Category: Food

Cauliflowerish Crust Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza With Sausage, Sage, and Red Onions | The Ultimate

Isn’t this pizza pretty?? (Translation; can’t you extrapolate that it was pretty IRL even if it’s not particularly so in my blurry iPhone pic??) More importantly, it’s delicious. It tastes like fall and coziness…or really, it tastes like sausage, butter, and cheese. And not like squishy cauliflower! Which, let’s be real, is what most cauliflower crust kind of tastes like. The key is to add a couple tablespoons of flour–just that little bit makes the crust so much tastier and crispier. It reheats much better as well (which is an issue for freaks such as myself that don’t like cold pizza. If you’re like me, maybe you don’t know that the best way to reheat pizza is to put it in a skillet? Pro tip. No seriously, I think I read it in Bon Appetit or something.)

I have only the vaguest idea of the fat content and whatnot of this dish, but if you use low-fat mozzarella and butter substitute like I did, then I’m pretty sure that while this will taste really decadent, it’s not that bad for you at all. An excellent preparation for all the holiday meals ahead which will indeed be absolutely horrible for you.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza With Sausage, Sage, and Red Onions | The Ultimate

Cauliflower Crust Pizza With Sausage, Sage, and Red Onions

Crust

1 small head of cauliflower
1/3 cup of low-fat shredded mozzarella
2 tbs shredded parmesan
1/2 tsp of dried basil
1/2 tsp of dried sage
Salt to taste
1 egg
3 tbs flour
Oil spray (olive or nonstick)

Toppings

1 tbs butter or butter substitute
1 tbs pumpkin (optional)
More shredded mozzarella
1-2 links spicy italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 a red onion, sliced
a few sprigs’ worth of sage leaves
Red pepper flakes

Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven, and preheat to 450ºF. Cut the florets off your head of cauliflower and pulse them in a food processor until it’s the consistency of couscous. Measure out 3 cups, and put in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave for 4 minutes, then turn out on a tea towel and let cool.

While the cauliflower is cooking, bring a skillet to medium heat and add the sausage, breaking it up into small chunks. Cook until browned, then let drain on a couple pieces of paper towel. Add the red onions to the skillet, cover, and let them cook in the sausage fat until tender, about 15 minutes.

When the cauliflower is cool, wring it in the tea towel until there’s very little water left. At this point there will be terrifyingly little cauliflower. Don’t worry! Add this to a bowl along with the cheeses, herbs, salt, and egg. Sprinkle the flour over and mix with a fork.

On a cutting board, spray a piece of parchment paper with a LOT of olive oil. Turn the dough onto this and spread it gently outward to make your crust shape. Slide the parchment paper off of the cutting board and onto the pizza stone. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

While it’s baking melt a tbs of butter (I used Brummel and Brown butter substitute), and using a pastry brush, brush a bit of it very lightly onto your sage leaves. Then add a tbs of pumpkin puree (only if you have some lying around, really…I don’t condone breaking into a can of pumpkin just for this!) to the butter and mix.

When the crust is browned, lift it from the wax paper. Brush the top of the crust with the pumpkin-butter mix, then add a layer of cheese, onions, sausage, and lastly the sage leaves. Return to the oven for about 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sage is crispy. Remove and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Serves two.

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Surprise Fruit Salad

Surprise Fruit Salad | The Ultimate

Super timely, I know, to share a patriotic fruit salad on July 9th. But I say, ‘Merica can be celebrated any day!! I was in love with this fruit salad because I kind of made it up on the spot and it only took a few minutes to do, yet it looks SO FANCY and pretty and taste-wise is I think the best fruit salad I’ve ever had.

Of course in the moment I spaced out on taking a decent photo of when it was being eaten, but what’s cool about this salad is that from the top and sides it just looks like a bunch of raspberries and blueberries, but they’re all hiding a delicious interior filled with yogurt, peaches, and fresh mint! YUM.

