Those of you who know me well, know that I like to be somewhat of a trendsetter, not a follower...but, with that being said, I could not help but get on the 'carb free, cauliflower pizza crust' craze recently, when I decided to try and cut out carbs from my diet. I can't imagine life without pizza so I decided to make my own cauliflower crusted pizza, with a twist! Easy, tasty and pretty too, this crust goes together in minutes. Top with your favorite toppings - I used zucchini and mushrooms that I sautéed first in olive oil, threw on some sliced red onions and added a little bit of tomato sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan.
Just heat and eat.
Broccoli-Cauliflower Crusted Pizza
1 head cauliflower, stalk removed
1 small head of broccoli, stalk removed (optional, some people prefer the color and flavor of all cauliflower)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp dried oregano or basil or a pinch of both
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Break the cauliflower and broccoli into florets and pulse in a food processor until fine. Place the broccoli-cauliflower mixture in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Let cool for a minute and then put in a kitchen towel or cheese cloth and wring all of the excess water out, you don't want a soggy crust! Combine the cauliflower and broccoli in a bowl with the mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder and eggs. Mix well. Transfer to a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread out to the edges or put in the center of a large baking sheet and spread into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Bake for 20 minutes.
Add desired toppings and bake an additional 10 minutes.
As we get ready for another Irish Days celebration here in Murphys, I wanted to share a post that I did a couple of years ago, the best corned beef recipe and the sliders to make out of it! You can of course serve your corned beef traditionally with boiled cabbage, potatoes and carrots but these sliders can be made out of leftovers too, so you're covered either way. I'll be making these this weekend for Indian Rock Vineyards, they make a great party appetizer too. Erin Go Bragh!
Glazed Citrus-Spiced Corned Beef
4# corned beef brisket, rinsed
2 oranges, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 yellow onions, peeled & sliced
1 T pickling spice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 t. ground cloves
Place the corned beef in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and skim the foam. Add the onions, oranges, lemons & pickling spice. Simmer for 4 hours until tender.
Take the corned beef out of the water and place on a sheet pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the brown sugar with the cloves and rub all over the top of the beef. Heat for 15 minutes or until the sugar melts to a glaze. Slice & serve warm or cool at room temperature and slice for sandwiches.
Corned Beef Sandwiches w/Poppy Seed Cole Slaw & Horseradish Mayo
1# Sliced corned beef, enough for 4 sandwiches (see previous blog post for home cooked corned beef or use store bought)
4 sandwich rolls, whatever kind you like
2 cups cole slaw, recipe below
1/2 cup horseradish mayo, recipe below
Poppy Seed Cole Slaw
1/2 cup mayonnaise, I only use Best Foods
1 T sugar
1 T red wine vinegar
1/2 t poppy seeds
1/2 of a green cabbage very thinly shredded (or buy store bought)
1 carrot, grated on large side of a box grater
1 T finely chopped red onion
Horseradish-Black Pepper Mayo
1/2 cup Mayo
1/2 t coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup horseradish
To assemble sandwiches:
Spread rolls with mayo, pile the corned beef on bottom half, then add coleslaw on top of corned beef and put on the top bun—ready, set, eat!
My daughter Lily recently told me about a new cookbook and Netflix mini series called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. In each episode, Chef Samin Nosrat, a Chez Panisse alum, travels to different, worldly locations and discusses the significance of these four elements in everyday cooking. Her approach is both charming and exciting as she fills you with her enthusiasm and passion for food while she is learning along the way. The show will heighten your awareness about the quality and balance of ingredients and the importance of them in cooking everyday meals. This soup recipe was inspired from the one in her book and is easy, comforting and delicious, it tastes like a visit to Tuscany right in your own kitchen! I hope you will take a look at the series too, I promise you will love it.
Tuscan White Bean & Kale Soup
extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz pancetta or bacon, diced (optional)
1 medium yellow onion , diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1 fennel bulb, quartered and sliced thinly (optional)
2 bay leaves
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups crushed canned or fresh tomatoes in their juice
3 cups cooked beans, cannellini or any white beans (2, 14.5 oz cans for ease), drained
1 oz parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup (save the rind)
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 bunch kale, thinly sliced
1/2 small head of green cabbage, core removed, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot until the oil shimmers. Add the bacon or pancetta if using and cook for a minute until it starts to brown. Add the onions, carrots, celery, fennel (if using) and bay leaves, season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often until the veggies are tender and starting to brown. Make a well in the center of the pot and add a bit of olive oil and the garlic. Let it sizzle for just about 30 seconds without browning. Add the tomatoes and cook down for about 8 minutes. Add the beans and some stock (or cooking liquid if you made the beans from scratch) half of the parmesan and the rind, along with the stock, just enough to cover. Add another splash of olive oil (about 1/4 cup) stir and bring soup to a simmer. Add the kale and cabbage and more stock to cover as needed. Cook for another 20 minutes or more until the flavors have come together and the greens are softened. Adjust salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves and the parmesan rind (i love to eat this!). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and more freshly grated parmesan. Add cooked pasta or torn, rustic bread for a heartier bowl. This soup freezes well and keeps in the fridge for about 5 days...if it lasts that long.
