Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Looks like Brick Oven Pizza

Just to be clear, this is not a pizza with cauliflower on it. This is a gluten free pizza where the actual crust is made from cauliflower. Interesting?….. right. That’s what I thought when I first found this recipe and had to try it for myself. It is so simple to make.

I think everyone has a food weakness. What I mean is that we all have something we could eat day in and day out that could pack on the pounds, but then… we have to face the treadmill. I am so not into conventional exercising machines, and I do love my pizza. So I am here to introduce to you a really low fat, high fiber healthy pizza. If you ever thought pizza was just fattening, think again. It has been reinvented.

Actually pizza has been morphed quite a few times along the Silk Road. Although the origins of pizza are quite fuzzy, there is an agreement that it did come from Central or South Italy. Originally it’s thought that pizza was a focaiccia dipped in fresh tomato sauce. In North Africa, we can find many cuisines that dip their bread in tomato sauce – so my thinking is that pizza originally came from North Africa, maybe even Yemen who are known for dipping the malawach (fried pastry bread) into a tomato puree. There was a direct connection between Africa and Italy in Ancient Rome, where slaves were imported from Africa. I know… not Rome’s most stellar act in Ancient history.

Anyway, back to the recipe. The method for making this cauliflower pizza crust is by “ricing” the cauliflower. May seem like an odd term, but essentially what are going to do, is to process the raw cauliflower through a mill until it’s broken down into little rice resembling pieces. If you want to make use of all the tomatoes coming in for the summer season, then you might want to make a fresh batch of tomato sauce.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza


Serves 4; Adapted from Your Lighter Side.

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower, riced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, garlic
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
olive oil,for glaze

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
Fresh Italian Herbs, such as basil for topping
 

Directions

To “Rice” the Cauliflower:

  1. Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (some microwaves are more powerful than others, so you may need to reduce this cooking time). There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.

To Make the Pizza Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cauliflower, eggs and 1 cup mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 12″ round pan. Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
  3. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese and any Italian herbs of your choice. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).

Enjoy!
*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.

Cauliflower Cheese Quiche in Potato Crust

It has been a wild few weeks now, which has resulted in me not being able to sit down and share some recipes with you. First off, it was Passover and I went down to Miami to spend the Seders with my extended family. We were 60 people on both nights of the Seders! It was a bit of a fiasco as everyone was singing out their own tunes at their own pace. Sounded like a singing audition where ever one is in their own world warming up their voices. It was a fun 2 nights, regardless.

It is customary for Bukharian Jews to wear a jomah during the Seder. Yes, you read that right, a jomah,  not a pajama, which is a silk brocade dress worn on festive occasions. My parents are posing the latest fashion trend – H&M – watch out! I am wearing an ordinary Chinese embroidered jacket, since I did not have my very own jomah to wear:-(

I came back to NY, only to fly back to Miami a week later, because subsequently my father became extremely ill and I went down there again to relieve my mother and brother of their hospital duties.

In the middle of all this, I found an amazing editor for a book I just finished writing called, “Spiritual Kneading for Rosh Chodesh” It’s about the significance of baking challah on the Jewish New Moon every month. I am afraid I wont be posting anything from that book here, because it’s all about challah – not OK for the gluten free community here.

On top of that, my publisher has asked me to buckle down and write out a marketing plan for my forthcoming cookbook “Silk & Spice: Recipes from the Silk Road for the Mindful Vegetarian” due out next Spring 2014. Although this was initially done when I wrote my proposal over a year ago, many things have changed since then, including my circle of foodies. So I had to revamp my marketing plan, which extended to my amazing circle on facebook. A big shout out to Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t know what I would do with out him.

Amidst all of this, I was in the mood to cook something really satisfying, as this winter or Spring – what ever you want to call it, just does not end. I wanted comfort foods. Something grounding and earthy.

