Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pesto and Olive Pizza - Low Carb Crust

Pizza is my favorite food, hands down, no competition. And when you end up on restricted diets - no gluten, low-carb - the alternatives generally leave quite a bit to be desired. Enter this crust.

I cannot claim to have created it - that would be Fat Head Pizza Crust, whomever that is. But I did find it on the internet, and it is blow your mind good! Soft but chewy crust, crisp bottom, good flavor. Who'd a thunk it!

It does require a microwave, and in my wildest imaginings I cannot fathom how the creator dreamed up this recipe. But it works wonderfully. So prepare yourself for some delicious gluten-free, low-carb pizza!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Four Cheese Eggplant Gratin

Eggplant is one of the most gorgeous vegetables out there, seducing me every time I see it at Farmers' Markets - that radiant purple, that glossy exterior. How can you resist!

Sadly so many people admit they don't know what to do with it. Here's the recipe which turns that beautiful vegetable into a happy meal for all. Yes, it is full of cheese, so save up for it if you are trying to reduce your dairy intake, trust me it's worth it!

This dish originates in Sicily, where cooking with anchovies is part of the regional character. For those of you claiming you don't like the little fishes, please trick yourself into leaving them in the recipe. They melt into the cheese and give the whole dish the finishing touch that is essential. You will thank yourself in the end.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Broccoli Fritters with Texan Queso

Decades ago Barbara Bush, then First Lady, created quite a stir when she admitted to hating broccoli. There was such an uproar, possibly because it was what so many people were already thinking but of course it made the broccoli lovers stand taller and proclaim their love to the heavens. Guess what camp I was in!

When you come across eaters who are luke-warm on broccoli, this is the recipe to serve them. Broccoli fritters smothered in queso, which is Spanish for cheese but really means spicy cheese dip if you're from the former Republic of Texas!

I love to make this with broccoli that has been patiently waiting in my crisper for inspiration and it's not coming. Simply cut it up, place it in a large pot of water that covers it, bring to a boil then drain. This will create the perfect texture of cooked by not over-cooked broccoli for your fritters, and you can do it in advance which makes this recipe come together super fast!

The photo above is not the most glamorous, but don't be fooled, it's a party in your mouth! And I went with orange cheddar instead of my usual white since Texan queso traditionally uses velvetta. The color contrast is more fun this way as well!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Grilled Escarole with Caesar Dressing and Sungold Tomatoes

If you have not yet discovered how delicious grilling your salad greens is, now is the time!

Sure, you can be like the crowd and grill your romaine or your kale but why not step way outside the box and get some escarole. Yes! Escarole!

Escarole is part of the bitter green family, which is so nutritious and good for you but sometimes hard to swallow because it is literally bitter, at least when it is raw. But grilling almost anything will not only wilt the greens bring out its hidden sweetness. Drizzle it with the delicious caesar dressing and even the most skeptical of eaters will be won over!

While you can definitely grill on the stovetop, which I do in the wintertime, grilling over wood charcoal gives it a great smoky flavor that only wood imparts.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Spanish Prawns

Before arriving in California, jumbo shrimp is what I referred to the above deliciousness. But apparently, out west they are prawns! Either way, this is an amazing and fast dish that showcases their tender sweetness.

I love how looking at new cookbooks makes your imagination take flight! Pawing through Rustica: A Return to Spanish Home Cooking made my mouth water (and my fingers type in flights to Spain!) but what mostly came of it was a desire to make prawns with paprika.

If you can find Spanish paprika, lucky you! My version made do with what we had at the local co-op and it was still transportive!

This is a quick weeknight meal that usually ends up being served alongside a big salad and lots of crusty bread to sop up all of the great pan juices. If you have a bumper crop of parsley in your garden or brought home a huge bunch from the farmers' market, here's the perfect dish to use it in.

Prepare everything else so that when you start making the prawns, everything else is ready since these cook fast and you need to pay attention to them exclusively so they don't overcook.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Zucchini Crust Pizza

Zucchini - it's the epitome of summer vegetables and you love it...until you hate. Because you bought a whole six-pack of starter plants without realizing that not only do the plants get really big but once they start producing, that cute little zucchini you saw yesterday will be the size of a baseball bat by the end of the weekend.

What to do with such abundance? (besides leaving them on your neighbors’ doorsteps, anonymously of course.)

Make Pizza Crust. Yes, crust. It sounds like some frou frou healthy thing, but in reality it is a delicious alternative to waiting hours for your pizza crust to rise. The added bonus is that it gets some vegetables in you and your family in a sneaky and tasty way.

Essentially, zucchini pizza crust is a large zucchini fritter. Fritters are shredded or chopped vegetables combined with egg and cheese and pan-fried to a crisp. Doesn’t that sound mouthwatering? So add some pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and a few toppings and you have a winner.

Since my first paid job was in a pizza joint, run by actual Sicilians, I kind of consider myself a bit of an expert on making pizza. The main way people ruin homemade pizza is putting on too many toppings. It prevents the pizza from cooking quickly and can make it soggy, leaving you dejected and disappointed. Secondly, grate your own cheese! Pre-grated cheese loses it moisture in the bag and your pizza will suffer. Lastly, make a good crust. Obviously, that is not an issue since you are going to make a zucchini crust. So let’s get to it!