I have nothing to show from our Thanksgiving break. In our family, Thanksgiving is often the holiday that we spend as a foursome...quietly cooking, relaxing, going to movies, and just being our little family unit.
I cooked most of my dishes before we brought M. home from college. I froze most everything days before Thanksgiving, cinnamon rolls, yeast rolls, and side dishes. Almost all was prepped beforehand, except for the turkey. The last thing I wanted was to be tied to the kitchen for the short duration of time we all had together.
Christmas will be the grand hurrah and I promise to have a feast of dishes and photos. I love to capture this special time of the year and dream about the dishes, the desserts, the place cards, the sweets, etc. months beforehand!
But we feasted over Thanksgiving, for sure, and everything is feeling a little snug here and there. I don't regret it at all...sometimes we just have to enjoy this one life we are living, calories and all. But, it is time to get rid of some of the encroaching poundage...or, to put it another way, the encroaching smushiness. (that wasn't a pretty visual, was it?)
One of the delightful recipes I found recently, that helps cut out the empty carb count of white rice is this "Faux Vietnamese Fried Rice with Nuroc Cham Sauce". Instead of white rice, cauliflower is 'riced' and stir fried into the dish.
I must say that I was skeptical about this one. I thought it would probably be tasty enough but more than likely not resemble good 'ol takeout fried rice very much.
But...it does. It really does and will be repeated here over and over.
The fish sauce with the lime juice and the apple cider vinegar meld together with the 'riced' cauliflower to give a wonderful taste to the dish.
The cauliflower doesn't taste like cauliflower and we were all chuckling about how much we could easily be fooled into thinking it was rice. Cauliflower must be somewhat like tofu in that you can add flavors to it and it will pick up those flavors easily.
Cauliflower has been so much fun to add to dishes recently. We've really had success with replacing white rice or white potatoes with cauliflower and being delighted with the results.
Vietnamese Cauli-Fried Rice W/Nước Chấm Sauce (From the Urban Poser blog)
Directions for Nước Chấm Sauce:
1/4 cup water
2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (to taste)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey or agave (For 'strict Paleo', skip the honey)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Chili flakes optional
In a mason jar, combine all the Nước chấm Sauce ingredients. Shake or mix well. Sprinkle as desired onto fried rice, salads or even use a dipping sauce.
For The Fried Rice:
3 cups of grated cauliflower (about 1 large head or-2 small)
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil or preferred cooking oil
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup onion, diced
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup snow peas
1 cup sausage, chopped
1 cup shrimp (about 9 large 16 count shrimp, raw or cooked) chopped
2 large eggs, cracked & lightly beaten
1/4 cup spring onions, chopped
Coarse sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
Grate the Cauliflower using a food processor with the grater attachment or use a hand grater. Using the food processor w/o attachment will work to, but the texture won't be as light.
Prep the rest of the ingredients as stated in the ingredient list above. I find it helpful to put each ingredient into a separate prep bowl.
You will need 2 pans/woks for best results.(unless you cut the recipe in half)
Note: Flat bottomed woks work best on a stove top as opposed to the traditional style. You could also use a regular frying pan. Two woks are are need because if you overfill a pan when stir frying, you will cause the ingredients to steam instead of brown and 'fry'. It is important to have room to spread out the ingredients while cooking. For this reason I just cook the 'rice in one pan and the veggies in the other, then combine at the end.
Add the oil and the onions to one of the woks/pan, preheated over medium heat. Fry the onions till soft and translucent.
While the onions are cooking, heat the other wok/pan over medium high-high heat, add about 1 tablespoon oil. Now add the cauliflower and cook the same as you would the veggies/protein. Spreading out and frying the cauliflower, allowing to brown some, tossing and allowing to brown again. This will take about 5 minutes on a high heat.
Make a well in the center of the cauliflower. Add the beaten egg and stir until it just begins to thicken, but is still wet. Toss the egg throughout the 'rice'. Continue with tossing till the rice is no longer wet. Rice should become nice and fluffy with bits of egg throughout, not large scrambles of it...unless you like it that way.
NOW back to the pan with the onions: Add the garlic, carrots, asparagus, sausage and shrimp to the onions, cooking till the carrots begin to soften and the and the meat is done. Continue to fry, stirring & tossing the ingredients often. Remember to spread tingredients out evenly in the pan between 'tossing'. This will ensure even browning and NO 'steaming'
When both mixtures are ready and nicely browned in spots (the cauliflower WILL be done first), combine them into one pan and toss till evenly mixed. Serve with garnishes listed below.
Garnish by tossing in the spring onions, cilantro and just a splash of Nước Chấm per serving (or just fish sauce)
If not using the Nước Chấm or fish sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper.