Passover pizza or just gluten-free April 7, 2015

Filed Under: italian seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 12:14 pm
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cauliflower pizzaPassover: a week of no bread.  Okay, the holiday is more than just the lack of leaven, but for many of us that’s what it pretty much boils down to.  As you all know, I’ve been baking a lot of bread lately and this week is putting me into wild yeast withdrawal.  So, I hit the “inter-web” in search of bread-like alternatives and played with this one.  My family thinks it’s a year-round keeper.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

3 eggs

¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1-2 Tb olive oil

1 Tb Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 450º.  Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.  Spray with oil (Pam).

Place cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse sand.  This may be best done in smaller batches.  When all of the cauliflower is processed, place in a bowl, cover with towel and place in microwave for 7 minutes.  Remove and let cool slightly.  Line a colander with a cheese cloth or thin dish towel.  Place cauliflower in colander and let drain.  This can be done early in the day or just before cooking the crust.

 Beat eggs with Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning in a large bowl.  Add mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Squeeze out any excess water from cheese-lined cauliflower and place in bowl with egg mixture.  Mix well.  Add olive oil to moisten.

Spread cauliflower mixture onto prepared pan, about ½” thick.  It may not cover the entire pan.  Bake in hot oven for 15 minutes until edges begin to brown.  Remove pan from oven.

Raise oven temp to broil.

Cover cauliflower crust with your favorite pizza sauce, cheese and toppings.  Broil until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.  Remove, cut into slices and enjoy.  Best eaten with fork and knife.

Pleasing the Masses at Holiday Dinner aka Baked Ziti Rocks the Dining Room September 10, 2013

Filed Under: food chatter,italian seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 8:37 pm
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Not everyone I know says, “Yay, Sue is cooking!”   Some add a bit more sarcasm to their “yay”.  This is often the case with my holiday dinners. Not everyone I know appreciates artisanal ingredients and the deglazing of pans.  Some even find my cooking a bit highfalutin.  So, how do I keep from repeatedly alienating them?  This year I gave my family a High Holiday surprise.  Amid the good china and fine crystal, the expensive appetizer, traditional brisket and kugel, just as everyone was ready to groan, expecting showy salmon or boring chicken, I brought out baked ziti.  Yes, baked ziti.  There were audible cheers from the kids and sighs of relief from the less ambitious eaters.

A few things to note: 1.  Don’t try this at home if you keep kosher – duh.  2.  This will not, I repeat, not, become an annual tradition. 3.  No, I didn’t “ruin” the ziti this time, as my children claim I frequently do, by adding spinach, mushrooms, broccoli or any other nutritionally redeeming ingredient.

Simple baked ziti pleasing the masses.


baked ziti


2 28-ounce cans crushed or chopped tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning

24 ounces ricotta cheese

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan chesse

1 egg, lightly beaten

16-oz ziti, cooked as per directions on box

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a large casserole dish.

Place tomatoes in a large saucepan over a medium flame.  Add 1½ tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning.  Bring to a simmer and let cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, in a very large bowl mix together ricotta, 3 cups mozzarella, ¼ cup parmesan, egg and remaining ½ tablespoon (equal to 1 ½ teaspoons) Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning.  Add 4 cups simmered sauce and cooked ziti.  Mix to combine.

Pour into prepared casserole dish.  Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.  Bake for 45 minutes, until top browns slightly.

Serves 8.




The Tailgate Sandwich June 12, 2013

Filed Under: food chatter - Sue Fuirst @ 1:30 pm
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Remember The Journal News article from August 27, 2008? You know, the one where the contestants from the Locally Grown Recipe Contest are featured?  There I am on the front page with a group of perfectly-posed friends enjoying my infamous tailgate sandwich.  Well, this weekend calls for The Tailgate Sandwich. My middle son’s Senior Prom, his high school graduation and Father’s day are all squished into one busy weekend and I need a do-ahead, crowd-pleaser – and as it’s Ethan we’ll be celebrating, it should be vegetarian and sustainable too. This is a recipe that requires a visit to the farmer’s market.  Click the link and enjoy!


(Saving you a piece Matt.)