Cauliflower Pizza Crust

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Everyone on earth loves pizza. It’s a fact of life. Especially where I live in New York. You don’t have to go far to enjoy a slice of heaven. Of course, with something so delicious comes great responsibility. There’s nothing worse than the one-too-many slices feeling that is all too familiar. If you want to try something so much lighter and healthier, look no further! A pizza made with a cauliflower crust. Whoever invented this, I take my hat off to him or her. Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables because it is so delicious and versatile. Sometimes I just dump the florets on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and bake. The smell and char when them come out is wonderful! Give this pizza a try. I think it’s a perfect Saturday snack or meal in itself, topped with mushrooms or black olives. Dig in!


Yield: 1 9-12″ pizza, depending on pan size — Total time: 25 minutes

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 head of fresh cauliflower, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Pizza Toppings:

  • marinara sauce, organic jarred
  • mozzarella cheese
  • shaved parmigiano reggiano
  • toppings of choice
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Remove the leaves and stems from cauliflower. Shred the cauliflower in bunches using a cheese grater. You will need about 2 cups (for a 8-9″ pan) or more like 3 cups (for a 12″ pan).
  2. Add grated cauliflower to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 7-8 minutes. Mix heated cauliflower with egg, cheese, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Take this mixture and press into the bottom of a pan or cast iron skillet that has been sprayed well with cooking spray. Really spray it well, you don’t want the crust to stick! Even spray the top of crust once it is in the pan so that the edges don’t stick. Don’t worry if it looks like a thin later– it will fluff up a bit while cooking.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. You want it to get pretty golden so you know it’s nice and crispy. Remove pizza from oven. While you get prepare your toppings, set the oven to Broil. Spread a thin layer of marinara over the crust and sprinkle mozzarella cheese and parmigiano over the sauce. Add whatever toppings your heart desires!
  4. Broil pizza for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown and cheese starts to bubble. Enjoy!

Café Style Raspberry Muffins

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

I cannot say enough about these raspberry muffins. The best part is: my picky husband LOVES them. I mean loves them. To the point where I am not allowed to share them with family or friends. When I make a batch, they stay in the kitchen for him. He’ll get 7 days worth of breakfast out of it! This recipe is my favorite muffin recipe because of the baking instructions. Starting out at a higher temp gets them to rise quickly, for high-top bakery style– then the temperature is lowered to finish baking. And I absolutely love the idea of lining the tin in parchment paper squares. Beautiful presentation and no mess. These pop right out with ease. Say good morning to one of these beauties with a little butter or cream cheese!!


Yield: 6-12 large muffins depending on size

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or regular whole milk)
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil (or vegetable/canola oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and ¼ cup fresh raspberries
  • coarse sugar (or cane sugar)
  1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Spray jumbo muffin pan with non-stick spray or prepare 6″x6″ square sheets of parchment paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until all dry ingredients are just combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined. Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix everything together by hand until just combined. Do not over mix! Over mixing leads to tough, dry muffins. Gently mix until all the flour is off the bottom of the bowl and no big pockets of flour remain. The batter will be thick and a little lumpy. Very gently fold in raspberries to avoid them from leaking their color. GENTLE!
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins (or liners) filling all the way to the top. To avoid crushing the raspberries, I filled the cups with my hands gently. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. This touch adds that bakery feel! Bake at 425F degrees for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, keep the muffins in the oven and reduce temperature to 375F and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are lightly golden. I have had best luck baking 6 muffins at a time for 20 minutes. I have a gas oven. Use a toothpick to test– they are done when it comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Eat immediately! Store muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for about 5-7 days. Enjoy!

