For those of you who sent such warm wishes for our "big college drop off" experience with our daughter, I thank you from the bottom to the top of my heart.
Your words were so kind. I was emotionally prepared (no I was not and I cried for hours on the drive home) and we had a wonderful weekend getting her settled. Her eyes were sparkling one minute and a little panicky the next, but after her first week of a full load...all is good.
We spent two days running around town getting all of the college "necessities". Oh, la, la! That sure did work up an appetite. We found a little NY-style pizza place called "Home Slice Pizza". The pizza was amazing...one slice was about the size of my head!
We loved the pizza so much...we got a SECOND slice. That might have been a bit of a caloric mistake, but we declared that Home Slice definitely needed to be added to our college weekend visits...yes, in addition to Bahn Mi sandwiches, BBQ spare ribs, Vietnamese Iced Coffee, etc. etc.
But speaking of pizza, I remembered seeing a no grain version of pizza crust floating around the food blogging world. The crust was made from...cauliflower. That's right...a cauliflower crust. Hard to imagine that tasting anything like pizza crust. It peaked my curiosity but not necessarily my taste buds.
Since I've had so much luck lately using cauliflower to make "faux" Shepherd's Pie and "faux" Chinese fried rice (both coming to 'thyme' soon!) I knew it was probably worth it to give this new role for cauliflower a try.
Our efforts to give up processed foods and white sugar and eating only "Whole Foods" meant giving up our coveted and longed for "Pizza Friday". We have managed to track down the most amazing pizza places in each city we have lived in and that pizza find became the Friday night routine.
We tried so hard not to miss this indulgence on Fridays but after a couple of months, we decided that what we missed most from the processed white flour days...was pizza.
So this brings me to this pizza experiment this Friday night that involved making the crust out of cooked cauliflower. I tracked down the original blog, Recipe Girl, that introduced this idea to me and decided that we would see if it could rekindle "Pizza Friday" for us....whole foods style.
Making the cauliflower crust was great tactile fun. After grating a head of cauliflower, it is mixed with eggs, cheese, and spices. The resulting "dough" is wet and sloppy looking. Kids who love playdoh would love this part.
It is dumped out onto a baking sheet (which needs to be generously oiled!!) and then "patty-caked" outward to form a large pizza circle. If you like "playing with food" then this part continues to be fun for kiddos.
After it cooks in the oven, the sauce and toppings are added and then a quick broil to melt the cheese.
Voila! It smelled like pizza, looked like pizza, and had no evident cauliflower flavor. I wouldn't necessarily recommend trying to pass it off as "real pizza" to anyone...
but...inbetween college visits and indulgences at places like "Home Slice" in Austin, it fits the bill and will be experimented with further for our "Pizza Fridays"!
"Pizza Friday" with Cauliflower Crust
(adapted from Recipe Girl blog)
Yield: One 9 to 12-inch pizza (feeds 2 to 3 people)
Prep Time: 25 min Cook Time: 18 min
1 LARGE head cauliflower (or 4 cups shredded cauliflower)
2 large eggs
2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese (I used smoked gouda and cheddar b/c that is what I had)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried minced garlic (or fresh garlic)
1 teaspoon onion salt
Fresh slices of mozzerella
Shred the cauliflower into small crumbles. It should resemble rice grains and be "crumbly" Place the cauliflower crumbles in a large bowl and microwave them (dry) for 8 minutes. **Give the cauliflower a chance to cool. You might put it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 400˚ degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet or pizza pan with nonstick spray (or use a nonstick surface). ** The first attempt stuck to the pan so really spray or grease a pan well.
In a medium bowl, mix the cauliflower crumbles with the remaining crust ingredients. Pat the "crust" into a 9 to 12-inch round on the prepared pan. Spray the crust lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes (or until golden). Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to broil.
Prepare the pizza: Spread the sauce on top of the baked crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Arrange the fresh mozzerella slices in a circle. Add fresh basil leaves. Broil the pizza 3 to 4 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes. Cut into 6 slices and serve
The pizza looks like you could eat it by hand but we had to use a fork. We enjoyed it! You should try it! It does not duplicate pizza but..it's good!