Last night I found myself craving pizza like crazy, so I decided to make my own 🙂 with CAULIFLOWER!
Now, if you didn’t know, cauliflowers are just bombdiggity awesome. Carb watchers and health food fanatics love using it to modify high calorie dishes that call for potatoes, rice or flour. I’d bet if I gave you a helping of my creamy mashed CAULIFLOWER (yes, you read that right), you’d have a hard time distinguishing it from real mashed potatoes.
It was perfect timing actually! I had just restocked my fridge with a selection of cheeses and cold cuts from the TianHe Park n’ Shop and was pretty much ready to roll…my faux pizza dough that is! HAHA…(forgive me). Now in China, things like cheeses and (safe) cold cuts are relatively hard to come by. Cheese, in particular, is just not part of the average Chinese diet, as most locals find it too strange in texture and too pungent in taste. In local supermarkets, it may be possible to find heavily processed cheeses that have been modified for the domestic Chinese palette, in other words…way mild, soft and sweet. Unfortunately, though incredibly lactose intolerant, I cannot live without access to authentic sharp cheddar. So every week, I take the treacherous journey from my humble apartment in “Science City” into the part of Guangzhou that has a higher concentration of foreigners, just to buy my groceries from either Ole Supermarket or Park n’ Shop.
The Pizza Crust
So I’m actually very proud of the pizza crust that I made. I’ve read about cauliflower crusts in the past, but reviews always seemed to point out difference in the texture and taste. It was either too soggy or too crispy, too crumbly or too cauliflowery. I never saw a single review likening it to an actual pizza crust. Now, I think I’ve found the solution. By adding in a little bit of oatmeal, a bit of skim milk and margarin, I managed to create a somewhat naan/pita bread like crust. It’s fantastic, if I do say so myself.
Ingredients: “Riced” steamed cauliflower, “flour” oatmeal, egg yolks, skim milk, a slice of margarin and a little cheese to bind it all together, plus a little chicken bouillon, garlic and oregano to season.
Separate your cauliflower into florets, sprinkle salt and steam (in my case, in a rice cooker). When cooked, toss your cauliflower into a food processor (or bootleg Magic Bullet style personal blender) and gently pulse until it has a rice like texture.
In a sauce pan, heat your 1/4 cup of skim milk, minced garlic, a square of margarin and your homemade oatmeal mix until it turns into a glossy paste. Season it with paprika, oregano, salt and pepper as you go.
In a large bowl, combine your cauliflower, two egg yolks (probably salvaged from your crustless quiche), cayenne pepper, shredded cheese and chicken bouillon. Fold in the oatmeal paste from your saucepan. Spread it thinly in a circular motion onto some parchment paper and stick it in the oven for 10-15min at ~150C/~300F
The sauce on a pizza is probably one of the most important components on the entire pie. It’s got to be spiced correctly, have that perfect balance of sweet and tart, without dulling the taste. Believe it or not, but please do, pizza sauce is a rare commodity in China. I think that’s why “restaurants” like Pizza Hut charge ridiculous prices for a small order of what sadly is considered spaghetti. The stuff you find in stores is mainly that heavily processed goop filled with refined sugars and chemicals. BLEH.
Fortunately for me, I had around a cup and a half of cherry tomatoes that I bought from a local farmer’s market. Now as fresh as those little red beauties were, I probably won’t be going back anytime soon…Guangzhou farmer’s markets are not for the faint of heart…or those with even mild claustrophobia/germophobia/anthropophobia, but that’s a story for another time. ONWARDS!
Ingredients: tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, paprika, cayenne, salt and cracked pepper
In your bootleg blender, or whatever you have access to, process your tomatoes. You can make it into a puree if you want, but I like my sauce a little chunky, so I chose to give it the consistency of chunky salsa.
In a saucepan, heat up a little bit of olive oil and toss in your chopped garlic and red onions. When they start turning a golden color, you the aromas make you salivate like crazy, add in your tomatoes, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook at high heat until your mixture becomes thicker, before adding in some water and lowering the heat. When the mixture start caramelizing just a little bit, you can turn off the heat completely and just let it sit until your ready to make your pizza.
The simple stuff! Break out your three types of cheese, I don’t care what they are, though I used mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, and some aged parmasen, and start GRATING! Slice up some onions and find some edible meat. If you have pepperoni, great, and I’m jealous…please mail me some…I made do with ham. Womp womp.
Alrightly! Spread your sauce, sprinkle with cheese, MORE CHEESE, pile on those onions and whatever meat you’re using….MORE CHEESE! Pop it in the oven like any over pizza, for between 5-10 minutes. LOOKIT! You made some healthy pizza!