Surprise Fruit Salad | The Ultimate

4th of July Surprise Fruit Salad

3 cups raspberries
3 cups blueberries
4 peaches (you can add/sub in other fruits here)
1 1/2 cups honey-flavored greek yogurt (hiiighly recommend Zoe yogurt!)
fresh mint, to taste
honey

Peel and dice the peaches, and chop up the mint. Add about 2/3 of the mint to the yogurt, then gently fold in the peaches. Set aside.

Drizzle honey (lightly!) all over the inside of a fairly shallow bowl. Start placing the berries in concentric rings along the inside of the bowl (you can do like I did and have several berries in a row, or just one…that would look amazing, but also be a lot harder to hide the yogurt). The honey should make them stick in place.

Once you’ve gone as high up the sides of the bowl as you want, fill the inside with the peach and yogurt mixture. Flatten out the top, and add more rings of berries until the yogurt is completely hidden. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with the remaining mint.

PS How many recipes can I do featuring raspberries!? But you have to admit they were kinda essential in this application.

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Brie-Stuffed French Toast with Raspberry Compote

Brie-Stuffed French Toast with Raspberry Compote | The Ultimate

SPOILER ALERT: This is about to get pretty annoying.

You know what’s really great about working from home? EVERYTHING! And one of those things is that when you’ve just had a very healthful morning workout and are looking to completely negate the good effects of said workout, you can take the time to make yourself an enormous pile of gooey brie and berry-covered french toast and snarf it all down at your leisure.

But I’m going to M. Night Shyamalan you right now and say that this breakfast isn’t just for lazy slobs like me. Even people with real jobs can make this on a workday (provided you gather the ingredients beforehand), because it only take about 15 minutes. Also I’d like to apologize for gloating, and if it makes you feel better you may as well know that I got raspberry compote all over my shirt while scooping it up with my fingers and shoving it in my mouth, which I very richly deserved.

Brie-Stuffed French Toast with Raspberry Compote | The Ultimate

Brie-Stuffed French Toast with Raspberry Compote

1 cup raspberries
1 tbs sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp cornstarch
A dash of Chambord (optional)

1 egg
3 tbs half and half
1 tbs honey
Dash of salt

2 thick slices of brioche
Triple-cream brie
2 tbs butter

Combine the first five ingredients in a small saucepan, and simmer over medium heat, gently stirring the raspberries until they’ve broken down and formed a sauce. Turn off the heat, and let it thicken as it sits.

Combine the second four ingredients in a shallow dish, and whisk. Cut your brioche slices in half and lay slices of brie inside. Dredge the bread in the egg mixture (I coat every single side). After melting the butter in a cast-iron pan (it gives the best crust!), lay the toast in at low heat, turning to hit every single side.

The long cooking time/low heat/every side combo ensures that the brie melts beautifully and you get as much french toasty crust as possible :) Top with the raspberry compote and more fresh raspberries. Devour!

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Ginger Beer & Rhubarb Float

Ginger Beer & Rhubarb Float | The Ultimate

I used to be obsessed with root beer floats as a kid. We always seemed to have that shitty comes-in-a-giant-tub ice cream lying around (my mom wisely saved the Haagen-Dazs for herself), so I think it was my way of making it more edible. But then I went to college and starting buying my own Haagen-Dazs. And then I found places like Molly Moon’s and Salt & Straw. And THEN I discovered boozy milkshakes. Ohhhh lordy.

I might have entirely forgotten about floats in favor of these more recent delights, except that a wonderful friend made me one of these for my birthday. And I went CRAZY for it and made it over and over and adapted it to its current state of sheer perfection.

The ginger beer in this is so delish. I’d never seen a float made with anything other than root beer, or just beer. But now I want to try them with all kinds of sodas! Also the rhubarb vanilla jam is crazy versatile; it’s so good on scones and pancakes and who knows what else.

Rhubarb Ginger Beer Float

Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 pounds rhubarb,chopped (about 6 1/2 cups)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice (or water)
2 vanilla beans (or a splash of vanilla extract)
High quality vanilla ice cream (no tubs!)
Ginger beer

Add the rhubarb, sugar, and orange juice to a large saucepan. Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the mixture. (Add the bean as well, if you like). Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until it’s fairly thick and it sticks to the back of your spoon. Ladle into hot sterile jars, and seal.

