Cauliflower Rice…ok, Cauliflower “Rice”

Hey, hey you guys.

It’s spring!  Have you noticed??

I think my standards have been lowered so substantially by the brutal winter we went through that 50 degrees and NOT snowing makes me feel like I should go outside and prance around in a skirt and sandals.

It’s ok. Lowered expectations just mean that I’ll be THAT much happier come summertime, right?

Regardless, I’m taking the change in weather as an opportunity to spring clean my diet a bit.  In other words: more veggies, more lean protein, less processed food.  Simple, right?  Oh, and add to that the fact that I gave up fried food for Lent and I’m really craving some crappy bar food right about now…I mean, I feel great!  Yeah!

Anyway, today I’m bringing you another fake-out makeover dish that includes more veggies, less nutrient-lacking starch.

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Remember that time that I posted a recipe for mashed cauliflower?  This is sort of like that, in that it’s NOT rice.  I’m not pretending that it is going to taste the same.  The texture isn’t as chewy, naturally.  But dare I say that the flavor is actually better?

Here the cauliflower is seasoned with plenty of spices, onion and garlic, and really absorbs the flavor of the cooking liquid.  It’s excellent on its own as a side dish, but you could easily use it in most dishes that call for plain white or brown rice.

Basic Cauliflower “Rice”
serves 4

1 small head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 T coconut oil (or olive oil)
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t Old Bay seasoning
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t dried parsley
salt+pepper
1/4-1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken)

1. Using the shredding attachment on a food processor, shred cauliflower florets.  If you don’t have a shredding attachment, you can just place the cauliflower directly into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can shred the cauliflower on a box grater.
2.
In a medium-large saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat until melted.  Add onion, and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, saute for 1 more minute.
3. Add shredded cauliflower to the saucepan and stir to mix well.  Add spices (the above are just suggestions – use what you like!) and stir again.
4.  Add 1/4 cup broth to the saucepan, lower heat to medium low, and cover.  Allow to cook for about 7-8 minutes.  At that time, check to see if all of the broth has cooked off.  If so, add remaining broth and cover.  Cook until tender, about 5 additional minutes.

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I won’t lie to you: chopping cauliflower is messy.  I don’t care how slowly you chop it, how much counter space you have, or how sharp your knife is.  You will end up with tiny pieces of cauliflower all over your floor.  There’s no way around it, friends.  May I suggest investing in a Dustbuster?

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I’m pretty sure my food processor holds 9 cups, and this small/medium head of cauliflower nearly filled the thing.

Added benefit of replacing your starches with veggies?  MORE FOOD.

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I use a lot of coconut oil these days.  I appreciate the higher smoke point, and I like the flavor. If you don’t dig it (or can’t find it), feel free to use whatever healthy-ish oil you’ve got.  Olive and grapeseed oils would both work well.

By the way, does anyone out there use coconut oil as a moisturizer/hair mask?  I tried it once and just felt…oily. And coconut-y.  And not in the Bain de Soleil way, either.

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It really does look like rice, doesn’t it?  I kind of get a kick out of that.  I am by no means the first person to come up with this idea/recipe (this is just how I personally make it), but whoever did is a smart cookie.

Oooh, cookies…those sound good right about now…

No, Megan. FOCUS.

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If you’re vegetarian, feel free to use vegetable broth instead of chicken.  (And if you’re newly gluten free, please check the label on your brand of broth – they’re not all GF!)  As I said, the cauliflower really absorbs the flavor of the cooking liquid, so just make sure to use a flavorful brand.

I ate this simply as a side to some homemade turkey sausage patties (recipe from Martha Stewart, subbing turkey for pork) and sweet potato.  I’m also thinking the leftovers would be great incorporated into some homemade fried rice.

Really, it’s cliché, but the possibilities are endless.

Enjoy, and happy spring, everyone!

April 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm 2 comments

The Best Baked Sweet Potato Fries

A mighty lofty claim to make, I know.

I should just say, “My Favorite Sweet Potato Fries” but that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive, does it?

This has basically become my go-to method for preparing sweet potatoes.  Sure, it takes a little longer than throwing one in the microwave, but the hands on time is actually quite minimal.

And no, to answer your question, this doesn’t really qualify as a “recipe”.  I mean, if I were the Food Network and I posted this as a recipe, I’m aware that I’d be opening myself up to a slew of snarky reviews.  (Remember late night bacon? And frozen grapes?)

I just hope you try making your sweet potatoes with coconut oil like I do.  Even if you’re not a big coconut fan (I wasn’t for YEARS, I tell you), you’ll still like these.  The coconut flavor really isn’t very noticeable, but the oil lends a nice complementary sweetness to the ‘tatoes.

