Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's for Dinner? PIZZA!

Seems like my allergy mom friends are unhappy about pizza lately, while I am loving it over here. When my non-allergy peeps ask me, 'How do you make pizza without cheese?' My flip answer is, 'You just leave off the cheese.' