Archive for December, 2012

From Dish Nicole:

pepperoni white pizza

While I was home over Thanksgiving my family and I ate too much and then talked about how full we were. Then the next day we ate the leftovers and did the whole cycle all over again. A family tradition. One of the great things about my family is that we have a huge family and tons of close friends that are honorary family members. We get together throughout the holiday season and usually we do a pot-luck style gathering due to the amount of people. You always get to sample the holiday classics as well as a new recipe someone was trying out. Some are healthy, and well you know, some call for a pound of butter, a la Julia Child. At one recent get together my mom’s best friend Cindy came over and she mentioned a recipe her daughter had told her to try. Pizza dough made from cauliflower. I was intrigued. When I got back to NYC I started the old Google search and came across a website called Eating Bird Food and got to work making my dough. I made 2 pizzas and they were excellent. I am not saying that you should replace delicious crusty pizza dough with this permanently but it is a healthy alternative and is gluten free for our gluten intolerant friends!

Yields 2 Pizza crusts
1 head cauliflower (about 2 cups riced)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & Pepper

Start off by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Grease your cookie sheets or use a pizza stone. I recommend using a pizza stone if you have one. (I do not but you bet I’ll be registering for one!) Remove all the stems and leaves from the cauliflower and chop into small chunks.


Put all the cauliflower in a food processer and pulse until the cauliflower is ground to a coarse rice consistency. Next you want to cook the cauliflower until it’s translucent. You can do this by microwaving it for 8 minutes or heat in a sauce pan over medium heat. If using the sauce pan, you do not need to add oil, just keep stirring and do not leave unattended. Once the cauliflower is ready you can mix all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. If you would like to add salt and pepper you can do so at this time.

Now you are ready to roll out the dough. Unlike regular dough you do not need to knead the dough. You will simply spread out the dough onto your prepped baking sheets or stone. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The center should be cooked through and the edges will be crispy.

prebake baked
Remove from the oven and add your toppings. Here is what I used:

Pizza 1: tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, onion, pepperoni & fresh chopped basil
Pizza 2: red potatoes thinly sliced, ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese & fresh chopped basil

Once your pizzas are ready you are going to put them back in the oven and broil for approximately 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Slice and eat immediately.

You won’t trick any bread lovers but this pizza sure was tasty. Grab a fork and knife, you will need it, and eat away.

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From Dish Erin:

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I love the combination of mushrooms and pasta. If you use a combination of wild mushrooms, the flavor is earthy and the texture is meaty, eliminating the need for a protein. This dish uses creme fraiche which adds a creamy, tangy flavor, perfect with mushrooms.

Serves 2


Penne pasta (I used whole wheat)
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 shallot, roughly chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3-4 large oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
A bunch of fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 heaping tablespoons creme fraiche
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Lemon zest
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Parmesan cheese
Generous amount of chopped fresh parsley Porcini or white truffle oil (totally optional)

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, reconstitute the porcini mushrooms by putting enough hot water over them in a shallow dish to cover the mushrooms (should be about 1/4 cup water). They will begin to puff up and the water will turn brown.

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In a sauce pan heat 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1-2 tablespoons olive oil until warm. Add shallots and garlic and sautée until translucent.

Add all mushrooms, including the porcini, along with the water they were reconstituting in (it has great flavor). Add a bunch of fresh thyme (a few sprigs worth to your taste), white wine and stir to coat mushrooms. Sautée until mushrooms are cooked through and the wine has absorbed by at least half.

Add the cooked pasta to the mushrooms and shallots in the sautée pan with a few tablespoons of the pasta water.


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Add pine nuts, creme fraiche, a generous about of lemon zest (about the zest of a whole lemon), and an even more generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Lets be honest: You can never have too much cheese.

*If the sauce is a little watery at this point you can sautée on low for another few minutes until liquid absorbs and/or add another tablespoon of creme fraiche to thicken*

Stir everything together until we’ll incorporated and taste. Add salt and a lot of pepper. Stir again and add a bunch of fresh parsley.

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Serve with a loaf of bread and the dry white wine you used to cook with.

And of course, a bit more Parmesan cheese.

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From Dish Amelia:

Somehow I never got to the beach last summer, but I DID put in extra effort to make the upstate apple picking pilgrimage in the fall. Now its closing in on winter, and I am still reaping the bounty! I am so thankful that the visit yielded such beautiful, nourishing and long-lasting gifts. At the lovely Fishkill Farm we visited, I spent the longest time wandering in the winter squash patch. It was so alien, all the contrasting colors and sculptural forms spread out like jewels in the dusty ruts. Staring down, and trying to identify them all, the patch seemed vast under the blue sky.



Once home, the apple cider was gone in a day, the eggs in a week, the apples after that, and the last bit of jam went on its toasty way a few weeks later. But the squashes have continued to produce. They can sit around, in the cool and dark, for even a year if you want. They will only concentrate in flavor, evaporating the moisture from their hidden interior so slowly, no one will notice until you cut it open and the very center has started to make a space for itself.  I didn’t wait this long, but I include two recipes here, both made in the past few weeks, and more than a month after I picked the squashes. They were simple and delicious, and fed us for days.

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3 winter squashes, I had mini blue hubbard and a kabocha, (I think)

some dried porcini mushrooms (1 small handful)

2 large handfuls of sliced mushrooms (I was lucky to have scored a huge pile of leftover oyster mushrooms from a catering gig)

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 sprig of thyme

a couple of garlic cloves per squash

1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2 (per squash. This is estimated.)

lots of black pepper

large pinch kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375. Carve out the stem or “lid”. Clean it up, removing the stringy bits, and scooping the seeds. Layer in the fresh mushrooms, garlic and herbs. Sprinkle the dried mushrooms salt and pepper. Drizzle in the half and half or milk and a drop of olive oil.  Replace “lid”, particularly if you would like to serve out of the squashes themselves. (Que rustica!) However you may discard them and simply roast.

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Check squashes at 30 minutes, they may take almost an hour. When you take them out, let them just sit for a while, to cool, and re-absorb what they are trying to steam out. When they are a bit cool, scoop and mash them, they are almost perfect when they come out, just stir a bit to incorporate.


Recipe number two involves the powerful and steadfast butternut squash. It sat on the counter patiently, until it became the base for this easy soup.


1 butternut squash, quartered and seeded

7 large carrots

1 large onion, chopped

a few whole cloves of garlic

an inch of a knob of ginger (peeled or sliced on the mandolin)

1 sprig rosemary

a pinch of red chile

a pinch on cumin

a pinch of cardamom

a couple of Tsps olive oil

lots of black pepper


1 quart water or stock, depending on desired thickness

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash, thick cut carrots and garlic in roasting dish with a bit of water. Cover tightly with foil. Roast for 1/2 hour. Realize, darn it, you need to make this delivery NOW, so turn off the oven. Return in an hour. Check on squash and discover its PERFECT. (Ok, so that might not be the timeline for you, per se, I would have just roasted it for an hour, but this ended up working out so WELL!).

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In a stockpot, heat the olive oil. When its warm add ginger, rosemary and spices, and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add onion and cook until soft, a few minutes. scoop out squash, and add carrots, garlic and any juices still in roasting dish. Cover with stock or water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for maybe ten or fifteen minutes, until things come together. Fish out rosemary sprigs, and buzz with immersion blender until you have a very smooth puree. This is soup good hot or cold.

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