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Crab Cakes

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I make crab cakes once a year, not sure why only once but it’s sort of a tradition with me although it’s at no particular time but whenever I think of it or feel like having them. This recipe is from one of the older Martha Stewart cookbooks and is the only recipe for crab cakes I have ever used. It calls for jumbo lump  or lump crabmeat, has very little filler and is really delicious. As an aside I recommend lump not jumbo lump it makes it easier to form into patties and stays together better.  You can make your own bread crumbs by first grinding bread in a food processor then drying in the oven or use dried breadcrumbs from your supermarket. This is a super simple recipe that comes together very quickly.  They are not coated with bread crumbs although you could if you wish,  they have a nice amount of vegetables in them and are delicious served with cole slaw.

The recipe made exactly 12 nice sized cakes so my friends got a crab cake sandwich on fresh ciabatta rolls slathered with a dressing made from mayo, sriracha, pickle relish and ketchup then piled high with a homemade traditional cole slaw. I made a few changes in the recipe to suit me, Martha calls for 2 lbs crabmeat, I found 1 lb was sufficient and if I did use 2 lbs I would add an additional egg, more mayo and breadcrumbs.

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Crab Cakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookbook- Collected Recipes for Every Day

Makes 12 crab cakes or 22-24 appetizer size

1 cup dried breadcrumbs

2 large eggs lightly beaten

1 lb jumbo lump or lump crabmeat (picked over for cartilage)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley (I use parsley)

3 scallions  finely chopped

1 small red bell pepper- seeded and diced

1 small yellow bell pepper – seeded and diced (I didn’t have yellow so used green)

1 jalapeno pepper – seeded and diced (I used pickled jalapeño)

2/3 cup mayonaise

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Vegetable oil to fry

Gently mix all the ingredients together, you don’t want to break up the crab meat to much.

Form into patties, you can choose the size but make them quite thick. Heat some vegetable oil in  a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the crab cakes until browned on each side. Place them on paper towel or paper bag to drain. Serve hot. NOTE: Because there is very little filler you have to work a little to form into patties. If they absolutely won’t hold together add a little more mayo and breadcrumbs.

I happened upon a photo that the media outlet Pop Sugar took of Percy and put on their site. I was tickled to see this and thought he looked so cute smiling. This was taken at Pugs Take NYC event which by the way was a huge success raising $4150 for Pug Nation Rescue of LA and the little pug Bella has had the surgery and is being fitted for a wheelchair.

Photo from popsugar.com

Photo from popsugar.com

Pugs Take NYC, Block Party And No Time To Cook

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I haven’t really been cooking, at least not anything noteworthy or blog worthy. Yesterday Percy and I went into Manhattan for a big pug event, Pugs Take NYC, hundreds and hundreds of pugs converged on the big apple for a 2 day event. I volunteer for Pug Squad SOS and we held an auction/raffle to benefit Pug Nation Of Los Angeles and specifically Bella who needs surgery and a wheelchair.  The kick off of the event was at Central Park moving to Times Square and ending up on Wall Street for the auction/raffle. I donated baked goods to the auction, a gift basket filled with home baked goodies for humans and pugs. The auction/raffle was Halloween themed and pugs came in costume, there was a costume contest and there were celebrity pugs there, the Pugdashians were all decked out. It was so nice meeting our Instagram friends, so many were there and travelled from other cities to come to the event. I think I was more thrilled than Mr. Percy but thats ok, he was a good sport and indulged me.

I also just have to say how horrible it is that some sick criminal (terrorist?) decided to place a bomb in a dumpster on a crowded street in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood and 29 people were injured, thankfully no one died, cars were damaged, windows of nearby buildings were blown out. Police have surveillance video, hope they catch whoever did this, they found another bomb a few blocks away but thankfully were able to get it defused before it went off. A pipe bomb also exploded in New Jersey where a 5K charity race sponsored by the Marines was being run.  What is wrong with people?

