The UnDiet Weight Loss Guide » September 2015

Monthly Archives: September 2015

Gluten Free Low Calorie Low Carb Vegetarian

The Famous Cauliflower Pizza Crust Everybody Is Talking About

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cauliflower pizza crust

I can’t claim to have invented this recipe, but I’ve worked out some of the kinks and wanted to make it available to the UnDiet gang.

This recipe works as a pizza crust, bread sticks to dip in marinara sauce, focaccia , bread slices for a sandwich or just to eat as is.

I’m going to give you the biggest tip of all  – USE PARCHMENT PAPER. The first time I made this I thought it would be so cool to use my new cast iron baking sheet and while it delivered a nice crisp exterior on my crust, it was NOT FUN to clean up, and I lost most of the crispy exterior on my crust as it stuck to the pan.

Ingredients

4 cups riced cauliflower, about 1 large head

2 large eggs

2 to 2-1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella or 2 cups Mozzarella and 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, oregeno, basil, or whatever you like (optional)

sea salt

black pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the riced cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl, toss with a pinch of salt, and microwave for five to eight minutes, until al dente. Set aside to cool down a bit, or mix in all remaining ingredients except egg to cool it down enough that the egg doesn’t cook when you mix it in at the end.

Line a pizza pan or baking sheet with parchment paper. Dump the cauliflower mixture onto the parchment paper and with your hands pat it out to evenly cover the pan. If you’re making sandwich bread, use two trays so you have a thinner crust. Bake for fifteen to twenty minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and slide the parchment paper with the crust off the baking sheet. Place another piece of parchment paper on the pan. Carefully flip the crust over onto the baking sheet so that the bottom is now on top. Return to oven and bake for another ten to fifteen minutes until the top is lightly browned.

At this point you can start getting creative:

Slice into squares for sandwich bread.

Slice into rectangles for bread sticks.

Top with cheese, sauce and toppings; place back in the oven for about fifteen minutes until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling.

Before putting in the oven scatter a handful of sliced or minced olives, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, feta cheese, basil shreds, anchovies … whatever your favorite focaccia toppings are.

Tips

I didn’t need to remove the moisture from my cauliflower to get a crispy crust. If yours turns out soggy (which isn’t a complete failure – you can still top it with cheese and toppings and eat it with a fork), then the next time you make it, you can squeeze out the moisture from the cauliflower after cooking it or add 1 tablespoon coconut flour or use the up to 1 cup grated (not shredded) Parmesan in place of 1 cup of Mozzarella.

Gluten Free Kid Friendly Neutral Paleo Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

Pumpkin Spiced Almonds

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spiced-nuts2It’s a hot day here in Southern California, although that’s probably the equivalent of saying “pizza pie”, isn’t it? Anway, I was itching to get into the kitchen but the heat was zapping my energy so I settled for something quick and easy and for me that means – no measuring. Hopefully you all will be able to appreciate how easy it is to cook to your own taste without measuring exact amounts or ingredients.

I’d roasted a Delicata squash the other night and had saved the seeds. I’d given them a rinse and rubbed them to remove the squash goo, but had put them wet into a little container and refrigerated them. So the first step was to dry toast them.

I placed the seeds in a cast iron pan on the burner and heated it to medium. I stirred them occasionally and when they were no longer wet I added some nuts that I had soaked and dried last week. So in went pecans, almonds, and cashews. I continued toasting everything, stirring occasionally until the Delicata seeds started to pop.

I swirled in a little coconut oil, then stirred in a small handful of pumpkin pie spice, a pinch of sea salt and a couple pinches of monk fruit (sweetener). You could really use any sweetener that you have on hand, stevia, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, rapadura, sucanat … and continued stirring occasionally for five minutes. I removed a couple of nuts. Let them cool, then tasted them and adjusted the seasoning. When I liked the seasoning I removed the pan from the heat and allowed the nuts to cool before packing them in a glass jar and storing in the fridge.