Let's face it, everyone loves a good Caesar salad. I have made many versions in my catering and restaurant days, starting at the Gulf Coast Oyster Bar back in the 1980's and up until now at Wren Catering. I have made dressing from scratch with raw eggs and cheated too, just using good mayo as a starting point. But THE best Caesar dressing I have ever tasted is the one made by my daughter Lily. Its zing-y and delicious. She works the garlic and anchovies into a paste with finesse and purpose, making all the difference between great and AWESOME Caesar dressing. She has graciously let me share her recipe and technique with you and I so appreciate that...every wonderful bite!
Lily's Caesar Dressing
2 cloves garlic
1 oz anchovies from a tin or jar
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Best Foods mayo
zest of one lemon
2 lemons, juiced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup finely shaved Parmesan cheese (I use my zester)
Put the mustard, mayo, lemon juice and zest in a bowl with a grind or two of black pepper and a generous pinch of sea salt. Finely chop the garlic then sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and smash it with the side of your knife against the cutting board until you have a paste. Chop and smash the anchovies the same way, then add to the bowl with the mustard, mayo, lemon juice and zest and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil in a slow stream until you get the texture you want, not too thin, you want it to stick to the romaine leaves well. Add in the cheese, stir. Check for flavor. Does it need more garlic? Lemon juice? Olive oil? You want it to have a balanced flavor with all ingredients detected. Drizzle on well washed and dried romaine leaves, more Parmesan and homemade croutons. Add chicken or cooked shrimp if you like. This dressing is also good as a crudité dip!
Bacon Wrapped Dates with Toasted Pecan Goat Cheese and Palmiers - 2 Ways - Basil Pesto, Toasted Pine Nuts & Parmesan and Cream Cheese with ‘Everything’ Mix
Complicated, time consuming hors d'oeuvres have no business in our lives during this hectic holiday season, so grab some good quality, grocery store items and put them to work for you! These Palmiers are tasty, pretty and impressive and are a snap to make with store bought puff pastry. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil to my recipe or spread dough with Dijon mustard, top with thinly sliced prosciutto and top with grated Asiago for a bit of a Mediterranean direction. The bacon wrapped dates are yummy and are so versatile - I used goat cheese here but you can fill them with blue cheese and walnuts or Manchego and smoked almonds or even Brie. The holidays should be an enjoyable, relaxing time to spend with family and friends, not for slaving away in the kitchen.
Happy holidaze everyone!
Bacon Wrapped Dates
4 oz goat cheese, softened to room temperature
2 T toasted pecans (optional)
a few grinds of black pepper
10 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cut in half, width wise (I used thick cut)
20 Medjool dates, pitted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or use a Silpat mat. Mix goat cheese, toasted pecans and black pepper together in a small bowl. Stuff the dates with the goat cheese mixture. Roll up each date in a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes then turn each date over and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until done and slightly crispy. Cool slightly and enjoy!
Cream Cheese with ‘Everything’ Palmiers
1 piece of puff pastry (from a package of two, store bought puff pastry) thawed
4 oz cream cheese at room temp
1/2 cup Everything mix (see below)
flour for your board
2 T sesame seeds
2 T poppy seed
2 T granulated garlic
2 T granulated onion
Preheat oven to 400°. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to a
9" x 11" rectangle. Spread with the cream cheese all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with all of the ‘Everything’ mixture and then sprinkle with some sea salt. With 1 long side facing you, fold both long sides in toward the center line so they meet in the middle (do not overlap). Chill log for 15 minutes. Slice log crosswise into ½” thick pieces (you should have about 24). Transfer pieces cut side up to a greased baking sheet, spacing about 2" apart. Bake palmiers 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden all over. Let cool before serving. Palmiers can be baked 8 hours ahead. Let cool, then cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature until ready to serve.
Basil Pesto, Pine Nut and Parmesan Palmiers
4 oz basil pesto (store bought is fine)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (more if you like)
flour for rolling out the dough
1 piece of puff pastry (from a package of two of store bought puff pastry) thawed
Follow instructions in the recipe above using pesto, pine nuts and parmesan instead.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"