Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In which making a pizza almost becomes a full time job

For the last few years, I have worked hard researching and experimenting and cooking as I have attempted to get our family to the point where we eat only real food (ie: food that does not come in a box). That's been great training for me. For example, over those years, I have successfully rid the house of high fructose corn syrup. Now I must take it a step further and rid the house of cane sugar. Additionally, there have been various times when I have "gone gluten-free" just to give it a try, so I am already familiar with various ways to cook without the forbidden grains and flours. Now I'm taking it a step further by cooking without many of the acceptable gluten-free starches like tapioca and potato starch and flours like rice and sorghum flour.

This is still a big, giant challenge for me, though.

Thank goodness for Pinterest and Google!

For lunch today, my sous chef and I made pizza...with a cauliflower crust. The original recipe comes from The Detoxinista. Although I don't know how to do one of those fancy-schmancy recipe cards you can print from my blog, the recipe is available at the end of this post sans all the interruptions of my scattered brain.

1. First, you need your ingredients: cauliflower, soft goat cheese, salt, an egg, and oregano. You will need the following equipment: a food processor, a large saucepan, a fine mesh strainer, a finely woven dish towel, a large bowl, parchment paper, and a baking sheet.

2. Go to the store to get goat cheese. (Note to self: read the recipe all the way through at least the day before preparation.) The recipe calls for soft goat cheese. I didn't want to use cream cheese. I didn't have any homemade cream cheese. And I knew that regular cheese would not hold the crust together, which I could only assume was the purpose of the soft goat cheese. I have never purchased goat cheese because I'm not particularly fond of it, so naturally it took way longer at the store to find it than I anticipated.

3. Break off florets of cauliflower and place in food processor. Pulse the food processor until the cauliflower resembles rice. Trust me. It really will resemble rice after a few pulses!

4. Meanwhile, if you were really organized, you would have been boiling about an inch of water in the bottom of the large saucepan I mentioned. Of course, if you are not that organized, it's not too long of a wait. Just don't watch the pot, right?

5. Anyway, after the water starts boiling, scrape all of your cauliflower "rice" into the boiling water and boil for 4-5 minutes.

6. Now strain your "rice" in the mesh strainer. Then put your strained "rice" in your finely woven dish towel.

7. Wring out the water.

8. Totally burn yourself. Don your dishwashing gloves and give the "rice" another wring. Get it as dry as possible.

9. Place dry "rice" in a large bowl.

10. Realize that in your attempt at prudence, you didn't process nearly enough cauliflower for this project.

11. Take the rest of the head of cauliflower and repeat steps #4, 5, 6, 7, and 9.

12. Beat your egg.

13. Place the beaten egg, the goat cheese, the oregano, and the salt in the cauliflower.

14. Mix together very well.

15. Place parchment paper on the baking sheet.

16. Spread the cauliflower mixture out on the baking sheet. If you happened to pop over to the Detoxinista's site, you'll see how nicely she patted hers out. Hers even has a nice lip at the edge of the crust. I was going for the artisan look, plus I have a cuter assistant.

17. Bake at 400. Oh, right...you should have preheated your oven to 400. Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes.

18. Top your pizza with the desired toppings.

19. Pop back in the oven until the toppings are warmed through.

20. Enjoy!

I make my pizza sauce by first sauteeing a bunch of veggies in a saucepan. Once they are soft, I add diced tomatoes. I take the immersion blender to these because my three older kids won't eat something they suspect might have a vegetable in it, and lumpy vegetables is a dead giveaway. After I blend until smooth, I add tomato sauce. Then in goes oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf or two. Normally, I would then add a swirl of molasses to combat the acidity of the sauce. Since molasses has sugar, today I left it out which resulted in less than perfect but still pretty good pizza sauce. (Once I can procure some Yacon Syrup, I hear it is an acceptable substitute for molasses.)

For Audrey's and my cauliflower pizza, I added the pizza sauce and lots of veggies. Thankfully, she is my one kid who will eat anything, so vegetable lumps don't scare her away at all. I then sprinkled a bit of cheese on top. With a Candida diet, you are supposed to omit milk because lactose is a sugar; however, I am allowing her to have Kerrygold cheese and butter. Kerrygold is from grass-fed cows. As with most cow's milk cheeses (I think), it has no sugar. (Surprisingly, the goat cheese has 1g of sugar.)

My other three kids had their pizzas on whole wheat and flax pita bread (not homemade). One might ask if I don't care about my other three kids. I do. Obviously. I am not forcing them to comply with our new diet 100% for a number of reasons. First and most importantly, they are not currently the ones with the big health crisis. My number one goal right now is to get Audrey better. Secondly, we've already spent at least one of the children's college funds on food this week. It is especially expensive during this learning curve because I am messing up a lot of what I am making or I'm following recipes that weren't good in the first place. Once I've made it around that learning curve and perhaps down the road a bit, I can include the other kids in my experiments more often. And, last, my three older kids, while supportive of Audrey, are not shy about voicing their opinion about food. So, if I were to present them with a cauliflower pizza, this might elicit a less than favorable comment from them before the first bite is even taken. I want Audrey to try the food without bias from her older siblings.

Anyway, I have digressed on quite a tangent as I am wont to do. I suppose you'd like to know the verdict. Was this cauliflower pizza that took me forever and a day to make worth it? And the answer is definitely! Obviously, it will come together a lot quicker next time, so certainly we will make it again. Audrey really liked it, and so did I.

So here's the recipe in short. And, really, I will teach myself how to do a printable recipe card someday. Someday...when making a pizza doesn't take me all day long!

4 c. raw cauliflower rice (I used a whole head of cauliflower)
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c. soft goat cheese
1 t. dried oregano
pinch of salt

1. Place florets of cauliflower in food processor and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice.

2. Place riced cauliflower in about an inch of boiling water. Boil for 4-5 minutes.

3. Drain cauliflower in fine mesh strainer. Then place cauliflower in finely woven dish towel and wring all water out of cauliflower.

4. Place in large bowl and add beaten egg, goat cheese, oregano, and salt. Mix well.

5. Spread on parchment paper on baking tray.

6. Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes.

7. Remove, add desired toppings, and place back in oven to cook until cheese is melted.


tsinclair said...

I must say, it looks delicious. I would definitely try it (if you didn't tell me it what is was :-)

Just kidding - I applaud your efforts and not just learning the new recipes but including Audrey.

Way to go mom!

Nancy said...

Loved your description of your cauliflower pizza and glad it was a success. At my stage in life, easy is best - we eat pizza once in a coon's age - the Walmart variety - and the parts of the recipe I enjoyed most were the beautiful photos of my sweet Audrey. Praying for her.