Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Thin Crust Pizza

I was in the kitchen indulging in some tortilla making this morning (mainly because I was craving carbs), and I was turning one of them into a quesadilla, as I finished making the others, when it occurred to me that I should be able to turn the tortillas into individual thin crust pizzas, too, albeit in a slightly thicker and bigger format, and cooked a bit longer to get a crunchy crust.

Cooked thin crust pizza

One of the tortillas succumbed to my experiment, but it wasn’t ideal as I had no pizza sauce on hand, and the crust burnt at the edges, but it showed promise; I just had to thicken the crust at the edges so it didn’t burn so easily.

I had another go this afternoon, and the resulting pizzas were sturdy enough to hold in the hand, crispy around the edge of the crust, and chewy and tasty all over. They were also really quick to make once the pizza sauce and dairy free cheese were sorted. 20 – 30 minutes start to finish for 4 pizzas. During the process, I figured that I needed to prepare all the ingredients before I started putting the pizza together, as once I got started, it all happened quickly, and I didn’t have much time for slicing veggies. Note that I put the cheese under the veggies so that it would melt more easily, and I put the veggies on the very top of the pizza so that they would cook under the broiler/grill, and not get shielded by the cheese.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 batch of amaranth, all purpose, or quinoa/bean flour dough
  • Pizza sauce (Herb and Garlic pizza sauce, Veganesca, Ratatouille, Ranchero sauce, or your favorite)
  • Dairy free cheese (home made or commercial), thinly sliced, or diced
  • Toppings (thickly sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced red onion, black olives, raw garlic slices, halved fresh baby tomatoes, pineapple chunks, soy chorizo, oil preserved sun dried tomatoes, etc.)

Heat the pizza sauce, and set to one side.

Prepare all the toppings that you’re thinking of using, and also set to one side.

Place a pizza stone about 6″ underneath a hot broiler (grill), and preheat it.

Pizza doughDivide the dough into 4 evenly sized pieces.

On a well floured cutting board or work surface, roll one of the pieces of dough into a round about 10-12″ across, and then fold the edges back over so that the edge of the crust will be thicker than the rest of the pizza (to prevent burning, and make the crust look rounder).

Heat a dry cast iron pan on the stove on medium heat until hot, and place the rolled pizza dough onto the pan, with the folded over edges facing upwards. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom of the crust is very slightly browned, and then flip the crust over, smear with pizza sauce, then the cheese, then the vegetable toppings, and then scoot the pizza onto the pizza stone for about 5-7 minutes while the veggies cook, the cheese melts, and the pizza crust browns around the edges.

While that pizza cooks under the broiler/grill, roll out the next pizza base and repeat the process.

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Vegetable Juicing

Well, I got zapped good ‘n proper with gluten over the holiday period this year: the problems were too much eating out (I started to get complacent about re-confirming that my food was gluten and dairy free when it was delivered); and a waiter who sounded as if he was paying attention, but in retrospect really wasn’t. Not only did half my meal not appear until everyone else had nearly finished eating (that should have warned me), but the half that I took home (and confidently ate the next day) was most definitely not gluten free …. and you don’t want to know how I knew it wasn’t … and it’s now February, and I’m still itching!

Carrot, apple and ginger juice

Early morning freshly squeezed, carrot, apple, and ginger juice

It takes a few days to a couple of weeks for the worst of my symptoms to subside. I have found that my best bet to deal with this situation has been to juice only, on the worst days. To be honest, I’m not sure why I don’t juice more often. There’s something blissful about the almost instant satiety without the feeling of being stuffed, and the calm that ensues. I don’t generally count calories when I juice. I just drink when I want to, but the weight tends to slide off as I do. So, tell me: if I like the taste, and I like the way I feel when I juice, and my weight does good things when I do so, how come I only seem to do it when my tummy is in desperate need of a rest?

Answers please, on a post card …….

