Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cauliflower Risotto

It's a new year. Happy New Year.

Yeah, I know I'm a bit late with the whole "Happy New Year," but I'm still amazed at the fact that it is 2015 and I'm twenty five years old. Woah.

Anyways, I'm happy to be back on the blog and anxious to start cooking/baking again. I'll admit it was hard to get started today--I'm nursing a cold, so the only thing I'm  inspired to do is watch Gilmore Girls--but now that my belly is full I'm grateful I cooked. I apologize for the short post. But not really because, isn't it really just the food that counts?!

A little bit about why I made this dish. The other day, I was talking to someone about the great variety of cauliflower uses. We talked about cauliflower pizza (of course), cauliflower rice, cauliflower mashed "potatoes," and even  plain old oven-roasted cauliflower. Then I realized I couldn't attest to the deliciousness of cauliflower rice, because I hadn't actually tried it. And obviously I needed to remedy that ASAP. So, here it is, cauliflower risotto--yeah I know I still have to make cauliflower (regular) rice and fried rice. Enjoy!

Beet Asparagus Cauliflower Rice (Adapted from Mind Body Green)
Active time: 25 minutes; total time 75 minutes.
Makes about 4 servings.

  • 4 small beets, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 asparagus bunch, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 1/3 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (or vegan alternative; I used Go Veggie)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. 
  2. Place beets in a small baking pan and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake beets for 20 minutes. Add asparagus strips to beets and return to oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until beets are tender.
  3. Cut cauliflower into 2-inch pieces and transfer to a food processor (I used a Ninja Blender; pulse until rice-sized. Transfer cauliflower to a triple layered cheese cloth (or paper towels) and squeeze any excess moisture out.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil Aed cauliflower and 1/2 cup broth; cover and cook stirring occasionally. Once liquid is absorbed, add 1/2 more cup and cook until liquid is absorbed again. Repeat with remaining broth. 
  5. Remove from heat and add beets and asparagus. Mix to combine. Add parmesan and walnuts, and toss before serving. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Longing for Winter

I Skyped my parents today and they told me that they've already turned on the heat at home. What!?

Oh, right, forgot we're in October (almost November) and other places--outside of Austin--start getting chilly this time of the year.

I know there are plenty of people who can't deal with cold weather; plenty of people that prefer endless sunny (and warm) days. However, I'm not one of them. I actually enjoy the change of seasons and I certainly don't mind cold weather--I actually like it to a certain extent. And I love snow. Don't get me wrong, I won't spend my years in Austin complaining about the sunny days, because that would just be preposterous. But, every now and again, I'll express my longing for temperatures in the lower digits accompanied by flurries (an inches on the ground) of snow. I'll even take the occasional slush-storm if it means I can have a snow day later on!

In other news, this weeks marks the last of the so-called fun days of my first semester in law school. Apparently I'm about to embark towards the scary depths no-fun November and then the utterly feared finals period in December. I'll try not to fret it too much just yet, but this might be one of the last posts you see this year. But let's hope not.

Here's my dinner from tonight.

Cauliflower pizza! This is a dish I've been wanting to add to my repertoire for quite some time, and tonight I finally got to do so. Yes, it is as odd as it seems (at least to all of us who were oblivious to the wonders of alternative cauliflower uses); and yes it is as delicious as it sounds (at least to all of us veggie-loving-health-freaks). I subbed some ingredients with what I had at home, but I'm sure any pizza topping would taste delicious.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (adapted from iFOODreal)
Active time: 30 minutes; total time: 1hr15mins.
Makes about 6 servings.

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 7" wide)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan or mozzarella cheese, grated or shredded
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray a large cooking sheet with cooking spray. 
  2. Rinse cauliflower, remove leaves and cut into florets. Place florets in a food processor (Ninja Blender in my case) and process until it resembles a fine rice mixture; some chunks are fine. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove cauliflower mixture from oven and transfer to a bowl lined with 3 layers of cheese cloth. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can, patiently squeezing about 15-20 times. 
  4. Bring oven temperature to 450F. Line a pizza baking sheet (or regular baking sheet) with parchment paper.
  5. Transfer dry cauliflower mixture to a large bowl and mix in egg, cheese, spices, salt and pepper. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and press with fingers until about 1/2-inch thin. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden .
  6. Remove crust from oven and top with desired toppings. Return to oven and cook for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and toppings are cooked. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Not your ordinary pasta

Today was the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. What does that have to do with me you ask? 

Well, up until a month a go I planned to run it; up until two months ago, I planned to use it to qualify for Boston. Instead here I am, in Austin, on a two-week (possibly longer) running hiatus. 

Needless to say, I'm a sad blogger today. It's not just the fact that I lost a chunk of money buying my entry, or the fact that my medal collection didn't grow as expected. What really hit me was seeing photos and posts of my running buddies. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty jealous of them. 

I'm jealous of the pre-race jitters they got this past week; of the immense amount of carbs that they had to eat for three days in a row; and of the group run they went on around the windy city on Saturday. I'm jealous of the queasiness some of them felt as they made their way to starting line; or the regret that overcame them as they passed mile 10 and realized they weren't even half way there; or of the annoyance of having to gulp water without trying to splash their faces. But what I'm most jealous about is that feeling of utmost triumph they all (probably) got as they crossed the finish line.

... Anyways. I'll try not to get hung up on it and instead share my dinner from tonight. 

This is the first time I've experimented with spaghetti squash and all I can say is where was this vegetable hiding! Here's a recipe I found online; it's simple and healthy--did you think I'd post otherwise? But it's also delicious and versatile. Sub in marinara sauce for the mushroom add-on or any other addition you would put on pasta and you've got yourself a meal.

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms & Shrimp (adapted from Pickled Plum)
Active time: 15 minutes; total time: 50 minutes
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 small spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 4 cups sliced portobella mushrooms (about 16 oz)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 
  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.
  2. Using a large knife, split the squash down the middle--I found it easiest to strike once and then keep sticking (with the knife still in the squash) until it was almost sliced through; then I removed the knife and split the squash with my hands. Remove and discard seeds. Season squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place flesh side down on baking tray and cook for 30-40 minutes, until soft and slightly browned on the bottom.
  3. When squash has about 20 minutes left, heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add thyme and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Remove squash from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scrape the inside of the squash into the skillet with the mushrooms. Place over medium-high heat and cook for about 5 minutes, until squash looks golden.