The Pugdashians, pug celebrities

The Pugdashians, pug celebrities they are so over the top cute and well behaved

Percy does not like to be dressed or fussed with but I did manage to get a bow tie on him and he looked awfully cute. He literally layed on the step that faced the water (Brooklyn) and didn’t want to budge. When we finally got a car and headed back he kissed me almost the whole way home. He was one happy boy. He is a bit of a loner, curious at times but basically likes nothing more than laying on the bed or couch and resting, he’s a real homebody.

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This coming Saturday, September 24th is our block association’s annual block party.  It’s crunch time there is a lot to do coordinating everything. My days have been crazy busy, between work, the block party the auction (now past) hosting guests through air bnb and anything else that gets thrown in I just haven’t been cooking.  I also still continue with the dietary changes and have been doing really well. I feel like I have to get into some sort of groove and post more regularly. I really don’t have too much on my plate today and am making crab cakes, will post the recipe sometime this week, they are really good.  The weather here is starting to cool down and we get a sneak peek of the cool crisp Fall air from time to time. September and October in NYC can be a mixed bag weather wise. I so look forward to cooler temps, leaves changing color, apples, pumpkins and everything that Fall brings. Hoping that you all have a great week.

 

Stuffed Peppers, A Visit From A Friend And Nectarine And Meyer Lemon Preserves

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Two weeks ago a new farmers market popped up only 2 blocks from my home. It’s small only 2 stands one with baked goods and the other fresh fruit and vegetables. It does not have an abundant selection but the vegetables are good and fresh and it’s great to have a farmers market during the week and near me. I’ve shopped there the past two weeks and have some beautiful produce to work with.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve made stuffed peppers, a really long time, I’m not sure why because I like them. I usually stuff the peppers with meat and rice and vegetables and simmer them in a tomato sauce, actually when I first made them years ago I saw a recipe using Campbells tomato soup. I made them on the stove top and the peppers were soft and tender and the filling was delicious, I always topped them with some cheese which melted on the peppers and the sauce that you spoon over the pepper was really good. So I bought some tomato soup and decided to recreate this forgotten recipe. I have never seen a purple pepper before you can see it below, I thought it was so pretty I had to buy it and thought it would be nice to have an assortment of colors. These are great because they are already individually portioned and with a salad you have a great meal. For a vegetarian version you can add lentils or beans instead of the ground meat, even tofu would be good.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

Makes 4 large stuffed peppers

1 lb ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken

1  cup cooked rice, white or wild or both (I used wild rice)

1/2 cup cooked yellow split peas

1 medium onion chopped

1 large clove garlic minced

1 cup diced fresh tomato tomato

2 cups chopped kale (uncooked, it will cook down)

1 cup grated cheese, your choice, I used manchego and cheddar.

1 can tomato soup or tomato sauce + 1 can water (a can of soup is 10 3/4 oz)

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Boil your rice in salted water until it’s cooked al dente. You don’t want it completely cooked or it will turn to mush when it’s cooked in the pepper. In another pot boil the yellow split peas in salted water until soft but a little toothsome.

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Pour the tomato soup or sauce and water in a baking dish and whisk to combine. Clean your peppers, cut the top off and clean the inside of the pepper removing seeds and membranes. If the peppers won’t sit well cut/shave a very thin slice off the bottom of the pepper being careful not to cut a hole or the filling will fall out.

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and add the onion and garlic, cook until soft and transluscent. Add the ground meat and cook until meat is browned. Drain any fat, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Add a little more olive oil and cook the kale until softened. Chop the tomatoes and add to a mixing bowl along with the meat, onion,garlic and kale, mix in the rice, split peas and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Note: It’s important to season along the way then before you stuff the peppers season again if needed.  The cheese acts as a binding agent but you can also add a beaten egg.

Stuff each pepper all the way to the top gently pressing the filling into the pepper and place in the baking dish sitting in the tomato soup. Sprinkle a little cheese on top. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes, uncover, increase the temperature to 425 and cook another 15-20 minutes. The peppers should be soft but not falling apart.

