Gluten-free Cauliflower Pizza Crust by Allison

I’ve made different kinds of gluten-free pizza crusts over the past two years and this is by far the best vegetable pizza base I’ve created. Even my friend and fellow blogger Nikki loved it and she can eat gluten (and has great judgment) so that says a lot! The texture turned out great and the flavor combinations were incredibly tasty. With a cauliflower crust, I make my tomato sauce strong and flavorful so it balances out the flavor of the cauliflower.  See my notes below on how I make my tomato sauce for this recipe. Now I have to say that making this recipe can be time consuming when you’re doing it for the first time but as you gain some practice it gets easier and faster the more times you make it as with any recipe but especially this one! There’s nothing like pizza and good company!

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I don’t know what I did before I had a food processor, well yes I do, I did everything by hand and it took a lot longer to make everything that is for sure!

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This is the cauliflower mixture above after I have added the eggs and spices. It should be wet in consistency and it should stick together and not be dry.

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The picture above is the pizza crust after baking for about 17 minutes! Looks delish and it is!

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Gluten-free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients

1 medium head + 1 small head of cauliflower, riced and cooked*

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

fresh mozzarella cheese, 125 grams cut into small pieces

For the pizza:

your own pizza sauce-just the way you like it! #

fresh mozzarella cheese (125 grams/4.5 ounces)

grated parmesan

roasted red peppers (or any toppings of your choice)

crushed chili flakes for a little kick!

*rice cauliflower means to either grate it by hand or in a food processor into small pieces. After the cauliflower is riced, place in microwave and cook for 8 minutes, stir often and let cool. Using your hands or a fine sieve strainer, press the water out of the cauliflower. If you skip this step, your crust will be mushy and not have the right consistency. Then you add the eggs, cheese and spices, press onto a cookie sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 15-20 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until light brown. Take it out and spread on your homemade tomato sauce and toppings of your choice, sprinkle parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese over the toppings and bake for 7-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is melted.

# In my tomato sauce I combine two cans of tomato paste (for those in Prague I purchase the Albert brand tomato paste as it states right on the can “does not contain gluten”, garlic cloves, onion, garlic salt, salt, oregano, basil, parsley, olive oil and chili flakes. I cook the garlic and onions in olive oil first and add the other items to the pan and let it simmer.

Slice and enjoy!

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Loaded Sweet Potato with Spicy Black Beans By Nikki

fresh toppings for spicing things up...

fresh and colorful

Last night, I went to dinner with good friends in an area of town I do not frequent often. By the time we left the restaurant the clouds had lifted, the rain stopped, and although there was a slight chill in the air, walking though Mala Strana was a beautiful way to end our evening out. Recently, I have been making an effort to look around me with fresh eyes when I am walking to and from familiar places. I find that in my daily commute I often become detached from the beautiful city I live in and miss out on some amazing views! Continuing my efforts to notice new things, I mapped my long run to include streets I don’t usually walk on. I noticed a really beautiful church in the Karlin neighborhood. I saw a new Mama Coffee location on a street close to a friends house. I also noticed a really long set of stairs that would be great for cross-training on.

garlic, korriander, fresh chili, and cumin

garlic, koriander, fresh chili, and cumin

By the time I was finished with my run, I was STARVING! But after an evening filled with four types of beef, I was NOT in the mood for animal protein to regenerate my muscles. In fact, I have been trying to get my protein through other natural sources such as quinoa and beans. I had a friend stopping by for lunch and a few hours of working on a project. That meant I needed to prepare something both healthy and Gluten Free!

yum yum- sweet potato

yum yum- sweet potato

I recently saw this recipe on the Biggest Loser. (Yes, I am publicly admitting that I watch an American reality television show.) Reality TV or not, these people are struggling with real issues of obesity, emotional eating and low self esteem! I often find myself crying throughout the episodes because to some degree I do understand what they are going through.  I have come very far on the journey of maintaining a hefty weight loss, and I understand the challenges of emotional eating, gaining weight, and hiding behind food and fat! Well, lucky for me today, I had two sweet potatoes that needed to be used. So I loaded them with spicy black beans then topped it with fresh tomato and avocado. Yum! I would have preferred a few jalapenos on top or fresh salsa but it is not necessary… the flavors in this are very tasty! You can feel good about eating this loaded potato. Enjoy!

