Monday, January 21, 2013

[Cauli]flower Power

A co-worker of mine forwarded this recipe from the Eating Bird Food blog this morning, and after a weekend of gluttony and over consumption of rich, greasy and hearty New York cuisine, this light and healthy pseudo pizza seemed to hit the hunger spot. For this recipe made easy, you'll definitely need a food processor (it needs a work out!), and preferably a pizza stone, or clay tile. 

Gluten free and low in calories/carbs, this "pizza crust" is more of a polenta than a sturdy pie base, so be prepared to eat with a knife and fork, or you'll be cursing as you try to handle it's foamy figure...

The "Crust"
Whole small califlower (white parts only)
2 whole garlic cloves
1 cup skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lightly beaten egg 
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste

The Goods
1/2 cup crushed tomato sauce (I use sugar free marinara)
8-10 Oyster mushrooms, sliced
3 small roma tomatoes, sliced
5 large fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 slices smoked prosciutto, torn into small strips 

The Prep
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut or break cauliflower into small-medium size chunks and add to food processor. Pulse on low to break up, and slowly increase speed until cauliflower becomes fine, like grated parmigiana cheese. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and transfer ground cauliflower to pan. Add oregano & dried basil, and saute on medium until cooked (add 1 tsp water and reduce heat if sticking/browning), about 10 minutes.

To save time (and to avoid my fear of losing a finger to a cheese grater...), I tossed a good 4x1" block of mozzarella into the food processor to grate the cheese, along with a couple nice sized garlic cloves.

Once the cauliflower is cooked, transfer it to a large mixing bowl, and stir in lightly beaten egg, salt, pepper and cheese and mix well to combine. The mixture will be hot (and gooey) so be careful when you transfer to the pizza stone.

Spread the "dough" out on the stone - a good 1/4 to 1/2 inch round should run you about 10-12 inches of pizza - and press out flat. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes & remove from oven.

The next part is easy. In a small frying pan over medium heat, add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook just until they start to wilt. Remove from heat. 

Cover the baked pizza base in tomato sauce, and layer with mushroom/tomato mix, another 1/2 cup of mozzarella, fresh basil, prosciutto and crumbled goat cheese.  Put pizza stone back in oven and broil on low for 4 minutes, until you see the prosciutto start to crisp. Remove from oven, left stand 2 minutes, and cut with large knife.

Here's the warning part: this will not "lift" like regular pizza. You will need to use the knife as a spatula to transfer to a plate. 

Delicious, with leftovers for lunch that can reheat easily without going soggy!

Rock you like a Hurricane [Club]

After only just returning from a fantastic weekend in New York, where we dined on an almost sickening amount of delicious eats with our closest friends, I cannot stop thinking about our dinner at Manhattan's The Hurricane Club

The Polynesian/Tiki Fusion at Park Avenue & 26th had exactly what we needed for a night out; great atmosphere, a live DJ, dark decor, eclectic selections of food you wouldn't think to make, and most importantly, drinks served in watermelons (and other ridiculous vessels). 

As we were 5, and the menu is catered towards a pseudo "family style" type of meal, we took the opportunity to order copious amounts of food in an effort to entice the palate, and make it worth the exuberant price per dish.

In the Beginning...
King Kamehameh Pupu Platter (for 5)
Peking Duck Tea Sandwiches w/ cucumbers, cilantro & spicy hoisin
The Club’s Coconut Shrimp w/ sriracha aioli
Pb & Guava "J" w/ prosciutto & thai basil
Tuna Tartare Cones w/ yellowfin tuna, yuzu & black sesame
Samoan Deviled Eggs w/crispy taro & basil

Vegetable Spring Rolls - boracay style, roasted sesame

This beautifully presented sampler platter of amuse-bouche was a great way to taste new and "abnormal" food pairings. The Pb & Guava J was out of this world. I can't explain, nor replicate the flavors of this croquette like bite of heaven. Don't let the description deter you - I would have consumed 100 given the chance (and my homemade version today was a disgrace, which doesn't alleviate my want for more). The Tuna Tartare Cones were fresh, cold, and packed a sesame punch; a worthy tasting for any sushi nut.  The 

Samoan Deviled Eggs were an odd, but welcome addition to a dinner hour adventure, and added a smooth and creamy contrast to the crunchy and light 
Coconut Shrimp. My feelings on the 
Vegetable Spring Rolls & Peking Duck Tea Sandwiches are...well...empty. A spring roll is a spring roll in my books, no matter how good a chef you are, and my high hopes for the peking duck were quickly shattered after the adorable little sandwiches provided a low impact, and somewhat tasteless outcome upon consumption. 

The Main Event:
Crispy Peking Pig w/ steamed buns, hoisin, cucumber & cilantro
Walnut Tiger Shrimp (a hurricane signature)
Glass Noodle Sirloin Lo Mein w/napa cabbage, bok choy, enoki
Pad Thai Chicken Fried Rice
Steamed Baby Bok Choy

We decided to order 3 mains, and 2 sides from the menu (which we really should have waited to do until we finished the pupu platter...) as our main. The Glass Noodle Sirloin Lo Mein was perfect; clean, tender, light and full of flavour. The Pad Thai Chicken Fried Rice packed a punch, with a hint of fresh chilies and a sweet and sour sauce that was mouth watering. I wasn't overly impressed by the Crispy Peking was crispy, yes, but lacked...something. The steam buns and hoison just seemed too ordinary, and would have been better suited to a dim sum lunch, rather than an Entree. I didn't find much to be special with the signature dish of Walnut Tiger Shrimp, which really just tasted like over battered calamari...and the whereabouts of the walnuts? Your guess is as good as mine...I can't actually comment or complain about the Steamed Baby Bok Choy -it's Bok Choy. The peppery cream sauce  that it was served with was a hit though!

The Watermelon 
The Watermelon vodka, fresh lime, mint, rhubarb in a watermelon

Other notable mentions? The dark as night bathrooms have walls covered in well laid out patterns of lacquered bone and made for a popular photo-shoot destination for its patrons (present company excluded).

The Hurricane Club - 360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010