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Carrot Corn dogs

Carrot-Corn-dogs-ingredients
So many carrots too little time… Its carrot bonanza season, rabbits everywhere, and have you started to turn orange yet?… Well I hope not, because this recipe is gonna drive you insane. As you know, despite all the wholesomeness I believe in, I have a weakness for a certain processed food… hot dogs…I know,  its terrible isn’t it? I know every fact of how the industry introduced us into this strange tubular meat, but yet I’m still hooked.
So in the search for a less processed option, a friend told me about this place in L.A where they serve sous-vided carrots and make vegetarian hot dogs, how crazy good does that sound?
That’s when I had a revelation: How about creating a corn dog, with carrots? Kaz-zam! Done deal. I made them. No, I do not own a sous-vide machine and nor the rest of the mortal cooking souls on earth but if you do , call me we can hang out!; So I oven roasted the carrots, to give some extra flavor and also to pre-cook the carrot. I made the most basic recipe for the batter. But they needed a little extra luv. I wanted a contrast in textures, that thing you crave in a fried object, the crusty salty outside and soft inside.
To that end I added 1 part of rice flour, peas, green onions and corn kernels into the batter.
The result is crazy good!… when you deep fry these babies, they get crusty outside, soft inside, and the peas and corn kernels pop in your mouth with a burst of extra flavor. The carrot center is stellar.
Don’t be nervous about deep-frying,  using the proper technique will ensure you  great success. I do not deep fry food very often, so I do not own a deep fryer and I do just fine.
You can easily get great results with the following tips:
Get a thermometer for crying out loud!
They cost around $9-14  no need to break the bank and it is one of the best kitchen investments.
Buy Peanut Oil:
It is the best oil to deep fry, no saturated fats, no smells, no greasy food.
Now a days you can buy small amounts of peanut oil at the super market.
Use a heavy bottom,  6″-8″ diameter deep enamel or aluminum pot. Straight sides for easy thermometer attachment.
And remember safety always come first when dealing with hot oil.*

This carrot corn dogs are great for kiddos and vegetarian adults in need of a little indulgence, Enjoy!

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Carrot Corn dogs

Makes 12-16 / 3” mini carrot corn dogs.

6-8 Long, medium thick carrots.
You will need about 12-16 of  3’” long pieces.

For the batter:

½ cup yellow corn flour
(I used Larry’s Corn Meal, from organic/non-gmo Coyote Creek Mill corn)
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup stone ground rice flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk or unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 scallion finely chopped
½ cup  fresh corn kernels
¼ cup fresh peas or frozen if you must.

16 oz Peanut Oil for deep-frying.
16 wooden or bamboo sticks.

Utensils:

Long tongs, deep fryer, or candy thermometer, 6”-8”diameter pot  with straight walls for deep-frying, cooling rack.

Preparation Method:

1. Cut carrots into 3”- 4” long. Place them on a roasting pan, season them salt and pepper do not drizzle oil. Roast them at 400F for about 12-15 minutes.
Carrots should not be soft, al dente centers is best, since they gonna keep cooking when frying.

2. When ready, set the carrots aside let them cool completely, then proceed to insert the bamboo sticks.

3. Meantime in a medium size bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, then add all the wet ingredients, mix until well incorporated , small lumps are ok. Fold into the batter corn kernels and peas. Refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes

Carrot-Corndog

4. Place your chilled batter into a tall glass or jar, this will allow you to easily submerge the carrots into the batter.

5. Prepare your utensils and have everything ready, tongs, cooling rack, batter in a glass, see picture below.

Carrot-Corn-dogs_set-up

6.  Start  heating the oil. Check the oil temperature 360-375 degrees / 185-190 Celsius.
7. Dip the carrots into the batter, one at a time, holding the carrots from the stick with tongs, carefully and slowly drop it into the hot oil.
8. Monitor the temperature, it should not drop more than 15 degrees, when placing the corn dogs.
9. Do not crowd the pan. Fry 3-4 corn dogs at the time. This will ensure you evenly  golden brown  and well cooked batter.
10. How to know when they are cooked and ready to come out of the oil?  Corn dogs are floating, look evenly golden brown color, the bubbles around them are smaller.
11. Use tongs to take them out. Place them onto a cooling rack. Keep them warm in the oven.
12. Serve warm, with the dipping sauces, or simple ketchup and mustard. Enjoy!.