Loaded Sweet Potato

Loaded Sweet Potato

Loaded Sweet Potato with Spicy Black Beans

ingredients: 1 small red pepper (diced), 1/3 of fresh chili (finely diced), 1 clove garlic (chopped), 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried koriander, 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley (chopped), 1 can low sodium black beans (drained and rinsed), half a ripe avocado, 5-6 plum tomatoes (chopped), 1/2 lime

Optional: You can additionally top this with your favorite cheese, sour cream, or salsa for added flavor and creativeness.

Directions:

Fork the sweet potatoes 6-8 times each, wrap in tin foil and bake in the oven at 180 degrees C or 375 degrees F for approx 30-45 minutes. (Length of baking time depends on the size of your potatoes!)

 Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium saucepan.

Add garlic, koriander, cumin, and fresh chili. Heat for 3 minutes then add red pepper.

When peppers are soft add black beans and squeeze the juice of 1/2 fresh lime.

Cook on a low heat for 8-10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

Just before the potatoes are finished, add and stir the parsley into the beans.

Stuff the baked potatoes with the black bean mixture then top with the avocado and tomatoes.

Eat it up!

 

 

 

 

 

Guest post: Warm Pumpkin Dip by Michelle

For those of you who follow The Prague Basket’s scrumptious posts, you’ll notice a theme in the last few weeks: pumpkins!  Our farmer’s markets are overflowing with bright, orange pumpkins here in Prague.  Not only that, but it’s also easy to find another one of my favorite ingredients: garlic!

Since I started experimenting in the kitchen, one ingredient I never skimp on is garlic. When a recipe calls for 2 cloves, usually 4 or more appear in my food.  So, when I moved to Prague last year and started using the garlic from the market, I was surprised when my husband exclaimed, “Wow, how much garlic did you use?”  Well, in my mind, it was the “normal” amount, except the garlic here is anything but normal.

The Czech garlic (Český česnek) for sale at my local farmer’s market has a beautiful purple hue to the flaky layers of skin.  The cloves are large, and you really don’t need to add any more than your recipe calls for. The flavor is strong, and it fights the strongest of vampires!  Here’s an adapted recipe that combines the fall flavors of fresh pumpkin and strong Czech garlic.

 

Ingredients:

4 cups pumpkin puree

olive oil

1.5 cups chopped red or white onions (I like a mix)

1 small red pepper

1 small green pepper

3 cloves Czech garlic

cayenne and black pepper to taste

½ cup firm or Greek yogurt

seeds: sunflower or pumpkin chopped

nuts: walnuts or pecans, chopped

optional: feta cheese

This recipe was originally from a Moosewood cookbook, and calls for butternut squash and feta. I use bright orange Hokkaido pumpkin instead, and have been leaving out the feta.  You can add feta when you mix the pumpkin with the sauté veggies, or in the last 10 minutes of baking so that it stays a bit crumbly.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C.

Sauté the onions in the olive oil, 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add the peppers, garlic, and season with the cayenne and black pepper.  Sauté another 3-4 minutes until mixture is soft.

In a bowl, mix the pumpkin and yogurt. Fold in the sauté mix a little at a time. Once the mixture is evenly mixed, spread into an ungreased baking tray. I use an oval 9 X 12 pan, but a 9X9 square works well. Sprinkle the top with the chopped seeds and nuts.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Serve warm with veggie sticks, blue corn chips, or dark rye crackers.

Arroz Caldo Comfort by L

Last week, every family member’s immune system under our roof, was attacked by some terrible and nasty germs. Stomach virus, bronchitis and respiratory infection were the evil characters that crept into our systems and viciously brought us down. Fortunately, one member of our household was able to fight off all the naughty culprits and take extra special care of us. That was Lola (that’s Grandma in Filipino.)

Arroz Caldo (with Chicken on the left, with Tofu on the right) topped with fried pieces of garlic

One of the foods I crave when I’m sick is my mother’s Arroz Caldo. Yes, these are Spanish words that you are reading, but it’s also the name of a dish in the Philippines. A literal translation would be “rice broth.” For me, it’s the ultimate comfort food for all kinds of ailments and I begged my mom to cook it for us. It may look like an ordinary bowl of porridge, but it’s not. The heavy amounts of slivered ginger, finely minced garlic and homemade chicken broth will quickly nurse you back to your regular self. Ginger can soothe that sore throat, garlic helps boost your immune system and the chicken broth, well, we all know what a good bowl of chicken soup can do for the soul, right? (My dear vegetarian friends, don’t feel left out! There is also a veggie version of this, and a stock of fresh vegetable broth has all those healing properties and more!)

