/shallots
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup honey (or more, to taste)
1 cinnamon stick

Method:

1. Prep cucumbers: Cut off ends, discard, and thinly slice with a cabbage shredder, mandolin, food processor or sharp knife.  Place cucumber slices in a colander and toss with sea salt.  Let sit for 20 minutes.  Prep apples and onions using the same slicing utensil—aim for uniform thinness and size.

2. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, water and honey until full incorporated.  Add cinnamon stick and pour dressing over apples and onions.

3. Rinse cucumbers and lightly dry.  Add slices to bowl with apples and stir well.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe, nut-free, gluten-free

Autumn “Coleslaw” with Dates, Apples and Pecans

October 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve had a couple days to rewind my September and October in Maine.  My two month stay at Super Chilly Farm — a homestead and genetic bank for apple diversity — served as an indoctrination into the technique, science and delectability of food preservation.  (I’m hooked.) I saved tomato seed and studied biennials.   I pressed grapes and drank cider; I canned tomatoes and made apple pectin.  I also read great big books about apple identification; I’m now somewhat versed in biological lingo like “mucronate” and “emarginate.”  I even helped resurrect an outhouse wall; I used my first power tools!  (Vrroom! Vrroom!)  Puttering around my cozy, Tucson home, I tend to perseverate on my unfettered access to electricity, running water and plumbing.  These conveniences seem somewhat extraordinary to me, and I’m a little embarrassed about my feeble comprehension of their mechanics.

I left Super Chilly Farm with a 50-pound (on the nose!) suitcase, bursting at the zippers with canned salsa, jam, apple molasses and a small bag of heirloom apples–Blue Pearmain, Sweet Sixteen, Black Gillyflower, Grimes Golden and Wagner among them.  Upon arriving at my southwestern doorstep, with no water to pump or chicken eggs to scrub, I felt a little bit stalled, unsure of how to spend my time.  I jump-started this slightly static homecoming by donning my cowboy hat, grabbing a pair of scissors and heading out to the garden.  I clipped basil (for drying) and dehydrated tomatoes, lemon rind, banana, grapes and fruit puree (for fruit leather).  That evening I made this salad; I shredded cabbage and chopped up the Sweet Sixteen and Black Gillyflower into thin matchsticks, giving my family a little taste of Super Chilly, here at home.

When Priya of “muffins on sunday” invited me to post one of my favorite fall recipes on her blog, this one surfaced to the tippy top of my arsenal of tested apple dishes.  If you’re in the mood for a seasonal, sweet and savory salad, please head over to her site for the recipe.  Be sure to scroll down and read her witty and laugh-inducing posts about killer pasta salads, soups, cookies and lip-smacking jams.  Priya recently posted a muffin recipe on my blog and in the last week and a half, I’ve made five batches.  She’s good, you guys… real good.

One final note: If you try out this slaw recipe, I’d love to hear how you liked it and if you have any recommended tweaks.  I’ll share your suggestions with my Super Chilly gang back in Maine; I know they’d love to hear from you.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free

Farmer Cheese Frittata

October 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

For the last two months I’ve been collecting eggs from (very vocal) chickens roosting up the road, and harvesting baskets of veggies from the gardens surrounding my house. With these ingredients at my disposal, frittatas are a farmhouse standby.

Frittatas are exceptionally versatile (ie. chuck in whatever you have in the garden and it’ll taste terrific) and they’re minimal-fuss.  At the farm, we start our frittatas on the stove, sauteing whatever veggies we have handy, and once we add the eggs and cheese, we pop our cast iron into a preheated oven and let it do the rest of the work.

Frittatas are hearty, delicious hot, room temperature and cold, and are out-of-this-world-good when drizzled with a little salsa.  Below I’ve shared my favorite recipe, but I’ve left some wiggle room for you to add whatever vegetables are in season in your neck-of-the-woods.  (If Delacata or Butternut squash are popping up in your gardens or hitting the farm stand, give those a try!)

Ingredients:
1 small onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup roasted vegetables (eggplant, bell pepper, red onion, zucchini, winter squash, etc.)
4 eggs
1/4 cup pesto
1/3 cup farmer cheese
1/4 cup sharp cheddar/parmesan reggiano, shredded
pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a cast iron pan (or alternative cooking/baking, oven-safe receptacle) heat olive oil or butter on medium-heat.  Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, until wilted and beginning to carmaelize.  Add roasted vegetables and cook until heated through, another minute or two.

2.  Meanwhile, whisk eggs, pepper and pesto.  Remove cast iron from heat, add egg mixture and dollop with farmer cheese.  Sprinkle with cheddar or Parmesan and finish cooking in the oven.  Bake until set, between 15 and 20 minutes.  In the last minute of cooking, place under the broiler for 30-45 seconds to lightly brown the top of the cheese.

3.  Let sit for at least five minutes before serving.  Serve hot, warm or cold.  Top with salsa or avocados and fresh tomato wedges.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe and gluten free.

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