Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Over a month ago I was strolling through Trader Joe’s and saw this frozen riced cauliflower and just had to grab it, why not?  Then last week I was going to a friend’s place for a potluck dinner and (1) wanted to try something new and (2) she is gluten intolerant. I remembered I had the riced cauliflower so had to see what I could use it for. Started looking stuff up and came across some recipes for Cauliflower Crust Pizza. That sounded great! Especially since my cauliflower was already riced.  The recipe I ended up using was from the Lucky Penny Blog.  It’s both gluten and dairy free.

image

Ingredients

1 medium sized head of cauliflower – should yield close to 3 cups once processed (this is where I used the riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crust it even more between you fingers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
optional a few shakes of crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons almond meal (my friend has a Vitamix — this took 2 seconds to make)
1 tablespoon (or more if desired) nutritional yeast (you could also omit this entirely if you like) — didn’t use it
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg

Directions

-Place a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil or brush the parchment with olive oil.

*I skipped these next 2 steps with the riced cauliflower.

[Wash and throughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Don’t get one the size of your head unless you are planning on making 2 pizzas. Cut off the florets, you don’t need much stem. Just stick with the florets. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. See above photo. You should end up with about 3 cups cauliflower “snow”. Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool for a bit before attempting the next step.

Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and wring the water out of it. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a chewy pizza like crust instead of a crumbly mess.]

-Dump cauliflower into a bowl. Now add all your spices, your almond meal, your nutritional yeast (if using), and your olive oil. Mix the mixture to incorporate all the ingredients. Now add your egg and mix away again. Hands tend to work best.

-Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly, you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don’t make it too thick or thin either.

-Using a cutting board slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden brown and the edges crisp up. Remove from oven.  *It took a bit more time to cook that it called for.  This is likely because I forgot to heat the baking sheet before I put the pizza in the oven.  So I cooked it a bit longer, probably about 10 more minutes.

image

-Add your toppings and slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 minutes until the toppings are warm. If using cheese for a topping, you can pop the pizza under the broiler to get the cheese melted fast without burning the crust.

I put manchego, olives and tomatoes on the pizza, then topped it with arugula when it came out of the oven.  It was a bit moist, but nice and crisp on the edges.  Very tasty and I’ll have to try it again.

image

Paleo Brownie Bliss

I make birthday cookies for all my friends.  The friend on the roster last week is gluten intolerant and lactose intolerant, so it always makes it even more fun to bake something using gluten-free flour, xantham gum and/or other random goodies and no butter, milk, etc.  Well she told me she’s on the Paleo diet now and asked if I could make something based on that and mentioned there are good brownie recipes out there.  To the search engines I go…what I ended up deciding on were some Paleo Brownie Bites (aka bliss, heaven, death by chocolate), which I found from a great food blog, The Lucky Penny Blog.  They don’t require baking, have no crazy ingredients.  The only thing you need is to think a little bit ahead (for refrigeration).  And based on my tastes and the folks I knew they were going to, I made very few changes.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw walnut halves and pieces
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 heaping cup soft medjool dates, pitted (about 17 – 20 medium sized dates — I bought the small tub at Safeway)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut milk OR any liquid sweetener, like honey, agave, or maple syrup if you want your brownie bites to be sweeter — I used Maple Agave Syrup from Trader Joe’s
2/3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut to roll them in (I’m not a fan of coconut so I rolled half of them in crushed walnuts, the others half I left plain)

IMG_2743

Directions:

Place pitted dates in a bowl of warm water for a minute to soften

IMG_2751

Add unsweetened cocoa powder and walnuts to food processor, blend until walnuts become fine crumbs.

IMG_2754

Drain dates and place in the food processor with the cocoa walnut crumbs. Add vanilla. Process until mixture starts to combine. It may not fully combine until liquid is added. Add coconut milk or liquid sweetener (if desired) half a tablespoon at a time. Pulse. You will know the consistency is right when the dough combines into a ball in the middle of the food processor.  If dough is too runny add a tablespoon or more cocoa powder to bring it back to a dough like state.

IMG_2756

 

IMG_2759

Transfer dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I cooled mine overnight, you could also freeze it for faster results.

Once dough is cold, put coconut crumbs (or in my case, walnut crumbs) from earlier into a shallow bowl. I used the great Pampered Chef Chopper to get them nice and finely chopped.
IMG_2763
Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and roll them between hands to form balls. Roll balls in crumbs, pressing the crumbs gently into the ball. Continue until all dough is gone. You can moisten your hands with water if the dough begins to stick to your palms as you roll.

IMG_2764

 

 

IMG_2766

I made some smaller balls and bigger ones.  When done, kept them in the fridge.  Took them to my friend the next night for the party.  They were a huge hit!  Amazing!!  None left.  I might add a bit of flavor kick next time with a little spiced rum (as long as Paleo followers don’t mind) or hint of cinnamon.  But, I am so glad my friend requested something like this because it was an awesome recipe for me to find.  I also love that this recipe has no dairy in it so those who are lactose intolerant can easily enjoy some brownies.  Heaven, bliss, chocolate.