French Fridays with Dorie: (well, sort of) Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky, Cauli-Rice with Spinach and Greek Pork Tenderlion

Yeah, you might need to read the title again. There is no rice in this rice dish. I thought hard about going ahead and making the original rice recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. I mean, that’s what French Fridays with Dorie is about, isn’t it? I stood in the grocery looking again at the carbohydrate amounts on the back of the bag of
rice, even the brown Arborio rice I’ve occasionally used, and was a bit floored. We don’t always stick to our eating plan, but rice is almost verboten in our house. It’s my food crack. Days after eating it, I’m dreaming of giant steaming bowls and I’m craving every sweet and carby thing known to human-kind. It’s not really a take it or leave it sort of carb for me.

For my next dinner party the original rice dish is definitely on the list; share it with a crowd and leave a tiny scrumptious scoop for me. Because I’m telling you, this is one delicious set of flavors that Dorie has cooked up in a French “risotto”: garlic, cream, butter, Swiss cheese swirled into risotto rice. [And be sure to see what the other FFwD cooks did with their rice.] So, then I thought I’d just sit this week out, or perhaps delve into the recipes I’ve missed (humm, Pancetta Green Beans perhaps?) but I had this half head of cauliflower left from making pickled vegetables…

Most low carbers at some point have found a recipe that just isn’t right without including rice; any stirfry, fried rice, or curry recipe comes to mind. Yes, you can make and eat the veggies and protein parts of the meal (in my opinion the best part) but when you absolutely need it there’s cauli-rice. Cauli-rice is shredded cauliflower, steamed or sauté/steamed until it is fluffy and resembling rice. This works better if you add a bit of chicken stock or bouillon, or some hearty seasonings like soy sauce and green onion. Cauliflower has a “cabbage-y” brachia family of vegetables flavor and odor and really tastes
NOTHING like rice.  I love it on its own – but as a “rice,” it needs to have strong flavors to counter its own strong flavor.

Garlic, spinach and Gruyère sounded perfect.

Tasty Mayhem’s creamy, cheesy, garlicky, cauliflower and spinach, with a huge kudos to Dorie Greenspan:

½ head of cauliflower, broken up into florets and shredded/grated in a food processor.*  You will end up with about 2.5 to 3 cups of raw shreds.

*you need a food processor shredder disk to shred cauliflower properly. You could do it by hand, but it’s difficult and incredibly messy. If you don’t have one, cook the cauliflower florets, finely chop them and proceed to the next step.

1 Tablespoon of water

1 tablespoon of salted butter

1 teaspoon of olive oil

½ cup of medium-fine chopped onion

1 clove of garlic, minced

8 oz of fresh baby spinach leaves, washed

¼ cup half and half or cream (depending on what you have on hand, cream is preferred)

¼ pound of Gruyère or other strongly flavored cheese, grated/shredded

Salt and pepper

Xanthan gum (a powdered vegetable gum, available in specialty and health food stores used to thicken slightly at end)

Run the cauliflower though the shredder/grater disk in the food processor. You will end up with a fine shred, looking somewhat like uncooked rice. Place the shredded cauliflower along with a tablespoon of water in a microwave proof dish with a lid (I use a small glass Pyrex baking dish with a glass lid). Microwave on high for about 3-4 minutes until cooked, but not mushy.

Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan with a lid that is deep enough to hold the uncooked spinach.  Sauté the onion and garlic until softened, but not browned. Add the spinach, cover and steam for 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted. You may need to stir it once or twice. Add the steamed cauli-rice. Add the cream and grated cheese. Salt and pepper the dish. Stir until heated. The mixture will be a bit soggy. Lightly sprinkle xanthan vegetable gum over the veggies (you will use less than a pinch), stir to incorporate the xanthan. The dish should thicken enough so that any liquid from the vegetables and cream is incorporated into the dish. Wait 30 seconds before adding more xanthan, if needed.

The night I made the CCG cauli-rice we served it with oven roasted pork tenderloin that had been marinated in Greek seasonings. D and I both thought the cauli-rice would also be a great accompaniment to red meat, like lamb or a grilled steak. (So the next night I cooked a steak and ate it with the leftovers!)

Pork Tenderloin with Greek Marinade

2 pork tenderloins

juice of one lemon

1/2 cup of white wine

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

about ½ cup of chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano and basil)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

salt and pepper

Allow the tenderloins to sit for several hours, up to 8, refrigerated, in the marinade. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade,  but be sure to strain or scoop out the herbs and garlic to coat the outside of the pork before roasting. Roast about 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your tenderloin) at 350 degrees in a roasting pan, with last five under the broiler to give them a browned finish. The garlic tends to stay very sharp with the short cooking time, so if you prefer it more mellow, saute or roast it prior to adding to the marinade.

Please note that Dorie’s rice recipe uses different amounts and additional ingredients. You should really have a copy of Around My French Table. And its on sale!


