Confetti “Rice” Salad with Salmon

Cauliflower Rice

I’m a cookbook junkie. I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to cookbooks plus a few shelves on a secondary bookshelf and a new shelf in the pantry, but I don’t think anyone’s noticed that one yet… 😉 I was in my early 20s living in France when I first started reading cookbooks as if they were best-selling novels. I had a 90 minute commute on the metro and a regional train to the suburbs of Paris for work. When you spend that much time on public transportation, you go through a lot of books. I was also on a tight budget, so when I discovered a series of spiral-bound paperback cookbooks that covered individual topics, I was elated. They were about $2 a piece, and nearly every week I would buy a couple. I still have my collection today, but honestly, I don’t cook from them anymore. I just can’t imagine parting with them either. Over the years, I’ve collected many more cookbooks and periodically I do go through them and donate some. Each time it makes me smile to see how my tastes and cooking style have evolved over the years.

Lately, as I’m sure you can imagine, Paleo cookbooks have placed front and center and I recently got one called 500 Paleo Recipes by Dana Carpender. One of the things that I look for in a cookbook these days is that little something different, something unusual. I’m not afraid to combine exotic flavors or seemingly random ingredients to create a flavor or texture that awakens the palate and Dana does just that! I find myself wanting to try so many of the recipes and when I do, I want to make them again.

That’s what happened with this recipe. It is inspired by Dana’s own Confetti Salad but when I made it, I modified a few things along the way. It was so delicious that I immediately wanted to make it again and decided to record what I was doing so that I could share it with you. There’s something magical that happens with the soft, slightly briny artichoke hearts and the rich, toasted pine nuts with the gentle tang of white balsamic. It’s really special, I think. Just so you know, nobody out there is going to mind if you make a few of your own modifications (the original didn’t call for salmon so you could always skip it, for example) and make this your very own.

Confetti “Rice” Salad with Salmon – inspired by 500 Paleo Recipes

4 tsp. Paleo mayonnaise

4 tsp. white balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. dry thyme

1 1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

1/3 c. artichoke hearts (I used about 1/2 a can)

1/3 c. thinly sliced bell pepper, preferably red/orange/yellow

1/2 c. thinly sliced celery

1 1/2 c. steamed cauliflower rice*

3-4 oz. cooked salmon (canned okay)

2 tsp. pine nuts, toasted

1 scallion, sliced

pepper to taste

Directions

1) In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme, curry powder and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

2) If the artichoke hearts are large or need trimming, quarter or cut off any tough parts and place in a medium salad bowl. Add the bell pepper slices, celery, and cauliflower rice. Add the salmon and dressing and mix gently so the salmon stays in nice-sized pieces.

3) Taste and adjust seasioning with any additional salt, pepper, or curry powder. Top with pine nuts and scallions and serve.

Serves 1-2 (If serving 2, some hard-boiled eggs and tomato slices on the side would be nice.)

*Note: To make cauliflower rice, place florets in a food processor fitted with an s-blade and pulse 10-12 times until it looks like grains of rice. It might take a few batches so it doesn’t turn to mush. Put the rice into a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for about 6 minutes. Let cool and then either use immediately or refrigerate to use later in the week for salads like this!

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Green Chile Cauliflower Rice

Roasted Chile Cauliflower Rice 2014

I’m so sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted a new recipe. Sometimes life just gets in the way! I haven’t stopped cooking, though, and I have a few different recipes that are waiting to be shared. I would love to say that it’s a bunch of meat dishes, since I need a few more of those on the blog, but of course, it’s my beloved veggies that come first.

In Colorado, this time of year is chile roasting season. Pueblo, in particular, is known for its Pueblo chile – hotter than an Anaheim but still not habanero-hot, the Pueblo chile is meaty and flavorful and we use it for everything. Green chile (the sauce/stew, not just the chile itself) covers just about anything here from burritos to eggs to biscuits and you can do anything you want with the plain chile – I’ve even used them to replace a hamburger bun and it was delicious. We like to get our chiles roasted by the bushel and you can find that being done at farmers markets, in front of supermarkets, and at the Pueblo Chile and Frijoles festival. The air smells fantastic, even if your eyes might sting a little bit.