Carrot-Corn-dogs_1,2,3,4-stepsCarrot-Corndog-cooling-rack

Dipping Sauces:

Curry Ketchup:

¼ cup Ketchup + 1/4 teaspoon yellow curry + ¼ teaspoon rice vinegar = Mix.

Honey Mustard:

2 Tablespoons Honey + 2 Tablespoons Whole grain mustard + 1 teaspoon yellow mustard = Mix.

Dill Yogurt:

¼ teaspoon dry dill + plain greek yogurt + ¼ teaspoon celery salt = Mix.

Carrot-Corndog-dipping-saucesCarrot-Corndog~Yes,-more-please!

Watch out wacky wabbits!

*Be aware, hot oil at this temperature can inflict a lot of pain and injury so use a back burner on your stove if possible and keep the cooking pot (and its handle) away from children. In fact, I think its best to keep younger children away from the whole process and never let the frying pot leave your attention so you can monitor the oil’s temperature and keep the food from over cooking. Deep frying this batter, or anything else, some oil is bound to spatter so use long tongs or a spider to handle the food. This will prevent you from getting burns too. Focus and be on a Zen frying mode. The reward is  scrumptiously good.

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Pizza Primavera

PIZZA-PRIMAVERA-~Yes,more-please!

Pizza Primavera is a celebration of Spring! Using all the tender, sweet, crisp and fresh vegetables that the season gives us and inspired by all those beautiful shapes, colors, and textures this pizza has a refreshing taste of renewal. For me renewal translates as experimenting and trying ingredients and flavors that come with the new season.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with different gluten free flours, like oatmeal, brown rice, potato starch, tapioca, garbanzo, and quinoa. The fact that lately a lot of people have been diagnosed with a gluten intolerant condition means more are in need of extending their cooking horizons. Even if you don’t have gluten intolerance you should try this for its variation in flavor and texture.

Recently I baked an Irish Soda bread using 1/2-1/2 whole wheat and oat meal flour, which gave to the bread so much flavor than regular all purpose flour. That got me excited and I started to experiment with the not so easy task to come up with a gluten free pizza dough. For this pizza crust I experimented with different ratios, of brown rice flour, tapioca, potato and millet flour. The results were delicious and flavorful. However it ended up a bit overpriced for what a pizza dough should cost. I used 3-4 different types of flours each one had a mission to give the right texture to the crust, great achivement, but not very practical. So in my quest for a more reasonable option I stumbled upon a great mix, Bob Red Mill Gluten Free Organic Pizza Dough. I read the ingredients and to my surprise this mix is based on almost the same combination of 4 different flours I was trying to combine. The difference: I bought one bag. This simplifies the whole process for a fraction of the cost, and in my case pantry space. (I have a tiny pantry). 

Next, I gave myself the task to make this crust using this mix… and it was great!. Flavor and texture were spot on. When trying new things you have to see with new eyes, and tastebuds. The texture of a regular crust has a certain chewiness for which gluten is the responsible. When you have no gluten, other textures and flavor come to replace that chew factor. This crust has a lovely light texture, great flavor, and crunch, with a tender bite, making it easy to love. The tender light crusty and crunchy crust is the perfect canvas for the sweet delicate Spring vegetables. The mix is ready in 5 minutes and it does not requires kneading. Proofing time is 20 minutes and it bakes in 12 minutes total. It’s fun to make and I loved trying something new. This crust is a keeper!

For this Pizza Primavera, pre-roasting the vegetables is a must. They add extra flavor deep to the pizza. I love to leave the carrots al-dente, they add a bit extra crunch and texture to the pizza. Cheese?…my advice: go light on the cheese you want to be able to taste the vegetables. I chose a smoked provolone to balance the sweetness on the roasted vegetables. You must try this pizza, I assure you, you will fall in love with it. Give your self the chance to explore and renew your taste buds, perhaps for your next dinner party or get together… and have fun welcoming Spring!

