Tag Archives: {sugar-free}

Seasons Change: Bœuf Bourguignon

I woke up this morning to the all too familiar dark grey clouds of a chilly autumn Nordic morning.  Yesterday was The Final Day of Summer, and if you weren’t outside enjoying it here in Copenhagen, you might’ve been the only one.   Every street I aimlessly roamed was filled with beaming moment-seizers, devouring ice cream cones and beers in as little clothing as humanly possible.  Last ditch effort at vitamin D absorption, no doubt.

Nørrebro

But alas, Copenhagen’s familiar face is back, and I imagine she’ll be sticking around awhile.  You may never catch me admitting this in public, but I’m pretty excited about fall.  Rainy days and grey mornings mean “hygge” to me, as much as I consciously long for sunshine when it’s absent.  They also mean finally getting things done that I put off in favor of basking in the sunshine all summer long, and dinner parties, and slow-cooked stews expelling delicious aromas that permeate your entire building.

During the summer I can’t bear the idea of eating warm things, and more importantly cooking warm things in an already hot kitchen.  But truth be told, I’m desperate to add them back to my meals by about mid-August.  I think this might be a body constitution thing – heavy and warm foods ultimately feel grounding for me (for you Ayurvedic Dosha fans out there, I’m indeed a textbook Kapha).  Conflicting with this need was the desire to have more sun, and so I strategically planned a trip to Seattle to visit family and old friends for the last two weeks of August in order to get an extension on my summer.  And extend my summer did, but what I also got was an extension on my wanton need for stew.

When seasons change I tend to have this pulsating need to follow suit.  While you’re lucky enough to not be in my head right now, I’ve already rearranged my entire apartment and organized my attic in my mind.  These are the sorts of things that happen when I become anxious, and feel the winds pick back up again – a typical reaction to seasons changing.  It’s at these moments that I subconsciously acknowledge that now is a good time to spend a day in my kitchen.  And what a better way to come back to earth than the earthy aromas of bœuf bourguignon?

I have always associated bœuf bourguignon with France.  Until this morning, I had actually never dared attempt it myself, sure that it would never match the expectations set while sitting in a 400 year old home in the Champagne region of France as my good friend’s husband – a chef – made a pot of it over a real fire in the chimney in a dutch oven that looked like it might’ve belonged to his great grandparents it was so used.  He let it simmer there for eight hours, during which we explored the region, caught up on each other’s lives over an old wooden farm table, played with their children, reminisced about the days working at Château de Nitray and about how long ago 21 years old feels now.  I remember thinking then that there was no way I’d ever be able to duplicate that moment, or those flavors, ever.

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But this weekend I was determined to try.  I spent my afternoon yesterday at one of my favorite Copenhagen places, Torvehallerne, absorbing all of the delectable things on display set out specifically to tempt every passer by.  I restrained from buying more figs, because I’ve eaten them already four times this week.  Already sure a stew was in my future, I eventually ended up at Kødbilen to see what was on order.  After a friendly conversation about the muscle fibers in the hind legs of a cow versus those in the front, I walked away with 2.5kg of grassfed Angus for 250kr and a plan to finally attempt the “impossible.”

While I was certainly not transported back to France, I have to admit that this stew served every purpose I intended it to.  Upon the first bite I felt my feet land back on the ground.  I (momentarily, at least) have stopped reorganizing and rearranging and have come back into the present, ready for the wind, rain, chilly mornings, and dark afternoons having coffee or wine over “hygge” (candles) with friends I never knew I was missing until I found them.

This recipe was inspired by Gordon Ramsay.

BŒUF BOURGUIGNON with MASHED CELERIAC

Photo (8)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tsp rendered goose fat
  • 1kg Angus shoulder beef, cubed
  • 125g lardons (or thick slices of bacon)
  • 350g shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 250g whole chestnut mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 bouquet garni (I used 4 leek leaves, 4 thyme sprigs, 5 bay leaves, an unpeeled carrot and some black peppercorns)
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 750ml Bourgogne
  • 600g celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • rosemary & thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a couple pinches of cardamom
  • salt & pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 160 degrees (C).  Heat goose fat in a large dutch oven or other oven-proof casserole over medium heat.  Add the beef, seasoning with salt and pepper, turning until all sides are browned.  You may need to do this in multiple batches – I had to do it in three.  Once your first batches of meat are browned, remove from heat and strain over a bowl, reserving any drained juices.