Then I read that a Penn State study had determined that eating 35 almonds a day resulted in a 1/4 cup loss of fat around the belly. One more reason to enjoy these almonds :)

Gluten Free Living Food Low Calorie Neutral Paleo Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

Bacon Eggplant Jerky – Paleo, Vegan, & Gluten Free

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eggplant jerky recipe

You can find various recipes for eggplant jerky all over the Internet. I don’t claim to have invented this one, but I do believe that I’ve worked to make it as simple and tasty as possible while giving you easy ways to alter it according to your own diet or taste preferences. There are so many ways you can change up this recipe within a certain framework that will still  end up with the chewiness of jerky and tasting like bacon.

Start with an eggplant that has a smooth and shiny skin. While I don’t like to remove the peel, its so full of nutrition and honestly, its one more step to get to the end result, but I do prefer this without the skin. My compromise is to slice it so that not every piece has skin attached to it. In the end the few pieces which were mostly all skin were the crispiest.

I tried to use a mandoline, as well as a food processor to slice it but that was a complete fail – a combination of the tough skin and the sponginess of the flesh. I tried peeling it and running it across the mandoline but the spongy flesh still fouled up the process, so out came my favorite chef’s knife and my bamboo cutting board and three minutes later I had a pile of bacon shaped pieces of eggplant. Well really you wouldn’t have thought they looked like bacon at this point, but since I knew where I was going with this, it was already starting to look like bacon to me. Do you think that positive thinking helps in the kitchen?  I do. I’ve noticed that when I’m feeling less than confident or unexcited about a new recipe it often turns out badly.

In the interest of making the recipe as simple as possible I used a Tandori spice mixture which has paprika, garlic, and salt. You can use any spice mixture which has a paprika base. I used garlic flavored olive oil, but you can of course use plain olive oil, just be sure it’s extra-virgin. Your taste buds will thank you. And I used balsamic vinegar because I love the rich flavor, but you can use apple cider vinegar if you prefer. I didn’t use black pepper but if you want to add some be sure it’s freshly ground.

I like my version of the marinade because you don’t get a lot of runoff like many of the recipes I found on the Internet. You don’t get oil dripping off into your dehydrator and you don’t have to use towels to sop up the oil after dehydrating them. Still I think my recipe would be better with a little more oil. Flavor-wise, it won’t matter much, but it will help the jerky to be a little less dry.

All of the recipes tell you to mix up the marinade, pour it over the eggplant, and stir to coat. That really doesn’t work very well when you’re working with what is basically a vegetable sponge. The first few slices soak up all the marinade and then you have to press on them to release enough marinade to coat the other slices which still don’t get evenly coated with the marinadde. So I covered the bottom of my bowl with a thin layer of marinade. Placed half the eggplant slices in the bowl, drizzled with half the marinade, added the rest of the eggplant, the rest of the marinade and tossed to coat.

I dehydrated my first batch for 12 hours and while I liked the end result, there were a few pieces which weren’t as dry which I liked even more. So my next batch will go for maybe 8 hours.

Ingredients

2 large eggplant

1/2 cup coconut aminoes, or low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Tandori or Cajun spice mixture

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, optional

Instructions

Trim the bottom and top from the eggplant. Discard.

Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Stack 4 or 5 rounds and slice into strips.

Place all marinade ingredients in a small jar. Cover and shake well.  Coat the bottom of a large bowl with marinade. Working quickly, place half the eggplant in the bowl, drizzle with half the marinade, the remaining eggplant and then the remaining marinade. Toss to combine. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours but you can leave it there all day or overnight.

Place strips on dehydrator trays being careful not to overlap the slices. Depending on your dehydrator you should have 5 to 6 trays. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8 to 12 hours. Take a few pieces out after 6 hours. Let them cool down and see if you like the consistency. If you do then stop the process. If you don’t then let them go for another hour or two and check them again.

And there you have it – your basic recipe for eggplant jerky. The next time I make it I’m going to make the following tweaks to see if I get an even better result:

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut aminoes, or low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Tandori or Cajun spice mixture

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

I’m sort of resisting adding the maple syrup because I don’t like to add sugar when it isn’t really needed, but I want to see what happens to this jerky with the addition of the rich amber flavor. I’m also going to use 1 eggplant and 2 medium zucchini. I don’t see why zucchini wouldn’t work and then the tough skin wouldn’t be an issue and it can be easily sliced on the mandoline.

I’ll update this post after trying out the new version. Happy eating!