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Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice

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Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Since the start of Chinese New Year (an occasion marked by the sudden appearance of craploads of “lucky” oranges and tangerines on our kitchen counters), I felt somewhat compelled to make an Asian-style fried cauliflower “rice” dish tonight for dinner. Plus, XFit Mama just made a bunch the other night, and reading her her post made me crave Chinese faux fried rice. (BTW, XFit Mama is one badass mother — despite being pregnant with her second peanut, she manages to do just about all of her WODs at CrossFit Palo Alto as RX’d and FAST.)

Traditional Chinese fried rice is basically a dish made from leftovers you have rotting in your fridge, which makes dinner prep a breeze. Dice or chop everything small and uniform and your actual cooking time will only be 10-15 minutes. To make my cauliflower fried rice more “Asian,” I added bacon, scrambled eggs, minced ginger, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, fish sauce, and coconut aminos. Okay, the bacon part isn’t Chinese but it’s intrinsic for the dish. Feel free to change up this recipe by substituting whatever you have lying around. Try adding some leftover meat to make a complete, one-bowl meal.

Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Here’s what I assembled to serve 4-6 people:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, separated in florets
  • 3 slices of uncured bacon, cut into small dice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, grated with a microplane
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 4 ounces of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped mint
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut aminos
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Splash of coconut vinegar (optional)
  • Splash of Red Boat Fish Sauce (not optional)

Here’s how I made it:

First, I pulsed the cauliflower in a food processor until the pieces were the size of rice and chopped the rest of the ingredients. 

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I tossed the diced bacon into a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and fried until the bits were crispy.

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While the bacon was cooking, I whisked the two eggs in a small bowl with some salt and pepper to taste.  When the bacon was done, I removed the crunchy swine to a separate plate.

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I poured the whisked eggs into the hot bacon grease and fried a thin egg omelet. I took the egg out of the pan, sliced it thinly, and set it aside.

I always keep a large knob of ginger on hand in my freezer. It keeps really well. When I need to use it, I take it out of the freezer, peel off the skin with my vegetable peeler, and microplane it. It’s almost like making ginger-flavored shaved ice.

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The microplane is the best tool for grating ginger — no stringiness and the ginger blends in really well into your dish. (The microplane is one of my all-time favorite kitchen tools. If you don’t have one, stop reading this post and get one immediately.)

I cranked up the heat for my cast iron skillet to medium-high heat and added the chopped onions (along with a dash of salt and pepper). Once the onion softened, I tossed in the sliced mushrooms (along with yet another sprinkle of S&P) and stir-fried everything until the mushrooms were browned. 

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After adding the ginger and stirring it around for 30 seconds, I threw in the cauliflower and even more salt and pepper.

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I put a lid on the skillet and lowered the heat to low and cooked it covered for about 5 minutes. When the cauliflower was tender (but not too mushy), I added the coconut aminos, the herbs, and the sliced egg omelet. You can also add a little coconut vinegar to add a tiny bit of tang to the dish. And splash on some fish sauce for good measure!

Before serving, I tossed on the reserved crispy bacon bits. Voila!

Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This dish was velly tasty. (That’s terrible of me to type. I really shouldn’t make fun of my mom’s accent like that. AND you can only laugh at that line if you’re Asian…)

Paleo Eats: 2/15/11

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Here are my eats on my second to last night of work this week. I’ll try to minimize the snark but I’m pretty grumpy today.

I started the night off with a snack of macadamia nuts and coconut flakes.

My “lunch” consisted of leftover roasted broccoli, grilled grass fed rib eye, and roasted bell peppers.

This meal was tasty right out of the fridge.

My second snack of the night was some berries with cream-top yogurt.

The last meal of the night was an Italian sausage with leftover roasted carrots and celery root and sautéed baby chard and bacon.

After I got home, I sliced up some veggies for the Asian cauliflower fried “rice” I was going to make later that night.

Before going to bed, I filled and preheated my SousVide Supreme to 135 F to reheat the Niman Ranch bacon-wrapped pork chops I sous vided and froze several days ago.

When I woke up, I plopped the previously cooked pork chops into my water bath to heat up along with a packet of winter squash puree.

Then, I fried up some Asian cauliflower fried rice with a pound of ground beef.

The bacon-wrapped chops looked kind of unappetizing right out of the SousVide Supreme

…but after a little quality time in the cast iron skillet they look pretty good, huh?

I finished the winter squash puree by mixing in butter, salt, and pepper.

