Truffled Cauliflower Rice

Truffled Cauliflower Rice 2016-001

Want to know what my favorite pizza is? (Shhhh….I know. Pizza and I are sworn enemies. It always hurts me. But sometimes it happens. And sometimes it’s gluten-free or Paleo or meatza, but sometimes it’s not. Then I’m reminded that we don’t get along and I pick myself up and move on.) But anyway. Favorite one? Mushroom. I love it a lot.

To get around the whole pizza-and-I-aren’t-friends-but-I-really-love-mushrooms-thing, I cook with them often. And I’m considering making some that taste a lot like pizza so I can have a happy mouth and a happy mind and body too. They’re great in so many ways and here they make an appearance with truffle oil to enhance all that is earthy in both. Years ago we went to Tuscany with friends to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary and we tasted truffle oil that I can still feel. I can’t exactly taste it anymore, the memory is too far back, but I remember what it felt like to smell it and taste it and covet it. In the years that have followed, truffle oil has made its way closer and closer by way of specialty stores and, in this case, Trader Joe’s. Is it the same quality? Sometimes, maybe. Not this one. But it still gives depth and a heady, lush quality to certain dishes that is irresistible to me.

I love it here with cauliflower, that humble vegetable that takes on so many personalities. I really, really wish that cutting cauliflower and ricing cauliflower didn’t leave all those teeny-tiny bits everywhere, though. I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it bugs me, which means I do it less often than I would if it didn’t get everywhere. Sometimes these days, I’ve taken to buying a giant bag of the florets and tossing them in the food processor. Faster, easier, and neater. And I know that you can get it already riced now at Trader Joe’s, and probably other places. I think that’s great if you need it in an instant, but I usually want more than what comes in the bag. So it’s a trade off. And truly, more often than not, I tell myself to quit being silly and get the cauliflower. I know. A little crazy.

This is comfort food that settles and grounds my heart.

Truffled Cauliflower Rice 2016Truffled Cauliflower Rice

1 head of cauliflower

2 tsp. ghee, divided

1/2 onion, chopped

5-6 large mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. fresh chives, minced

Zest from 1/2 a lemon

1 Tbsp. truffle oil, plus more to serve

Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Start by quartering your head of cauliflower. Pulse each quarter in a food processor fitted with an s-blade about 10 times. You want it to look like grains of rice without being mushy. Put in a large bowl.
  2. Add a generous pinch of salt to the cauliflower and stir around. Cover loosely and microwave for 6 minutes.
  3. Remove from the microwave, take off the cover, and set aside.
  4. Melt 1 tsp. ghee in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, sliced mushrooms, and a pinch of salt.
  5. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until onion is translucent and mushrooms have released their water and are cooked to your liking.
  6. Add 1 tsp. ghee and the riced cauliflower. Stir to combine.
  7. Turn off the heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, and truffle oil.
  8. Taste and season with salt and several turns of freshly cracked pepper.
  9. Plate and serve with additional truffle oil for drizzling.

Serves 4

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Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Mexican Cauliflower Rice 2016

Rice is one of the carbs that I will indulge in from time to time when not doing a Whole30. It’s also one of those foods that gets discussed in the Paleo world. Some people eat it, and some people don’t. Arguments tend to be about the length of time that humans have been eating it and the relative ease with which it is digested. In general, Paleo goes towards white rice because it is easier to digest and it doesn’t have any of the anti-nutrients that are found in brown rice. I know that’s a big difference from what mainstream nutritionists say, and I wish I had the definitive answer, but I don’t. I just try to do what is right for me and my body.

Most of the time, I love having made the switch to cauliflower rice. I will admit, though, that one of my favorite comfort foods is a bowl of rice with butter and salt. So, so good. I have done that with ghee and cauliflower rice with some success, but sometimes there just isn’t any alternative to sticky, chewy, simple rice. Or sushi. With this recipe, though, I was going for flavor as well as comfort and it worked out great! I felt like I was eating Mexican rice and it was delicious. Just what I was looking for.

My least favorite thing about cauliflower rice is that it makes a mess every time I prep it. I can’t seem to figure out a way to avoid having all those little tiny bits of cauliflower stuck to the counter or the floor. If you have any secrets out there, I’d love to hear them!

With this particular batch, I used a 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder and it was pretty spicy. Not too spicy, I don’t think, but spicy. Some avocado went really nicely to cool it down. If you are sensitive to spice, you might try a 1/4 teaspoon first and then add from there. And I had a green bell pepper, but if you have red or yellow or orange, then go for it. Don’t let the color of your pepper stop you from making this spicy bowl of comfort food!

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

1 head cauliflower, riced

2 tsp. F.O.C. (fat of choice, I used lard from a pastured pig)

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder

3/4 c. tomato sauce

2 Tbsp. minced cilantro

Directions

  1. Microwave riced cauliflower for 6 minutes in a covered bowl. After 6 minutes remove cover and set aside.
  2. Melt F.O.C. in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, and jalapeno to the pan and sauté for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent and the vegetables have softened.
  3. Add the salt, cumin, garlic and onion powder, oregano and 1/4 tsp. chipotle powder. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour in the tomato sauce and add the steamed cauliflower rice.
  5. Stir everything together, add cilantro, and taste.
  6. Add additional chipotle powder, salt, or a squeeze of lime.
  7. Enjoy!

