Cauliflower Pizza Crust

At the end of May, my boyfriend and I started the ketogenic diet. As a foodie, this is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. The keto diet is strictly high-fat/high-protein, but limits you on just about everything else, including vegetables. Oh, you like fruit? Too bad! No fruit for you, except maybe 2-3 strawberries a day. UGH! Regardless, this lifestyle change is working out. We have both seen significant and positive changes with our overall health. However, my cooking brain has had to shift gears in a major way.

Now, I want to talk (rant) about cauliflower. I hate cauliflower. In my opinion, it’s one of the worst vegetables in existence. Understandably, cauliflower is used as an impostor for pizza crust, “rice”, mashed “potatoes”, and the list goes on. From what I can recall, my most favorite cauliflower dishes have been the Gobi Manchurian from Asiana Indian Cuisine in South Austin and the Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup from Snack Bar on South Congress in Austin, and that’s about it. I have had cauliflower in many other forms, and most of the time, I just don’t like it at all.

I am not a fan of this particular crust, because I can still taste cauliflower. So, why am I even sharing this recipe? Well, I have a refined palate, one that is picky for taste. Just because I don’t like something, doesn’t mean that the next person is incapable of appreciating it. What this really comes down to is that I miss bread — I used to love making homemade pizza dough. Cauliflower does not have me fooled in the least bit.

I am sharing my version of this recipe because even the buzzfeed video for making cauliflower pizza crust doesn’t share the extra step that I take to make the crust. GET YOURSELF SOME CHEESECLOTH! <– This is the big secret!

The first couple of times I tried the cauliflower crust, there was too much moisture. On my first attempt, I steamed the cauliflower, then pulverized it in my ninja blender. The second time, I just blended the raw cauliflower and then put the recipe together. Both times, the crust did not crisp up, the bites were soft, and didn’t resemble a crispy pizza crust in the least bit. Needless to say, by the third time I tried this recipe, just adding in the cheesecloth method helped tremendously.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes + 10 minutes for final pizza

Makes: 2 Personal Pizza Crusts

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 3/4 cup shredded pizza blend cheese (Mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan, and Smoked Provolone)
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. roasted garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Break up the cauliflower and put the florets in a blender or food processor, pulverize into fine pieces.
  • Place the cauliflower in the center of the cheesecloth, bundle up the rest of the cloth around, and squeeze out as much moisture from the cauliflower as possible.
  • In a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and incorporate together.
  • On a large baking sheet with parchment paper (I use a silpat), divide the batter into two halves and place on the baking sheet into two flat circles.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, add your sauce and toppings and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

After 20 minutes of baking:

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After another 10 minutes of baking with the toppings on:

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Blue Cornbread

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Not only is this a delectable treat, but the color of this blue cornbread is always so captivating to me. Now is the perfect time to share this recipe, because it can be paired with any stew or chili of the season. It’s been quite cold in Austin lately.

On that note, I am ready for spring. I like this blue cornbread, but I prefer to see bluebonnets!

I bid you good eating and please stay warm!

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12-14 minutes for loaves (or 18-20 minutes for glass pan)

Makes: 3 mini loaves (or one 9 x 9 inch glass pan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic blue cornmeal
  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. organic sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. iodized sea salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup oil

 Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt together.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until all is incorporated.
  • Grease and flour pan(s) lightly.
  • Evenly disperse batter among mini loaves or pour all into the one 9 x 9 inch glass pan.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes for mini loaves or 18-20 minutes for glass pan.
  • Check for doneness before removing from oven, insert a toothpick into the middle of the bread and make sure it comes out clean.
  • Remove bread from oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes before cutting and serving it.

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Photo Taking and Impulsive Baking

So far this year, my life has been pretty crazy.  The first half of the year came with many changes and misfortunes. The good news is that things are really starting to look up for me in some magical ways.

I haven’t blogged since March, isn’t that wild? Back in April, I was a part of an art exhibit where people were blindfolded and led through the museum in groups of four. I was the “gustoception” (taste) piece. I am going to dedicate my next blog to talking about that experience, because it was really interesting. The following weekend in April, my dad passed away. As a result, April was unexpectedly a busy month for me.