Here’s my dinner plate:

Paleo Eats: 1/31/11

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I can’t wait for this work week to be over – it’s been busy EVERY single night. Come to think of it, by my fifth night shift in a row I think I start getting whiny no matter what the workload. Oh well. Luckily, I packed a bunch of Paleo eats to fuel me through the night.

At around 2:00 a.m., I ate a box of sous vide Tabil-seasoned chicken breast with leftover sautéed spinach and bacon and nuked green beans.

A couple hours later, I snacked on a small container of coconut flakes and toasted almond slivers…

…and coconut milk and mixed berries(!) from the farmers’ market.

Even though it’s January, the berries were really sweet. Could it be that I’m just more sensitive to sweetness now that I’ve cut refined carbs out of my diet? Maybe.

My last meal of the night was a leftover box of kelp noodles. See? It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

When I returned home, I took the kids to school to drop off Big-O. As soon as we got back to our abode, I went to bed right away because I knew I’d have a lot to do when I woke up. My mother-in-law’s MRI was scheduled in the evening at 8:00 p.m. and I needed to feed everyone, pack my meals for work, and shower before we left.

When I awoke, I took my previously sous vided pork chops out of the fridge to come up to room temperature while I prepared the vegetable side dishes. I grabbed my ingredients for roasted broccoli and bacon (organic broccoli, Fatted Calf slab bacon, and avocado oil)…

…tossed everything together with some salt and pepper, and placed it in the oven to roast at 400 F for about 35 minutes.

I also minced 2 shallots and chopped up a head of cauliflower for cauliflower fried “rice”. Since I made a platter of braised cabbage the night before, I just reheated it in the microwave.

I heated a couple tablespoons of lard in my cast iron skillet and I seared the pork chops for 90 seconds on each side. I wanted to char them longer but they were only ½ inch chops so I didn’t want to overcook them.

Once I removed the chops, I prepared my cauliflower fried “rice” in my “dirty” pan. I added a splash of boxed chicken broth to deglaze the skillet and a little bit of coconut aminos for additional seasoning (besides salt and pepper).

The dark color is definitely from the pan frond and not the coconut aminos. Those are some tasty browned bits.

By the time I finished preparing the “rice,” the roasted broccoli and bacon was ready as well. I drizzled on some aged balsamic vinegar and brought it to the table.

Here’s my dinner plate (on the table in about 45 minutes):

After dinner, I had to hustle to get myself ready for work and the imaging appointment. As I was packing my meals for work, I realized I only had one box of leftovers available. Was I worried? For a split second, yes. But then I remembered that I can always throw together a frittata in about 15 minutes that could be split into two servings. I dug through our fridge and made a frittata with 5 eggs, diced Fatted Calf bacon, nuked frozen broccoli, and a heaping tablespoon of full-fat Greek yogurt.

I know a lot of Paleo eaters avoid dairy but I don’t experience any untoward side effects and I really love the taste of cheese, full fat yogurt, butter, and ghee. Plus, if it’s okay with Dr. Harris of PaNu and handsome nerd scientist, Mat Lalonde, it’s okay with me. Or that’s who I’m hiding behind if I get confronted about consuming dairy by an angry caveman.

After I finished packing my stuff for work, the three of us left to go to the MRI appointment.  We’re all anxiously awaiting her results because we’ll finally know the staging of her breast cancer and how best to tackle it. I get paid to have sleepless nights – they don’t.

Paleo X-mas Eve Dinner: Brisket and Veggies

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My side of the family always celebrates X-mas on the 24th, so my sister and her hubby drove up from L.A. to celebrate with us. I was excited to see them again -– but I was even more excited to taste the delicious grassfed braised brisket they brought up.

My sister served it up with two sauces: salsa verde and creme fraiche with fresh horseradish. Did I mention that she’s a professional chef and a non-vegetarian who nonetheless writes for a vegetarian magazine?

Speaking of vegetables, I was in charge of the veggie sides, so I prepared a few of my standards:

Cauliflower fried “rice”

roasted broccoli and bacon

…and braised cabbage.

I was fresh out of lard, so I whipped out a bottle of macadamia nut oil as my lubricant of choice.

Get your mind out of the gutter –- I tossed my broccoli with a few tablespoons pre-roasting and sautéed my cauliflower rice in a combination of macadamia nut oil and Kerry Gold grassfed butter.

Here’s our final spread (my mom also brought over some homemade Chinese barbequed spareribs):

This was my first plate (of many!):

Happy holidays, everyone!