I recently made a major life change and moved out of the city and into the woods surrounded by fresh air, tall cedars and evergreens and amazing rose-colored sunrises. I’m certain it has given me back at least 10 years on my life. While I miss the familiar cry of seagulls in the morning reminding me of my closeness to the Sound, now I wake up to the whip of wind moving through the trees or rain gently cascading on the roof of this, my cozy new abode atop a small, yet significant mountainside that I get to call home.
In contrast to what many of my friends think, I am not removed from civilization. I still can get to the grocery store, it just takes a little more planning. I’ve been enjoying exploring my neighborhood and most happily, encountering politeness, and in general, neighborliness from everyone I run into on a daily basis. I hate to admit it, but my stronghold on the city these last 14 years may have been keeping me from discovering how much I really do enjoy living somewhere smaller and less ridden with traffic jams and inevitable skyscrapers.
That being said, my dining out options are a bit limited but not scarce. Lucky for me and The Vegetarian, I’ve got that “chef” in my title and I can pretty much whip up something close to restaurant quality as long as I have a few staples in the fridge and pantry. I should also admit, living in a real home, with an actual pantry in the kitchen, sure beats city apartment living hands down. Sharing a meal on a regular basis with my favorite guy no longer just once a week, also a winner in my book.
This next recipe came about after tinkering with recipes and craving teriyaki one week. While its definitely strayed from the original concept, I think you’ll find it hits the mark if you’re looking for a savory, sticky, take-out style dinner, only this one features cauliflower as the main ingredient and a poached egg for some extra protein and decadence. If I’m not careful, I may just end up only leaving the house for ingredients to keep cooking up recipes like this one at home.
- 1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 3 Tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
- 3 whole star anise
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon Sambal chili paste
- 2- 8 oz cans chunk pineapple, drained
- 4 eggs
- Green onions for garnish
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Rinse rice and place into a small stockpot with vegetable stock and 1 teaspoon oil. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn to low and let simmer about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has absorbed. When done, turn off heat and keep covered until ready to serve.
- Rinse and pat dry the cauliflower. Remove leaves and cut into large florets, about 2-3 inches. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons of canola oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Place on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, then turn cauliflower over to the second side and roast 5 more minutes. Turn off oven and keep cauliflower warm until ready to assemble dish.
- Prepare the sauce in a medium sauce pan. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, water, ginger, anise, and garlic. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium. In a small bowl, make a slurry with the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Add this to the sauce and whisk until it thickens. Last, add sambal chili paste and pineapple chunks and turn to low and keep warm.
- In a medium-sized, shallow saucepan filled about 2/3rds with water, bring water to a gentle simmer. The temperature of the water should be between 180-190 degrees.
- Crack one egg into a small bowl, then pour it into a small strainer to remove any excess water from the egg white.
- Carefully place egg into simmering water and use a slotted spoon to coat egg with surrounding water until the white sets. This should take about 1 minute. Be careful not to break the yolk. Repeat this step to poach the remaining eggs. (Poached eggs can be made in advance and kept in a container filled with cold water for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, simply place in a small bowl of warm water for a few minutes to warm through but not cook the egg).
- While the eggs are setting up, place 1/2-1 cup of rice into a large bowl, followed by a few pieces of cauliflower. Drizzle sauce and a few pineapple chunks on top. Drain a poached egg and place on top while still warm. Garnish with sliced green onions.
The method for cooking poached eggs was adapted from one of my favorite cooking sources, Serious Eats and this foolproof poached egg technique: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/04/foolproof-poached-eggs-food-lab-recipe.html