In May, I took my first photography course to learn my camera a little better and I’m so glad I did. The quality of my photos has improved tremendously. The class has already paid off and it has made me even more excited about my trips to Colorado and Europe. I plan on doing another food porn blog when I return from Europe in September. I just know I am going to consume lots of yummy food and wine.

I spent most of June helping my new boyfriend find a place/get settled in Austin. Now it’s July and it’s getting really hot in Texas. Maybe it’s because it’s my birthday month, but I have been baking a lot lately: cheesecake, blueberry muffins, cherry cobbler, cookies (of many varieties) and even a lemon blueberry cake.

Though I am not posting a new recipe here, I wanted to share a couple of photos from my photography class and re-blog the cookie recipe. During the first class, the instructor (Carlos Austin of Austin Photography) and I made a deal — if I brought food to the last class, he would show me how to photograph it. I showed him my post from the loaded oatmeal cookies that I like to make on the regular, and we both agreed that I needed better photos. Practice makes perfect, right?

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This is a photo of what we did to set up our station. I took this photo on my phone, so please don’t judge the quality. My real camera is the one you see on the tripod.

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This is the final product with my crazy cloth.  

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This is the final product on a black cloth, with interesting lighting techniques.

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This is a photo of the lemon blueberry cake I made for a birthday. Thank you, Carlos, for the mad skills.

Those are candied lemon peels that I made for the garnish. I am thinking about posting this recipe, because it was super deLIZcious. I wish I would have taken a photo of it when it was sliced. That just might be a reason good enough to make it again. We’ll see, because blueberries are rocking right now.

My next post will be about the art exhibit that I was a part of back in April. I have already started it, just need to get my chocolate mousse recipe together. Chances are, you will see that post from me sometime in August. I am heading to Colorado this Saturday with my new boyfriend for a week. Should be back in full swing and hopefully posting monthly again when I return. Cheers and happy eating!

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

If you happen to be a fan of carrot cake and have some leftover (fresh) pumpkin, you are definitely going to enjoy this recipe. The only thing that I would do different to this, is add some big golden raisins to it. I opted out of raisins, because I have a friend that is not a fan.

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble until you wobble.

IMG_2086[Photo Credit: Roy Peña Photography]

Recipe

Pumpkin & Rum Raisin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin season is in full swing and I couldn’t be more excited. This season, I promised a few recipes, including pumpkin whipped cream, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cheesecake. I plan on getting to all of them, but when I had the idea to do this pumpkin & rum raisin bread pudding it was at the top of my list. I just knew it would be amazing and had to try it.

This recipe calls for 1 cup of cooked pumpkin. Take a look at my Pumpkin Basics blog post for instructions on cooking your own pumpkin. Also, I am biased to the fairytale pumpkin. Try it if you haven’t yet, it’s definitely a tasty pumpkin.

Since I knew the pumpkin would make for extra moisture, I used a little more bread than usual. It helped the bread pudding set beautifully. I am afraid that if I would have used less bread, I would have had a really mushy bread pudding. This recipe worked well for me and I hope it works for you too! In the words of Alton Brown, “I bid you good eating!”

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Bread Pudding [Click on the recipe to enlarge it.]

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Green Bean Casserole

Last night, I had the pleasure of entertaining two beautiful little girls in our kitchen. Steve, Kyle’s friend from work, brought his daughters over to help me make a green bean casserole. Shania and Ariana happen to love green bean casserole just as much as I do.

As soon as the girls came over, I had them help me trim and clean the green beans. They were thrilled to see the whole process. They were excited to stir, add the ingredients, but were most thrilled to eat the final product.

I have promised this recipe to a few people and I am happy to finally post it with some quality photos. The only part of this recipe that is not homemade is the French fried onions that top the casserole. Though I know how to do the onions, it would have added a lot of extra time onto the prep work.

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Green Bean Casserole Recipe

[Click on the photo to enlarge the recipe.]

GB Casserole

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The little ladies definitely enjoyed the casserole; they both asked for seconds. My apologies to their father, Steve, I am sure they will expect him to make it this way more often. The good news is, they both enjoyed helping and had a great time learning. Chances are, they will not let Steve do it alone.

