Cauliflower has gone from boring to trendy as a replacement for carbohydrates and meat over the past four years or so.
A cup of cooked cauliflower contains around 25 calories (compared to 204 calories for the same serving of white rice and 216 for the brown variety). Plus, this serving of cauliflower contains 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin C, along with other nutritional benefits.
My take on the trend: Cauliflower is excellent as a rice substitute, but not as satisfying in texture, taste, or mouthfeel as a substitute for animal protein. 1 inch grilled cauliflower slices are nice as a side dish for vegetables, but won’t quell my carnivorous cravings for a thick New York beef steak.
While cauliflower can have a strong aroma, especially when boiled, it has a mild flavor. This low-key personality makes it suitable as a substitute for rice when the latter plays a supporting role.
If cooked rice is just a container to hold an entree, like creamy chicken, Americanized beef and broccoli, or smothered steak, then cauliflower in rice is a wonderful substitute for cutting down on calories and carbs. .
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You can rice fresh cauliflower by cutting it into large pieces and passing the florets over the large holes of a box grater. Another method is to mix the cauliflower florets in a food processor until they are about the size of lentils.
Or use the cauliflower in rice now available in the frozen food section of grocery stores.
Here is a Mock Dirty Rice with Chouxflower recipe, inspired by the Seafood Dirty Rice dish in “Lean Star Cuisine” (1993). Healthy recipes fill the Lake Austin Spa Resort’s 303-page hardback cookbook.
Their version of dirty rice isn’t as authentic as the ones I see in my collection of vintage Louisiana cookbooks. The dish usually includes chicken livers and / or gizzards as well as pork sausages. And, I didn’t find any version with tomato or half and half sauce like in the spa recipe.
According to the spa cookbook, “dirty” refers to the Cayenne heat in the dish. In fact, “dirty” describes how rice becomes darker when cooked with chicken liver or other meats.
In some ways, the spa recipe is more like an étouffée, which is a thick and spicy Cajun and Creole stew served over rice.
What the spa dish lacks in authenticity, however, it overcomes with warmth and spicy flavor – two qualities that are sometimes lacking in “healthy” meals. By replacing the rice with cauliflower, I have another low carb entree in my kitchen toolbox.
Fine-tuning dishes is a natural progression of cooking. I appreciate authentic dishes, especially foods that define a place. But people move and their food comes with them. The transition usually leads to a mix of old and new.
Lady Helen Henriques Hardy described the value of this transition in the 80-page softcover cookbook “Louisiana’s Fabulous Foods and How to Cook Them” (undated). I’m guessing from the photos and the typeface that the cookbook was published in the 1950s.
“If we all cooked the same, think about the jaded appetites that would appear,” Hardy wrote. “Food would no longer fascinate or satisfy. Fortunately, that probably won’t happen. As long as people keep exchanging recipes and experimenting in the kitchen, we can expect an abundance of great meals. ”
Here is a tip of the fork to eat well in 2022.
Share your own old recipes or historical food-related memories by emailing Laura Gutschke at [email protected]
Fake dirty rice with cauliflower
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced celery
2 1/2 cups fresh cauliflower in rice (or 1 10-ounce pkg. Of cauliflower in frozen rice)
1 cup (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon of thyme
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 / 4-1 / 2 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup of seafood or chicken broth
1/3 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds small raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 cup minced green onion
1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and butter. Heat for about 3 minutes.
2. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
3. Add the raw cauliflower and sauté for about 3-4 minutes. (If using frozen cauliflower, cook it according to package directions, then add it to the mixture.)
3. Add the tomato sauce, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste and broth. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often. If the mixture boils, reduce the heat.
4. In a small cup, combine half and half and cornstarch until well combined. Add to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add the shrimp and cook, about 5 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through.
6. Stir in the green onions. When fully heated, serve. Makes 4 servings.
OPTIONAL: Substitute 1 to 1 1/2 pounds cooked and crumbled spicy breakfast sausage for the shrimp.
Laura Gutschke is a general journalist and food columnist and manages online content for the Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.