Once it’s cool, layer scoops of the jam with scoops of ice cream, then pour the ginger beer over the top. For maximum deliciousness, use way too much ice cream : )

P.S. While writing this, I did that thing where you start repeating the word over and over in your head until the spelling starts to freak you out. But “rhubarb” really is the weirdest word, right?

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Honey-Roasted Parsnips With Pancetta

Honey-Roasted Parsnips With Pancetta | The Ultimate

I’m really not one to wax rhapsodic about vegetables, but I guess these are the exception, because they’re SO GOOD. If you have questions about vegetables, cooking, or your choices in life, then you will find the answers in this recipe. It tastes like bacon-covered candy, takes only the skill to dump a few things into a pan, and is healthy too. Win win win.

Honey-Roasted Parsnips With Pancetta

6 medium parsnips
1/2 cup pancetta, cubed
Olive oil
Honey
Paprika
Sea salt

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Brush a baking pan with olive oil. Slice the parsnips in half, and lay inside, flat side up. Rock them from side to side a bit so that the bottoms are covered in oil. Spread the cubes of pancetta over the parsnips, then drizzle honey over. Sprinkle on paprika and sea salt, then bake for about half an hour. (As they bake, the parsnips will cook in the pancetta fat; if you want to go vegetarian, just omit the pancetta and brush oil on all sides of the vegetable–you silly person you). They’re done when they’re nicely browned around the edges. Eat immediately, most likely with your fingers standing right in front of the stove.

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Raspberry Fun Times

Raspberry Fun Time | The Ultimate

And here we have a delicious pink drink that I really should have shared with you for Valentine’s Day. But seeing as how my roommate and I invented it on Halloween last year, I’m just going to claim that it transcends the seasons. It’s a classy-looking drink, but let me tell you, it does not necessarily lead to classy behavior. In fact, after our invention and subsequent serious overindulgence in this concoction, I had to put it on the back burner for a few months so that I could gather the remaining shreds of my dignity.

But I had a random craving for it the other day, and making it confirmed my suspicions that (if you have, say, one or two instead of six or seven) this is the perfect girly cocktail to quickly whip up at home; it’s simple and refreshing, and it’s fun to fish out the boozy raspberries as you go. (Although you can also muddle the raspberries if that’s your thing)

Very Important Sidenote

The name of the drink is only to be said in a Japanese gameshow announcer’s cadence and accent. It’s hard to reproduce in writing, but it should go something like, “rah-zoo-berry fun-tie-meh!!!” Dont ask why.

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Slow Cooker Pumpkin Quinoa Curry

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Quinoa Curry | The Ultimate

My new apartment is right across the street from a Thai food place. So lately whenever I get a Thai craving (which is often), it generally means that 15 minutes later I’m lunging at a bucket of Pad Thai with a side of peanut sauce poured over the top (they have generous servings…for real it would fill a small bucket).

It’s SO GOOD. But also terrifying. So in order to counteract my addiction, I fiddled around with some of my favorite Thai flavors to produce this incredibly rich-tasting, super filling and delicious curry that is much much healthier! (And you can still fill a bucket with it–this recipe makes a lot)

Along with the aforementioned deliciousness and healthiness, this recipe is so easy (slow cooker!) and really adaptable too–use red, yellow, or green curry paste, fish or soy sauce, pumpkin or butternut squash, whatever. It’s going to be delicious, and it’s going to still those deep, dark peanut sauce-fueled urges.

Pumpkin Curry with Quinoa

Adapted from Foodie Crush

2 tablespoons Panang curry paste
1 1/2 cans of light coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons fish or soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 cups chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups pumpkin (or squash), chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch slices
1 onion, chopped into 1/2 inch slices
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 cup red (or whatever) quinoa
Juice of 2 limes
Green onions

Mix the first 6 ingredients inside the slow cooker. Add in the rest of the ingredients through the quinoa, cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Sift out the pumpkin and mash it to thicken the sauce. When you’re ready to serve, stir in the lime juice and top with sliced green onions (and crushed peanuts if you have any!)