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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

This is a recipe that will definitely aim to please. I typically only do this baked macaroni and cheese for special occasions. There is a lot of work involved in creating this decadent dish, but well worth all of the love and effort. This recipe requires some Dutch Oven Lovin’. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, this can be done in a 13 x 9 inch glass baking pan and it can be covered with foil while it bakes.

1 Mac

Mac & Cheese Recipe

2-Mac

This is what the pasta should look like after it has been tossed in butter.

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This is what it should look like after you have incorporated the creamy cheese sauce,  pre-garnish. 

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This is another completed version without the parsley. Note: The lack of color doesn’t make it pop as much, though it was still very tasty!

Other ideas for this recipe:

1. I have added sliced/cooked venison sausage to this before and served it as a full meal.

2. To make it vegetarian, take out the bacon and use just a little more butter.

3. Play with the cheese, you don’t have to use the ones listed. Just make sure to utilize cheeses that melt well. Mozzarella, cheddar and gruyere are nice alternatives.

Enjoy!

Almond & Banana Pudding Cake

As promised from the NYC Food Porn post, I made my very own version of a Banana Pudding Cake. When I started to think about how I wanted to do it, I knew that I would use a banana nut cake. Banana nut bread is one of my favorites, but too dense to be a cake. I decided to make some modifications and came up with something delicious.

My big brother, Lawrence, had his birthday on April 12th. Lawrence’s favorite dessert happens to be banana pudding. In fact, right after I ate a piece of the Banana Pudding Cake in Harlem, NY, I texted him and told him how amazing it was. I just so happened to be going to Victoria on the 13th (this past Saturday). So, my excuse to make the cake was well planned out. I made the cakes and icing, put them on ice and traveled to my hometown ready to build it.

When I asked Lawrence if he preferred walnuts or pecans, he responded, “almonds.”  When I thought about how the almonds would crunch inside of the cake, it didn’t go well in my head. I guess because almonds can go stale, it’s not the same as baking in pecans or walnuts. Therefore, I decided to use almond meal in place of some flour and almonds for garnish instead of crushed up vanilla wafers. Thus, I present the Almond & Banana Pudding Cake by Dutch Lovin’.

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Cake[Click on the recipe to enlarge it.]

icing and garnish

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 Kyle and I made this much smaller version on Friday night and shared it with my little brother and friend. I still have some, come and get it!

Pumpkin Empanadas

This recipe is strictly a baking empanada. There are other recipes for fried empanadas and they usually come filled with meat, cheese or veggies. Kyle and I have done fried empanadas before and I am sure we will post a recipe for those sometime in the near future.

The great thing about empanadas is that there are so many varieties. I have had them before with different kinds of filling, including: sweet potatoes, pineapple, cherries and apples. However, I have only made the kind that I prefer the most and those are pumpkin empanadas. You can pretty much fill your empanadas with any same filling that you do for pie.

I had someone just tell me the other day that she tried making empanadas and her dough didn’t come out the way she anticipated. I assure you, if you use this dough recipe and follow the directions, your empanadas will come out great. Remember to egg wash them so they will come out golden brown. You may not be able to do these with fresh pumpkin until next year, but you can certainly try them with any other kind of filling.

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Empanadas Recipe

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Pumpkin Cake

As promised, here is another one of the many goodies that I did for pumpkin season. I have done a pumpkin bread before and it came out a little too dense for my liking. I decided to do a cake because I like how moist, airy and fluffy it is compared to bread.

Also, this is the recipe that I used for the pumpkin Halloween Cake Balls. For those, you can just follow the same directions as the Eyeball Cake Balls. I decorated the pumpkins with orange-colored white bark and green-colored white bark for the stems. Make sure that you add the food dye to the bark before you melt it down though.

This pumpkin cake is going to become a tradition for me during pumpkin season now. These cakes were made with the Fairytale pumpkin. I wish I had some right now; they were so delicious.

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Pumpkin Cake

Don’t forget that you can click on the image to enlarge it.

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