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Coconut Baked Sweet Potato Fries
serves 4

2 large sweet potatoes (or yams)
1 T coconut oil
kosher salt+black pepper, to taste

1. Peel sweet potatoes if desired (I generally don’t) and cut into matchsticks about 1/4’1/2″ thick.
2. Turn the oven on to heat to 400°.
3. Place the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan with the coconut oil and immediately into the oven.
4. Allow the pan to begin to heat up, which will melt the coconut oil.  Once it’s completely melted (about 2 minutes), remove from oven and toss the fries until completely coated.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and make sure fries are in a single layer on the sheet pan. Place back in oven.
6. After about 20 minutes, carefully toss the fries and rotate the pan back to front to evenly cook.
7. Bake an additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tender in the center.

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Like I said, this isn’t a complicated recipe. In fact, it’s more of a method than anything.

It’s just that the sweet potato + coconut combo is just so darn good that I felt compelled to share it with you all.

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And yeah, in case it’s not perfectly evident from the photos in this post, I will serve these sweet potato fries with just about anything.

They’re THAT good.

(In other news, I made mashed sweet potatoes with a pat of coconut oil last night and oh man YES.  Try that, too.)

December 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm 3 comments

Bison Stroganoff Salisbury Steaks

 

This is such a mutt of a dish, it’s a little ridiculous.  I mean, typical food blogger, right?  I couldn’t just make one dish and call it a day, I had to make a “hybrid”.

I won’t lie, sometimes I roll my eyes at dishes like this (there’s something to be said for making the classics and making them well instead of mucking them up with a bunch of weirdo ingredients), but this one was sort of begging to be made.

How is it that I’ve never heard of someone combining Beef Stroganoff and Salisbury Steaks? They’re basically a match made in heaven, so it’s not really that weird.

Of course, then I went and subbed bison for the traditional beef and made it weird. But when you have this exchange with your boyfriend:

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You’re really not left with much of a choice. Bison it is!

(By the way, there was no exaggeration, you guys.  He literally bought nine pounds of ground bison.)

Anyway, for some reason I had Salisbury Steak on the mind last week, and stroganoff is pretty much always a good idea, so I whipped up this little hybrid bastardization of a dish and it was quite tasty!  Plus, bison is arguably a better choice than beef – it tends to be quite lean and is generally grass-fed. Wins all around!

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Bison Stroganoff Salisbury Steaks
serves 4

1 lb ground grass-fed bison
1 egg
1 beef bouillon cube, crumbled
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 t ground mustard
1/8 t ground black pepper, plus extra (to taste) for sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce + 1 t, divided
cooking spray
5 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1/4 t salt
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1 t cornstarch (optional)

1. Place bison in a large mixing bowl with next six ingredients (through 1 T Worcestershire sauce).  Mix gently until completely combined and score into fourths.  Form each fourth into oblong “steaks” with your hands.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat spray with cooking spray.  Place steaks in skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.
3. Spray skillet with additional cooking spray, reduce heat to medium, and add mushrooms and onions.  Sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and mushrooms are deep brown and have released their liquid, about 10 minutes.
4. Add broth to the skillet, along with the remaining 1 t Worcestershire sauce and black pepper, and allow to cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 10-12 minutes.  If desired, you may create a slurry with 1 t cornstarch and 1 t water and add to skillet if you want the sauce to thicken up further.
5. Remove skillet from heat and add sour cream (you do not want to boil/overheat the sour cream, otherwise it will curdle). Stir to completely incorporate.
6. Add steaks back to the skillet and spoon sauce over them.  Serve hot.

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I used a non-stick skillet for this recipe, which actually worked out nicely (sometimes I worry about browning with non-stick, but it wasn’t an issue with these steaks).  You can use whatever you’ve got, though!

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Right about now, your house is starting to smell very, very good.

What is it about the smell of onions and mushrooms sauteing that smells so homey?

As Martha would say, it’s a good thing.

(PS, did you see the hilarious Buzzfeed article about Martha Stewart’s disgusting food photos? I almost peed myself laughing. Read it, it’s amazing.)

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That is a nice looking sauce right there.

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That’s a nice looking sauce bath right there.

No?…Did things just get weird?

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Oh, that’s a meal, my friends.

Not to sound too corny, but as the weather is getting colder and you want a good (but fairly healthy) stick-to-your-ribs meal, this is your dish.

Serve them with some veggies and roasted potatoes and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Enjoy!

November 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm 2 comments

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