Lola choosing her bird

Lola D purchased a whole chicken from the Andel farmers market that takes place every Friday in the Prague 5 neighborhood. She also picked up some local garlic, but the sweet glutinous rice and ginger used in the recipe, were bought at specialty shops around town. My mom is a big believer in the magic of garlic, so she never holds back (remember that she didn’t fall ill, hmmm?) However, if you have no need to fend off vampires, feel free to decrease the amount.

Local Czech garlic

For my one year old daughters, Lola made a milder version (less gingery and peppery) to keep them nourished during their phase of discomfort. As the season continues to change with viruses and infections lurking through the air; searching to invade and disrupt our immune systems, I hope that you will be well protected. However, if you are in need of some extra armor or a remedy, a bowl of Arroz Caldo should do the trick!

“Gimme my porridge!”

Arroz Caldo  (feeds 6-8)

1 small chicken, cut into pieces

1/4 cup of thinly sliced ginger

1 head of garlic and then another 10 cloves, all minced

1 onion, chopped

3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of fish sauce (patis in Tagalog) OPTIONAL

1 cup of sweet glutinous rice

1 cup of jasmine rice

8-10 cups of water

1-2 strands of saffron

salt and pepper to taste

Cut the head of garlic in minced pieces.

Heat oil in a small frying pan.

Fry until golden brown.

Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat oil and add the 10 cloves of minced garlic and ginger.

Cook until slightly golden.

Add onion. When it is translucent, add the chicken.

Turn heat to low and continue to saute for about 15-20 minutes.

The chicken should “sweat” and begin to add some juices to the mixture.

Afterwards, add both types of rice, patis if you are using and then 8-10 cups of water.

If you want a thick porridge, stick with the lower number. If you want a more soupy porridge, use 10 cups of water.

Add saffron.

Let it boil and then lower the heat.

Cook until rice is thoroughly done, about 40 minutes.

Season to taste.

Serve with sprinkles of roasted garlic, extra fish sauce, or lemon or soy sauce or vinegar or a combination of any of these condiments.

(Note for Vegetarians: Use vegetable broth instead of chicken and cups of water. Take a block of tofu and chop into pieces. Fry in 2-3 tablespoons of oil. When porridge is ready to serve, top with fried tofu, ginger and any of the above mentioned condiments.)

Warm Roasted Butternut Squash Salad by Allison

Warm Roasted Butternut Squash Salad by Allison

I’m a sucker for squash. Really truly! The first year I arrived in Prague, there didn’t seem to be any butternut squash around the city. Maybe it is because I wasn’t “in the know” and didn’t know where it was available. The next year, it miracously arrived at Tesco in random spurts. I’d hear a co-worker talking about making butternut squash soup for dinner and I’d ask where they picked it up and by the time I got there 24 hours later, there was no trace of those tasty butternut squash left in the produce aisles. But now, thanks to the farmers and farmers markets, we seems to have an abudance of this lovely orange squash to consume! Lucky us!

I like making this warm salad on a crisp autumn day when the oven warms the kitchen and the aromas from the oven fill the rooms in my apartment. I picked up a large butternut squash from the Holesovice market along with some red peppers, garlic and goat chesse for this dish.

Warm Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

1/2 large butternut squash peeled, cored and cubed into 1 1/2 ” pieces

3 red peppers, deseeded and deveined, cut into chunks

1 can of rinsed chickpeas (15 oz)

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

olive oil for drizzling

salt and pepper

fresh goat cheese for the top

flat leaf parsley, 3 Tbsp. chopped finely

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Combine butternut squash cubes, red pepper cubes, chickpeas and garlic in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on a roasting pan and roast uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and add parsley and goat cheese. Mix and enjoy!

Rockin’ Red Pepper Pesto by Allison

Rockin’ Red Pepper Pesto

Red peppers are one of my favorite vegetables most definitely and for the price of 34 crowns per kilo, why I think I love red peppers even a little bit more than before. When the price per red pepper can be $1.39  back in the U.S., I think to myself, well I’ll just grab a few more! I ended up with several bags of red peppers on Saturday and decided to make red pepper pesto while I was at the Holesovice market.

I scooped up approximately 2 cups some walnuts from a vendor and tucked them inside my bag as I hunted around for some other items on my list.

Later in the day, I went to the “River Farmers’ Market” and grabbed a jar of these gorgeous sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil and carried it home as I walked along the river.