Once the meat has finished and has been removed from the casserole, add lardons (bacon), shallots, mushrooms, garlic, and the bouquet garni.  Stir until everything is slightly softened and golden, and then add the tomato paste, tossing to coat.  Add the meat back to the mixture along with the drained juices.

Add the wine and about 100ml of water to the stew – the liquid should not cover the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the caramelized fats on the bottom of the casserole.  Cover the Dutch oven with a cartouche of aluminum foil (should fit the inside of the Dutch oven perfectly, leftovers trimmed) and place in the oven, cooking from 3-4 hours (meat should be very tender).

To make the mashed celeriac, heat the olive oil in a large and deep frying pan.  Add the cubed celeriac, seasoning generously with salt and pepper.  After about 5 minutes, add the thyme and rosemary, bay leaves, and cardamom, as well as 200 ml of water.  Turn heat to low, partially cover, and steam for 30 minutes on low heat.

Remove herb sprigs and bay leaves and mash the celeriac with a potato masher and finish with a dash of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spoon the bœuf bourguignon into bowls and add a spoonful of mashed celeriac on top.

Serves 4-6

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{grain-free / sugar-free} Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

Like any normal human being, I occasionally get an inkling for baked goods.  Living in Denmark, I’m basically surrounded by cakes and pastries 24/7, and I use a lot of will power to avoid stuffing my face with the stuff at any available opportunity.

FORTUNATELY, all hope is not lost thanks to almond flour, which, with some manipulation, can be magically transformed into things resembling the best pastries and cakes on earth.

One thing I try to keep in mind when I get the urge to bake like a madwomen with my illegally imported almond flour (thanks, Bob’s Red Mill, for keeping your prices so reasonable, and to my expat American friends who bring me back a bulk supply) is Phytic Acid.

I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed the same thing as me when overdosing on nuts, but I get a “heavy” sensation in my stomach that doesn’t particularly feel amazing.  Until recently, I had no idea what this was.  Turns out it’s the effects of an overdose of Phytic Acid, and this article does a pretty good job of explaining why it all happens, and which things have more Phytic Acid than others.

Keeping that in mind, I try to limit my grain-free baking to about once every couple weeks or so, as a special treat.  And these Cinnamon Swirl Muffins (adapted from Comfy Belly) are JUST the ticket for those occasions.  🙂

CINNAMON SWIRL MUFFINS

Warning: this 10-muffin batch could mysteriously disappear in less than 24 hours.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk natural yogurt
  • 4-5 tbsp raw honey, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp unsalted organic butter, melted

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 160C (325F).

Mix the yogurt, eggs, and 2 tbsp of raw honey together in a large bowl.  Add in almond flour, salt, and baking soda, and mix until well blended.

Mix butter, cinnamon, and remaining 2-3 tbsp (more if you prefer sweeter, we used 2 in our recipe and it was perfect for us) in a bowl.

Fill muffin tins/cups halfway with muffin batter.  Then add one tbsp of cinnamon mixture to each tin, and cover with remaining batter.  Using a toothpick, make swirls in the batter starting on the outside of the muffin and working your way toward the middle to bring the cinnamon mixture to the top of the muffins.  If you have leftover cinnamon mixture, feel free to add to the top of a delicious crusty muffin top.

Pop it in the oven for 25 minutes, or until tops just start to darken.

Makes 10 muffins

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Crisp Roasted Chicken

You know how it’s usually the simplest things that give you the most pleasure?

Find yourself a free-range organic chicken, give it a little water bath, do a dance with it for 5 seconds, laugh about how funny “naked” chickens are, cover it with salt (I’m serious, COVER, like, it should look like it just snowed salt on your chicken) give it a little bit of pepper, and throw it (gently) into the oven for an hour.  A little thyme in the juices after it’s out, a bit of butter on the breast, and dipped in dijon mustard, and…well…the result is glorious.  The salt helps remove all the moisture from the oven, which makes for a delicious crispy skin which no one I’ve ever fed this chicken to has ever been able to resist.  An easy (and cheap!) dinner for 4 (or in our house, two very hungry adults), and pairs well with just about any green vegetable (I like sautéed green beans with sliced garlic).

Once you’ve finished devouring the chicken (try the oysters on the middle back, that’s my favorite part!), put the carcass into your crockpot, cover with water, throw in some garlic, onions, parsley, celery (and celery leaves), a splash of vinegar, and a couple bay leaves, set to low and cook for 24-48 hours.  The longer you cook, the better quality the broth.  Check out some good tips by Nourished Kitchen about bone broth here.  After a couple days your broth should be a little like gelatin if it cools to room temperature, and that’s when you know you’ve done it right.  Lots of good nutrients and worth keeping around for either daily consumption (ideal world, if you don’t use it for sauces or gravy already), or approaching colds or other ailments (bone broth is particularly effective for constipation or other digestive problems related to the gut).