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Over the weekend I got to meet Gerlinde- Sunny Cove Chef. Meeting other bloggers is wonderful and a great perk that comes with blogging,  she is such a lovely and sweet person. We had lunch at a local restaurant and walked around the neighborhood. Gerlinde is German by birth and lives in sunny California. She is also an accomplished and avid traveller, part of her blog is devoted to her travels, she calls it Wanderlust Blog. She brought me a gift, so sweet of her. Some meyer lemons from her tree, beautiful ceramic egg cups, some German pesto salt and some tea. I used one of the lemons with the nectarines to make this preserve. An unusual combination, maybe, but it works and the preserves are delicious, a little tart, a little sweet and the meyer lemon adds this wonderful flavor that is distinct to that citrus fruit. I only made one 16 oz jar using the nectarines I had that were over ripe.

Nectarine and Meyer Lemon Preserves

Made 1 16 oz jar

5-6 nectarines peeled and cut into slices- they were sizeable nectarines so if yours are smaller use more

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 tsp)

Juice of one meyer lemon (You will put half of the lemon in with the nectrarines while cooking)

Add the sliced nectarines to heavy bottom sauce pan along with the sugar, honey, cinnamon,lemon juice and half a lemon. Bring to a boil on medium high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until thick, test it by placing a spoonful on a cold saucer it should thicken when it’s ready. It cooked for close to an hour. Place in sterilized jar, seal and process with your preferred method. No shots of this open the jar is sealed, waiting for winter.

We Will Never Forget….

On the 15th Anniversary of the terrorist attack on NYC, Sept. 11, 2001 I thought I would simply post photo’s of what Ground Zero looks like now rather than those horrific photo’s of the attack and aftermath that are etched in our minds forever. The Photo’s are taken from a google search of the 9/11 Memorial site. I have never visited the museum nor any of the 9/11 Memorials, it’s too painful.

This is a ritual for me, it’s cathartic. I am compelled to do this because on the anniversary of this horrific tragedy I don’t want to forget, as painful as that is. We have to remember the lives that were lost, each one a member of someones family and as I watch the 9/11 memorial service on TV, as the families are reading the names of each victim their grief and sense of loss is palpable. I am also reminded that our safety and security is so fragile and it’s so important to be vigilant. Since 9/11/2001 our world has changed, not for the better I’m afraid. I am proud to be an American and a New Yorker but frankly live with fear that this can happen again here as it has elsewhere. Remember Paris, Nice, Brussels, California, Texas and any country city or state that has been touched by violent extremist fanatical terrorism. I timed this to post at the time the first plane struck the World Trade Center 8:46 AM.

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911-Memorial-WTC-Footprint-537x359 IMG_3041_0 78f0118ddce5bc0f4fc8417d917ea516 JL_911ANNIVERSARY_132 JL_911MUSEUM_28This was the deadliest attack to date world wide. There were 2,996 fatalities that includes those that lost their lives on the 4 planes that crashed, 2 into the towers, one into the Pentagon and one, because of heroic passengers went down in a field in Shanksville, PA rather than hitting its intended target. This number does not reflect the criminal terrorists that died perpetrating these heinous acts of violence.

As of August 2013 1,140 people who lived, worked or studied in Lower Manhattan have been diagnosed with cancer as a result of exposure to toxins. 1400 Emergency responders have died from cancer as a result of direct exposure to the toxins.

I also want to remember the canine first responders who were used in the search and rescue operation in the aftermath. Animal lovers from across this great nation came together to donate money and dog boots and other things needed by these canine heroes, they were in bad shape with cut and burned paws. They spent countless hours sniffing through the debris in the hopes of finding someone alive. The photo’s below are of one of the dogs Bretagne who died at the age of 17 in June of this year. A real canine hero who with her handler worked 12+ hours a day sorting through rubble. It’s a heartwarming story if you care to read it, she was treated as a hero in life and death.