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Saffron Scallop Gratin

Saffron Scallop Gratin | The Ultimate

Ina Garten is somewhat of a genius, I think. She’s like a classy Paula Dean–same amount of butter and cream, more lobster. Less racism. I was introduced to her (and her love of kosher salt, good olive oil, and roasting ALL the things) in high school, and I’ve never looked back. Girl makes some amazing comfort food.

One of my family’s favorites that I’ve made a few times for special occasions, is her seafood gratin. It’s this ridiculously decadent thing made with saffron, lobster, shrimp, Chablis…you know, pantry scraps. But it’s sooo good! So I’ve been working for a while on making a version that’s easier, prettier, and MUCH healthier, and I’ve totally succeeded. *Pats self on back*

My version uses scallops because they are my favorite shellfish and also such cute little blobs. Who doesn’t want to see them sitting all cheerily on top of a mini gratin?? There’s also much less butter and cream, but you gotta keep the saffron, or else the sauce gets forlorn. Get it at Trader Joe’s, it’s pretty cheap there.

This is the perfect dish for impressing guests–serve it with a lemony salad, maybe spoon it on some toasty bread. YUMMAY.

Saffron Scallop Gratin

Adapted from the Food Network

1 cup clam juice
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup 2% milk
Generous pinch of saffron threads
2/3 cup white wine, divided
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons tomato puree
12 scallops
5 tbs butter, divided
1 tablespoon flour
3 cups slivered leeks
2 cups slivered carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbs parsley, minced
1/2 cup panko

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan set on medium heat, combine the first four ingredients. Add in 1/3 cup of wine (don’t be scared if the sauce separates…it’ll come back together!) Let it come to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 12 minutes. Melt 2 tbs of the butter in one of the gratin dishes, then mix in the flour along with the salt and pepper. Add to the sauce, and continue to simmer until it’s about as thick as gravy.

Meanwhile, sliver your carrots and leeks ( I highly recommend buying yourself bagged carrots…I nearly cut off my arm doing this myself). Melt 2 tbs of butter in a pan. Cover and cook them for about 5 minutes. Add the other 1/3 cup of wine and continue to stir until they’re tender. Spoon the vegetables into four small gratin dishes, then pour a generous amount of sauce on top. Put aside a portion of sauce for the scallops.

Melt the last tbs of butter in a small bowl. Add the minced parsley and garlic to the bowl along with the panko crumbs. Toss until the butter is distributed.

Pat your scallops dry with a paper towel. Dredge them in the saffron sauce, then roll them in the panko mixture. Place them in the gratin dishes, and bake for 15 minutes. Serves 4.

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The Best Pesto

Arugula Pesto With Pistachios and Ricotta | The Ultimate

I’ve thought long and hard, tested all the imitators, and eaten many contemplative spoonfuls of this stuff to bring you the BEST pesto (that I know of). It’s rich, creamy, and incredibly flavorful, and a best of all, it stays such a nice brilliant green. None of your dull sad normal pestos forming that weird dark scum on the top (You know what I mean? Not appetizing.)

What I love about it is that the arugula is less overpowering than basil, which lets the flavor of the pistachios, lemon and parmesan come through…and the ricotta makes it oh so thick and also healthier, because you can use less oil! AND it’s the easiest thing ever to make. High fives all around.

Arugula Pesto With Pistachios and Ricotta | The Ultimate

Arugula Pesto with Pistachios and Ricotta

Adapted from Bon Appetit

4 cups packed fresh arugula
2 cloves garlic
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup ricotta
3 tablespoons pistachios
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup Parmesan
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste

Combine in a food processor and blend till smooth. Eat!

PS! I made the fettucini with probably the most addictive kitchen toy in existence. Playdoh for adults, much??

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