Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cheesy Quinoa and Cauliflower Crusted Pizza

It took me a while to jump on the cauliflower crusted pizza bandwagon but here I am. The thing is that I find cauliflower crust doesn't have enough body to hold the sauce and cheese well, it just winds up a little wimpy so I combined two ingredients that people use to make gluten free crusts- cauliflower and quinoa to make the perfect and perfect for Pesach crust.  Here you get the best of both worlds- lots of veg in your system from the cauliflower and lots of extra protein and heft from the quinoa. The combo is dynamite! Definitely going to be making this Chol Hamoed and then after Pesach as well for when the craving for pizza over takes me. Lots of recipes call for steaming the cauliflower and then squeezing it dry. That was just too much work for me. Instead, I spread the riced cauliflower out on a baking sheet (the same baking sheet I baked the pizza on) and let it dry out in the oven for about 20 minutes until basically dry to the touch. Worked like a charm! Top with your favorite sauce, cheese, and any toppings you can think of and you are good to go! Enjoy and Happy Pesach!

For the Crust:
Yield: 2 large crusts

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed very well
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water

Cook the quinoa by placing it in a small sauce pan with the oil and toasting it for about a minute in the oil while mixing. Add the water, and some salt, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes has elapsed, close the fire and keep the pot covered for another 5 minutes. Exactly how you would make rice. Set aside the quinoa to cool, you should have about 2 cups of cooked quinoa.
1 small head of cauliflower broken into florets- you should have about 900 grams (about 2 pounds) of florets, which was 8 cups of florets for me.

Preheat your oven to 375 and line the same baking sheet you will bake your pizza on with parchment. Place your cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulse about 4-5 times until the cauliflower is finely chopped and kind of looks like rice. Do NOT over process it or it will become mush. Place the cauliflower on the baking tray and put it the oven to dry out for about 20 minutes or until mostly dry to the touch. Alternatively, you can put your riced cauliflower in a covered bowl in the microwave for about 6 minutes to let it steam and then place the cauliflower in a towel and squeeze all the water out.

Once the cauliflower cools add it to the quinoa. And then add:

3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella or Yellow Cheese

mix well and press down some of the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet in the shape of a circle. Bake at 400 degrees F (205C)for about 15-18 minutes or until the edge is golden brown.
Top with your favorite sauce, cheese and toppings and bake another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted to your liking.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pesach Recipe Roundup 2017

It's that time of year again- time to start planning Pesach meals! Is it only me who thinks this year went super fast? I feel like I was just planning last year's meals! Good thing I enjoy making menus! I know I am not the only one combing every book and website looking for new recipes or how to convert my regular recipes for Pesach. I probably start this process a good 6 weeks before Pesach but I am never happy with the Pesach recipes- I much prefer to take what I would regularly make and make it work for Pesach. Here are a few recipes from my blog that would be great on Pesach-where substitutions are necessary they will be indicated. I've included dairy recipes as well that would be great for Chol Hamoed or for a dairy Chag meal-I always like to include one dairy meal over chag to break up what feels like one big chicken and meat fest. For any questions about these recipes you can contact me through my facebook page TheGushGourmet  or through Instagram @TheGushGourmet. Enjoy and Chag Sameach!

Appetizers/ Soups
Stuffed Cabbage Soup - (leave out the rice)
Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup
Roasted Tomato Soup
Roasted Cauliflower, Zucchini, and Dill Soup

Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken (Omit the mustard)
Orange Rosemary Roast Chicken
KFP Fried Chicken
Chicken Marbella
Smothered Caramelized Onion Chicken- the best chicken ever!
Greek Chicken- Not just for Chanukah! Substitute potato starch for flour
Cod Fillet with Melted Leeks, Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Sides/ Veggies/Salads:
Spiced Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Maple Chili Sweet Potato Fries
Jeweled Fennel and Orange Salad
Rainbow Quinoa Salad- substitute white wine vinegar for rice vinegar

Cheesy Cauliflower and Quinoa Crusted Pizza
Cheesy Quinoa Zucchini Cakes- substitute matzah meal for bread crumbs
Eggplant Involtini
French Toast Matzah Brei
Broccoli and Rice Casserole- Substitute QUINOA and omit mustard- yum!
Swiss Chard and Feta Latkes
Mini Frittatas
Greek Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Stuffed Sole- substitute matzah meal for the bread crumbs
Potato Leek Quiche with Shredded Potato Crust
Cheese Latkes- substitute  1/3 cup plus 1 Tbl potato starch for the flour
Tuna Croquettes with Horseradish Cream - substitute matzah meal for bread crumbs

