We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Cauli-Rice Cous Cous Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

by Michelle

"A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe." ~Thomas Keller

    Since the beginning of the New Year, I've been on a bit of a cauliflower bender as part of a whole foods eating challenge. The goal is to omit refined sugars and "unsafe" carbohydrates from my diet.   What I have discovered, and rather quickly I might add, is that cauliflower is the character actor of the vegetable crowd. My husband isn't a big fan of the vegetable. Nor my daughter. Therefore, over the years I've passed over cauliflower in favor of just about every other vegetable available, except Brussel sprouts. I'm still learning to like those little buggers and I confess that I am not trying very hard. Bacon can't even make those little cabbage heads worth eating.
   Surprisingly, the fairly astringent flavor and blank-page look of cauliflower can transform into something almost unrecognizable from its God given form. In addition to being consumed raw, the florets can be transfigured through just about every cooking method imaginable, including: baking, boiling, braising, deep-frying, puréeing, roasting, sautéing, simmering, and steaming.

My kitchen table is covered almost entirely with a week's worth of fruits and veggies.
   The metamorphosis is complete when you see in front of you carbless "faux" mashed potatoes, rice, cous cous, and even bagels (who would of ever thought?). This is a dream come true for people who are fighting the good fight against consuming gluten and heavily industrialized processed food. It's hard though because we've been sold a bill of goods of how low-fat diets are good for us, including heavy helpings of cereal grains and legumes. What is abundantly clear is that our nation is not healthy and the benefactors of our populaces' food addictions and subsequent health problems are big pharma and big agriculture. Change will only come as a bi-product of individuals making better choices for themselves and their families.

   After consuming cauliflower in just about every way possible, including making the bagels, my favorite preparation, besides simply roasting florets in a very hot oven, is quickly shocking "riced" cauliflower in boiling water, then quickly stopping the cooking process in a cold water bath. This is the method I will use in the future when making cauli-rice for any dish, whether it's playing a supporting role for a stir fry, or is the lead ingredient for a side dish, such as this post for a cous cous inspired salad. If I try anything else cauliflower-wise in the near future I do believe my family will revolt.

Cauli-Rice Cous Cous Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

1 medium to large head cauliflower
Kosher salt, such as Diamond Crystal®
cubed ice

the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon
the juice of one-half freshly squeezed orange
1 Tbsp Dijon or Gulden's mustard
2 Tbsps honey syrup or 1 Tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

3 scallions, thinly sliced, both white bulbs and green stems
1 large carrot, cut into quarters, thinly sliced into small pieces
1 medium celery stalk, cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced into half moons
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1 generous handful parsley, minced
Kalamata olives, seeds removed and discarded, torn into smaller pieces
2 handfuls roasted cashews

fine meshed sieve

1. Make the vinaigrette by combining lemon juice, orange juice, mustard, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Set aside until ready to use.

2. Bring a soup pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, remove the outer leaves of cauliflower and discard. Cut the cauliflower in quarters. Remove and discard the stem. Slice the cauliflower to cut the cauliflower in somewhat uniform pieces. Add the cauliflower pieces to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse the cauliflower 8 or 9 times until the cauliflower looks like rice.
3. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.

4. Once the water is boiling, heavily salt it so it is salty like the ocean. Carefully add the cauliflower to the water and let the "rice" cook for 90 seconds. Pour the blanched cauliflower into a fine mesh strainer. Place the strainer with the cauliflower directly into the ice water bath. Stir with a spoon so the ice water can circulate through the "rice" to stop the cooking. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the sieve and place it in a colander to drain. Use the spoon to release moisture. Gently squeeze handfuls of the riced cauliflower to release as much water as possible.

I was also working on homemade sauerkraut, hence the bowl of
cabbage and the fermenting crock in the background.
5. I used 2 cups of the prepared cauli-rice for the salad. I reserved the rest and refrigerated for another use (such as the basis of a stir-fry or a Mexican "burrito" bowl). If you are serving a crowd, you can use it all and double the add-ins. Add 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette to the 2 cups of cauli-rice and stir well to distribute. Taste. Add more dressing, if needed. Add in the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Serves 4 hungry people, or 6 moderately hungry grazers.

This tickled my funny bone.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...