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  1. Zucchini Crust Pizza – It’s a Winner! In our current low carb family diet regime, the Smokehowze clan has been clamoring for something close to real pizza so I investigated alternate non-bread crust pizzas. Having cooked baked goods using zucchini, the idea of a zucchini crust pizza was appealing. Here is the article I used as the basics for the crust although the idea is pretty straight forward: http://www.recipegirl.com/2014/04/24/zucchini-pizza-crust/ Dinner Time! BTW, at the same time, my son and I made a cauliflower pizza crust and after the pre-bake step there was clearly a better “crust” using the zucchini. The difference was striking and we did not even use the cauliflower crust. We crumbled it up and saved it as a side dish for another meal. After this experiment cook, zucchini is the go-to for an alternate non bread pizza crust. The Details Most posts on things like alternate non-bread pizza crusts do not provide many photos of all the steps. I have done that to assist mastering the process. I bought 10 small zucchini at the market (no large ones were available) hoping for two larger pizzas. This was not to be the case. I probably needed 7 or 8 more of the zucchini. After squeezing the water out, we had 4 packed cups of shredded zucchini. This was enough to make a crust mixture for a 12 inch and a 9 inch pizza crust of good thickness. The 12 inch used about 2 ½ to 3 cups of the zucchini mixture. So … for two 12 inch round pizzas I would estimate to use 18 small zucchini or 6 large zucchini. Cooking on parchment and cast iron was a winner, but I suppose regular pizza pans would work also. I may need to buy a second Academy Griddle so next time I can do two 12 inch pizzas at same time. Leftovers of these pizzas is a good thing since they do take a while to fix due to the almost 1 hour total pre-bake time. To me, these crusts could be fixed ahead and refrigerated, then allowed to warm to room temp for use. For squeezing out the water after shredding the unpeeled zucchini (the drier the zucchini, the better the crust) I used a “nut milk bag”. Like this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KTIZZWQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 These study fine mesh bags are great for doing this and cheese and such. A lot better than cheese cloth or a dish towel. And well worth the price. Easy to clean, too. We squeezed 2 ½ cups of liquid out the zucchini. Save this juice for other purposes. Like a “healthy” beverage such as this Pisco drink we invented while waiting on the pre-bake. Heh! Heh! Made with the juice, some sweetener, lime juice and Pisco white spirits. Stir with crushed ice. It was pretty good for a health drink! You don't have to give up everything on lo carb do you? The Zucchini Crust Mix To make the crust mix, for 4 packed cups of the squeezed shredded zucchini, we added: · 4 large eggs · ½ cup all-purpose flour (could use a gluten free flour mix) · 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese · 1 cup finely grated mozzarella cheese · 2-3 teaspoons Italian Seasoning mix · 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder · 2 Tablespoons Olive oil Notes: Run coarse grated shredded cheese through food processor with chopping blade if required. The Italian Seasoning mix was 1 tsp each dried basil & oregano, 1/2 tsp each dried parsley & marjoram, and ¼ tsp dried thyme. The Mixture Before the Pre-Bake We preheated the oven to 400 degrees for the pre-bake on the crusts. We used cast iron and covered with parchment paper that was spray with non-stick oil spray. The cast iron was NOT preheated. The 12 inch pizza (the “large”) was cooked on my Academy Sports cast iron reversible griddle using the flat side. The 8 inch pizza (small) was done in a cast iron frying pan. The crust mixture was cooked at 400 for about 30 minutes rotating the pans between the upper and lower racks until they were taking on a nice browning and starting to stiffen up. Remove from oven and flip over using a second flat sheet pan and another piece of sprayed parchment as an aid to avoid breaking the crust. Cook for an additional 15 minutes until the remaining crust side has a nice brown. Use your judgement. At this point remove from the oven and let cool slightly. The crusts are now ready for the toppings. They will be firm but not super stiff. At this point, given the good cooking smells one must resist eating the crust! Well, maybe just take a small sample off an edge. After the Pre-Bake Here we are ready to build pizzas. After construction, cook them at 400 for 15 (maybe 20) minutes until it looks right. Rotate oven racks as needed. If desired, you can do a finish for appearance with a quick (and watchfully careful) touch of the broiler. The Pizza Toppings They looked like this – topped and ready for final baking For both pizzas, since I was out of the Centos crushed tomato we normally used to make a seasoned homemade sauce, I grabbed an orphaned bottle of Bertolli marinara pasta sauce out the cabinet. Here is the detail of the Large Pizza: The large pizza was sauced and topped with onion, green bell pepper, sliced mushrooms (sautéed lightly ahead of time) and my homemade Cajun Smokehowze Hot-N-Spicy bulk pork sausage. In Prep: After Cooking: Here is the detail of the Small Pizza: The small pizza was sauced and topped with onion, green bell pepper, sliced roma tomatoes and my homemade Cajun Smokehowze pork loin Canadian Bacon. In Prep: After Cooking Success! A Tasty, Filling, and Low Carb Zucchini Pizza Crust Result These pizzas are quite filling. For three of us, the 12 and 8 inch pizzas had some leftovers. Which is good. This crust is flavorful and rich, has a good texture and holds up as a slice of pizza that you can hold in your hand without it wilting and folding up. Next time, these get cooked on Big(Red) Joe to add some wood fired flavor. Yes – there will definitely be a next time. These crusts are that good. We did them in the oven for the first time out to better track the process and result. I recommend you try this, even just as a change of pace from a bread crust based pizza. Enjoy!
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