Photo's from NBC Pet Stories

Photo’s from NBC Pet Stories

 

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Low Sugar

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I am working very hard to change my eating habits and as I’ve mentioned before one thing I have a real problem with is going without dessert. I made that cheesecake with the fruit topping which was delicious but I wanted to try something I didn’t have to bake. This is really a non recipe, only a few simple ingredients but it turned out absolutely delicious. Again it’s all about portion size and I made these in little cupcake papers. They are tiny but just enough to satisfy. What I love about this is that there is no cooking or baking required and it’s ready in a flash.

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Makes 6

8 oz cream cheese

2 tsp organic stevia

1 tsp vanilla

3 1/2 oz dark chocolate broken into pieces

1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream

Carrs whole meal biscuit

chocolate to drizzle

ground hazelnuts to garnish ((I used King Arthur toasted hazelnut flour)

Heat the half and half or heavy cream in the microwave to scalding approximately 40 seconds. Add the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth, if you need to put it back in the microwave do it for 20 seconds.

Place cream cheese,stevia and vanilla in the food processor and pulse until creamy. Add the chocolate mixture and process for a few seconds until combined and it’s smooth.

Place a whole meal biscuit at the bottom of the cupcake liners and spoon a little of the cheesecake mixture on top. Smooth the top and refrigerate until set. About 4 hours.

I used cupcake cups with straight sides but you can use regular cupcake liners. Removing was fairly simple, I ran a small flexible offset spatula to loosen the edges then tore the cupcake paper to release and using the spatula I lifted the cheesecake onto the plate.

Serve with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of ground hazelnuts.

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Roasted Eggplant And Tomato Parmigiana

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This is not a traditional eggplant parmigiana, I used what I had a ton of tomatoes and one large eggplant. I usually bread the eggplant and fry it but not this time, it’s a little different. Yesterday I oven roasted 3 baking sheets of tomatoes that I got at the farmers market. I bought an eggplant that I thought I would try to spiralize, it was too big and spongy and the spiralizer didn’t work on it. Cleaning out my freezer I found a small bag of bread crumbs (about 1 cup) that I had made from homemade bread that didn’t get eaten. So if you can see where I’m going I used what I had in the refrigerator and freezer and created a delicious casserole. The eggplant was cut into about 1/4 inch thick slices and roasted in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil.  Layer the tomatoes and eggplant with some ricotta and fresh mozzarella and there you have it. This is not really a recipe, I guestimated the amounts, with this type of dish you make it according to taste, it is open to interpretation, if you are watching your fat grams use less cheese or low fat/part skim cheese for example. I made two of them a little individual size for me and a larger one to take to my friends.  You don’t have to make everything at once, the tomatoes were roasted the day before and you can even make the whole thing and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Roasted Eggplant and tomato parmigiana

Made 2 casseroles one larger than the other

Roasted tomatoes (I guess I used about 2 cups of roasted tomatoes approximately)

eggplant (I used one very large eggplant)

1/2 shallot (1 lobe) chopped

1 large clove garlic minced

1 cup breadcrumbs

approximately 1/4 cup grated cheese plus more for the ricotta and casserole

ricotta (about 8 oz)

mozzarella cut into thin slices (I used most of an 8 oz fresh mozzarella)

4-5 basil leaves torn

Heat oven to 375, cut the tomatoes into rounds and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes just until they start to caramelize but are not dried out. Set aside. I made the tomatoes the day before.

Slice eggplant into rounds or quarters about 1/4 inch thick. Place on parchment (brush some oil on parchment sheet) lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 40-45 minutes until softened and lightly browned. Set aside.

Heat some olive oil and a little pat of butter in a skillet, mince some garlic and chop 1/2 shallot, cook on medium high heat until softened. Add the bread crumbs and pan toast until golden brown. Spoon into a bowl and cool. Add some (if I had to guess about 2 tbs) grated cheese of your choice, parmigiana, romano, asiago or all of the above and some chopped parsley.

Beat an egg in a mixing bowl, add a little grated cheese and season with salt and pepper, add the ricotta and stir to combine.