Years ago when I was veering towards vegetarianism, Mollie Katzen was the IT person for hearty vegetarian recipes. She still is the Queen. I am just a Queen from Queens… (little humor needed when in crisis) I still turn to her recipes that never disappoint. I often make this quiche when I have a HUGE bag of potatoes lying around from my left over winter CSA season. Make use of the food processor to cut down on time for the crust. This potato crust quiche is moist and stays put together after cooking. Make sure you pick from the freshest cauliflower around, otherwise it alters the taste to mush.You could always experiment with different cheeses. Enjoy this quiche with a nice big leaf lettuce salad on the side. This recipe comes from The New Moosewood  Cookbook.

Cauliflower Cheese Quiche in Potato Crust

Serves 4

Ingredients

for the crust
2 cups grated raw potato (from 2-3 peeled potatoes)
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg white, beaten
¼ cup grated onion

for the filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 cup (4-5 oz.) grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs
¼ cup milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and generously oil a 9″ pie dish, so that your potato crust does not attach to your pie dish.
  2. Pull out your food processor with a grating disk. That will make for quick work grating each of the following separately: the cheese, then the potatoes, then the onion.
  3. To make the crust, place the grated potatoes in a colander and toss them with the salt.  Wait 10 minutes, then squeeze out the excess water.  A salad spinner works well for this, or you can wring the potatoes out in a dishtowel.  Stir together the potatoes, egg white and onion in a large bowl, then pat the mixture evenly into your pie dish , building them up the sides to form the crust.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, then brush the crust lightly with olive oil and bake for 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and lower the temp to 375°F.
  5. While the crust bakes, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper (to taste) and herbs and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.  Add the cauliflower and stir well to coat.  Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender, 8-10 minutes.  Add a tablespoon of water if the cauliflower begins to stick to the pan.
  6. Spread half the cheese over the crust and spoon the cauliflower mixture over, then sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.  Whisk together the eggs and the milk, then pour this mixture over the cauliflower cheese mixture.
  7. Bake 35-40 minutes, until set.

Cauliflower Peanut Curry

There are times, when not to judge a book by its cover. Sometimes looks are really deceiving and I think that could be a good thing. If everything looked as it seemed there would be no mystery. Mystery is needed to seduce and to entice curiosity. That being said, let me address this picture before anything else. I wish I could blame the appearance of this meal on my lack of camera skills, or that it was having a bad “vegetable day” (Ha, Ha… ok I thought that was cute) however it’s just no beauty.

In spite of its less then stellar looks (poor thing) this peanuty coconut curry cauliflower dish tastes divine on a bed of brown basmati rice doused with raita, lemon slices, toasted slivered almonds, fresh or toasted coconut, raisins and sliced cucumbers. Shew…. Try saying that all in one breath. Pick your choice. This time around I chose coconut flakes.

This recipe comes originally from The New Moosewood Cookbook. I have modified some of the ingredients and recipe techniques to not only give it more protein and less carbs, (I do like to watch my figure;-) but to mimic authentic Indian cuisine. Sauteing the spices before the onions, creates the foundation for this dish and intensifies the flavors even more. And I definitely like intensity.

Cauliflower Peanut Curry

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Sea salt 
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, reserve some for garnish
1/2 cup lightly toasted peanuts
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup water (more, as needed)

1 large cauliflower, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, cut into coin medallions
1 cup cooked chick peas
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep skillet and add the mustard seeds, turmeric, ground cloves, cumin seeds and cayenne pepper.  Once the mustard seeds start to pop,  (less than a minute) stir in the onions and salt. Saute for 5 minutes over medium heat, until onions start to become translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.
  2. In the meantime, in a blender puree the peanuts, sesame seeds and shredded coconut with water. If it’s too thick, add more water. This should have the consistency of a thick paste.
  3. Then add cauliflower and carrot and mix well. Cover and cook about 10 minutes, then add the paste. Mix well. Cook, covered, over low heat until the cauliflower is tender, stirring every few minutes. Add more water, if necessary, to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the chick peas, and lemon juice, and cook a few more minutes. Taste to adjust salt, and serve hot, with rice and condiments.

Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry

This is a variation of Aloo Gobi; a Punjabi classic made with potatoes (aloo) and cauliflower (gobi), however I have omitted the potatoes to lighten up on the carbs. I love Indian food because it’s inexpensive and relatively simple to prepare, but more importantly, it never fails to light up my eyes, nose and tastebuds with its piquant flavors and vivid colors. This dish is filling, without being a total carb bomb (sans potatoes) and the leftovers are good for a couple of lunches during the week.The combination of cauliflower and green peas may not sound like much, but they happen to be the perfect canvas to paint on the vibrant flavors of ginger, garlic and onions. The turmeric does it’s part by imparting a golden hue to the cauliflower contrasting to the green peas, making this dish look exciting. Indian food is all about the use and combination of spices for amazing flavors.  Even though there are a lot of spices in the ingredient list, you will find that they are staples to the Silk Road repertoire. Serve alongside basmati rice.
Serves 6
Ingredients
 
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
1/4 cup water
2 cups green peas
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh parsley, for garnish
Directions
  1. In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and turmeric and saute until they begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 7 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger, and saute until fragrant.
  2. Add the cauliflower and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the water, peas, salt, pepper and red pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is fork tender, but not mushy. Serve in a bowl or platter, garnished with parsley.

Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Toasted Hazelnuts (Vegan, Gluten Free)

When I started foraging for dinner ingredients this afternoon, I found a few autumn vegetables for this soup.  Cooler weather always has me craving snuggly socks, a toasty blanket and a soup that just warms me up. The great thing about cauliflower, beside the lovely potato like taste and all the vitamins, is that the soup get a creamy thick consistence without using cream, or any other kind of thickener. By also adding lemon to the soup you get this fresh taste. Top with toasted hazelnuts and  you get that warm nutty crunch that makes this a hearty winters’ soup. Purée in a blender for the smoothest, creamiest results. Make the soup up to a day ahead, and store in the refrigerator. Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.


Recipe courtesy of Chef Peter Berley, author of The Flexitarian Table

SERVINGS 8-10

INGREDIENTS

Sea salt
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1-2 head of cauliflower (3 pounds in total), separated into florets
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium or 3 large leeks — tough green parts discarded, the remainder thinly sliced and thoroughly rinsed
1-2 quarts vegetable stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup peeled hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Finely chopped fresh parsley


Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the lemon juice. Add the cauliflower and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and stir to coat, season with salt and cook until very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent browning. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a simmer. With a slotted spoon transfer the leeks and cauliflower to a blender or food processor and puree with some of the stock until smooth. Return the puree to the pot.

3. In a toaster oven, bake at 350F the hazelnuts for about 8 minutes or until fragrant.

4. Bring the soup to a simmer, season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Serve the soup garnished with the hazelnuts and parsley.

Cauliflower & Mushroom in Scallion Ginger Broth (Vegan, Gluten Free)


This dish is essentially a marriage of centuries-old Eastern and Western influences harmoniously combined into something of a Thai curry which always has chili and ginger. Chilies were introduced to Thai cooking during the late 1600s by Portuguese missionaries who had acquired a taste for them while serving in South America. The overpowering chili spice is toned down in this dish with yoghurt and enhanced with fresh ginger and scallions.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
2 cauliflower florets, divided into small florets
1 bunch scallions, trimmed
4 cloves garlic
2 inch piece fresh root ginger
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound large button mushrooms, sliced
1 small chili (seeds removed)
¼ cup tomato puree
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cilantro (coriander)
½ teaspoon salt
12 ounces of plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mango chutney (or any other of your choice)
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish

Directions

              1.  In a large stock pot, simmer cauliflower after reaching a boil in lightly salted water for 5 minutes.         Drain and set aside.
             2.  In food processor, puree scallions, ginger and garlic with 2 tablespoons of water.
             3.  Heat half of the oil in a frying pan and toss mushrooms and pureed mixture to sauté for 5 minutes or until browned.
             4.  Remove from pan, pour remaining oil and add tomato puree, ground coriander, salt, chili, chili powder and fry for a few minutes.
             5.  Add yogurt and stir well, bringing to a simmer. Once simmering add the chutney and whisk to blend and emulsify the ingredients together.
            6.  After 5 minutes, add cauliflower and mushrooms and gently simmer 10 minutes more. When done, garnish with cilantro and serve.