 

Spring Risotto with Ham and Asparagus

Ham and Asparagus Risotto 2014 3

About this time last year, some fabulous Paleo people decided to put together a bundle of e-books to sell at an amazing price. I love when that happens because it lets a lot of people get acquainted with more Paleo blogs and cookbooks in an affordable way. Eating healthy and delicious food should be accessible, I think. Within that bundle was a cookbook that compiled a number of recipes from a website called chowstalker where I have posted before. I was honored to be asked to share a recipe for the book and this risotto is what I created. For whatever reason, I didn’t post the recipe on BalancingPaleo last year but it’s delicious and I’d love for all of you to enjoy it too, so here it is!

A risotto is a rice dish from Italy with a creamy, decadent consistency that is both comforting and luxurious at the same time. It can be made many different ways, with many different ingredients. It is a dish to master so that you can create a sumptuous risotto with whatever ingredients you have on hand. For the Paleo eater, cauliflower takes the place of rice and it does so beautifully! While it might lack some of the starchiness of rice, it makes an excellent backdrop for the ham and asparagus in this risotto. Get a quality ham with some good smoke – it’s an important ingredient here and you want to love what you’re eating. Tarragon has a flavor reminiscent of licorice, which is surprisingly delightful in this dish. You could substitute parsley if you can’t find it, but I highly recommend seeking out tarragon if at all possible.

Spring Risotto with Ham and Asparagus is a beautiful dish that comes together quickly and highlights the bright freshness of the season. Serve this at your next dinner party or for a weeknight meal – either way, your taste buds are in for a treat!

Spring Risotto with Ham and Asparagus

2 Tbsp. ghee, divided

1 lb. ham

1/2 large onion

1 large head of cauliflower

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 c. vegetable broth

1/4 c. coconut milk, divided

1 bunch asparagus, about 1 lb.

2 scallions, minced

1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, minced

pepper to taste

Directions

1) Ham: Melt 1/2 Tbsp. of ghee in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cut the ham into matchsticks about 1/4 in. thick. Sear the ham until it begins to caramelize a bit, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

2) Onion and Cauliflower: While the ham is cooking, finely chop the onion. Then roughly chop the cauliflower and drop it into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade. Process the cauliflower until it looks about like grains of rice – this will take about 10-12 pulses for each batch. A large head will need to be riced in 2-3 batches so it doesn’t get mushy. Set aside in a large bowl.

3) As soon as the ham is cooked and set aside, reduce the heat to medium and add 1 Tbsp. of ghee to the pan. Sauté the onion until slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the riced cauliflower, garlic, and salt, and stir to combine. Add broth and 2 Tbsp. coconut milk. Stir again, place a lid on the pot, and reduce heat slightly. Allow to cook for about 7 minutes.

4) Asparagus: While the cauliflower is cooking, remove the tough portion at the bottom of each asparagus and slice the stalks on the diagonal into pieces about 1 1/2 in. long. If the asparagus is as thick as a finger, first slice each stalk down the middle lengthwise and then into 1 1/2 in. pieces. Add the asparagus pieces to the cauliflower and replace the lid. Cook for 3 minutes.

5) Add the ham back to the mixture and stir in 2 more Tbsp. of coconut milk. Cook uncovered for about 3 minutes until everything is piping hot.

6) Remove risotto from the heat and add 1/2 Tbsp. ghee, scallions, tarragon, and pepper. Enjoy!

Serves 4

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!

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

Simple Cauliflower Rice

Cilantro Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is the little black dress of the Paleo world. It can be dressed up or down and goes with just about anything. Plus, it’s pretty much essential to have it in your cooking arsenal. When you have something saucy that needs a base, when you want a veggie of some description on the side, when you don’t know what else to serve, cauliflower rice can come to the rescue. I’ve made it a dozen different ways and will post more of them as time goes by, but sometimes simple is exactly what you need.

This cauliflower rice is just the basics. I added a bunch of cilantro because I like it, but you could do parsley or even skip it altogether. What really works in this recipe is the cauliflower, ghee, and salt. It is extremely comforting. If you’ve ever spent some time with a bowl of buttered rice, then let this be your new comfort in a bowl. It’s just as satisfying and a whole lot better for you! Don’t skimp on the salt either (unless you’re doctor told you to) because it really brings it all together.

And no matter which version of cauliflower rice you make, you just have to deal with the mess. It’s like those little Styrofoam peanuts…it gets everywhere.

Simple Cauliflower Rice

1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped into florets

1/2 a large onion, chopped

4 tsp. ghee

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. cilantro, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1) Place the roughly chopped cauliflower florets into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade and pulse about 10 times until your cauliflower looks like rice. This may take 2 -3 batches depending on the size of your cauliflower, but don’t do too much at a time or it will turn to mush.

2) Melt ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté onions for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add riced cauliflower and garlic and sauté an additional 3 minutes.

3) Mix in about 1/2 tsp. of salt, put a lid on the skillet, and let everything steam for about 6 minutes, until just tender.

4) Remove from the heat, add the minced cilantro (or other herbs of your choice), additional salt and pepper, maybe even a smidge of extra ghee if you feel like it!

Serves 3-4