Putting it together

I used a small rectangular pyrex and small oval baking dish. Layer some of the roasted tomatoes on the bottom of the pan. Place some of the eggplant on top, sprinkle with a little of the breadcrumbs, spread some of the ricotta on top and then continue to layer adding a few of the torn basil leaves in between each layer. You can make this however you like, my top layer was tomatoes which I sprinkled with a little more bread crumbs, some grated cheese and some mozzarella. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 40-45 mintues or until bubbly and the cheese on top is lightly browned. Let sit for about 30 minutes to set before serving.

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Patatas Bravas

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Sonal from Simply Vegetarian777 has a very active facebook following and sometimes she will tag us with a challenge. The other day I received notification that Sonal had done just that.  She asked everyone to create or post a recipe using potatoes as an appetizer or side, no curries, it must be vegetarian and the potatoes should be in pieces not mashed or smashed. I immediately thought of one of my favorite potato dishes when I go for Tapas,  Patatas Bravas, crispy pieces of potato, deep fried and dipped in a spicy aioli. It really doesn’t get better than this. I found this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen and have to say their recipes are almost always spot on. I love the simple aioli using already prepared mayonnaise. I cut the recipe in half, it’s just me and I don’t need all of those potatoes.

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Patatas Bravas

The sauce

2 tsp neutral oil like vegetable or grapeseed

1 tsp garlic smashed to a paste (I used 1 large clove)

1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

1/4 tsp kosher salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

2 tbs tomato paste

1/4 cup water

2 tsp sherry vinegar

2 generous tbs mayonaise

Heat oil in small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the garlic. paprika, salt and cayenne and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook another 30 seconds. Add water and whisk on high heat until it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until it is slightly thickened. Pour sauce into a bowl, add vinegar and let cool completely. When cooled whisk in the mayonaise. Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, bring to room temperature before serving.

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The potatoes

1 1/2 lbs russet or yukon gold potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes.

1/4 tsp baking soda

Kosher salt

oil to fry

Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil, add the potatoes and baking soda. When they start boiling again cook for 1 minute. Drain the potatoes.

Return potatoes to the pan and cook over low heat shaking occasionally for another minute or until the water has evaporated. Remove from heat and add about 3/4 tsp of salt, stir with a rubber spatula until the potatoes are coated with a thick starchy paste. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet to cool, they can stand at room temperature up to 2 hours.

Heat about 2 1/2 cups of oil in large dutch oven to 375 degree’s. Add all the potatoes, they should be submerged in the oil. Cook stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon or spyder until golden brown and crispy, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Transfer potatoes to a paper towel lined wire rack on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. To serve spoon some sauce on the bottom of a platter. Arrange the potatoes on top and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

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Mini Lime Cheesecake Mock Soufflé

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I think I have mentioned before how much I love dessert, or anything sweet for that matter. Since changing my eating habits staying away from bread, rice and pasta, monitoring portion size, cutting down (almost out) refined sugar etc… dessert has been challenging. I have to have something sweet even if it’s a yogurt and fruit or a bite of chocolate I’ve got to have it. Years ago when I went on the South Beach plan I bought the book and there are some recipes in it for all the different phases. I saw these little cheesecakes and thought I would give it a try. I altered the recipe a bit and noted the changes in the ingredients. These little bites couldn’t be any easier or quicker, no crushing cookies and pressing them into a pan, all you do is put a whole cookie in the bottom of a cupcake or muffin liner. Spoon the filling on top and bake. I am going to try these with chocolate I think. It’s a nice little dessert, good and satisfying. I called them mock souffle’s because they rose like a souffle in the baking cup and they are mock because it’s not the method in which you make a souffle. They are very light, not really cheesecake like at all.) I have not cut fat out but have reduced greatly the amount of sugar I eat, I like what Julia Child said “if you are afraid of butter, use cream” I remember watching her show once and she mentioned that she eats whatever she wants but in small portions and that was how she stayed trim. She was such an amazing woman and has so many great quotes.