CRISP ROASTED CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole ~3lb chicken (I buy Bornholmers Høn from Irma)
  • salt, pepper, dried thyme
  • kitchen twine
  • grassfed organic butter
  • dijon mustard

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 225C (450F).

Rinse and pat dry both the inside and outside of the chicken.  Place in an 8×11 baking dish.  Liberally pour salt into the cavity of the chicken, and then secure legs with kitchen twine.  Liberally salt the rest of the chicken.  The idea is to give the chicken a nice white hue from all the salt.  Season with freshly ground pepper.  Cook in the oven for 1 hour.

After an hour, remove the chicken and dump about a tablespoon of dried thyme into the drippings of the chicken at the bottom of the baking dish.  Using a large spoon, mix up the drippings and thyme, and baste the chicken with the thyme drippings until all areas of the skin are remoistened.

Carve chicken and serve with butter (if desired) on the meat and dip in dijon mustard.

Serves 4

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Bacon-Wrapped Salmon with Pesto & Roasted Asparagus

I’m not sure a day goes by where I don’t think about eating bacon.  You might’ve already gathered that by the praise I made of the delicious stuff in my Broccoli Bacon Salad post from earlier this week.

When I decided to stop being a vegetarian back in 2010, my first meat was bacon.  I had been planning a trip to Southern Spain with my then “new” boyfriend and figured it would be a sin to go to Andalusía and NOT eat pork products.  While we were in Granada, we tried some mountain air dried jamón ibérico and I still occasionally have dreams about it, it was that good.  I even smuggled some of it with me back to the US in the lining of my suitcase, and spent the next three weeks garnishing just about everything I ate with it.

So back to bacon.  Even though I generally try to avoid Magasin (a large Danish department store with the most amazing basement gourmet market), I have found myself in there a couple times lately because they seem to have the most diverse selection of unhomogenized dairy products.  They also have a delectable way of presenting everything, and I have been eying their bacon-wrapped salmon for about four months now.  So today, I decided to give it a shot.

Asparagus is in season and out in full force in Copenhagen, and a friend of mine just posted a photo of some she roasted in the oven last night that gave me inspiration, so I pass on her recipe to you.

This meal is particularly awesome because it took less than 35 minutes to make the magic happen.  Nothing quite like healthy, delicious AND fast, amiright?

BACON-WRAPPED SALMON with PESTO & ROASTED ASPARAGUS

Ingredients:

  • 2 filets of salmon, skin removed (if you’re as good as I am at removing skin from salmon, ask your fish monger to do it for you)
  • 4-6 fairly thick slices of free-range bacon (depending on how much you love bacon, and how big your salmon filets are)
  • 4 tbsp Pesto, divided (mine isn’t homemade today because we were in a hurry to eat, but it is made with real olive oil. Click the link to see my favorite homemade pesto recipe)
  • one bunch of organic asparagus (about 250 grams)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (C).

Wash and “break” asparagus at their natural breaking point (see this video to see what I’m talking about).  Lay them out in a baking dish, and drizzle olive oil over them.  Toss with a dash of balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Roll up each salmon filet (skinned side should be on the inside) and secure with 2-3 slices of bacon each (the bacon should be sticky enough to hold the salmon together, but if it’s not, feel free to use wooden toothpicks).  Place salmon rolls salmon side down in a baking dish, and add 2 tbsp of pesto to the middle of each salmon roll.

Cover the salmon baking dish with aluminum foil.  Put salmon and asparagus into the oven at the same time, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serves 2

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Broccoli Bacon Salad

Spring is finally in the air here in Denmark, which means that the entire population of Copenhagen is outside basically as often as humanly possible.  My boyfriend insists on wearing shorts 24/7 now that it’s not freezing, and because we live next to a park, it smells like BBQ pretty much nonstop.

Naturally, this means picnics are back in season, and we had our inaugural one of the year last Sunday on Islands Brygge, complete with some organic pølser.

Danes (and Americans) tend to gravitate toward the meat at picnics and BBQs, and so whenever one happens, I try to bring something sort of resembling a salad that people will actually eat (my subtle way of keeping my friends as healthy as I can).  As a rule of thumb, I’ve found that if you make salad with bacon in it, it becomes about 180 times more appealing to the general audience.

