Jambalaya (and my Cauli Rice revelation)

Hellooo. It’s been a bit since my last post because, well, most of the food I make for myself is someone else’s IP — and I hesitate to keep reposting unoriginal recipes very other day.

I’ve made this jambalaya recipe twice this month, and I discovered a little shortcut last time ’round that made it infinitely easier, so you guys deserve to have some of this in your life.

You know how people always say diet foods can ‘fool you’? Like people talk about making almond flour pancakes or mashed cauli “faux-tatoes” that ‘fooled my family!”

Let’s just all admit right now and get past this — No one believes that.  And really, we’ll all be so much happier if we quit kidding ourselves that impeccable “fool’s” replications for things like pancakes, and pizza crust, and mashed potatoes exist. They don’t exist.

So if we all just get past that little pipe dream we can think a little differently about the food goals we wish to accomplish. I’ve realized that I don’t need a mashed potato substitute that totally fools me into thinking I’m eating mashed potatoes, what I need is a substitute that I’m just as happy eating for what it is. 

This is one of those recipes. The cauliflower rice does not, ever, in any way, achieve fluffy juice-soaked white rice status, but honestly, I don’t miss it. This jambalaya is every bit as good because the flavors of the broth and the spices and the sausages and shrimp have always been the star of jambalaya anyway.

I know I’m going to have more to say on this topic later, so for now, let us just leave it at this little activity: Learn to practice the flexibility and gentle open-mindedness to start appreciating healthy substitutions for what they are (delicious on their own!), not what you are trying to kid yourself into believing they should be.

Now, for the time-saving tricks I discovered and am now obsessed with:

1) THIS STUFF is versatile weeknight magic.

I bought a couple of bags that I hadn’t used because it felt like a bit of an expense, but one night I realized (at about 5:30) that I had TOTALLY forgotten the fresh cauliflower for the jambalaya I had been planning for that evening.

And even if I ran to the store, fresh cauli is a pain to floret and makes a big mess, and then I’d still have to rice it, and steam it, and not to mention still add it for some additional cooking time in the jambalaya.

Deeming it worth the indulgence, I threw this bag in the microwave for like, I don’t know, two minutes? And then it was ready to just stir into my 20-minute jambalaya. NO. HASSLE.

And the second thing I learned – 2) Pre-riced steamable cauliflower is convenient and nice, but it seriously doesn’t have to be that hard to make cauli rice in the first place. Three simple principles:

  1. Floret your cauliflower on a clean surface because, news flash, the tiny crumbles that fall off when you chop it ARE BASICALLY ALREADY RICE. Just sweep them into the bowl.
  2. It’s infinitely faster to just throw a manageable chunk of the cauliflower into the food processor, pulse it very lesiurely, and then dump it out before you add more. Half the problem I have with cauli rice is getting an even grain size when the large cauli chunks at the top of my processor bowl aren’t even getting blade time, while the rice on the bottom is being pulverized into nothing. I waste so much time trying to move things around with a spatula and coax my veg into cooperating. Just pulse it like 1/6 – 1/8 of the head at a time, for 3-4 seconds, dump it, and move on. Bigger pieces can be pulled out and reserved for another round in the blender.
  3. This seems obvious but it was fairly huge for me.  Riced cauliflower is simply microwaveable. You don’t need the steam rig, or whatever. Maybe stick a small cup of water in with it if you’re worried about needing the moisture, but I find that steamed cauli rice is usually to wet to work with anyway! So just stick your bowl of riced cauliflower in the microwave, cook it on high for a few minutes (Mine took 3-4, checking occasionally), and then put it to whatever food purpose you had planned. This is really great if you’re planning on stir-frying it, especially. Do try that.

So those three things changed my life. Maybe you already knew about them, but I find that riced cauliflower can be pretty mystifying for people who have not worked with it before, and there are a bunch of misleading preparation suggestions and recipes out there..

Alright! You can find this pretty much perfect-as-is recipe for healthy jambalaya right here at PaleOMG. It’s terrifically healthy and I don’t change a thing! Except maybe adding 3/4 – 1 lb. of shrimp, which I add in about the last 5 to 7 minutes of cooking.

Wish I knew how to make a more conspicuous link. With a preview and all that. But, I’m just a simple for-fun personal blogger. 🙂 Enjoy!

 

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