Tag Archives: tomato sauce

Cauliflower Pizza Crust ? A MUST TRY

11 May
Pizza Ingredients

Ingredients for Pepperoni Pizza with a cauliflower pizza crust

With Gluten-Free/Paleo/Ketogenic interest remaining at a fever pitch, it seems everyone is looking for terrific recipes with low/no carbs and no gluten. I myself am following the Ketogenic Diet; the older I get the more difficult it has become to lose weight and keep it off, damn it! (That gin has no carbs is a lifesaver.) But even if you couldn’t care less about avoiding gluten, today’s recipe — homemade pizza with a homemade cauliflower crust — is a mind-blowing must try. I’ll say ‘damn it’ one more time because this pizza is so damn good.

Pizza!

Pepperoni Pizza with a cauliflower crust

I owe this stunner to my wonderful friend Jeff, an amazing chef who constantly teaches me about cooking. He stumbled onto the recipe, perfected it and encouraged me to give it a try. Jeff and his husband Owen, btw, are in the ‘could care less’ about avoiding gluten camp. In fact, they eat more gluten than any people I’ve ever met… and yet both are annoyingly super slender. I’ll say “damn it” one more time in envy. Fortunately I love them too much to stay very annoyed. 

Other than one caveat in the next paragraph, this is a very easy recipe anyone can master. Those who follow the blog know I am not a baker and avoid anything resembling dough at all cost. I tried making my own homemade pizzas with dough a few times; what came out of the oven looked a lot more like amoebas than pizza. So if I can do this, you can too. And you will make it over and over and over again. I’ve been making these pizzas at least twice a week as of late, often more. This doesn’t so much replicate pizza exactly but gives you a new twist that is healthy, extremely tasty and gets crispy just like good thin crust pizza.

The one caveat? It involves a purchase. I don’t think I’ve ever suggested buying anything on this blog, save once giving a shoutout to buying a cast iron skillet, which is very cheap, will change your life, will pass on to the next generation and is also very effective if you have a home invasion. For this easy cauliflower crust to work, however, a very particular pizza stone is needed:

baking-steel-superior-alternative-pizza-stone1-798x798_1024x1024

Metal Pizza Stone at bakingsteel.com

This remarkable piece of equipment is $89 dollars. Trust me. If you like pizza of any kind, this metal pizza steel will live in your oven 24/7 and you will use it constantly. It has many other uses than this cauliflower pizza, from regular pizza to creating incredible pie crusts. But I guarantee you will make this cauliflower pizza all the time.

You can get the steel at bakingsteel.com, a wonderful company run by incredibly nice people with terrific customer service. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Click here to check out the steel.

Interest piqued? Here’s how you do it. 

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST

(for a basic pepperoni pizza)

Equipment

Baking Steel pizza steel

parchment paper

Pizza Peel (optional but makes it ridiculously easy. Click here for a cheap one.)

Ingredients (for a basic pepperoni pizza)

Crust

1 large beaten egg

2 oz powder fine Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or Pecorino Romano)

8 oz. riced cauliflower

Note: Trader Joe’s sells bags of fresh riced cauliflower. Fresh is a must as you want the natural water that remains in the vegetable. Also, it’s a very good idea to weigh the cheese and cauliflower rice if you want this to turn out perfectly.

Pizza

approx. 2/3 cup pizza sauce 

4 oz grated Fontina or Mozzarella cheese (Fontina works wonders here)

Pepperoni slices

Note: Trader Joe’s sells a pretty terrific pizza sauce but I love making my own, see recipe below.

Directions

On the center rack of your oven, preheat your steel at 450 degrees for a minimum of 45 minutes. This is a must to get the crust just right. As Jeff says, your finished crust will thank you for your patience.

In a bowl, combine the beaten egg and the cheese to form a paste. Add the riced cauliflower and any seasoning. (I always add about 1/2 t of both salt and pepper, and often some fresh thyme leaves and/or a sprinkle of cracked red pepper.) Mix well. To insure an even consistency, use your hands towards the end and squish it all up really well. Jeff calls this ‘cooking therapy’ and it is indeed fun. 

Mound all the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper. (I make this directly on my pizza peel.) Using your fingers and your palms, press down onto the mound, slowly spreading it out into an evenly thick round shell approximately 10.5 inches in diameter. EVEN is key here. Remember, if I can do this, you can do this. Make sure it is all connected with no gaps. 