And thus, my new favorite (so easy it’s ridiculous) picnic salad:

BROCCOLI BACON SALAD

Like butter, bacon also makes everything better

INGREDIENTS:

  • One head of broccoli, stems removed and cut into small florets
  • One package of sliced organic free-range bacon (Irma sells this; look for the one with pictures of pigs roaming in grass on the front)
  • One small red onion, diced
  • 100-150 grams crème fraiche (add more or less to taste and depending on how large the broccoli head is)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Slice bacon into quarter-inch pieces.  Heat pan over low heat and once warm, add bacon pieces, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through (or to desired level of doneness).

In a bowl, mix onions, broccoli and cooked bacon “bits” with the crème fraiche.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

 

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Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

I bet that title got you all sorts of excited, didn’t it?  Because who DOESN’T love chocolate chip cookie dough?

Certainly not me.  Especially when it’s in ice cream, but anyway…

In fact, as embarrassing as this is to admit, back in college when I paid almost zero attention to my health, I used to get those plastic wrapped rolls of chocolate chip cookie dough at the store (the yellow Nestlé one was my fave), and before even baking any, I’d make my way through half of it with a spoon, one bite at a time.

So I have good news, and I also have bad news.

The bad news is that you can’t really replace chocolate chip cookie dough with something that is grain free or sugar free or healthy in any way, shape, or form and have it taste the same.  The reason why it’s so good is because it’s SO SO bad.  So remember that.

The GOOD news though, is that I have something PRETTY close, and it’s wayyyyy better for you.

AND it’s been tried and tested by a circle of friends who, I should admit, don’t take much persuasion to eat anything I’ve cooked, but, THEN they came back for seconds.  🙂

These are a perfect snack, and today they were a guilt-free dessert at the first picnic of the year here in CPH.

RAW CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH BITES

I promise you won't feel guilty eating more than one of these.


Ingredients:
(check the resources page for tips on where to find them)

  • 1/2 cup creamy raw peanut butter (I chose the Green Choice brand found at Irma)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (these can also be found at Irma)

Directions:

Mix together the peanut butter, honey and vanilla until creamy and well blended in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flour, ground flax seed and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well to combine.  Use your hands to knead the dough to thoroughly combine.  If it’s too wet, add a little more coconut flour.  If it’s too dry and doesn’t hold together well, knead in one teaspoon of water.

Fold in the dark chocolate chips.  Then, scoop out tablespoon-size portions and roll into one-inch balls with your hands to create a bite-sized treat. 🙂

Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Makes about 10-12 one inch bites.

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Sautéed Shrimp with Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce

When my boyfriend cooks, he likes to use greek yogurt to simmer down his almost obsessive over-spicing of just about anything.  Last night’s dinner being a great example, he dumped about half a jar of cayenne pepper onto some sautéed chicken with onions and peppers, and finally added a dollop of greek yogurt (with smashed blueberries in it – yeah, I probably never would’ve thought of that either, but it was pretty good!) on the side to soften the blow of the cayenne.  While it all was wonderful (especially the part about me not having to cook), there’s a reason why I’m normally the one in the kitchen.  🙂 

Anyway, about ten times a year, I get a severe craving for shrimp.

About three times a year I get ambitious and motivated enough to actually make the shrimp myself.  I’ll either stumble upon a recipe, or hear someone talking about it, and then decide impulsively to go home and make us some shrimp.  This time I was reading about a Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce  (after experiencing B’s version with smashed blueberries and wondering what else you could do with yogurt) and how it goes well with sautéed shrimp on gourmet.com and, just like that, I was all kinds of sold on the idea.

Two hours later, I’ve finally finished shelling and deveining them (consider this your warning regarding prep-time).

You might be wondering why I didn’t buy de-shelled shrimp, so I’ll go ahead and confess this openly: I’m pretty cheap.  De-shelled shrimp is stupidly more expensive than shell-intact shrimp.  I also sort of take a sick pleasure out of doing things “the long way” even if it’s painful.  Finally, I haven’t found a place that sells uncooked de-shelled shrimp in Copenhagen yet.  If you know of a place, lemme know, because if I’m ever in a jam, dying for shrimp, but without 2 hours on my hands to de-shell them myself, I’d probably make use of that resource.  