I am bringing these little desserts with me to Fiesta Friday #135, the co hosts this week are Me, yep me and Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook. It’s a holiday weekend, can’t believe it’s Labor Day the summer flew by and now we are coming to Fall which is my FAVORITE season. Crisp weather, apples and pumpkins (pumpkin spice latte) sweaters and jackets and leaves turning gorgeous shades or orange and gold. Yesterday,  Sept. 1 at 5:07 AM there was a solar eclipse which occurred simultaneously with the New Moon. Very cool!!

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven they deflated so quickly I couldn’t get a photo quick enough

Mini Lime Mock Souffle Cheesecakes

adapted from a recipe in The South Beach Diet

Makes 12

12 Carr’s whole meal biscuits (recipe calls for nila vanilla wafers)

1 8 oz package neufchatel cheese softened to room temperature (or cream cheese)

3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream (recipe call for 3/4 cup non fat cottage cheese proccessed until smooth)

2 large eggs

2 tbs + 1 tsp organic stevia (recipe calls for 1/4 cup +2 tbs organic cane sugar)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbs lime zest

1 tbs lime juice

In food processor add the cream cheese, sour cream or creme fraiche and pulse to combine, add the lime zest and juice, eggs and vanilla and process until creamy and smooth about a minute. In the book they have you process the cottage cheese and then scrape it into a mixing bowl and using a hand held mixer combine everything, I decided to save myself time and dishes and did it all in the processor and it worked great.

Pre heat oven to 350. Place paper liners in muffin tin and add 1 cookie to each liner. Spoon the cheesecake mixture on top about half full. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit. Note: I didn’t use a muffin tin instead I had some sturdy liners and I just place them on a sheet pan. Let cool completely then peel away the liner from the cheesecake. In the book they top it with non fat vanilla yogurt, I served with some fresh fruit, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry. On the side is some whipped cream or coconut whipped cream lightly sweetened would be equally delicious.

IMG_5397Percy and I are on Instagram, I think I publish more photo’s of him than what I cook. He recently was invited to be a member of  “grumble inc.” bad boy (and glam girl) pugs and other dogs. The grumble is great fun but is also is a notice board for lost and abused pets as well as a group of caring and loving pet parents that help out other pets in need. A voice for the Voiceless. Here is Percy’s photo that was used announcing that he is a Grumble brother, he’s so cute!

#webadbutnotbadbad

#webadbutnotbadbad fa shizzle

Pizza With Cauliflower Crust

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In my quest to eat less carbs and still hoping to have some of the same flavors that I love I discovered that you can make pizza with a cauliflower crust. I knew about cauliflower mash (instead of potatoes), and cous cous and rice. This did not start out to be pizza crust, at first I planned on a cauliflower and cheese bake, then thought I would do a roasted cauliflower soup (still too hot out) it then morphed into this pizza crust. Since it was not originally meant to be used for pizza I didn’t follow the directions for making it. They have you grate raw cauliflower and depending what recipe you use steam or dry roast in a skillet. My method may not be entirely orthodox and because of this I had to add a little bit of flour, I used only 1/4 cup of spelt flour along with egg and cheese to bind. The cauliflower was steam roasted first in the oven then covered in grated parm/asiago/romano, drizzled with a little olive oil and roasted again uncovered this time until lightly browned and the cauliflower is soft. Now Cauliflower has a high water content and depending which method you use they have you squeeze out the water with a towel. Because I dry roasted the water pretty much evaporated except for a few drops. I then blitzed it in the food processor mixed in the flour, egg and some taleggio cheese (grated) laid it on a cast iron pizza pan on some parchment (sprayed with cooking spray) and baked at 425 degree’s for about 25 minutes. Before baking I grated a little taleggio on top. When making a cauliflower crust you have to pre bake otherwise you will have a soupy mess.

The pizza turned out great and I love that I have the flavor of pizza without feeling bad about eating it.