Where did I find fresh basil at this time of year? I’ll tell you my secret not to worry. The potraviny near the Ujezd tram stop (if you’re going in the direction from Narodni Divaldo to Ujezd it is right there on the same side of the street as you exit and it is long and narrow shop with wonderful produce.

This roasted red pepper pesto is insanely good. Get creative and use it as a veggie dip, a sandwich spread, a pizza sauce, over gluten-free pasta, on GF crackers, add a little cheese and spread over an omelette. Did I mention this freezes well? I made two batches and I just might make more soon it is that good!

Rockin’ Red Pepper Pesto

Ingredients

  • 6 – 8 red bell peppers
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 3 tablespoon chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or, more or less as desired)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut (washed & patted dry) peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membranes and arrange them in a single layer on a foil lined baking tray. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for about 20 minutes or more depending on whether you like a blackened red pepper. When you pull the red peppers out of the oven,  wrap in foil and set aside. Using a food processor, pulse garlic and walnuts until finely chopped and add roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, and process. Add in the olive oil gradually and  then add crushed pepper flakes and process until all the ingredients are well combined, make it as smooth or as coarse as you want it. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Enjoy!

recipe from elsbro.com

Emptying the Fridge Again – Garden Lasagna by Nikki

Garden Lasagna

This summer has been busy- very relaxing, but busy! In between traveling adventures, I visited the River Market again with my Czech basket, filling it up with fresh yellow and red tomatoes, basil, Swiss chard, and of course, fresh lasagne noodles. I get so excited when I visit the market and find a new vendor or variety of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit! On this particular sunny Saturday, I found red, Swiss chard. Knowing I would soon be traveling and needing to keep the fridge sort of empty, I still couldn’t resist purchasing the ingredients to make a summer version of lasagne.

summertime foods

The best part about this particular lasagne was sharing it with two friends who appreciated a hot meal before we all traveled to Croatia. As I have said before, I love cooking, and as a cook, I believe there is nothing more satisfying than sharing a meal with friends and loved ones.

mmm… fresh and tasty

Garden Lasagne

I modified a recipe by The Pioneer Woman

Note: I substituted the zucchini for red, Swiss chard, a yellow pepper for the red pepper, used a green onion instead of a yellow and also added fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

ingredients chopped and ready to go..

Saute the veggies in olive oil just until tender…

Simmer veggies with 1 can of whole, Italian tomatoes

Layer fresh noodles, ricotta mixture, and veggie mixture- top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil!

Fresh Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes By Nikki

Fresh pasta + sun-dried tomatoes + garlic + olive oil = yummy!

This week I moved apartments. Moving is not fun because moving is always a lot of work. My new apartment is in the same neighborhood- thankfully I am only 3 blocks further from local Farmer’s Market. On Wednesday, despite the mountain of boxes looming and needing to be unpacked, I found myself procrastinating with a stroll to the market.

That is me paying for my fresh pasta!

I usually go straight for the dried fruit and nut vendor, but today I decided to roam the market, and I found fresh pasta! My purchase was Linguine- a wider noodle that is flatter that spaghetti! I already began thinking about how I would make something light and summery with this pasta as the base…

After picking up some of my favorite veggies, I made my way over to the fruit and nut vendor. They had sun-dried tomatoes, and I knew my past dish was complete! Because Wednesday was the Fourth of July (Independence Day), in the USA, I went out for burgers and beers that evening with friends.  It was our expat way of paying tribute and celebrating what would be a day of BBQ’s, beers and fireworks had we Americans been in the US with our friends and family this summer.

Today, despite the need to unpack and organize everything from the move, I needed only four things: a knife, a cutting board, a frying pan and a boiling pot! I searched through my boxes, found my tools, and whipped up a pasta dish that gave me the energy to finally make my new apartment start to look like a home!

Sun-Dried Tomato/Olive Oil Pasta

Bring water to a boil. If using fresh pasta, wait to cook until the saute is 2-3 minutes from finished…

Mince 1 clove of garlic

Slice 5 dried tomatoes into long strips

Chop the green part of one green onion

Heat frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic and tomatoes and saute for 5-8 minutes or until garlic begins to change color.

Cook pasta for 2-3 minutes, strain and rinse lightly. Add pasta to the frying pan with 1 tablespoon more of olive oil.

Toss pasta and saute together for 2 minutes… serve with green onion sprinkled on top and enjoy warm!