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

One of my all time favorite snack foods from the olden days when I lived in America has got to be rice pudding- and not just any rice pudding- Kozy Shack rice pudding- the absolute best, creamiest and most delicious pudding ever. Every summer when I would fly back to visit, I would make sure there were containers of this deliciousness waiting for me upon arrival. Creamy, vanilla-y, sweet but not too sweet and only enhanced by a hefty shake of good quality cinnamon, my mouth still waters at the thought. Well, exactly one year ago (happy healthaversary to us!) the hubs and I decided to start living healthier lives, exercising more, and cutting out sugar and refined carbs from our diet. I am happy to report that together we have lost a total of over 80 pounds and we feel great!! But I still sometimes miss my Kozy Shack. So to celebrate this milestone in our lives I made this tapioca pudding using coconut cream that comes so close to my rice pudding memories that I was in creamy pudding heaven. Best part? It is pareve, vegan, has no refined sugar,takes 15 minutes to come together, and is pretty healthy as dessert goes. I'm hooked! Serve topped with some fresh fruit (mango is traditional but strawberries are also great) and you have a beautiful and healthy dessert. Enjoy!

1 cup small tapioca pearls- the tapioca pearls I get do not require soaking- if yours do, let them sit in the coconut mixture for 15 minutes or as long as your package says before turning on the heat.
4 cups coconut cream (NOT cream of coconut)
4 cups water
1/2 a vanilla bean (alternatively you can use 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract added after the pudding is removed from the fire)
good pinch of a salt
1 teaspoon good quality cinnamon
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (plus more to taste)

Into a large sauce pan pour the coconut cream and water. Open and scrape the vanilla bean adding the bean and the scrapings to the coconut mixture. Add the salt, cinnamon, maple syrup, and the tapioca pearls and bring the mixture up to a slow simmer. Let the mixture cook over medium heat mixing very often for about 15 minutes until the mixture thickens and the pearls have swelled and are translucent. Taste to see if you want it sweeter in which case add in a little more maple syrup. Let cool completely and then place in the fridge. The mixture will thicken to full pudding texture once it is refrigerated for a couple of hours. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with fresh fruit.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Pasta Fagioli

All winter I have been craving soups. If you know me, you would know this is weird, because I am not a soup person. I mean, I'll eat it if it's put in front of me, and I make it all the time, but I'll never order it in a restaurant and I certainly never yearn for a bowl. But ever since I started making my own vegetable, beef, and chicken stock, thus enriching the flavor of my soups by leaps and bounds, I've been hooked. In America, there is easy access to quality boxed stocks, here, however, all there is is soup mix, and so taking the time to make stock, for me, was about giving my family the healthiest base for soups, stews, and sauces. What is Pasta Fagioli you ask? This famous Italian soup seems awfully similar to Minestrone if you think about it- but where Minestrone is meant to have lots of vegetables, Pasta Fagioli is light on the veggies and heavy on the beans and pasta, a perfect hearty soup for winter time. In keeping with our recent lower carb and healthier lifestyle, I used rice and quinoa pasta which worked out great, but any pasta will do. And like most soups, the flavor of this soup increases and gets more delicious as it sits. We ate it for the better part of a week and couldn't get enough. Enjoy!

3 Tbl olive oil
1 large onion, (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
400 gram (14 ounces) can chopped tomato
1 570 gram can of 22x tomato paste (this is for Israeli users, In america use one small can of tomato paste)
3 liters (12 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup white beans, soaked overnight (This will yield approximately 21/2 cups of beans after soaking)
200 grams (7 ounces) of defrosted and drained frozen spinach (you can also use fresh),about 7 cubes of leaf spinach
2 cups of short pasta
salt and pepper

In a large pot heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, oregano, basil, and bay leaf.  Season with salt and pepper and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and let it cook for a minute to cook the alcohol out. Add the tomato, tomato paste and stock. Mix well and then add the beans. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil and then let it simmer for about 2 hours until the beans are tender. You can let it simmer even longer, the longer it goes the better the deeper the flavor will be. Once it is done, remove the bay leaf and then  remove 2 cups of mixture and blend it with an immersion blender and then add it back to the soup. This will give the soup great body. Add the spinach and cook another 5 minutes. The pasta can be added directly into the soup where you can cook it another 7 minutes or so until the pasta is tender. I prefer to cook the pasta separately and add it to each bowl when I serve it so the pasta doesn't get bloated and soggy

