Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cauliflower Pizza Crust "Experiment"

Lately, I've been trying to do a low sugar/low carb diet.  I was trying to find ways to still have pizza while practicing this! One suggestion I found online was Cauliflower pizza crust.

Ingredients for Crust
2 12 oz. Bags Frozen Cauliflower
1 Egg
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
2-3 Tbl Olive Oil (Or More)
1/2 Cup Mozzarella
Pizza Toppings
*Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

"Riced" Cauliflower
First I started out by ricing my cauliflower. This was no easy task! I started by cooking my cauliflower in the microwave and draining off the water, as suggested.  Then, original blog I read said to use a blender or food processor.  My blender was not strong enough! The bottom next to the blades was mush, and the top got no processing what so ever.  So, then I moved to chopping up the cauliflower by knife.  I did this for almost ten minutes!  I did this until I thought the pieces started looking small enough... or how about, I gave up when I got tired of doing this by hand!

Mixing the Crust Ingredients
After accomplishing the "ricing" of the cauliflower and I use that term loosely, I put all of my crust ingredients in a bowl to mix them.  Those ingredients were: egg, about a table spoon of the olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and the 1/2 cup of mozzarella.  This is were I probably failed.  With the two about 12 oz bags of cauliflower, I tripled the amount of that ingredient.  I did not triple the amount of every other ingredient, however.  This is probably why my dough did not form into a "crust" very well.
Crust Mixture
This is what my "dough" looked like mixed together.  I was a bit weary at this point!  It did not look anything like dough was supposed to look like.
Pan Prep
I'm using Stoneware to make my pizza.  I brush on olive oil to prep it before putting on my dough mixture.  You can use a cooking spray of some sort, but I personally prefer the olive oil to any kind of cooking spray.  If I wanted to, I could have used the crust trick on this, but I wanted to try the original dough without adding anything extra to it.  I kind of with I had done the crust trick now! Maybe the extra garlic would have subtracted or masked some of the cauliflower's flavor. 
Crust Mixture in Pan
I used the back of a spatula to press my crust mixture into my pan.  I tried to make sure there weren't any visible holes in the mixture, to make sure my toppings wouldn't leak through later. 
Cooking the Crust
I put the crust mixture in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes.  Then, I checked it and gave it a couple more.  I probably could have left it in there up to 25 minutes due to the large pan size.  The crust came out sizzling!  This is probably because of the amount of olive oil I used. 
Topping Time!
I started by putting a freshly made basil pesto on half of my crust and a small can of tomato paste on the other half of my crust.  
Add more cheese please!
I add the rest of the bag of cheese I started the recipe with, and I probably added more, knowing me.  
I topped my pizza with bacon and tomato, two of my favorite toppings!  When in doubt, always add bacon! After get all of the toppings onto the pizza, then, I placed them under the broiler on High until the cheese was all bubbly and starting to brown.  

After the "pizza" was done, this is what it looked like.  I wouldn't really call this a pizza though.  I would put it more in the realm of a pizza bake or pizza casserole.  Also, because of the amount of olive oil I used in the crust, on the pan, and in the pesto, it was a bit on the oily side, even though I love olive oil!  The oiliness didn't really bother me that much, but it may bother someone else. 
I give this "pizza" a half pizza pie out of four.  I can say I've tried this once.  I probably will not be making this again, unless someone tells me they've found an awesome recipe for it! 
On top of that, maybe I should have followed the recipe more closely instead of improvising, but I can't help it!  I'm an improviser!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Route 66 Diner in West Lafayette, IN

The Route 66 Diner in West Lafayette, IN is owned by the same people that own and operate the Triple XXX on the famous Chauncey Hill at Purdue University. If you don't know about the Triple XXX, maybe you  live under a rock, or maybe you don't watch "Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives" on the Food Network.  The Triple XXX opened the year my dad was born, 1929.  The Route 66 Diner opened in 2003.  (Wow! I didn't know it had been around for that long!)  My family was craving a good burger on Mother's Day, so, we immediately thought of the Triple XXX.  But we started to think about it, and realized, we didn't know if our mother, who's 79 would want to sit at a diner counter.  So, we called Triple XXX about the seating, and they recommended their Route 66 Diner, which has real tables and chairs.
The other nice thing, it's about three minutes from my mom's apartment! (Which we turned into a healthy ten minute drive! HAHAHAHA!)
Silverware in a Oil Can
We got there and were greeted by a kind hostess.  She seated us, and left our silverware in a can on the table and gave us our menus.
The Menu
The menu has a lot of choices.  They serve everything from burgers to what Indiana is famous for, tenderloins!  The server came up and took our order.  She was really nice.

 Root Beer in a Frosty Mug
One thing the Triple XXX restaurant is known for is Root Beer! When you order a root beer at the Triple XXX, it is served in a great big frosty mug!  Everyone at our table ordered the root beer for their beverages. 
Deep Fried Mushrooms with Mayo
As an appetizer, my sister ordered the deep fried mushrooms. They came with a side of mayo.  I ordered a side of ranch to dip them in.  I don't know why the diner serves Miracle Whip as a dipping sauce, but it didn't sound very good to me. The mushrooms must have been they only "frozen" food on the menu. I don't know if this is a new item they are trying out, or something they have always served.  It's not something they are famous for, as far as I know.  The outside was cooked so crispy, but the inside, or the mushrooms were blah.  They were hard to bite into, and they were a ball of mush on the inside of the breading.  They mushrooms are something I can skip the next time we go. 
Ian's Meal... on a Frisbee
Instead of the normal baskets that are shown on the restaurant's web site, our meals were brought out on yellow frisbees. I didn't realize that's what they were. So, when the server came to take our trash, she said, "You get to keep that!"

 The Bernie Flowers Pro.
My Mom ordered the Bernie Flowers Pro. She ordered hers with onion rings. That burger is "a 1/4 lb. of 100% ground sirloin with onion, lettuce, tomato and Miracle Whip served on a toasted sesame seed bun."
The Triple XXX seems to have a thing for Miracle Whip. It's not only on their burgers, but comes with the mushrooms as mentioned above! 

 Michael with his Biscuits and Gravy
This restaurant serves breakfast all day long!  Michael got an order of biscuits and gravy with a side of onion rings!  That sounds pretty awesome to me! 

 The Bert Burger: Look at the Bacon!!!
I ordered the Bert Burger: A 1/4 lb. of our delicious 100% ground sirloin covered with American cheese with 2 strips of bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Miracle Whip on a toasted sesame seed bun. (From their web site)  The bacon was the best best part of this sandwich! I don't think that getting a burger here was much different from getting a good burger at most restaurants or even making them at home.  (I do that a lot!) The onion rings were pretty good.

Root Beer Cake with Ice Cream
They had a sign up that said, "Try our Root Beer Cake!"  So, we did! That suggestive selling worked.  We got two pieces of cake, and split them between the five of us.  Most of the "root beer" flavor was the syrup that was drizzled on top of the cake.  The actual cake itself was not overly root beer flavored. It was more of a spice cake! I tried it once.  That was probably enough for me.  I just hoped the root beer flavor was more consistent through the cake. Also, if it's a drizzle, why not drizzle it on top of the ice cream too?  Just an idea. 
I give the Route 66 Diner 2 and  a half pizza pies out of four.  Going there was an enjoyable experience.  We could actually sit at a real table with my mom.  The food was on the so so side. Maybe if we had gone to the real Triple X, this would have been a completely different experience.