Preparing the Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower cut into florets (my cauliflower was medium size)

grated cheese

olive oil

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375 degree’s.  Place the cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with foil, or you can steam it if you like. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Remove the foil and drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and grated cheese of your choice. I make a blend of parmigiana, romano and asiago. Place back in the oven and roast until it is very tender and lightly browned.  Let it cool and place in a sieve or colander over a bowl or plate, cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight. Cauliflower has quite a bit of water and you want to make sure it is pretty dry when you make the pizza dough.

pulsed in processor

pulsed in processor

Making the dough

makes one 12 inch pizza

2 1/2 cups of cauliflower crumbs (there will probably be leftover cauliflower, I put in a ziplock and froze)

1 egg lightly beaten

1/4 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup grated cheese

1/2 cup grated melting cheese like mozzarella or I used taleggio (Highly recommend taleggio)

Note: If you use all of the cauliflower (more than 2 1/2 cups) you should add an additional egg and a little more spelt flour and when grating either taleggio or fresh mozzarella it should be cold, the cheese is soft and even softer at room tempurature.

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Place the cauliflower crumbs in a mixing bowl add the egg, flour and cheeses and form into a cohesive ball. Heat the oven to 425 degree’s and line a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment, spray lightly with cooking spray. Press the dough onto the parchment into whatever shape you like, square, rectangular or round. Grate some more taleggio or mozzarella on top and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool, after 10 minutes transfer the parchment sheet to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before putting the pizza together.

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Top your pizza with whatever you like I topped with roasted tomatoes and zucchini, mozzarella, dollops of pesto and grated cheese. It’s really so good and I didn’t miss the regular pizza crust at all.

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Zucchini Pesto Lasagna And A Kale Lentil Salad

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Here are a quick couple of recipes that I have made that turned out well and I wanted to share them with you. We had 2 days where the temps were under 90 woo hoo!! We are back up almost at 90 again but I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I harvested my basil from the garden and made a big jar of pesto, also working on harvesting my herbs and drying them so I have for the winter. The lasagna uses some of the pesto and the zucchini I got at the farmers market. It’s so simple to make and really delicious. I haven’t been eating meat lately, I can’t bring myself to eat it right now. The Kale and lentil salad provides protein from the lentils and cheese and pistachio a very nice substitute and delicious. The lighting was weird on the photo of the lasagna, it was daylight but I guess the natural light wasn’t sufficient, the pan is sitting on a white cloth that looks purple or blue.

Zucchini Pesto Lasagna

Serves 2

1 or 2 large zucchini cut into thin strips approxmately 1/4 inch thick

roasted tomato (you don’t need much it’s only for the bottom of the pan)

2-3 tbs pesto

mozzarella

ricotta

grated parmigiana or romano cheese

olive oil

Heat oven to 375, brush the zucchini strips with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and roast until lightly browned, it only took about 20 minutes. If you don’t have roasted tomatoes you can make those at the same time. I used an oval roasting pan and placed some tomato at the bottom, add a layer of zucchini, spread some of the pesto on each zucchini slice, dollop on some ricotta, a little grated or sliced mozzarella and sprinkle with grated cheese. Repeat and top with mozzarella and grated cheese. Bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

lentil and kale salad

kale and lentil salad

Lentil and kale salad

Serves 2

1 cup dry lentils washed

1 carrot cut into pieces

1 shallot

3 sprigs of thyme

water to cover the lentils

salt and pepper

In skillet sauté the shallot and carrot, add the lentils and water, salt and pepper and cook until lentils are al denté, add more water if you need to during the cooking. Rinse the lentils and set aside.

Assembling the salad

Kale leaves washed (as much as you want)

some crumbled feta (again as much as you want)

handful roasted pistachio chopped

tomato chopped.

Place the kale in a large salad bowl drizzle with olive oil and massage until softened. Add the lentils, tomato pistachio and feta. To dress just whisk a little honey, thyme leaves and white wine vinegar together and pour on the salad. Keeps beautifully even until the next day.

In closing I made another parfait, I love eating them, they are delicious and for me guilt free. This is just Carr’s whole meal biscuit, greek yogurt, peaches and blackberries. Thats it!!

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