Pizza-Primavera_Ingredients

Pizza Primavera

A pizza with spring vegetables and a delicious gluten free crust…

Makes 4 – 8”  pizzas

Vegetables:

12-16 small spring carrots cut in half.

2-3 bunches thin sweet green beans cut on a bias.

2 cups Sliced Cauliflower florets.

½ cup fresh peas

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved

For the caramelized onions:

1 large red onion thinly sliced

a glug of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper.

For the sauce:

2 cups roasted crushed tomato sauce.

2 grated garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

2-4 sprigs of fresh herbs, like oregano, rosemary or basil.

Cheese:

3 cups grated smoked provolone cheese or tofu for  a vegan option.

Grated parmigiano regiano cheese.

Pizza crust:

1 package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free pizza Dough

(The mix includes an envelope of dry active yeast, how awesome is that!)

1-1/2 warm water

2 eggs or 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds and 8 tablespoons of water for vegan option.

Follow the instructions on the package.

 

Gadgets and utensils:

Pizza peel: It’s a must!, its so much fun to use and since it has a long handle keeps you safe from the oven heat. (I like this wood kind)

Pizza Stone or  Saltillo tile*

You can use a cookie sheet or a metal round pizza tray that will work too. I recommend, if you are a pizza lover, a pizza stone or the Saltillo tile, are a great investment. The crust gets a fantastic  color, and it gets crunchier when is cooked onto a stone surface.

*How or where to get a Saltillo tile? 
At your local home improvement store. You must make sure its and unglazed quarry tile.Usually the name is Saltillo tile, from the region in Mexico. They come in two sizes, I prefer the 11×11. Usually you can fit 4 into your oven, if you are planing to make a big pizza, For us 1 or 2 tiles are enough. A smaller size pizza like an 8” will cook great and evenly onto an 11x 11. The magic of these tiles is that you can use them in the oven and over the grill, if you feel like you want a grilled pizza, this works like a charm, price-wise we paid around 1-3 dollars per tile. This is a good solution if you don’t happen to have a pizza stone. And regarding durability: we’ve been using the same tile for six years!

To prepare the tiles for baking: Presoak them in water the day before, and let them air dry. Once they are totally dry they are ready to use. Be careful not to heat them wet to avoid cracking and of course let them cool before removing them from the oven or cleaning them.Pizza-utencils

Preparation Method:

Preheat your over at 450F/ 232C

Place your pizza stone or Saltillo tile into the oven to start warming up.

(This step is crucial, to get a great crusty crust, the hotter the surface the crustier it will get.)

Pizza dough:

Start by making your pizza dough. Follow the instructions on the package, I did not use the mixer, I used a wood spatula and kneaded by hand for a bout 2 minutes. Divide the dough in 4 equal parts, pre shape into 4 balls, cover with plastic wrap and let it proof at rom temperature for about 20 minutes.

Pizza-Primavera_Making-the-dough

While your dough is resting, prepare your toppings:

  1. In a sheet pan, lined with some parchment paper, place the carrots, cauliflower and green beans, drizzle with a bit of olive oil salt pepper and roast at 450 F for about 5-7 minutes. The vegetables should look not completely roasted, as they will continuously cook when placed on the pizza. You want the vegetables, tender with a bite.
  2. Meantime in a saute pan add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and the red onions and saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes, add some salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and add about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Leave them on low heat tossing occasional for about 15 minutes or until tender and caramelized. (see picture below)
  3. Mix all your sauce ingredients, adjust salt and pepper, and warm for a few minutes to marry the flavors.
  4. Cut your tomatoes, grate the cheese, season your sauce, pre-roasted vegetables, have everything ready to have fun topping your pizza!

Pizza-primavera_mise-in-place

The making!