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Jeweled Fennel and Orange Salad

This is an appeal for the sake of my friend, the Fennel. I feel the need to glorify her (fennel look female, right?) because in my humble opinion she does not get enough attention from the home cook. Here in Israel, especially abundant in winter, you can find her under the name "shamir" where she sits neglected in the supermarket bin waiting for her time to shine. To add to her misery, she is usually tragically shorn of her pretty fronds. The fronds are the leaves of the fennel that resemble dill and taste like the bulb itself but a little more fragrant. I always get a kick out of the fronds which sit atop the bulb looking like it just came back from an Israeli hair salon (if you've been you know what I mean) or like Edward Scissor-hands got a little too close. Fennel to me tastes like a cross between black licorice and celery (ok,  I can understand a little how that description would keep you away) with a very mild taste and it is delightfully crunchy and refreshing. It is good raw, roasted or grilled and really adds great flavor to salads. Fennel and orange are a great match and in this simple and beautiful salad its flavor is highlighted by the citrus dressing and orange segments while pomegranate seeds add crunch, tartness, and of course beauty. Enjoy!

3 bulbs fennel, cleaned and sliced thin
1 large orange, segmented, reserve the juice
1/3 cup  pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries in a pinch a.k.a, the jewels
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
3 tablespoons fresh chopped mint

3 Tablespoons reserved orange juice (or use bottled 100% orange juice)
2 Tablespoons chardonnay vinegar (substitute with white wine vinegar if needed)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup, agave, or honey
salt and pepper to taste

Arrange the salad ingredients in a bowl or pretty platter, whisk the dressing, pour over the salad and serve.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower, Zuchinni, and Dill Soup

I had one too many latkes this Chanukah and now I am trying my hardest to get back on track so the hubby and I are doing another round of Whole30 to detox. If you aren't familiar with the Whole30 plan, its basically a detox plan where you pretty much cut out all carbs for 30 days.
Yikes! But we've done it before and we are committed to doing it again.
One of the hardest parts of eating healthy is how much prep it takes- there is no such thing as grabbing a sandwich, making a quick bowl of pasta etc- every meal requires lots of chopping, washing, and planning- so making a big pot of soup at the beginning of the week and having it to help supplement meals is super helpful. My goal with this soup was to make it as flavorful as possible without using stock (my usual go to) which I didn't have around or soup mix (a big no-no)-just plain, old water. To that end, I tried to build flavor by roasting the cauliflower and zucchini first with cloves of garlic, using celery root instead of celery for creaminess and a more mellow and pronounced celery flavor, and lots of dill. The soup turned out better than I could have ever expected! Silky, smooth, with a pronounced cauliflower and dill flavor and undertones of roasted garlic that was just right. This soup was a huge hit and we have been licking our bowls every night- even my two year old devoured it! Best part about it is that it's full of vegetables with absolutely nothing that's bad for you. Success in a bowl! Enjoy!

1.6 kilo/ 3.5 pounds (around two medium heads) cauliflower, broken into florets
1.2 kilo/2.5 pounds (about two large) zucchini, cut into chunks
4 large cloves of garlic
6 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 medium celery root, peeled, and diced- in a pinch you can use two large stalks of celery sliced but I highly recommend using celery root.
1 medium starchy potato (that's a red potato in Israel, a Yukon in America), peeled and chunked
1 cup fresh chopped dill, divided
12 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375F. Place the cauliflower, zucchini, and garlic cloves on a sheet tray, drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for about 35-40 minutes or until the cauliflower and zucchini are nicely roasted, you want the cauliflower to have the crispy brown edges.
In a pot, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion, carrot, and celery root. Season with salt and pepper and saute well until the onion is translucent about 5-7 minutes over medium heat.  Add in the roasted vegetables taking care to remove the skin from the garlic cloves first. Add the water, the potato, and 1/2 cup of the dill and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and cook for about 35 minutes until the potato is soft and everything is starting to dissolve. Add the rest of the dill and blend it all with an immersion blender until smooth.