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Breakfast Power Bowl

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

I have to admit…sometimes it is hard for me to drag myself out of bed in the morning. I am a fan of the snooze button. But this morning I woke up with excitement to try out this breakfast power bowl! Half of the excitement was to fill up this gorgeous copper vessel and mug I found recently. The other half was thinking about what to fill it with: a of wholesome goodness. Greek yogurt, fruit, grains, nuts and berries. This is a breakfast to really get you going. Your body will thank you! The best part? What you top your yogurt with is totally up to you! Rise and shine. Here’s what I filled mine with:

Servings: 1


Ingredients:

  • 1 medium size container of Fage Greek Yogurt 0% (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of hazelnut milk, almond milk or kefir (I love hazelnut!)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • Toppings: sliced figs, baked granola (I used some with oats + pumpkin seeds), fresh blackberries, cacao crunch and sliced banana
  1. In a large bowl, mix together Greek yogurt, hazelnut milk, honey, and flax seeds. Adding whatever toppings your heart desires! DIG IN! Store in an air-tight container in your refrigerator.

2Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Cinnamon and Matcha Baked Doughnuts

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Photo: Ashley Cuoco

Here’s the story behind this one: I was super excited to buy a donut pan– way better for you baked than fried, right? All I could think was, healthy doughnuts! YES! My Hamptons girl Ina Garten shared a recipe for her cinnamon baked donuts on Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa. Look no further: these are the sweetest treat. So I used her recipe as the platform for another thing I have been excited to try– Matcha! Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea. It’s a bit of a pretty penny, but worth it. Bon Appetit magazine did a spread in their September issue on matcha glazed and sugared donuts. Hence, the donut conglomerate pictured above. Donuts three ways: cinnamon sugar, matcha glaze, and matcha sugar! Enjoy these with a seeping cup of tea. Aaah.


Prep:15 min — Inactive:5 min — Cook:15 min — Yield: 12 donuts

Doughnut Ingredients:

  • Baking spray with flour, such as Baker’s Joy
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cinnamon Topping Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 doughnut pans well.
  2. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  3. Spoon the batter into the baking pans, filling each one a little more than three-quarters full. Bake for 17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a sheet pan.
  4. For the topping, melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch saute pan. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar, either on one side or both sides.(2012, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, All Rights Reserved)

 

Now for the Matcha toppings:

Matcha Glaze: Wisk together 1 large egg white, 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tsp matcha, a pinch of salt and 1 Tbsp water until smooth.

Matcha Sugar Topping: Whisk together 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp matcha until no lumps remain.

Enjoy!

Matcha topping recipes courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine.

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Photo: Ashley Cuoco

 

 

Zucchini Brownies

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Photo: Ashley Cuoco

Here is one satisfying guilty pleasure: minus the guilt! Disguised in this decadence of chocolate bliss is a pureed zucchini. Wouldn’t know if I didn’t tell you, hm? This is not only the easiest from-scratch brownie recipe I have tried, but by far the best tasting. They come out of the oven super moist and fudgy. Add the chocolate ganache frosting and you’ve completed operation death by chocolate. Enjoy! (Sharing is optional).


Hands-on time: 12 minutes — Baking time: 25-30 minutes — Total time: Overnight, 32 – 42 minutes — Yield: 16 brownies

Ingredients

Brownies:

  • 8 ounces zucchini (about one 8″ fresh zucchini, trimmed), cut into chunks*
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for enhanced chocolate flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • *If you don’t have a scale, 8 ounces is about 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, lightly tamped down.

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or 3 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ square pan.
  2. To make the brownies: Combine the zucchini, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in the work bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth.
  3. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, salt, and flour; process briefly, just until well combined.
  4. Add the chips, and pulse several times, to break up the chips just a bit.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it; you shouldn’t see any sign of wet batter. Remove the brownies from the oven, and allow them to cool completely before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting: Combine the chocolate chips and milk or cream in a microwave-safe bowl or small saucepan. Heat until the milk is steaming, and the chips are soft. Remove from the heat, and stir until smooth.
  8. Spread the frosting atop the brownies. Place them in the refrigerator for an hour or so, to set; then store them at room temperature, covered, for several days.

Recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour, www.kingarthurflour.com

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Photo: Ashley Cuoco

Roasted Mushroom and Asparagus Carbonara

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Photo: Ashley Cuoco

I have been an avid mushroom lover for many years… probably all 24 of them. There is nothing that you can’t add mushrooms to for a major flavor elevation! It’s my pizza topping of choice. Now I can’t ignore the asparagus here, either. It plays just as important a role as the mushrooms. Combined with the parmesan egg sauce, the earthy, crisp veggies and fettuccini are an awesome combo. This just screams summer dinner to me!


Prep Time: 10 minutes — Cook Time: 40 minutes — Total Time: 50 minutes — Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut (I only used the tips)
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces fettuccine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  1. Toss the asparagus and mushrooms in the oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast at 400 degrees until they start to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes. Mix half-way through cooking time.
  2. Cook the pasta as directed on the package.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat until pan is hot. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute and turn heat to low.
  4. Mix the egg, cheese, pepper and salt and parsley in a bowl. Drain the cooked pasta. Reserve some of the water.
  5. Mix the pasta, egg mixture, asparagus and mushrooms into the pan, adding reserved pasta water as needed.

Enjoy!

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Photo: Ashley Cuoco

Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking.

Pan-Seared Sirloin Steak

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Photo: Ashley Cuoco

Serves: 4 servings — Prep time: 8-10Cook time: Total time: 


 

Welcome, September…as much as I absolutely love the time of year we are entering into, I’m holding onto that summer grillage just a little! I was SO excited to get my hands on a nice cast iron grill pan. What a difference this made in cooking a great steak. The cast iron evenly distributes the heat and really helps intensify those flavors: cayenne, salt, pepper, rosemary, butter, wine– it all came together in every bite of meat, potato and carrot. Talk about satisfying and exciting in your mouth. This meal is also perfect as we enter into the cooler months. And did I mention you can make it all happen in less than 20 minutes? Pour yourself a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and dig in!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bone-in or boneless rib eye or sirloin steak (3/4 – 1-1/2 lbs at 1-1/2″ thick. I use only grass-fed).
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 peeled garlic gloves, crushed
  • 2-3 fresh sprigs of rosemary or other fresh herb
  • Red wine and beef stock or broth and butter for deglazing the pan and making a lovely pan sauce
  • 10 small organic golden potatoes, sliced
  • 1-2 cups of organic baby carrots
  1. Season one side of the steak with salt, freshly ground pepper and cayenne. Heat your seasoned cast iron skillet until it is smoking hot. Add oil to pan and place steak seasoned-side down. Season the other side of the steak with spices. Let steak cook for 2 minutes. Using tongs, flip the steak and add butter, garlic and rosemary to the pan next to the steak. Allow the steak to cook for 2 additional minutes.
  2. After you flip the steak the first time, with a spoon or small ladle, baste the melted butter over the steak. Baste continually for the full two minutes. You may need to tilt the pan to get all that buttery goodness for basting. At this point, I began to splash the beef stock and wine in small amounts in the pan to get these flavors rendering. You can add more later, see step 5.
  3. After two minutes on each side, continue to baste and flip the steak each time leaving the steak for 30 seconds before turning. Test the steak with the poke test (see note below) and remove at medium rare at about the five to six minute mark of total cooking time. For a medium to well, cook a minute or two longer. A thicker steak may take longer.
  4. Turn off the heat and baste. Remove the steak and cover loosely with foil for 10 minutes and allow to rest before cutting. Either serve steak cut into portioned pieces or serve slices cut on a bias.
  5. Deglaze the pan with a little red wine, then and stock and simmer for a few minutes to reduce the drippings. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to thicken for a delicious pan sauce. Pour on pan sauce and garnish with fresh herbs before serving.

Note: To test the meat for doneness, use the ‘poke test.’ Make a tight fist and feel the flesh just below your thumb. Firm is how well-done steak will feel. Loosen your grip a bit and feel the same spot. That will be medium-rare. Loosen your grip all the way and that is rare. Now poke your finger into the thickest part of the meat and compare it to your palm for the perfect level of doneness that you wish.

Enjoy!2Photo: Ashley Cuoco