Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Faux Dough

Everyone always has an opinion about the best type of pizza: Ray's famous pizza New York style, sicilian, thin crust, crust with cheese, the list can go on and on. But before you start drooling as you picture a sizzling hot slice of pizza with the gooey cheese dripping off the sides and a crispy crust that breaks apart in your hands, let me stop you there...I like alternative versions of pizza, i.e. pizza without the typical crust. And tonight for dinner was no exception...I was going to make cauliflower crusted pizza. I could hardly contain my excitement when I arrived home after a long, hot and sticky day in the city of Philadelphia. I started the process by splitting a head of cauliflower in half and cutting out the stems, only keeping the florets (flower shaped pieces) from the top and placing them in a large bowl. After microwaving the florets for about 8 minutes, I took them out to cool and began whisking an egg in a separate small bowl. As the cauliflower was cooling, I added the egg into the bowl, a quarter teaspoon of crushed garlic and half a cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese. Once the ingredients were stirred together, I poured the crust mixture into a pan and let it bake in the oven for 15 minutes. The timer beeped in impecable time, the 15 minutes flew by and it was time for the toppings - a layer of tomato paste mixed with basil, three handfuls of sprinkled cheese, thin slices of a juicy red tomato, some chopped scallions and pieces of spinach. The pie went back in the oven for 6 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt and the toppings to cook. It was hard to wait the short amount of 6 minutes, the aroma of the bubbling cheese and pungent garlic wafted through the house. When the timer went off, I raced into the kitchen and pulled the pizza out of the oven and could hardly contain my eyes and tastebuds, the cheese had melted into a white stringy bed as it peaked out through the luscious red color of the tomato, the bright kelly green scallions and the dark forest green spinach. Instead of a hard and heavy taste of breaded crust, the cauliflower was light and fluffy, the garlic flavor seeped through the vegetable toppings, the tomatos were soft, the scallions added a bit of a crunch. I had one slice, then another and then picked the toppings off the cheese, I could not stop myself, it was really good. In my opinion, it is safe to say this was the best type of pizza I have ever had. You can eat the pizza with anything, but mine went well with a glass of Rosé, bottoms up!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thai This

There are certain types of ethnic foods that I believe should be eaten sporadically: Chinese, Japanese, Indian, just to name a few. However, there is one exception: Thai food! When you ask me what my favorite type of ethnic food is, I will 9 times out of 10 say: Thai. Tonight I invited a friend over for dinner and you will never believe what we decided to make...THAI FOOD (surprise)! After searching long and hard for a Pad Thai recipe, I stumbled upon an easy vegetarian Pad Thai dish and we got straight to work...well, the abbreviated version (with ingredients we had in the house). First, I boiled a heaping amount of white bean thread noodles, that turned to a translucent clear after they were cooked. Then, we got to work on the sauce. If you are an avid Thai eater like me, you know that Thai food has flavor and flair, with a robust spiciness. We took a 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 2 scoops of chunky peanut butter, two halves of one freshly squeezed lemon (the recipe called for lime), 4 individual packets of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of Siracha (a red tangy hot sauce). We whisked the mixture together and began to sauté half of a chopped white onion in the wok, carefully adding half a block of white spongey tofu. We cooked the ingredients down and added the bean thread noodles and peanut butter and soy sauce mixture with a small forkful of garlic and some chopped scallions for more flavor. I picked up my chopsticks (feeling in an authentic mood) and took my first bite, which was filled with a spicy kick from the Siracha and a creaminess from the peanut butter. The soft bites of tofu were light and fluffy. The flavors paired perfectly - both salty and sweet. I finished my first plate and went back for seconds, excited for the leftovers that will be waiting for me at lunch tomorrow. It was thai-tally delicious.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Dairy Dream

On a recent trip to the supermarket I bought some beautiful ripe red strawberries. I wanted to make something cold, sweet, creamy, fresh and fruity and came up with a great combination for a light dessert or snack. I washed, hulled and halved some juicy strawberries. Then I opened a container of plain greek style yogurt and drizzled in some honey for sweetness. Next, I took a knife and spread the yogurt on top of the strawberries like icing until it covered the entire half. Then for a crunch, I sprinkled miniature chopped walnuts on top of the layer of yogurt. I placed the sliced yogurt covered strawberries into a container with a lid and put them in the freezer for about four hours. After returning home from a long walk, later in the day, I was hot and wanted something to cool me off. I pulled out the container to find the strawberries frozen solid. I plopped a frozen strawberry half into my mouth. The yogurt melted to a creamy liquid and a crunch from the nuts, the taste was soothing. The snack was a dairy dream, filled with delicious flavor.