25 February 2012

delicious and healthy pizza? yes please!

it has been about five years since i found out my allergies and until this last summer, pizza was pretty much off limits.  for a while i could tolerate it periodically but eventually i had to completely exclude yeast from my diet. so, with the exception of one very painful trip to pizza luce, i hadn't had a slice in three years.  now, after about six months of messing with my gluten-free, yeast-free crust recipe i'm finally ready to share it. 

here is a photo of my latest creation: roasted sweet potato & squash with kale and sharp cheddar.  (i would have preferred feta with this one but organic wasn't available - sad day!)

just a slice

once again, i forgot to stop for photo ops...oops!  i swear my next post (about food) will be the pizza crust recipe broken down step by step with photos. also, this was a two day process, but it doesn't have to be.

the first step in cooking this pizza is to roast the squash and sweet potato 'chips' (aka veggie pepperoni).  i did this the night before because i was making kale chips and had a little extra time.  i sliced the whole squash, then cored and peeled the slices (turning them into rings).  i drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned them with black pepper, sea salt, and garlic.  then i baked them at an unknown temp for an unknown time (i suggest 400ish until they are golden brown and soft - sorry, this is how i do things). 

then i sliced the sweet potatoes (two small ones) into very thin chip-like rings.  i tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of cayenne and baked them at 350 for 10 minutes, flipped, and put them in for another 5-10 minutes.  i like them sort of crispy to munch on (they get soft again if you put them in the fridge).

i also seasoned my tomatoes and cooked them down a bit.  i found a hidden bag of frozen tomatoes from my garden in the back of the freezer so i thawed about a cup of them.  when they were soft i pureed them and then cooked them down (in a sauce pan, on medium low...for how long, i don't know).  i added sea salt, garlic, pepper, red pepper flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, and dried basil.  i like to let the seasonings soak into the sauce over night (or longer) if possible so everything is really spread around.

the next day, i made the crust using:
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (my mix: brown rice, chickpea, coconut, and buckwheat*)
  • 1/2 cup fresh ground seeds/nuts (my mix: flax, hemp, pepitas, sunseeds)
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar or alternative (i love using honey!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)
  • salt, pepper, and herbs to taste (i adjust this all the time)
*buckwheat is gluten-free and not related to wheat; if you use it your crust will get darker faster

i mix all dry stuff then add in the wet and stir until well incorporated.  after that i slowly (by the tbsp) add about a half cup of tepid water. stop adding when the dough forms a nice, solid ball on its own when you stir it with a fork.  then i sort of kneed it to make sure that everything is moist and that it is solid.  i pat it into a smooth ball, cover it with a tiny bit of oil and set it on the counter for about an hour or so.  (be patient, you can pick up the slices if you do!)

after an hour (or more) has passed preheat the oven to 450 (yes, that's right).  then you can press the dough onto a lightly oiled pizza stone; i always make sure that the dough isn't sticking by peeling it back a little but be careful not to tear it.  you can make yourself a thin or thick crust, but the thin cooks up nicer in my opinion.  after you've got it into the shape and size you want, lightly brush the crust with olive oil and pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes.  it is important with this crust to let it get a hard 'shell' before you top it with sauce otherwise it will be super soggy.  i like to wait until it just starts to turn color then pull it out. 

after i pull the crust out i turn down the oven a bit - to about 350 or 375.  when the crust cools a bit you can put the sauce on, top it, and then cheese it.  then it is ready for final baking, about 10-15 minutes depending on how much stuff you pile on it.  after it is done baking i suggest letting it rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into it.  the crust will continue to bake a little on the stone but it stops it from burning.

sweet potato pie

roasted squash and kale layer

extra sharp cheddar


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