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Cauliflower Stir Fry

By Dennis Linden

This month’s featured recipe, submitted by Sandra Andrade in Melissa’s Mail Order & Customer Service Department, combines several basic fresh vegetables of the early spring harvest with two of the company’s popular packaged-fresh items to create a healthy stir fry dish that swaps out the traditional rice ingredient for the much lower carb count in cauliflower.

“Recently, I convinced two of my officemates to try a sugar detox with me for a month, which involves no fruits, no starchy vegetables, no dairy, no grains and no alcohol. So I was looking for a recipe that was not only tasty but also easy to make,” Sandra explained. “I’ve always enjoyed cooking but that can be a challenge during the week. This recipe was tweaked several times as I played around with ingredients. Actually, you can really just use any favorite combination of veggies in this dish. I really enjoy how the Edamame and Shishito pepper add a depth of flavor. I am not a big Tofu user, but those who are it would also add another texture.”

Admittedly, I have a culinary “thing” about using the term riced cauliflower, rather than cauliflower rice, as the term best describes the desired size of the cauliflower as an ingredient for preparation purposes. To be clear, cauliflower does not taste like rice, nor does rice taste like cauliflower. However, for anyone watching their carb intake, riced cauliflower is a tasty alternative vehicle to the grain that can deliver the wonderful flavors that are synonymous with a good stir-fry – namely, fresh veggies seared at high heat laced with soy sauce and sesame oil. Cauliflower also adds its own a distinctive flavor to a dish compared to the more neutral-tasting [bland] rice. So viva la différence! Along with her recipe, Sandra included some very useful factoids for prepping riced cauliflower for any dish.

“I do not own a food processor so I used a box shredder to crumble the cauliflower by hand. Regardless o method, one medium head of cauliflower, weighing approximately 1 lb., will yield about 4 cups of riced cauliflower. If you're following a recipe that calls for ounces, there are about 4 ounces by weight of riced cauliflower in one cup.”

Sandra’s recipe is not only quick and easy to prepare the first time around, like any good stir-fry it’s even better heated up as leftovers! Sandra’s measures made for four servings, which provided me with a one delicious dinner as well as two separate lunches that I swear improved in flavor each time. For those counting, that’s only three meals; o.k. there might have been a doubling helping along the way! Ha, I think next time I make this dish I will do so in the morning and then refrigerate until dinnertime – that way I can enjoy that extra flavor of “leftovers” with the first serving!

Sandra Andrade

Sandra Andrade has been a member of the Melissa’s staff for almost 26 years. She began her career with the company, as she describes it, way back in “B.C.” [Before Computers]. Sandra spent her first 21 years working in the Direct Sales Department to support the store calling team. There she was introduced to the world of specialty produce Melissa’s imported from all over the world. Intrigued by the many unusual items and “funny names” of the fresh products, Sandra was immediately hooked on the business of fresh produce. In those early days her mentor was a well-known produce industry veteran who taught her a lesson she has never forgotten.

“He kept a smiley face sticker on his phone as a reminder that, every time he answered or made a call, the customer should be able to hear his smile over the phone,” Sandra recalled. “And that has been a very valuable model over the years that I used every day in sales and even more since moving to Customer Service about five years ago. While it’s definitely challenging dealing with the rare consumer complaint, I try to approach each as an opportunity to connect with our customers and change a negative experience into a good one. But complaints are few, mostly it’s inquiries about our products and the caller is usually very surprised that we offer live customer assistance! Actually, that’s a fun part of my job, customers are sometimes shocked when they hear a real person answer, but in a good way and we get lots of compliments for the personal service.”

The pandemic has caused Sandra’s interest in travel to be limited these days to local destinations with her boyfriend, Roberto. The couple is making the best of the situation by taking short trips to visit and get to know nearby cities or even just long drives along the Pacific Coast Highway to enjoy the ocean views. They also recently discovered and are taking advantage of public walking trails just to break up the monotony of being indoors. Though Sandra also says that there is something to be said for a night at home watching a good movie accompanied by a big bowl of popcorn and her feline roommate, Mowee. While she claims not to be much of a cook, when asked to pick any celebrity she would like to invite to share this dish with at her own table, she answered confidently.

“I think this dish is so good that I would even serve it to Gordon Ramsey and he would probably ask for the recipe! I think he’s a hugely critical person, but he also enjoys keeping recipes simple and flavorful, so I’m certain he’d give this one two thumbs up!”

Make that four thumbs! Thank you, Sandra.

Riced Cauliflower Stir-fry
Serves 4

Riced Cauliflower Stir-fry

Ingredients

6 cups Cauliflower, riced
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Garlic cloves, minced
½ cup Perfect Sweet Onion, julienne cut
12 Shishito Peppers, stemmed, sliced into thin rounds (remove seeds optional)
4 Scallions, diced, whites and green tops separated <5>**
3 Eggs, scrambled with S&P to taste (optional, whites only)
3 tablespoons Soy Sauce, or more to taste
6 ounces Melissa’s Shelled Edamame
½ cup Carrots, shredded
A “pinch” of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 TBS Sesame Oil
Salt and Pepper
Sesame Seeds
Costa Azul Hot Sauce

Preparation:

Rice the cauliflower by hand or a food processor.

Rice the cauliflower by hand or a food processor.

Prepare all the fresh ingredients before starting the stir-fry.

Prepare all the fresh ingredients before starting the stir-fry [mise en place]

First, sauté garlic and onion on medium heat in a non-stick pan with the olive oil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.

First, sauté garlic and onion on medium heat in a non-stick pan with the olive oil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Then add the Shishito peppers and scallion whites, cook for 3 minutes before adding the cauliflower. Cook for 5 minutes or until cauliflower starts to brown slightly.

Lastly, stir in soy sauce, eggs, Edamame, carrots and pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes then increase the heat slightly and add in the sesame oil.

Lastly, stir in soy sauce, eggs, Edamame, carrots and pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes then increase the heat slightly and add in the sesame oil. Give it a few stirs -- as soon as all ingredients have melded, turn off heat, throw in scallion greens and a few more shakes of salt to taste.

Plating:
Serve topped with sesame seeds and some Costa Azul sauce on the side.
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