The combination of cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, some cayenne, and greek yogurt in the sauce is sort of spicy and cooling at the same time, and the end result was exactly what I was going for tonight: something delicious that I can eat with my fingers (it’s been a long day).  This would be a great dish to serve as an appetizer at a party, because the shrimp can be served cold, and the greek yogurt sauce is still delicious at room temperature.  The greek yogurt sauce would also go really well with chicken skewers, which is probably what I’ll attempt to do with the leftovers tomorrow.

SAUTÉED SHRIMP with CILANTRO GARLIC YOGURT SAUCE

Best eaten under any circumstances, really.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups full fat greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves pressed garlic (you can finely chop if you don’t have a garlic press)
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt, to taste (I didn’t use any, because I didn’t think it needed it)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1.25-1.5lbs shrimp (500 grams), shelled and deveined

Directions:

Mix the first six ingredients together in a bowl and then stick it in the fridge for about a half hour so the flavors can blend.

While the flavors of the yogurt sauce are blending, heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add shrimp and sauté evenly (about 3 minutes per side).  Season based on your preferences beforehand if you prefer a little zing (in the photo I have “marinated” the shrimp in a 4:1 blend of chili and garlic powders before sautéing).

Once the shrimp are done, remove the Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce from the fridge and enjoy!

Makes 6-8 servings as an appetizer, or 4 servings as a main dish

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Strawberry Rhubarb Compote with Crème Anglaise

I have this thing about strawberries and rhubarb.  I strongly believe that if the word “foodgasm” was in the dictionary, there’s a possibility that the definition would involve a picture of someone having a mouth explosion of strawberry rhubarb amazingness.  Right now, I might even be willing to go so far as to say they are the most perfect springtime food combination.  Ever.  (Feel free to trump me on that one via comments…but I still have the aftertaste of strawberry rhubarb compote in my mouth, so it’s hard to focus on other possibilities at the moment.)

The best part about strawberries and rhubarb is that they are such an unlikely pair.  Rhubarb, a bitter, celery lookalike plant, comes into season mid-April, and promptly goes back out of season mid-June.  Strawberries come into season at the end of May and keep the sweet, fruity, juicy berry party going for pretty much the rest of summer.  There are precisely 14 days out of the ENTIRE YEAR where both of these magical fruits are in their prime at the same time.

And guess what?

My birthday happens to fall during those two weeks.

🙂

Can you guess what I have on my birthday every year?

I’ll be perfectly honest with you guys.  Despite my grain-free, sugar-free life, blog, evangelical preaching, I’m probably going to make an exception for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie come June.  I’m human, and once a year, it’s okay to eat pie.  Maybe twice, if you count Thanksgiving.  Certain traditions are just not worth messing with.  And maybe to be a good sport, I’ll make the pie with an almond and coconut flour crust and I’ll share it with you guys.  Or maybe it’ll be a rich buttery flour crust that I’ll regret eating afterward.  I’ll let you guys know how that turns out, of course.

In the meantime, because I keep seeing rhubarb everywhere, and I found some delicious strawberries at Torvehallerne yesterday (I think they were from Spain, where they’re clearly already in season), I decided to make dessert last night without all the grains.  I adapted my recipe from my favorite food website, Nourished Kitchen.  While I would like to advertise it as sugar-free, it does have raw honey in it, which can, of course, be replaced with Stevia if you’re sensitive to even honey.

Pro-Tip: if you are like me and are not used to eating much fruit, don’t overdo it on the compote, as large quantities of stewed fruit can have a laxative effect.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB COMPOTE with CRÈME ANGLAISE

Nature's Perfect Spring Duo

Ingredients:

  • one vanilla bean
  • 1 cup heavy cream (piskefløde), ideally from grass-fed cows
  • 3 tbsp raw honey, divided
  • 6 egg yolks from free-range, organic hens
  • 1 tbsp butter, ideally from grass-fed cows
  • 500 grams rhubarb, trimmed and diced
  • 500 grams strawberries, hulled and diced
  • zest and juice of one orange

Directions:

To make the crème anglaise, bring water to simmer in a double boiler or saucepan fitted with a bowl.

Scrape the contents of the vanilla bean into the cream and then pour the cream into the top of the double boiler.  Cook until hot.

Whisk in 1 tbsp of the raw honey, then transfer a tablespoon or two of the hot cream to your beaten eggs, whisking vigorously to temper them.

Transfer the tempered egg yolks into the cream and continue stirring slowly until the crème anglaise is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Transfer to a dish and allow it to rest while you prepare the compote.

