Nom Nom Paleo

Pizzeria Delfina’s Spicy Cauliflower

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I miss Pizzeria Delfina something fierce. Once upon a time, our carb-addicted family visited the joint once a month, gorging on pizzas and inventive, lusty veggie accompaniments — but it’s been over a year-and-a-half since we last broke bread there. Now that we’re Paleo, I’m not sure if/when we’ll be back.

One of my favorite side dishes at Delfina was their spicy cauliflower appetizer — the florets were fried until golden and crunchy on the outside and tossed with pepper flakes, garlic, capers, and bread crumbs.

I found the original recipe online and made this dish tonight with a few tweaks to make it Paleo-friendly. The dish was just how I remembered — toasty, tender, spicy, and piquant.

Here’s what I gathered to feed four people:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)

Here’s how I made it:

I grabbed a head of cauliflower…

…and trimmed around the core to release the florets.

I heated the coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and when it was shimmering, I dropped in the cauliflower along with a generous sprinkle of salt. 

(Make sure the cauliflower isn’t overcrowded — fry in two batches if you must!)

While the cauliflower browned in the skillet, I sliced the garlic, measured the capers…

…and chopped the parsley.

I kept flipping the florets to make sure they were brown all over (8-10 minutes total). 

Once the cauliflower was toasty, I tossed the capers, parsley, and garlic in the pan and stir-fried everything until the garlic was browned. As a final step, I threw in the Aleppo pepper and adjusted the seasoning with additional salt.

See? Cauliflower is so damn versatile!

Cauliflower, Carrot, and Parsnip Puree

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Tonight, I decided to fiddle with my carrot and parsnip puree recipe and toss in some cauliflower. Why mess with a good thing? Well, I picked up some cute baby cauliflower heads at the Mountain View Farmers’ Market…

…and I was feeling wild and crazy.  I could’ve ended up with a pot of grossness but, luckily, my tinkering led to another yummy mashed potato substitute.

Here’s what I gathered to make enough mash for 6 people:

  • 3 tablespoons butter or ghee, plus 1 tablespoon of butter or ghee
  • 3/4 lb parsnips (or about 5 medium parsnips), coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 lb carrots (or about 2 large carrots), coarsely chopped (slightly smaller than parsnips)
  • 1 1/2 lb cauliflower florets (or about 1 small head of cauliflower), coarsely chopped
  • 4 green garlic stalks, thinly sliced or 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Here’s how I made it:

Basically, I followed the same steps as I did with the carrot and parsnip puree recipe. If you’re too lazy to click on the link, here are the steps again.

I melted three tablespoons of butter in a large stock pot over medium heat and chopped up my veggies…

…and alliums.

I dumped the veggies, broth, and water into the pot and waited until it came to a boil.

I lowered the heat and simmered the covered pot for 25-30 minutes until the vegetables were mushy.

I added salt, pepper, and the last tablespoon of butter and I pureed everything with my immersion blender.

This puree is pretty tasty. It’s a good compromise for peeps who find the carrot and parsnip puree a little too sweet and the cauliflower puree too bland.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

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I love cauliflower ‘cause it’s such a versatile vegetable. You can roast it with bacon, make “fried rice,” or transform it into pseudo-mashed potatoes. Here’s yet another way I like to cook it: Roast the florets with a generous dusting of specialty curry powder.

I first came across this recipe on super brainiac/foodie Darya Pino’s awesome website, Summer Tomato. She calls this dish “Roasted Curried Cauliflower to Die For,” and I have to admit I’d gladly impale myself on a rusty sword for some. I make this recipe all the time, but with some slight modifications: I use avocado oil in place of olive oil, and I add a squirt of lemon juice and a shower of chopped cilantro at the end.

Here’s what I assembled (serves 2-3):

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into uniform florets
  • A generous glug of avocado oil, melted coconut oil, or ghee
  • 2-4 tablespoons of curry powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves

Here’s how I made this dish:

After preheating my oven to 450 F and putting the rack in the lower middle of the oven, I threw the florets in a bowl and tossed them with a generous amount of fat (~2 tablespoons), curry powder, salt, and pepper.

My favorite curry powder is from Singapore. My co-worker bought some during a recent visit, and he gave me a jar.

He has penmanship like a doctor: It’s effing terrible.

I poured the seasoned florets on a foil-lined baking sheet and covered it tightly with another sheet of foil. I put the tray in the oven for 15 minutes and then I removed the top layer of foil. I roasted the cauliflower for 20 more minutes, flipping the florets every 8 minutes or so until they were softened and browned in parts.

After I plated the dish, I finished it by squeezing on the juice of half a lemon and sprinkling on some cilantro. 

