* Or, “Nothing Like Fried Rice, Really, But Still One Darned Tasty Cauliflower Salad”
[Sorry about the blur. I may need to return to my old point-and-shoot until I finally read that new camera manual!]
For those of us fascinated by the topic of food, December is more or less highjacked by baking projects. Cookies for the cookie exchange. Bars and squares for the gift tins. Cakes for the pot lucks. Croquembouche for the neighbourhood party.
Taken to its syllogistic conclusion, the state of affairs in which many of us find ourselves this month would go something like this:
Major Premise: December is filled with many types of baking.
Minor Premise: All types of baking require taste-testing.
Conclusion: Therefore, December is filled with all types of taste–testing sampling quality control eating–something like 4,287 different sweets, types of chocolate, candy, cookies, fudge, frosting, glazed nuts, trifles, truffles, cakes and pies–thereby creating a massive spike in caloric intake for the month, which will lead to outright neglect of all other food groups and the overindulgence of rich, alcoholic and chocolate-based comestibles during the next four weeks or so, to the inevitable result of chocolate overload and the proverbial 7 pound weight gain over the holiday period. *
Well, given my own propensity to binge on sweets and carbs over the holidays, I thought I’d take some advice I heard dispensed by a dietician on a local CBC radio show the other day about “How Not to Gain Weight Over the Holidays.”
Get a load of this: the dietician (who shall remain nameless–she probaby wouldn’t want you to know her name after this advice, anyway, but mostly because I can’t actually remember her name) said something to the effect of, “Well, I know that people are always told to eat a meal before going to a party to avoid overindulging, but I find that people will overindulge anyway. And then they’ve basically eaten two meals, which is really not so good. So what I suggest is, if you do eat a bit too much at a party, then–and I’d never suggest that you do this on a regular basis–but then you can just skip a meal or two the next day to compensate. If you follow this plan over the holidays, you shouldn’t really gain any weight.”
Hallellujah! In a nutshell, here’s December: Pig out. Fast. Pig out. Fast. Pig out. Fast. Pig Out. Cut back a wee bit. Pig out. Fast. Drink champagne and kiss a bunch of strangers.
Truly, I don’t think this plan is very wise, but I’m going to adapt it to my own needs, anyway. During this festive period when I’m more likely to succumb to the siren call of chocolate, I’ve decided to deliberately make the rest of my meals as clean, simple, and vegetable-based as possible. To wit, Raw Imitation Fried Rice.
I came across this recipe a while ago and then, a few days later, happened upon this version by Veggie Delight. Since the dish is raw, it’s much easier to digest than a cooked meal, and won’t tax the digestive system the way heavier, fatter meals can. It’s also mostly vegetables with a hint of dressing, which provided me with yet another novel way to incorporate cauliflower, a vegetable I’m otherwise indifferent about, into my diet.
The salad is crunchy and even a bit juicy, with a hint of toasted sesame and just enough saltiness from the tamari to provide a satisfying contrast to the neutral cauliflower. It’s incredibly easy to make and comes together very quickly courtesy of the processor. I thoroughly enjoyed it and could even feel virtuous as I chomped away.
And it’s the perfect light meal to help you detox between all those tastings of baked goods and treats.
*Okay, so it’s not technically a syllogism. And the conclusion is drawn from the predicate of the premise rather than the subject (totally illogical). And (well, according to Giz, anyway) the average weight gain is only 1.5 pounds over the holidays. As if.
Raw Imitation Fried Rice (aka Cauliflower Salad)
Asian-inspired flavors meet light and refreshing salad in this mock fried rice dish. Makes a great side salad or raw main. And a sneaky way to include cauliflower!
1 small head cauliflower, stem and bottom leaves removed, washed and broken into florets
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 inch lemongrass or zest of one lemon (I didn’t have lemongrass so just used zest)
2 tsp. (10 ml.) freshly grated ginger root
1/4 cup (60 ml.) cilantro or flat leaf parsley (I used cilantro)
1 cup (250 ml.) raw or toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1-1/2 Tbsp. (22.5 ml.) toasted sesame oil
2-3 Tbsp. (15-45 ml.) tamari, soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos, to your taste
Place the cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly and “rice-like.” Empty into a large bowl.
In the same processor bowl (no need to clean it) pulse the onion, garlic, lemongrass or lemon zest and juice, ginger and cilantro (reserve a bit of cilantro for garnish if you like). Add to the cauliflower in the bowl along with the seeds, red pepper and green onion. Toss to combine.
Drizzle with sesame oil and tamari and toss again. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Makes one helluva big bowl (4-6 large servings).
Although our Girl is usually very calm, she seemed a bit squirmy this time. About midway through, the assistant said, ‘Um, Dr. Vet, is it supposed to look like that–?” She had noticed that Elsie’s wound had split apart, and was once again bleeding! My heart hit the floor.
“We’ll need to re-stitch it, and wait another ten days to two weeks,” the vet solemnly told me. My heart sinking into the basement–nay, the very foundation–at that.
So they took her to the back room, and, with local anesthetic, re-stitched the wound and replaced the cone. Ten days to two weeks! I took one look at her sweet, bewildered face and broke into tears. So she’s been rather depressed, the poor dear, and probably believes this cone is a permanent resident on her head.
My heart finally hit the concrete and has broken into thousands of pieces.]
“Yes, it really is the pits, Mum. It’s also very difficult to lick all the crumbs off the floor with this thing on my head.”
Last year at this time: Dog Day: How Elsie Got Named