  1. Crank up the oven temperature to 500F. This gets the crust crunchy when it cooks on the hot pizza stone.
  2. Add a generous amount of corn meal onto the pizza peel. Apply some extra virgin olive oil in your hands and take one portion of pizza dough. Shape it into a disk and place it in the middle of the pizza peel. With the tip of your fingers, starting from the center out gently massage and start flatten and shape the dough into an 8-9” disk. (see picture below)
  3. Pizza-Primavera_-Shaping-the-pizza-dough
  4. Once you have the 8-9”round pizza dough, make sure its lose, by gently shaking the pizza peel in horizontal motion. The dough should scoot around easily.
  5. Place the pizza peel onto the pizza stone. Gently shake the wood peel back an gently forward to slide the pizza crust onto the pizza stone. See picture below. Be as quick as you can so the oven does not loose temperature.
  6. Immediately close oven door. And adjust oven temperature to 450.Bake crust for 5-7 minutes until slightly golden brown.
  7. Pizza-Primavera_-in-the-oven
  8. With the help of the pizza peel remove the crust from the oven and proceed to place the toppings.
  9. Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce, and place the roasted carrots and veggies along the radius of the pizza crust. Add the caramelized onions, top with grated cheese, and sprinkle fresh herbs.
  10. Place the pizza back into the oven for another 7-8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and it has some color. With the help of the peel pull out the pizza into a wood board. Let it rest for 1-2 minutes, and proceed to cut. You can use a pizza cutter or a chef’s knife.
  11. Pizza-Primavera_Assambling-the-pizzaPizza-Primavera-sliced~Yes,-more-please!

Serve immediately.

 Top with arugula, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, squeeze of lemon salt and pepper…

Enjoy! 

Pizza-Primavera_slices~Yes,-more-please!

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Raw Veggie Tostadas

Raw-Veggie-Tostadas_Ingredients~Yes,-more-please!

Is it Spring time yet?… I think we are almost there. This Raw Veggie Tostadas scream welcome spring!, Spring is about renewal, everything in nature starts again, a new cycle that makes me feel like eating fresh,crunchy root vegetables. There is an abundance of them right now, lots of cabbage, carrots, radishes at the farmers market. For me is time to set aside the roasting pans, lets eat them raw. Raw vegetables have an earthy and unique flavor, they are juicy and sweet. I’ve learned to loved them when I shred them, it is so easy to eat them raw and when you combine them in a salad they are also so attractive to the eye and all together make a crunchy symphony texture, simply amazing.
This recipe screams “easy”, you can whip this up for a week dinner or an easy-laid back weekend lunch.  This recipe its one of my favorites, Ian and I used to have them almost once a week for our veggie night or our MM, Meat-less Monday. Have fun and enjoy!

Raw-Veggie-Tostadas_shreded-veggies~Yes,-more-please!

Raw Veggie Tostadas

Makes 4-6 Tostadas

Ingredients:

6 tostada shells*
(Baked or Milagro brand if you are her in Austin, definitely the best..)
1 cup of black beans cooked and smashed
4 shredded carrots…any color any variety.
2 shredded mexican zucchini (light green kind preferable)
¼ head of red cabbage, shredded
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 lime
1 lemon
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt (upon your taste)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Garnish with:

2 tomatoes diced or in slices
4 thinly slices of red onion
1 avocado
3 tablespoons of greek plain yogurt + 1-2 tablespoon of milk + pinch of salt.
Whisk until well combined, to create a lighter creamy sauce. (for vegan options use tofu yogurt)
2 Tablespoons queso fresco or  feta cheese crumbled or  small diced firm tofu.
Red Roasted Tomato Salsa(recipe follows)

Red Roasted Tomato Salsa:

2-3 medium size tomatoes roasted and peeled.
6-8 toasted chiles de arbol.
2 toasted chiles cascabel (remove seeds)
1 medium garlic clove
1 teaspoon sea salt
Place all the ingredients in the food processor, until well blended, add a little warm water if needed for consistency. The salsa should reassemble a lose puree.

