Tag Archives: rice

Cauliflower “Rice” Sauté: Food For the Summer-Fall Transition

25 Sep

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Making Cauliflower Pesto a few weeks ago turned me on to a whole world of cauliflower possibilities.

My post-pesto experiment? Rice! Or couscous, or whatever you want to call the small, fluffy tufts of pulsed, grated cauliflower.

The below links provided me with some background and technique on making grain-like cauliflower salads:

The Kitchn provides an easy how-to tutorial on cauliflower couscous

Food52 makes an easy spiced couscous with cumin, za’atar, and lemon

Joy the Baker turns colorful cauliflower  into a rice burrito bowl

The First Mess knows how to make a mean “rice and peas” with all of the best crunchy elements

Clearly, I wanted to be among those in the use-cauliflower-like-a-grain club. So, I picked out the biggest head of cauliflower at the farmer’s market and set to work.

An efficient person would likely use a food processor or blender to pulse the cauliflower into tiny pieces. I, on the other hand, used my box grater, justifying the mess I made all over the counter and the floor as a yearning for the old-fashioned and an excuse to exercise my arm and core muscles. To make less of a mess when grating my hand, try setting the box grater in a large bowl to catch fly-away cauliflower bits.

The cauliflower “rice” can be eaten raw, but I prefer it lightly sautéed.

Use the “rice” plain as a bed for a curry, or stir the “rice” into some seasonal vegetables and add-ins to create a full meal.

I cooked up some onion with zucchini, corn, and tomato, and mixed in the cauliflower “rice” with some chili powder, paprika, and my friend Amy’s uncle’s special Maryland spice blend (you can use something like Old Bay). Shave some Parmesan on top if you want. I took this for lunch every day this week, sometimes adding a little avocado or hummus on top to make things interesting.

Cauliflower is hot, hot, hot right now, as it should be. Jump on board.

Cauliflower “Rice” Sauté: Food For the Summer-Fall Transition

1/2 very large or 1 regular size head of cauliflower

1 tablespoon oil, olive or canola

1 small onion, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped small

1/2 cup small tomatoes, sliced in half or quartered

1 ear corn, sliced off the cob

1 teaspoon each: chili powder, paprika, Old Bay

salt and pepper, to taste

optional: fresh grated Parmesan cheese and/or hot sauce

Wash the cauliflower and take off the stalk and leaves. Cut or tear the cauliflower into large florets. In batches, pulse the cauliflower florets until finely chopped and they look approximately the size of rice or couscous. **You can also use a box grater to grate the florets by hand. You should get about 4 cups, more or less. Set the “rice” aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and tomatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Slowly toss the cauliflower “rice” into the skillet with the spices. Continue cooking everything for another few minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Finish with Parmesan and/or hot sauce.

Pineapple Not-So-Fried-Rice

15 Jun

I’m at a weird transition point in my life.

Just a few weeks ago, I was working full time, volunteering once a week, and taking an online medical biochemistry class to fulfill a prerequisite for graduate school.

I felt busy and stressed, but I was in the groove. There came a point when I had to let something go. I stopped volunteering and I quit my job. I went back home to California for a week and was able to completely relax and gather myself. Now that I am back in New York, my main responsibility is to do well in this biochemistry class. Sure, I study throughout the day, but boy do I have gobs of free time.

Gobs. Of. Free. Time.

What a blessing, right? I’m trying to seize the day and take advantage of my new-found ‘freedom,’ but it is hard to get out there and explore when I feel obligated to catch up on Parks and Recreation and devour the tin of chocolate covered almonds in my pantry. Life is so hard sometimes.

At least now I have the time to experiment in the kitchen and cook healthy meals for myself.

The tofu gods were calling on me this week, I’ve been craving tofu like a maniac (see my previous post on Tofu Bento Bowls). And now that I finally realize how important it is to drain and press the tofu (see recipe below), all of my tofu dishes have been turning out better than ever.

This recipe is from Chloe Coscarelli’s book. This is her Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice. In her picture, she plates the dish in a pineapple boat. I tried to do the boat, I even looked up how to do it online and watched a video. When push came to shove, things just got messy and I found that I was wasting to much of the sweet flesh. I broke down and cut the pineapple up and ate my meal out of a bowl. Oh the perils of being uncreative/lazy.

Despite the pineapple boat failure, the meal tasted superb. There’s sweet yellow pineapple and crunchy raw cashews. Baked tofu and bright green peas. Shredded carrots and studs of raisins. With all sorts of onion and garlic and spice to flavor the rice.


Tofu cubes fresh out of the oven. Ain’t nothin’ better. All it took was a good pat-dry and a press, a little soy sauce, and an oven.

Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice

Serves 4-6

From Chloe’s Kitchen

1 14-oz package extra-firm tofu, drained

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 pineapple, or 1 1/2 cups diced pineapple

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 scallions, chopped (optional)

sea salt or Kosher salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

3/4 cup cashews

1 carrot, peeled and shredded (I simple sliced the carrot thinly with my knife, but you could use a box grater if you want)

1/2 cup peas (you can use fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup raisins

3 cups cooked rice

1/4 cup water or vegetable broth

Note: The first thing I did was get my rice cooking so that it would be fully cooked for when I needed it later.

To prepare the tofu: Wrap the tofu tightly in dry paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Set the tofu on a flat surface and place a small baking pan on top. Then stack something heavy, like canned food or books, on top. Let the tofu sit for 20 minutes while it releases its water. When ready, discard the towels and cube the tofu.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the tofu with the soy sauce, making sure each cube is coated. Place in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the tofu a few times with a spatula. Remove from the oven and set aside.

If you are using a whole pineapple, peel it and remove the core. Slice the pineapple into cubes. If you want to make a pineapple boat for serving, cut the pineapple in half lengthwise, remove the inner flesh with a paring knife, then cut into bite-sized pieces (I tried to do the boat, but found that I was losing too much of the good flesh, so I nixed the idea).

In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the onions until soft and lightly browned. Season with salt. Add the garlic, scallions (if using), curry, coriander, and chili-garlic sauce. Let this cook a few more minutes. Add the cashews, carrots, peas, raisins, cooked rice, water (or broth), pineapple, and tofu. Cook until heated through and adjust salt to taste. Serve the rice in the pineapple shell (if you are brave enough to try the boat method) or simply in a bowl. Enjoy!