Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two Pizzas

Pizza is something I miss being able to order and have delivered right to my doorstep for dinner.

There are gluten-free frozen pizzas you can buy, but they are expensive, tiny, and undelicious. 

Do you miss pizza? people ask me. Duh. Of course! 


But I have ways of dealing with the loss. I am not sobbing into my sheets every day. I have learned some things in this life. 

Polenta pizza with fresh mozzarella.

Such as: traditional cuisine has many gluten-free flatbread options: socca, polenta, dosas. They are delicious, and what is pizza if not flatbread topped with stuff?

Socca topped with mixed tomatoes and olives. 

Here are two pizza recipes, one with a polenta crust and fresh mozzarella, the other vegan, with a socca crust topped with mixed tomatoes and olives.

Polenta Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella

Dress this baby up any way you want: with or without the cheese; with sauteed mushrooms; with fresh basil and huge heirloom tomato slices. It's your pizza. 

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup coarsely ground gluten-free cornmeal
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more to grease the pan
salt & pepper
pizza sauce, marinara sauce, or a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
fresh mozzarella
fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, etc.

Bring the water to a boil, with a pinch of salt, in a saucepan. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, being sure to whisk constantly until the mixture thickens into a batter-like consistency. Turn the heat to low, and cook, stirring very often, for about 15 minutes, until thickened but still stirrable. (Is that a word?) Stir in the olive oil. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch cookie sheet (with sides!) or pizza pan with parchment paper, and drizzle olive oil over the parchment. Pour the cooked polenta into the prepared pan. When it has cooled, cover the top with more parchment paper and spread it out with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick all around. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Top with sauce, fresh mozz, and herbs. Bake for 15 minutes, or until browned and crispy. 

Socca with Mixed Olives and Tomatoes

You can add parmaggiano-reggiano cheese to this, too, if you're not vegan. 

1 cup chickpea flour (also called besan)
1 1/4 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tbsp for the skillet, plus more for drizzling
salt & pepper (LOTS OF PEPPER)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried and crushed in a mortar & pestle
mixed tomatoes and mixed olives, chopped

Whisk the chickpea flour with the water and olive oil until blended. Whisk very well to avoid lumps. You may also wish to sift the chickpea flour into the water using a fine-meshed sieve; this will help you avoid the lumpiness. Add a bunch of salt and pepper (lots of pepper, folks!), whisk again, and let this mixture sit at room temperature for at least an hour. 

When ready to make the socca, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet and make sure it covers the whole bottom. Whisk the rosemary into the socca mixture, then pour it into the prepared skillet. Drizzle with more olive oil! More! More!

(Note: you can add the chopped olives right into the batter, too. But not the tomatoes.)

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until browning and crispy around the edges. Remove from the oven, drizzle with more olive oil, and top with the mixed tomatoes and olives. 

This won't taste like chain-delivery pizza, but it will taste delicious. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Julie Scramble

Perhaps the only bright side to a friend moving across the country is that she will give you many bottles of wine, houseplants, and sweet potatoes before she goes.

This scramble is named for such a friend. 

The Julie Scramble. (SOUNDS LIKE A DANCE MOVE)

I diced up one of Julie's sweet potatoes, roasted it in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and added it to a tofu scramble that includes a bunch of Swiss chard just picked from my garden and a handful of locally grown tomatoes. 

I did not drink any of the wine with it, because BREAKFAST. But when I eat the leftovers for dinner, I will pair them with Shiraz. (Maybe you will drink the Shiraz at breakfast. Who am I to judge?)

I like to make tofu scrambles in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. The tofu will brown on high heat, and you scrape up the browned bits from the bottom for great flavor. This is harder to do--both the browning and the scraping--with a stainless-steel or nonstick pan. 

Cast iron is your friend. Not as cool a friend as Julie, but still: a friend. 

The Julie Scramble

It has been nice and cool here, so I didn't mind turning on the oven to roast the sweet potatoes. But you could also pan-roast them if you'd rather. 

1 medium sweet potato, from a friend or not, diced
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 small to medium onion, diced
1 block extra-firm tofu (be sure it's gluten-free), squeezed dry in a clean towel
1 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper
1 bunch Swiss chard, from your garden or not, coarsely chopped
1 handful cherry or grape tomatoes

First, roast the sweet potatoes. Combine the diced sweet potatoes with the oil and S&P, and roast at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until tender.

Next, make the scramble. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute for about 7 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Crumble the tofu right into the skillet with your hands (squishy!), then add the roasted sweet potatoes, turmeric, and S&P, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once in a while to scrape the browned bits of tofu from the bottom of the pan. When the scramble is golden brown and smelling delicious, add the chard and tomatoes, stir well, and cook for another minute or two, just until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes are warm. Taste and add more S&P (or even hot sauce) if you like. 

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

Enjoy! Oh, and Willa would like to say "see you soon!" to her hiking buddy. (She doesn't believe in goodbyes.)

See you soon, Julie!