I can’t say that I usually follow any recipes for juicing. I wanted to share an idea here, rather than a recipe. However, because carrots are remarkably cheap, and because we have orange trees, my standard juice is basically loads of carrots (6 large ones), with a small orange and a diddy amount of fresh ginger. It’s not that I only drink this combination, but if I want a juice in a hurry, this is what I opt for.

Juicing veggies

Veggies for juicing …. if appearance bothers you, use green rather than black grapes.

There are loads of books and web-sites out there that do suggest combinations of vegetables to juice with associated benefits, and sometimes I try out their combinations, but quite often I will just juice what’s already available in my fridge or garden, and most of the time it is delicious. I have learnt to limit kale to a couple of handfuls, and celery to a single stalk per cup of juice I make, but carrots, cauliflower stems, broccoli stems, white cabbage, lettuce, fresh tomatoes, red/yellow peppers, cucumber (skinned), and zucchini/courgette I will use as much as I fancy. Generally, I add a small orange, 1/2 an apple, a handful of grapes, a persimmon, or a slice of fresh ginger, as available, but the dominant ingredients are (culinarily speaking) vegetables.

I have enjoyed The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet by Cherie Calbom. She is very inspirational, though I do tend to feel there is a bit of pseudoscience stirred in for good measure.

I rather like this site (http://juicerecipes.com/build/), too, for its page where you can get a nutritional run down of the ingredients that you’re juicing. Juicing calories and nutrients tend to be less than those of the whole plant (as you’d expect), but it’s nice to know how much less, and if you do want to count calories, this is good information.

If you want to buy a juicer, I recommend this website which helped me chose which juicer to buy: http://www.discountjuicers.com/   They only sell kit that they have tested, and discuss the pros and cons of each one. They’ve also got good tables for helping you to compare different types and brands of juicer. I ended up buying a masticating juicer from them (this one, in fact: http://www.omegajuicers.com/juicers/masticating-juicers/juicer-8004.html … they don’t seem to sell DSC_0001it any more, though that was 3 years ago, and I still love it) which allows me to make almond/cashew flours and butters, and instant fruit sorbets (from frozen fruit) as well as juice. It also has fittings for making various pasta shapes, but I found a brand of GF pasta that I liked before I’d figured out a recipe for it, and didn’t get any further. I might have to look into that again …. but not until I’ve shifted this holiday weight!

Kale and edamame salad

O.K., I know that this is going to sound gruelingly virtuous, but this salad is actually really rather good. The kale has a fairly astonishing nutritional profile, but it can have a rather assertive flavor, too, so I wanted a dressing that would tame it somewhat. I experimented with various dressings (including orange mayonnaise!), but in the end fell back on my old reliable vinaigrette, and really that’s all that it needed.

DSC_0022

Kale, edamame, cranberry, and brussels sprout salad. Healthy, filling, and loaded with nutrients! A real tonic for the post-holiday season fallout.

Although the ingredients don’t look as if they make much salad, this is one of those strangely filling foods that demand time taken to eat. I munch on this and feel as if I’ve (temporarily) joined the ranks of those virtuous salad eaters that you see sitting outside cafes on a sunny lunch time, making one feel like a nutritional neanderthal with no willpower to resist <insert addictive food substance here>. However, I don’t feel unhappily virtuous when I eat it. Sliced brussels sprouts are surprisingly sweet and tasty, raw, and the cranberries give intermittent pockets of intensity against the generally green tasting background of the kale. The salad dressing moistens and brings it all together.

For a bit of variation (or if you’re a little wary of kale), substitute finely sliced white cabbage (the stuff used for making coleslaw) for half of the kale.

Serves 4 as a side salad

2 recipes of slightly sweetened vinaigrette
2 cups (16 fl oz) kale
10 brussels sprouts
8 oz edamame (fresh, shelled, soy beans)
1 cup (8 fl oz) dried cranberries

Use a sharp knife to strip the kale greenery off any stalks; discard the stalks, and finely slice the green.

Clean the sprouts, and slice.

Toss all ingredients together in a large salad bowl, and serve.