Zucchini Flowers in Town! by L

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Spring is here! Well, almost. After an Easter holiday full of snow, sleet, sun and gusts of wind, it has almost arrived in Prague. Bursts of yellow and purple flowers have begun to pop up around town and even my favorite edible flower has found its’ way to our golden city. Zucchini flowers are here!image

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I am all for the farmers markets, but there is another market that I head to when I want to get serious about Italian food. It’s called the Wine Food Market, located in Prague 5. Once upon a time, I lived in Italy and I ate well, very well. After that experience, I feel like nothing can ever compare to the Italian dishes I dined on for years. But… the Wine Food Market comes pretty close, especially their pizza!

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This amazing eatery not only serves up lunch, dinner and homemade gelato, it also houses a market full of fresh vegetables, fruits, dry goods, a bakery and more! Local Prague friends, if you haven’t yet been or if you are someone planning a trip to Prague and may want to take a break from Czech food, this is the place to go. On my last visit, I found my beloved zucchini flowers and for dinner that night I cooked them up in my favorite style… fried.

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Fried Zucchini Flowers stuffed with Mozzarella (Fiori di Zucchini)

12 zucchini flowers

1 large ball of mozzarella, cut into 12 small rectangles

Batter:

50 grams/2 oz flour

100ml/3 1/2oz beer

oil for frying

salt

Directions:

Wash your flowers and remove the pistils.

Gently place a slice of mozzarella cheese inside each flower and twist the tips of the petal to close.

For the batter, add the flour and pinch of salt into a bowl.

Then whisk in the beer until the batter is smooth.

Heat the oil in a deep-frying pan.

Quickly dip the stuffed zucchini flowers in the batter and drain off the excess.

Add batches of the flower to the frying pan, turning gently, until brown.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

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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!

Mushroom, Mozzarella and Cranberry Salad by Allison

The crisp fall air hit my face as I opened the door to leave my apartment building Saturday morning. Coffee was calling my name. Not just any coffee though, gourmet coffee from my favorite coffee shop just down the street at Muj Salek Kavy. A cappuccino from this coffee shop is like no other, it is dark and sultry like rich chocolate velvet and starts the weekend off right. My taste buds were awakened upon the first sip of my heavenly beverage and I started to make a list of what I wanted to purchase at the Karlin farmers’ market in my iPhone. I typed a few items into a note and then deleted it. Fresh herbs, well yes most definitely; eggs, for sure; fruit, yes please; veggies abound. A list was not needed after all as I just wanted to see what struck me and inspired me at the market. A stroll down Krizikova while soaking up some vitamin D from the sun while reflecting back on the week and looking forward to the days ahead made me stop and appreciate the moment. As I approached the market, I watched as many people took delight in carrying their baskets full of fresh produce or pushing their child in a stroller and talking to vendors and purchasing local goods. As I entered the market, I walked around and spotted a small wooden stand overflowing with mushrooms.

I came across this mushroom vendor and for those of you who live in the Czech Republic, you know it is mushroom season and may have already been mushroom hunting yourselves. I’ve had the adventure of mushroom hunting with my friend B before and we got a few mushrooms here and there which was really fun, but I’d like to go again and really hit the jackpot! This vendor was was so kind and helpful. I was asking him whether the large mushrooms were the best for soup, salad or sauces and a tall, kind gentleman who was sitting to the side popped up and translated everything the vendor was saying. “Just eat them raw. You will get the most vitamins and nutrients from slicing these and putting them in a salad.”

So I placed several handfuls of large mushrooms below in a bag and handed them over to the mushroom vendor. I handed him the money and the gentleman that translated for me earlier said, “Next week, he will have different mushrooms and they will be really good for soup!”. I said, “I’ll be back!” and thanked him for his kindness and help.

After I saw this green leaf lettuce, I knew it had to come home with me for the mushroom salad as it was crisp and buttery.

Mushroom, Mozzarella and Cranberry Salad

Ingredients

Green leaf lettuce

fresh mushrooms, sliced

dried cranberries

fresh mozzarella cheese slices

roasted beets, sliced

roasted almonds (optional)

Dressing:

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

I tsp apple cider

a few drops of honey

salt and pepper to taste

Combine and enjoy!