Monday, May 31, 2010

Advanced Plan Pizza- What?!?


I know. When I found this recipe (at a website called "Tropical Traditions"), I was extremely skeptical. The second time I tested the recipe, I made two batches, because I knew we would snack the first one away (as we did the original test) before a whole pizza could be made. Honestly, we love this recipe as a kind of a cheese bread and as a pizza crust.

2 cups whole milk organic (raw is preferable) mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 large organic eggs
2 tablespoons flax meal
2 tablespoons organic coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder

Preparation:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to line two baking sheets.

Mix cheese, eggs, flax meal, coconut flour, and baking powder together until a sticky wet dough is formed. Spread with a spatula to 1/4 inch thickness on a baking sheet lined with one piece of parchment paper. I usually cover it with another piece of parchment, once I have it shaped into a circle, and roll it out with a rolling pin a bit more, because it will "rise" a little while cooking, and I want it to cover as much surface area as possible, and remain thin like a pizza crust.

Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven. Halfway through the baking process, flip crust over by lifting it from the baking sheet, flipping it over onto the second parchment lined baking sheet and peeling the old paper off. This is easier than it sounds. Return to oven to finish baking for the remaining 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, and flip over again (onto a cooling rack) for cooling. Once crust is cooled, top with Maximized toppings (we used some cold diced organic chicken and tiny broccoli florets) and, yes, more cheese. (I have also used home made bruschetta topped with the cheese, and it was wonderful.)

Place crust with toppings under the broiler, about 4 to 6 inches from heating element, on high heat, for a minute or two until cheese is melted and bubbly. I do this on yet another piece of parchment paper, but watch it carefully because the broiler will burn the parchment paper if you leave it too long. My parchment paper has been brown, but not burnt, by the time I remove the pizza from under the broiler.

Makes 2-4 servings. (I suggest you make two.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Organic Strawberries, Maximized Shortcake

This morning I whipped up a batch of the Basic Almond Muffin recipe in GOOD FOOD. I added some lemon zest and substituted lemon juice for the water called for in the recipe. I like to mix things up and experiment, and these two changes turned out to be a good idea, although the original recipe is lovely just the way it is. (By the way, if you are an inexperienced baker, remember that baking is chemistry. You can't change amounts of ingredients or skip ingredients the way you can in cooking, which in many ways is a more creative venture.)

Anyway, later in the day I ran across some organic strawberries.

You know the rest. Whip up some organic cream, gently sweetened with a tiny bit of stevia and a whisper of vanilla extract. Slice a muffin in half, add berries and whipped cream and top with mint fresh from my garden. (The only reason I planted mint this year was to decorate desserts.) We couldn't wait for our meal to be over: Dessert Heaven.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Coconut Flour Crepes

These crepes are surprisingly delicious. They can be used for breakfast or brunch, and would be the beginning of a lovely dessert. To that end, I would suggest rolling fresh, local, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries into the crepes, and topping them with a dollop of organic, stevia sweetened, cinnamon whipped cream. If you are using them for breakfast, I would top them with the Strawberry Sauce recipe which you can find in GOOD FOOD.

I also did a chocolate version of this recipe. I simply added 2 tablespoons of organic unsweetened cocoa powder, and substituted unsweetened chocolate almond milk for the milk in the original recipe. I also had to bump up the stevia to counter the bitterness of the cocoa powder. (Frankly, I preferred the original recipe, but I know there are lots of chocolate lovers out there.)

I tested the crepes in two types of pan. I used an old, very well seasoned, cast-iron pan, and I used a new Earth Chef pan that I recommended in GOOD FOOD. Both worked beautifully.


2 eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Stevia liquid drops, to taste (I use about 10 drops)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract - NO sugar, check the label (can substitute almond extract)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons organic coconut flour, sifted
small pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cinnamon
1/3 cup organic whole milk or unsweetened vanilla almond milk

In a medium bowl with a wire whisk, beat together the eggs, oil, stevia, vanilla, and salt. Mix in sifted coconut flour, nutmeg and cinnamon; stir in milk.
Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. When hot, melt a tiny bit of coconut oil in the pan.

Pour 1/8 cup (two tablespoons-full) of batter in the skillet and swirl around in pan until a thin layer of batter covers the bottom. The crepe should be about 6-inches in diameter. (If you don't want them paper thin, govern your swirling accordingly.)

Cook 1-2 minutes, or until batter is bubbly and cooked around the edges. Flip the crepe and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes more, or until done.

These should be kept in the refrigerator if you want to use them for a dessert later in the day, but I would separate them with layers of parchment paper, and remove them from the fridge about an hour before dinner.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Storing Fresh Herbs

Once the weather begins to brighten, planting herbs becomes a top priority for me. I have found in the past that herbs are not as fragile as annuals, so frost is much less of a concern (with the exception of basil, which really loves the hottest weather it can get). I am experimenting with some new herbs and vegetables this summer, all planted in containers (city mouse that I am), and all chosen because I know I will actually use them in my meals. I got some beautiful lettuce plants from McSmith’s farm a couple of weeks ago, and they are also doing beautifully.

Over the rainy Mother’s Day weekend, I happened upon the following advice about storing fresh herbs once they are picked, and decided to pass it along. This method will work whether you plant and harvest your own herbs, or you buy them in bunches at the market. Fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, and other fresh herbs can last up to 2 weeks or longer when stored this way.
Let me know how it works for you.

1 Snip off the bottom of the stems.
2 Make sure the leaves are completely dry. Better to hold off rinsing them until you're about to use them.
3 Fill a jar or a water glass partially with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water in the jar. (See the photo above.)
4 If you are storing the herbs in the refrigerator, cover loosely with a plastic bag. Cilantro loves cool temperatures and should be stored in the refrigerator. Parsley can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. According to experts, basil is ideally stored at room temperature and not in the refrigerator, because it is susceptible to damage from cold.
5 Change the water after several days if the water starts to discolor.