Easy and yummy. Next time, I’m gonna try making Melicious’s awesome-looking cocoa-toasted cauliflower dish.

X-mas With the In-Laws

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Tonight, we went to another potluck buffet bonanza at Fitbomb’s parents’ place. My contribution to the dinner was a platter of roasted cauliflower seasoned with Tabil.

I tossed the florets in macadamia nut oil, Tabil, salt, and pepper prior to roasting.

Here’s my paper plate piled with veggies and roast meats:

That’s a piece of vein-y turkey on top, not worm-infested meat.

Breakfast Tonight: Sauteed Shrimp and Veggies

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I forget how convenient frozen shrimp can be.  I buy the frozen wild shrimp that’s already peeled and deveined from Trader Joe’s and I just dump them in a strainer (straight from the ice box) and run cold tap water on it for ~ 5 minutes to defrost them.  Then, I toss the shrimp with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and fry them up in some butter and ghee.  When I plate them, I squeeze on some lemon or lime and sprinkle on some chopped parsley (if I’m feeling fancy). 

Tonight, I served up the shrimp with some cauliflower “rice” and roasted broccoli and bacon

This dinner was easy and yummy but I was hungry an hour or two later.  Damn shrimp is too low calorie!

Sous Vide Grass Fed Top Sirloin (And Lots O’ Veggies)

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Tonight I’m lagging because I’m returning to work after having 3 weeks off. Argh!  As a result, for dinner I made lots of veggies and a big sous vide grass fed top sirloin steak so I’d have lots of leftovers to pack for work.

In preparation for my workweek, I started sous viding like a mad woman on Tuesday morning.  I layed out all my proteins on my kitchen counter and seasoned and vacuum sealed them with my Foodsaver.  I try to combine as many meats as possible that cook at the same temp, so I set my SousVide Supreme to 140 F and plopped in 4 seasoned pork chops and 2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts.  After they had cooked for 2.5 hours, I took them out and placed them in an ice bath so I could store them in the fridge for later in the week.  I added cold water and turned down the temp to 120 F to cook my frozen wild sockeye salmon for lunch.  After taking out the salmon, I increased the water temp to 130 F and dunked in my grass fed top sirloin steak which I seasoned with Sagemary finishing salt and pepper.

The steak was going to cook in the SousVide Supreme for about 30 hours and I was going to take it out at dinner time on Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, I cooked the world’s best braised cabbage and prepared some cauliflower, garlic, and bacon that I was going to roast off when I woke up. I stored the vege and swine bits in a Ziploc bag in the fridge.

When I awoke, I took out the steak and dropped in two bags of Cascadian farm winter squash puree in the Sous Vide Supreme.  These puree packs float in the water bath so I always weigh them down with a rack.  I tossed some olive oil in my Ziploc filled with cauliflower, bacon, and garlic and seasoned it all with salt and pepper.  After giving the sealed bag a nice shake, I poured it all out on a foil lined baking sheet and baked at 375 F for ~30-35 minutes.  Jaden’s recipe says that it only takes 20 minutes in the oven, but mine definitely took longer.  While the cauliflower was in the oven, I prepped some portobello mushroom packs and popped them in the oven with the cauliflower and let those cook for ~25 minutes.

Then I pulled the winter squash puree out of the SousVide Supreme and stirred in some butter, salt, and pepper.  I took the steak out of its bag, dried it off, and seared it in some lard in my cast iron skillet.  I seared the steak for ~2 minutes per side per the tips on Kamikaze cookery.  Last of all, I microwaved the cabbage and cut up the mushrooms and drizzled the ‘shrooms with my aged balsamic vinegar.

Voila!  All of this was on the table within 1 hour and I have 3 boxes of lunch in the fridge (plus, leftover steak). 

Weeknight Dinner for Company

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I love having people over for dinner but I used to also hate it because I’d be dead-tired by the end of the night.  Nowadays, I’ve learned to pare down my hands-on time so I’m not falling asleep while doing the dishes when the night is through.  Tonight, I had almost everything prepared earlier in the day (at a much more leisurely pace) and all I had to do before dinner was sear my sous vide flank steak, plate my roasted veggies, and nuke my garlic cauliflower “mashed potatoes.”  

Earlier in the afternoon, I prepared the garlic cauliflower “mashed potatoes" and put the finished side in a covered CorningWare.  The puree totally reheats well, so I just put it in something I could nuke and serve it in.

Also, I roasted the portobello mushrooms ahead of time but kept them in the foil packs.  After I was done roasting the other veggies in the oven, I put the packets in the oven (with thermostat turned off) to bring them up to temp before slicing and serving.

