Friday, July 20, 2012

Fried Cauli-Rice

Similar to how Seymour spotted the Audrey II in the market one day and just had to have it, I had my own impulse buy last weekend.  [I'll give you a second to really think about that movie and remember how freaking awesome it is.  Rick Moranis, I love you.]

While at Kingfield Farmer's Market, I was merrily toting around my heavy bag of freshly purchased fruits and vegetables, sipping an iced coffee, and trying to figure out how difficult the bike ride home would be with  a milk crate stuffed full of zucchini, carrots, lettuce, chard, blueberries, beets, radishes, snap peas, onions, and tomatoes.

When all of a sudden, a solar eclipse of the sun occurred.  When the light returned, these weird green and purple alien plants appeared and I just had to buy them.  [Seriously, that movie is the BEST.  And this scene is pure cinematic brilliance.]

All right, all right.  Broccoli romanesco and purple cauliflower are not alien plants that require blood to survive.  But they are pretty foreign to standard grocery stores most of the time, so it's a special treat to find them at the market.  And they make me want to break into song.  These two goofy looking veggies are simply Italian varieties of regular old cauliflower, but they are a million times more beautiful and have a slightly milder, sweeter, nuttier flavor.

I'd seen Elana's post on cauliflower rice long ago, and it's been tucked in the back of my memory.  My technicolor cauliflower relatives seemed perfect for use in experimenting with this recipe.  Some quick food processoring and chopping to start and a speedy stir fry later, I had a giant bowl of pretend fried rice in front of me.

It may not look like much, but this fake rice is so incredibly, amazingly, out-of-this-world delicious.  Ten times better than actual rice (because rice is bland, and cauliflower has flavor!) and at least that many times better for you.  Most of the ingredients in this dish are customizable to your taste, but do not skip the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, or sesame oil.  These four ingredients in combination are dazzling.

Fried Cauli-Rice, inspired by Elana's Pantry
Serves 4

1 large head cauliflower (or any mixture of related vegetables such as broccoli romanesco or purple or orange cauliflower)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
1 cup peas or edamame beans
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
2 eggs, beaten

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
a dash of sriracha hot sauce, or more to taste

Using a food processor, pulse your cauliflower until it's a bunch of tiny rice-sized bits.  Alternatively, you could grate on a box grater if you don't have a food processor, but that seems like a lot of work.

Heat about 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, carrots, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir and cook until they start to soften, about 3-5 minutes.

Add your cauliflower, garlic, and ginger and another pinch of salt.  Stir occasionally and let cauliflower cook until it starts to brown or stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add your sauce ingredients, peas, and chard and mix well.  You may want to put the cover on for 30 seconds to help wilt the chard and let the moisture unstick things from the bottom of the pan.

Make a well in the middle of your pan, add a bit more oil, and scramble your eggs.  Once scrambled, mix eggs back into the rest of the caulirice mixture.  Serve immediately with more hot sauce.

ONE YEAR AGO:  Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles
TWO YEARS AGO:  Creamy Cucumber Salad
THREE YEARS AGO:  Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza

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