Take a walk on the wild side with cauliflower
The veggies are coming in hot and heavy. My CSA (community supported agriculture) box arrives each Saturday, full of promise and I must perform. Yes, I must do all these amazing vegetables that are grown locally, organically and tended with loving care, justice. We are in the middle of the most abundant part of our growing season and I will not weenie out and let them rot. I will find recipes that use them. (pant, pant)
If I sound maniacal, it is because I am. But as we all know, necessity is the mother of invention, and I’ve got to admit, I’m getting pretty inventive on the use of veggies. Stir fries are the new go-to dinner around here and our main stay, large salads, are always in the fridge. I even welcome the giant cauliflower arriving in the box. I’m talking GIANT, humongous, enormous! I took one look at that beauty and knew exactly what I was going to do with it. (Mu ha ha ha!)
One of my favorite things to do with cauliflower this time of year is make pizza crusts that are a most excellent canvas to serve tons of veggies on. I know it sounds weird, but honestly it is delicious. The hubby and I have actually gotten to where we truly prefer cauliflower pizza crust over bread crusts. It takes a bit of work but you will thank me, I promise. Just take a walk on the wild side and try it. One of the great benefits to this pizza crust is that it is low carb, no grain and very healthy for you. (Unlike most pizza)
I have found some great secrets to making cauliflower pizza crusts after a lot of testing. Okay, let’s start from the very beginning. To prepare your cauliflower, you can either grate it with a regular cheese grater or let the food processor do the work for you. I personally like to use my food processor. I cut the cauliflower into small pieces, put in the processor in small batches and pulse to finely mince. It doesn’t work to well to just set the processor to “on” as all the cauliflower just sticks to the side of the bowl and end of mincing. So remember, just pulse.
If you are in a hurry, you can prepare the cauliflower the day before and keep in the fridge till you are ready. This really speeds up the prep time when making the pizzas. When I get one of those mammoth cauliflowers in the box, I will sometimes mince the whole thing when I have time, so that I can make this pizza crust a couple days in a row. (We never tire of pizza!) Just remember that the cauliflower will go bad faster in this state.
This is one dish you must let your imagination and the contents of your fridge run wild. Just remember that if you are using “wet” veggies like zucchini, onions, eggplant or mushrooms, it pays to sauté them first so they won’t make a puddle around your pizza crust when cooking. Top with fresh tomatoes after taking the completed pizzas from the oven, for similar reasons. Most of all, have fun and use up a bunch of veggies in a creative, fun and healthy manner.
Cauliflower crusted pizza
Coconut flour can be found at Mother Nature’s. Veggies can be found on the street corner or in your neighbor’s back yard. You can make this crust without cheese if you wish, just add one more egg to the mix.
2 cups of grated or finely minced cauliflower
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1-2 garlic cloves finely minced
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of dried basil
OR 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, minced
2 tablespoons of coconut flour
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
Heat up the oven to 425 degrees. While that is heating up, mix the cheese, garlic , salt and basil with the cauliflower till well mixed. Crack your egg in the bowl and blend it in well. Sprinkle the coconut flour over the cauliflower mixture then mix it together. Then drizzle the olive oil over the whole mix and stir some more till all happy and mixed together. Your batter will be wet and loose, unlike a nice doughy bread.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I like to make my paper stick to the sheet by lightly oiling the baking sheet then laying the paper on the oiled surface and pressing it down and taa daa! Stuck. Next drop big blops of the batter into 2 equal portions on the paper and then pat them out into nice neat circles about 1/2 inch thick. Pop into the oven to bake for about 10-15 minutes or so or till the crusts are browning around the edges and the center springs back when you touch it.
Remove from the oven and spread with pizza sauce, cooked meat, veggies of choice and thin slices of fresh mozzarella (my favorite). Pop back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted to your satisfaction. Pull out of the oven and slide onto plates and eat immediately. (With a knife and fork) Enjoy your walk on the wild side! You won’t go back.
Suggested pizza toppings
Ground Italian bulk sausage, cooked
Shredded cooked chicken
Cooked bacon, crumbled
Sliced olives or roasted garlic
Sautéed mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, or fennel blubs
Chopped sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, and kale
Thinly sliced fresh mozzarella, or grated provolone, or crumbled feta