Since green chiles are a tradition here, I really couldn’t imagine going through fall without sharing a recipe with you that’s filled with them. If you can’t get your hands on some Pueblo chiles, you can use Anaheim or poblano chiles. You’ll just want to be sure to roast them first and you might add a jalapeno or Serrano to kick up the heat a bit. This version of cauliflower rice is currently my favorite! Happy fall!

Green Chile Cauliflower Rice

1/2 large head of cauliflower

1 tsp. salt

1Tbsp. lard, bacon grease, or F.O.C. (fat of choice)

1/2 onion, chopped

1-3 Pueblo green chiles (depending on how hot you like it), roasted and chopped

1/4 c. full fat coconut milk

1 Tbsp. lime juice

Cilantro (optional)

Directions

1) First, rice the cauliflower. Roughly chop the florets and place in a food processor with an s-blade. Pulse about 10 times until the cauliflower resembles grains of rice. This may take a few batches so that it doesn’t turn to mush. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave the “rice” for 6 minutes. Let cool slightly.

2) In a large sauté pan, melt lard over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the cauliflower, salt and green chiles and cook for about 5 minutes more.

3) Turn off the heat and add the coconut milk and lime, stirring to combine. Taste to adjust the seasonings and serve.

Serves 2-3

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Dairy-free Paleo Crock Pot Beef StroganoffWhen I look at the history of my blog posts, I realize there are a lot of veggie recipes. You might start to think that I’m not a very good example of Paleo – where is all the meat? I honestly eat meat all the time, but for some reason, when I’m cooking and serving it, it just sort of gets eaten and the pictures don’t get taken and the recipe might not get fully developed. Most of the time, I’ll flavor something up quickly and simply and then use whatever cooking method I’m in the mood for and it’s done. Veggies and sides and salads, however, are where I tend to have more fun and play with flavors and textures a little differently. I’ll try harder to get some protein posts out there, but I actually still have a few zucchini ones waiting in the weeds…

Even though we are nearing the end of summer, it’s probably still a little early for a stew recipe. But in a previous post, I shared a recipe for Paleo Beef Stroganoff and it is consistently the top viewed and loved recipe on my site. It’s a pressure cooked meal, which makes it easy to get on the table during the week, and it’s ridiculously delicious. One lovely blog reader shared how much her family liked the recipe and asked about a slow cooker version. Then a dear friend of mine asked for one the other day too so I’ve decided to oblige, regardless of the fact that it’s supposed to be in the 90s. While I prefer other cooking methods for dishes that need to keep their distinct flavors and brightness, I’m a big fan of the slow cooker for cozy dishes like Stroganoff. You can always add some brightness with parsley, lemon zest, or zoodles as your base. I don’t like to dirty up a bunch of pots or use a lot of time browning meats ahead of time either, so as I’ve said before on this blog, if I’m using my slow cooker, I prefer to challenge myself to get the whole thing cooking in the time it takes me to scramble my eggs in the morning.

When you use your slow cooker, you don’t need to add a lot of moisture because the food you put in there will give off plenty. My slow cooker also runs fairly hot so I mention cooking it on high without the lid for the last hour. If you want this to have a thicker consistency and your slow cooker will do that, great! Otherwise, you might want to opt for the pressure cooker version where you can boil it down at the end. You can also just leave it a little soupy and serve it on top of a baked sweet potato or straight from a bowl. In either case, I hope you find the time to throw this together in the morning and love it when you get home.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

2 lbs. beef stew meat

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. onion powder

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

1/2 onion, sliced

1/3 c. coconut cream (scooped from the top of a refrigerated can of coconut milk)

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

Directions

1) In a small bowl, mix together all of your spices. Place meat in a large bowl and sprinkle with the spices. Mix everything together, using your hands, and coat the meat well with the seasoning.

2) Place the sliced mushrooms and onion in the bowl of the slow cooker. Lay the seasoned beef on top. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 1/2 hours.

3) When the meat is tender and nearly done, add the coconut cream, vinegar, and any additional salt or pepper. Stir around and cook on high (with the lid ajar, if possible) for about an hour.

3) That’s it! Enjoy!

Serves 4-8