Friday, June 29, 2012

Junque Food - Faux Rice and other things Cauliflower can do for you.

I love Cauliflower in it's natural form. It's always on a veggie tray at family dinner's. I dig it steamed with Mrs. Dash and garlic, and way back in the day when I tried the South Beach Diet, I fell in love with the "Mock Mashed Potato" recipe that was in there. It has become a must-have for holiday dinners.

Now that DaHubster and I are endevouring to lose weight and live healthier, we are trying The Paleo Solution (I hate calling it a diet). I've talked about it some in other blog posts, but essentially, it means giving up all processed foods, grains, and dairy. As a diabetic, I try to stay away from processed foods in general (except when I'm weak and cave), and I've been on and off lactose intolerant for years. That means the hardest thing for me to give up is grains. No bread? *cries*  I love my homemade bread.

Ok, ok, quit crying.

Without lifting a large portion of the book (and putting you all to sleep in the process), the gist of it is that grains are not well digested by the body, and people have varying degrees of bad things happening in their guts when they do attempt to digest grain.  The one that's pertinent to me is inflammation. Do your joints hurt you constantly? Mine do. And I felt a lot of relief in them just by giving up grains. Only after a couple of days, I was moving around better, quicker, and with more energy than I have in a long time.  If giving up bread, pasta, rice and the like is the cause of me feeling better, than I'm going to continue. Because I've felt like crap for eons, and it's nice to not feel that way anymore.

Ok, quit preaching and get on with the recipes.

So...cauliflower.  Natures faux rice.  The interwebz and the books we've been picking up use a lot of riced cauliflower in dishes that call for rice.  We've tried some of them, and have been pleasantly surprised.  No, it doesn't taste like rice, But it does bulk up our dishes like rice does, giving us that satiated feeling, without the hunger in a couple of hours, like you do when you eat take out Chinese.

I'd resisted ricing a cauliflower, because I thought it would be a pain in the ass.  Not so.  Cut up a head of the 'flower into smaller florets. Then pulse them in a food processor until they look like grains of rice. I have to do it small batches because I have the smallest (and loudest) food processor in the known universe.  Put the cauliflower in a container and throw it in the fridge, and it will last about a week.

One head, depending on the size will give you 3-4 cups of "rice."  Here are some of the things I've used it for:

Califlower Pizza Crust.  OH YEAH, BABY....God's most perfect food, made low-carb and totally yummy.  Not entirely Paleo, as it does have cheese in it, but Mammit, I'm not perfect.  And this crust us yummy. So says even my mother, who hates cooked veggies.  This recipe is every where on the Webz now, but I originally saw it on and did I mention that it's yummy?  My only change to that recipe is that I would pre-bake the crust longer at a lower temp than she calls for. My crust was a bit soggy in the middle. But utterly edible.

Paleo Dirty Rice. The Hubster made this as a side dish because I'm constantly complaining about the amount of salads we eat.  I mean come on. What to make as a side when you don't want to eat grain? Make this. "Totes to the Yum" as I said when I did it this. You can probably add in some lean meat and make it a whole meal. Was great stuff.

Faux Fried Rice. I didn't really use a recipe, but I hunted around, and this one looks unusual, but really good.  If you like to experiment, I say go for it. I like the addition of bacon and fish sauce, and will definitely have to give this one a try.

My Faux Fried Rice was more basic: onions, peppers, tiny cut chop suey beef, and eggs. And it was PHENOM. Definitely something that will become a go-to at our house.

So yeah, there you have it. We love it, and it's an easy way to incorporate a few lower carb meals into your life.  And if you do try, see how it makes you feel afterwards. You might come to the same conclusion that I did.

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