I roasted some carrots and sliced up delicata squash in a 425 F oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Those trays came out of the oven by 5:15 pm and they were served room temp.  To be fancy, I chopped up some Italian parsley and sprinkled them on top (along with my fancy balsamic vinegar).  I go all out for guests ;).

The sous vide flank steak didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. Yesterday afternoon,  I seasoned it (almost directly out of the freezer)  with homemade taco seasoning and some salt and pepper, then vacuum sealed it.  I plopped it in the SousVide Supreme set at 135 F and left it in there for 24 hours.  When it was time for dinner, I took the steak out of the bath and its bag, dried it, and fried it in my cast iron skillet with some lard.  Next time, I’m gonna go with a lower temp and a thicker steak because the final product was too dry.  Live and learn.  

I’m stoked I was able to polish off a lot of veggies in our fridge because we’re leaving town in a few days.  Yay!

Early dinner: leftover cauliflower fried “rice,” sous vide chicken breast, Rao’s marinara sauce, and grated parmigiano reggiano.  I nuked it for only a minute so the chicken wouldn’t dry out.  I treated myself to two squares of dark chocolate and then started my fast — I’ll be eating again at around 4:00 p.m. since I’ll be flipping back to day shift.

Early dinner: leftover cauliflower fried “rice,” sous vide chicken breast, Rao’s marinara sauce, and grated parmigiano reggiano.  I nuked it for only a minute so the chicken wouldn’t dry out.  I treated myself to two squares of dark chocolate and then started my fast — I’ll be eating again at around 4:00 p.m. since I’ll be flipping back to day shift.

I Coulda Been a Contenda…

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…but not tonight.  Whenever I’m on my work week, I try to get dinner on the table 30-45 minutes from when I start futzing in the kitchen.  We even have a “5 o’clock house rule” where our rugrats can only start watching TV after 5 pm so I can prepare dinner uninterrupted.  My kids literally transform into zombies when they start watching TV.  It’s a cool magic trick.

Tonight, I had great intentions but it ultimately took me almost 90 minutes to get food on the table due to poor planning.  On Sunday, I had already cooked some pork chops and chicken breasts in my SousVide Supreme (for Monday and Tuesday night) so I had my protein set.  I got derailed because I made too many damn vegetables.  However, the plus side is, I have a lot of veggie leftovers! 

Here’s our final spread:  cauliflower fried rice, broiled zucchini and raw tomatoes with balsamic and extra virgin olive oil, roasted portobello mushrooms with balsamic and roasted garlic flavored extra virgin olive oil, and sous vide Rub With Love  pork chops.

I’ve wanted to make cauliflower rice since I read about it in Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Cookbook (which I don’t love) and on Food Lovers’ Primal Palate blog (which I do love).  Before going to bed, I washed and cut up the cauliflower:

When I woke up, I popped my pre-cooked, refrigerated pork chops into my Sous Vide Supreme (which I had filled and preheated earlier to 130 F) to reheat and I started preparing my vegetables.  I would’ve finished in 30-45 minutes but I mistakenly decided to use the oven for two of my veggie sides (broiled zucchini and roasted portobello mushrooms) so I had to wait for one to finish before heating the other.  Damn it, why didn’t we put in a double oven when we remodeled!  That, coupled with chopping (albeit with a processor), nuking, and then frying the cauliflower, delayed dinner.

Here’s the cauliflower (2 small heads chopped then nuked) frying in the pan with a minced onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and coconut oil:

I seasoned the “rice” with salt, pepper, and Trader Joes’s 21 Seasoning Salute.

For the mushrooms, I preheated the oven to 400 F and then I wiped the tops off with a damp paper towel and removed the gills with a spoon.  Then, I seasoned each mushroom with salt, pepper, and Consorzio Roasted Garlic Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil (buy at Costco!) and wrapped them individually with foil.  I placed the packets on a foil lined baking sheet (in case one exploded) and popped them in the oven for 20 minutes.

When I took the mushrooms out, I sliced them and drizzled them with the cooking juices and some balsamic vinegar.

Then, I cranked up the oven to broil and put in my tray of sliced zucchini (which I had seasoned with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil).  While they broiled for 5-10 minutes, I chopped up some tomatoes.  Then, I tossed everything on a plate with some balsamic vinegar.

I had sous vided the pork chops with my chicken breasts on Sunday (140F for 3 hours) and was glad to see that they turned out okay because I’d crammed the SousVide Supreme to the brim with 4 big bone-in chicken breast and 4 bone-in pork chops.  After reheating inthe SousVide Supreme at 130F for 40 minutes, I seared them off in my super hot cast iron skillet with some coconut oil.

Here’s a pic of hubby’s plate:

Tonight, I’m going to make sure that dinner only takes 30 minutes to make.  Word.