Entries in pizza (2)


Eating Out

Five years ago, when we first went gluten free, the thing we missed the most was pizza.
It wasn't so much the taste, but that it's everywhere, all the time. It's the main food at every birthday party, every sporting event. A celebration food, if you will.

Tonight, we celebrated out with not just pizza, but ravioli as well. Gluten free, in a Three Brothers, with some good friends. We're grateful for expanded options, and the growth of society's understanding of celiac and gluten intolerance.


Pizza time!

Now, in the last few days of my stay here, I finally got around to making pizza.

I even used the brick yeast, that previously frightened me, and now I think I'll never use dried yeast again. This stuff was amazing.

I brought from Baltimore a simple dough recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine, one of the two cooking magazines I subscribe to. I get Gourmet, too, but that was an accident. The same publisher puts out gourmet and Bon Appetit, and I got confused when ordering my subscription. However, for $24 USD for 2 years, it's worth it to have a little fanciness.

Anyway, the recipe called for a food processor, I have no idea why, but of course I just used my hands. Who mixes salt, sugar and flour with a food processor?

The yeast came in a 100-gram block, about the size of half a deck of cards. I put half the brick in some hot tap water, about 110 degrees, and mushed it and stirred it a little then let it dissolve while I mixed the dry stuff. I started with 2 cups of flour, one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon sugar. I added 3 tablespoons olive oil. I mushed/dissolved the last bit of yeast, and started adding the mixture. It became quickly apparent that I had WAY too much liquid for the dough, and I ended up adding about another cup of flour, but didn't change any of the other ingredients.

And then the magic happened. I swear the dough started to rise while I was kneading it. J didn't feel like kneading right then, having been mesmerized by BBC children's TV. I worked the dough for about 5 minutes, and then set in a glass bowl. The bowl was speared in olive oil, and I pout a plastic bag smeared with oil over top of it. You can use plastic wrap, of course, but I like to recycle.

At home I have a special ceramic bowl from my mother-in-law that I use. I usually set the bowl in the sink in some warm water, but I was pretty sure I didn't need the extra rising help.

This thing grew massive. After half an hour, I had to take it out and put it in my roasting pan to give it more room. It was crazy. 30 minutes later, it had at least tripled in size, so we punched it down, J's favorite part, and wrapped in the oil-smeared bag. Then we put it in a plastic box with a lid, although not an airtight one, and put it in the fridge. When I opened the fridge a little later, it was STILL rising, and had popped the lid off the box. I continued to punch it throughout the day to keep it from taking over the kitchen.

I took a few pieces off and cooked them, just to see if it could work, and while they didn’t taste like anything to me, they rose in the oven, and seemed promising.

At about 6 pm, we took the dough out of the fridge, and unwrapped it on the counter. We split it in half, and J helped me roll it out. This was after "driving" the rolling pin all over the floor for ten minutes, chasing me with the steamroller. I guess I should have washed it off. Oops.

I realized there was no way H would have the time or energy to prepare another pizza with the leftover dough, so I told one of his coworkers to preheat their oven so we could make two.

We rolled out the dough pretty thin, then put it on an oiled piece of aluminum foil on the thick oven tray. J poked most o the holes in the crust with a fork, and spread around the sauce. Instead of making the sauce, like I planned, I experimented with a canned sauce by an Italian company called Muzzi. It was great. Not too salty, not too garlicky. J sprinkled the cheese from a bag labeled "pizza cheese". H had used this product to improve frozen pizzas before, and found it acceptable.

We put "Vikingas" salami on it, and added a few sprinkles of Parmesan to the top. Then into the oven it went. I thin it was at about 200C, but our oven is so wacky here, who really knows? It took about 12 minutes to cook, and was wonderful. H said, "You made real pizza!" He was pretty happy.

I let J eat some, and luckily he didn't want to eat eight pieces, so hopefully he'll be able to process it ok. He had a cheese stick two days ago, and I haven’t seen a reaction from that yet. He also seems OK with Parmesan and sometimes cheddar. We'll see.

The co-worker put olives and onions on his, and had to stick it back in our oven to cook it a little more, just to crispy up the crust. He had grated mozzarella on it, and added garlic too. I liked ours better, but everyone was happy.

This went so well, that I think I prefer it to frozen pizza. We usually get Freschetta Brick Oven at home, but this really didn't take that much longer to make. And it's about a million times healthier, with no additives and whatnot. I also didn't get that "too salty" feeling that I usually get from pizza.

Here's to a homemade pizza that tastes good. Huzzah!
Thanks for reading,