About Tasty Mayhem

Love to eat, cook, write. Try to think of witty things to say about the world but my thoughts are consumed by food. Mostly.
This entry was posted in French Fridays with Dorie, Low/er Carb, Main Dish, Side Dish, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: (well, sort of) Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky, Cauli-Rice with Spinach and Greek Pork Tenderlion

  1. I’m so glad I came here because this is the first time I’ve ever heard of cauli-rice and by the looks of it, a rather delicious substitution to rice. I need to go low-carb too at times, so this is the perfect recipe to try out. Oh btw, I also adore your Thai basil orange ice cream, how ingenious!


  2. Jill says:

    This sounds like a great adaptation. I think cauliflower would stand up to and fit in with all those other flavors. I don’t go quite as nuts over rice as you do, but put me near a potato and watch out!


  3. sanyaliving says:

    Very impressed with your creativity!
    It was a very heavy dish and the cauliflower would have really made it lighter.
    Looks great too!


  4. I would have never thought about using cauliflower. Sounds very intriguing!

    Happy French Friday!


  5. Wow, I’ve never hear of cauli-rice before, and I’m intrigued. I wonder if my kids would notice the difference.


    • Tasty Mayhem says:

      That is a good question. Would the kids eat it? I’m just going to say that it tastes like cauliflower, so if they won’t eat that, I don’t think this will fool them in any way. On the other hand, if they eat most veggies, adding spinach and cheese to it does make it more interesting.


  6. Great rice dish! And thanks for sharing the pork tenderloin recipe!


  7. Eileen says:

    That’s brilliant! Glad it worked out.


  8. yvette says:

    Wow great idea with low carb substitute! Looks delicious!


  9. Elin says:

    Cauli-rice and this is the first time I heard of this 🙂 yea I think it great to use cauliflower as rice. Looks delicious ! I used Basmati rice as it is less starchy 🙂


  10. This is great! I’m definitely saving this to try later on – it looks amazing. 🙂


  11. betsy says:

    Nice adaptation! I’ve never tried cauli-rice, but looks worth a try. The Green tenderloin sounds like the perfect match. Happy Weekend!


  12. Cher says:

    You are my hero 🙂
    Riced is definitely “crack” in this house. I love cauli, but I don’t know if I could do it.
    Have a great weekend.


  13. Alice says:

    I love rice! Being Japanese though, it would probably be a little weird if I didnt like rice…. 🙂 this was a tasty dish wasnt it?


  14. Elaine says:

    I have not heard of cauli-rice before, but it looks and sounds great! Your pork tenderloin and greek marinade look really good as well.


  15. Genkinaonna says:

    What a cool adaptation of the recipe! I don’t think I’ve ever tried cauliflower like that, but I’m sure it would be delicious.


  16. Robin says:

    I admire your willpower and creativity! I’ve used cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes when trying to cutdown on carbs. Great idea to use it as rice.


  17. alyssa says:

    I would have never thought of cauliflower as a subsitution for rice. I’ve heard of it as a substitution for potatoes for mashing. I’m going to remember this! I think almost all foodies are probably carb-o-holics too, so a subsitution is always welcome! Thanks for sharing and for your kind comments on my blog!


  18. gaaarp says:

    Nice job adapting this recipe to your family’s diet! I’m glad you didn’t skip it; you’d have really missed out.


  19. Krissy says:

    I understand your adapting recipes. Hubby goes to Weight Watchers every Saturday morning…never misses. I took of 50 pounds about 8 years ago and has kept it off…it was affecting his health. He is trim and fit and healthy now and watches every bite he eats…and only eats carbs on weekends after Weight Watchers. And that’s pretty much it except for some veges, but no breads, treats, etc. So, I have to get others to be my eaters and tasters, but I have a big family and lots of friends who love to help me eat all my cooking. So I have fun, but I do understand about adapting for your needs. Good Job!


    • Tasty Mayhem says:

      We lost a fair amount of weight in our household too, and are trying to keep it off (I’d like to drop a bit more, frankly, since some of it has found its way back 😉 I admire your husband’s discipline.


  20. Pachecopatty says:

    This is such a great idea! I’ve used cauliflower as mashed potatoes but never rice- you’ve just opened up another world of healthy yumminess 😉 now I feel guilty for skipping it, need to get more creative!


  21. Teresa says:

    I love cauliflower and this looks like another great use of it! I really enjoy everyone’s creativity in this group.


  22. Oh the cauliflower is a great idea. I definitely have to try next time. Looks good!


  23. Kathy says:

    What a great way to change this into a low carb dish. My husband is doing South Beach and I ate the rice for 3 days by myself. Definitely delicious but not good if you’re dieting! Love your version!


  24. Ana says:

    Oh my, I use the exact same marinade on pork tenderloin. As a matter of fact we had some for dinner tonight. I had been marinating it for two days and it had become incredibly tender. Great idea about the cauliflower. That’s using your noodle. (No carb pun intended).


  25. Ronda says:

    I will have to try it with the cauliflower. We try to limit carbs here too. My main concern is sugar and wheat, but rice will soon have to go too.


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