Preparation method:

1. Warm up the beans, you can use refried beans if you like.
2. In a large bowl, combine carrots, zucchini, cabbage, cilantro, the juice of lime, lemon, salt and pepper to taste, toss well.

Raw-Veggie-Tostadas_tossing-the-veggies-~Yes,-more,-please

Raw-Veggie-Tostadas-healthy-refreshin-and-delicious-recipe-Yes,-more-please!

3. Make your Salsa…I made this Salsa Roja Asada click for recipe here.
4. Prepare your garnishes.
5. Assemble the tostadas, spread a light coat of beans on the tostada (this will be your glue!) and then a generous amount of the vegetable concoction. Top with slices of onion, avocado, drizzle some of the yogurt sauce, and some salsa. Serve immediately. Enjoy!Raw-Veggie-Tostadas_assambling-the-veggies-~Yes,-more,-please

Raw-veggie-Tostadas_topings`Yes,-more-please!

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Raw-Veggie-Tostadas-healthy-and-delicious_Yes,-more-please!

Have you had your rainbow today?

Cook with music! Music always sets the mood for cooking, My music pairing for this recipe:

 

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Roasted Carrot Salad with Hummus Vinaigrette

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette_red,-orange-and-yellow-Carrots

January brings the roots out. Its a fun time at the farmers market a great variety of root vegetables. What caught my attention this time were the carrots. Great variety of colors, from red, orange, yellow and pale cream color. How can you not get inspired from all this colors? So I bought a bunch of the red carrots including the greens. Carrot greens are really tasty and a great source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium and vitamin K and are also high in protein. Flavor-wise they taste a bit peppery and resemble parsley. They are also a great addition to any salad and you can make pesto or tabbouleh with them… in fact!… that might be the next recipe I will attempt. When you are buying carrots and carrot greens, make sure your source is organic. There is a bit of controversy about eating the tops or the carrot skins and other non-organic vegetables. Know your source and enjoy your carrot greens with no worries.

For me, roasting is one of the best ways to bring out the sweet flavor of the carrots. The skin gets caramelized while inside it remains tender and all the ‘carrotness’ flavor is contained in a little cute pencil shape. Delicious! For the vinaigrette I took the same spices you will use to make hummus and I mix them with some sesame oil, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice. This Roasted Carrot Salad with Hummus Vinaigrette Its easy to make, and very comforting. Enjoy!

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette--carrots,-mustard-greens,-carrot-greens~-Yes,-more-please!Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette~-warm-salad-for-the-winter

Roasted Carrot Salad with Hummus Vinaigrette

Serves 2 as main course, 4 as side dish or 1 wabbit feast.

2 bunches of carrots red, orange yellow any kind will work.
½ cup carrot tops washed and leafs cut.
4 cups mustard greens washed and hand cut in pieces
½ small onion cut in slivers
½ cup garbanzos cooked.

For the Vinaigrette:

¼ cup sesame oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
The juice and zest of half a lemon
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2-3 grated garlic cloves
2 good pinches of salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven at 450F/230C
Wash and pad dry your carrots upon size, slice carrots in half or quarters for evenly roast.
In a baking sheet lined with parchment paper place the carrots, onions, garbanzos, drizzle a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Roast them for about 10-15 minutes or until caramelized and fork tender.

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette_red,-orange,-yellow-carrots

Mean time prepare your vinaigrette by simply combining all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl whisk until well combined. Set aside.

Check on your carrots. If they look done they will show golden tones and edges a bit charred and fork tender.

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette_roasted-carrots~Yes,-more-please!

Remove them from the oven and in the same tray toss the mustard greens and half of the vinaigrette, toss and place back in the oven for about 1-2 minutes which will slightly warm up the mustard greens.

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette_tossing-the-salad

Serve immediately and drizzle the rest of the dressing, adjust salt and pepper, squeeze more lemon, sprinkle a few more toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Serve with toasted pita bread and a dollop of yogurt on the side. Enjoy!

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette~ready-to-serve

Roasted-Carrot-Salad-with-Hummus-Vinaigrette-~Yes,-more-please!

Scrumptious!

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