Dough before bake

Pizza crust before baking

Slide the parchment onto the baking steel and roast for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

dough after bake

Pizza Crust after baking

(You can make the crust hours in advance. Once cool, just cover with foil or wrap. I usually do this when I am going to make more than one pizza. Just make sure the steel has been preheated again before making the actual pizza.)

*While the crust is baking or cooling, place your pepperoni slices on two layers of paper towels, cover with two more and put in the microwave for 50 seconds. This is a genius trick from Jeff. It removes a lot of grease from the pepperoni you don’t want watering down the pizza and ensures terrifically crisp pepperoni on your finished pizza.

Pepperoni after

Pepperoni after the microwave

When the crust has cooled, top your crust with 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup pizza sauce. Sprinkle evenly with 4 oz of grated Fontina cheese. Lay as many slices of pepperoni as you want, covering the cheese. Slide the pizza back on the baking steel and roast 10-12 minutes, until the top is to your liking. 

Remove from the oven and, if desired, top with chopped herbs and/or grated parmesan or pecorino romano. Slice and serve!

Pizza!

Pepperoni Pizza with a cauliflower crust

This is a basic recipe. The possibilities are endless. Pesto pizza, white pizza, any toppings you like, go crazy! You will thank Jeff. You will thank the Baking Steel company. You will thank me.

LOVELY TOMATO SAUCE

This sauce is perfect for many uses. I love it so much I eat it with a spoon. One of its many uses is as a terrific pizza sauce. I always double it. It freezes beautifully and you can always use a good tomato sauce.

Ingredients

2 T olive oil

1 small onion finely minced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

One 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, pureed

2 T chopped herbs: basil, thyme, oregano, whatever you like

One T butter

Directions

Combine oil and onion in a large saucepan and cook over medium-low until the onion is softening. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring, until the onion is soft and the garlic is golden but not brown. 

Add the tomatoes, stir to blend and simmer, uncovered, stirring every few minutes for 15 minutes. Add the herbs and continue to cook until the sauce thickens. Salt and pepper to taste.

When the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency, add the pad of butter and stir to incorporate. 

If you want an incredibly smooth sauce, you can process in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. Enjoy. 

That’s Not Olive Oil In Your Cabinet…

2 Nov

3 years ago I traveled to France with my great friend, the lovely Stacey Batzer, for a week long cooking class with Patricia Wells, about whom I’ve written here. The entire week remains a highlight of my cooking adventures, in part because of all the people we met in our group. One of the couples in the group, Raleigh and Burt Fohrman, have become two of my favorite people on the planet. I deeply love and respect these two. Not only are they pure pleasure to spend time with, they amaze and inspire me with their generous approach to both life and the people around them. They also have many amazing accomplishments. To coin a phrase, “I wanna be like them when I grow up.”

Raleigh and Burt Fohrman

Raleigh and Burt Fohrman

One thing they did on their ‘free time’ was start an olive oil farm, Riebli Point Ranch. And in recent years, their olive oil has won major awards. I am not being my normal hyperbolic self when noting I take sips of this stuff out of the bottle. It’s that good. I bought ten bottles this year to get me through until next Nov, when the oil is harvested and immediately sent out.

Last year, Burt emailed me about one of my posts (he’s a faithful reader, god bless him) and shocked me by explaining much of what is sold in stores as “Olive Oil” simply is not. I asked him to do a guest post because many of us use so much olive oil. This is important for people to know. And if anyone knows olive oil, Burt is the guy. So without further ado, here is his terrific and informative post.

(By the way, they had such a bumper crop this year, for the first time ever they can take new customers and orders. Burt’s email is at the end of the post if you are interested. Or go to the website by clicking here.)

Freshly harvested olives

Freshly harvested olives

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL:

THE BAD,THE GOOD AND THE IMPROBABLE

THE BAD– FAKE OLIVE OIL

Over the years we often wondered why some extra virgin olive oils were exceptional, some quite mediocre and others just awful. That was before we began our education and planted our own orchard.  Many of you probably had similar experiences because you thought you were tasting extra virgin olive oil but were actually consuming fake, adulterated or rancid oil.

To continue reading Burt’s great piece, click below

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