Hopefully, you all have run out and bought some cauliflower and tried a new recipe! While you were choosing your head of cauliflower did you question – How do I know which one is fresh? What is the best way to store this thing? And, what do I do with these leaves and stalks?
In today’s installment we will answer those questions plus talk about cauliflower rice.
Cauliflower is a wonderful vegetable in the sense that it is almost always available in the store. During farmer’s market days, they usually show up late summer early fall. While your farmer’s market may have some unique colors like we talked about in the last blog the super markets are usually less adventureous.
Typically, you will find a 1.5 to 2 pound head of white cauliflower wrapped in plastic.
When looking for the perfect cauliflower to take home you want to make sure of a couple of things.
- Weight? The head of cauliflower should feel heavy for it’s size.
- How does it look? Brown spots, soft or spongy spots? Pass and look for another.
- Stem check. Turn the cauliflower upside down. Is the central stem cracking and dry. If so do not buy.
- Smelly? Does it have a strong smell? Yes? Look for another.
Cauliflower when bought fresh will last up to a week. You can store it in the plastic it comes with or cover the florets with a paper towel and store in a paper bag.
When you get ready to cook the best way to clean the cauliflower is to break it into small florets, soak in cold water with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar. Then let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse.
If you want more information on cleaning and prepping as well as some great recipes check out Oz Telem’s book “Cauliflower.” A lot of the above information came from this gem of a book.
One of the most interesting things I learned from Telem’s book was that the leaves and the stem are edible. And actually, are really tasty.
The leaves are similar to kale and can be oven roasted, stuffed and braised.
The main stem is like kohlrabi. It can be cut up for salads, roasted, or added into a cauliflower mash.
Lastly, the stalks can be thrown into any recipe that calls for celery.
The main stem and stalks can be added to the recipe we are highlighting this week. Cauliflower rice!
Cauliflower rice I have always resisted. It just seems like something I would simply not like! When I was talking to clients about my resistance to this, several suggested trying Cauliflower “Fried” Rice.
I started researching recipes to find the perfect one! Like stir fry you can’t really go wrong.
Almost any protein will work if you would like to add it. Eggs, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or even bacon work well.
Same with Veggies. For this recipe below I used peas, carrots and onions. Although, again, there are no rules. I have added mushrooms, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli or bell pepper in the past.
All you need then is cauliflower for the rice and some sauce to finish it off.
For inspiration this is my very simple fried rice recipe. Remember this is a stir fry recipe so have everything ready before you start cooking. This cooks up fast!
Step 1: Cook the Egg
Whisk two eggs in a small bowl with a little salt and pepper.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of ghee in a wok or large skillet on medium to high heat.
Note: Any oil that is ok with high heat will work here. For example: coconut oil, bacon drippings, peanut oil all will work.
Fry up the egg until cooked. Remove and set aside.
While you are cooking the egg it is a good time to make your cauliflower rice if you did not buy a bag of riced cauliflower.
To turn your head of cauliflower into “rice” do the following:
- Cut a medium sized head of cauliflower into uniform pieces. You can keep the core and stalks for some extra flavor.
- Place into a food processor and pulse until it looks like rice. Don’t over do otherwise you will be making mashed cauliflower instead!
Step 2: Cook the Veggies + Garlic
Heat 2 Tablespoons of ghee in the wok. Still at medium/high heat. Add the following:
- 1/2 cup of frozen green peas
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small onion, diced
Season with a little salt and pepper. Stir fry for about 4 to 5 minutes. Then add:
- 1 Tablespoon of grated fresh ginger. (make sure it is peeled!)
Step 3: Add the cauliflower “rice”
Next add your cauliflower to the wok. Mix well. You can either stir the ingredients over the next 5 minutes or I like to cover mine and let it cook.
Step 4: Season!
After the rice is tender but not mushy I added the following:
- 2 TBSP Coconut Aminos (You can also use Soy sauce here)
- 2 TSP of Fish sauce
- 2 scallions, sliced
Add the eggs sliced back on top and you are ready to eat!
Next week: The cauliflower finale! And a sneak peak into next month’s vegetable.