To make the compote, melt butter in a saucepan over a moderate flame, then toss in rhubarb and sautee in butter until softened, about five to six minutes.

Stir in strawberries, remaining honey, and the juice and zest of one orange; reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook another three to four minutes until the berries are softened, but not mushy.

Transfer to ramekins and serve topped with the crème anglaise.

Makes 6 servings

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Yeah, you read that right, not only is it my first recipe on Vegetarian Rehab, but it’s also a recipe that DEFIES THE LIMITS of grain-free life.

I cannot express in words how bad I have missed pizza ever since I became grain-free.  I think B misses it too, but he doesn’t dare tempt me because of what happened the last time we had pizza.

To summarize, I had a bender weekend back in January, and it involved pizza.  After a failed attempt by my wonderful boyfriend to poach some air-dried, salted cod we bought while up in Northern Norway (it tasted *almost* like rubber…), we decided to order some pizza from the local (terrible quality) pizzeria.  One of the roughest parts about living outside of New York is that if you eff up dinner after 9pm on a Saturday night, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an open grocery store or other food place that offers something healthy to eat to replace it.  Even most restaurants stop serving dinner after 9:30pm.

And so we ordered pizza.  And you know how when you’re down, you might as well go ALL THE WAY down?  I had a beer that night too.

How’d that go, you wonder?  Let’s just put it this way: NEVER. AGAIN.

I have never been so miserable in my life (okay, that’s probably a small exaggeration).  But seriously, my stomach bloated so bad it made my back hurt (I imagine it’s kind of like the way being 8 months preggo makes your back hurt), and my heart basically started beating as though I had run a marathon, except that I couldn’t move, so obviously that wasn’t possible.  Then I got constipated for three days.  It was…awesome.

Needlesstosay, I had a weekend whirlwind trip to New York to see some friends (and buy my very first apple computer) back in February and despite my urging need to have pizza while there, I controlled myself and filled up on meat (and a few vegetables for good measure) at Plataforma Churrascaria instead (that place was fabulous, by the way).  And ever since that bloating incident, I’ve been scouring the interwebs for a decent Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe that didn’t require a microwave.

I finally found one by a lady named Casey Cooke.  From what I know about her, she promotes low-fat stuff, and since that’s the opposite of the point of this blog, I’ll let you google her if you want to see what she’s about.

So without further ado…

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA

Sausagey, cauliflowery deliciousness

Ingredients:

  • One head of cauliflower, stems removed and cut into one-inch pieces
  • 3 egg-whites (try it with the yolks too, those are good for you!)
  • 250 grams fresh mozzarella cheese (the real Italian stuff), divided in half and chopped
  • salt, pepper, dried basil, dried parsley and garlic powder, to taste
  • tomato sauce (if you’re buying from the store, be sure to check the label for sugar)
  • one red pepper, thinly sliced
  • one green pepper, thinly sliced
  • one half white onion, thinly sliced
  • 325 grams Italian sausage, encasing removed and broken into 1 inch pieces (I got mine here, and it had sage in it)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (225C).  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a medium sized baking pan.

Steam cauliflower until you can easily pierce it with a fork.  Then drain it and put it into a food-processor and purée until smooth (I have a small one, so I did this in two batches).

Blend the cauliflower, one half of the chopped mozzarella, and egg whites in a bowl and mix well.  Add spices to taste (or in my case, to smell).  Spread cauliflower mix evenly on the parchment paper into a rectangle and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden brown and the center has set.

While the crust is in the oven, put the sausage pieces into a pan over low heat and cook until done.  Taste a few to, you know, make sure. 😉

Remove finished crust, let cool for a couple minutes, and then spread the tomato sauce on it, leaving an inch perimeter around the pizza. (I didn’t give a measurement in the ingredients because I feel like everyone has a different preference on their pizza sauce amounts.  I like my pizza drier, and especially since the cauliflower crust is already moist, I didn’t need more than about a half cup.)

Next, layer on onions and peppers, and then put the pizza back in the oven for another ten minutes until they are cooked through (longer if you don’t care if they’re crispy or not; we like them on the crispy side in our house).  Add the rest of the mozzarella cheese, and the cooked sausage and return to oven.  Beware that the mozza will melt quickly, so keep an eye on it this time, and remove when at desired level of doneness (if you leave it in too long, the cheese will begin to brown pretty quickly).

Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes so you don’t burn your tongue, cut into four squares, and then enjoy!

Serves 4, unless you’re really hungry like we were, in which case, it serves 2. 



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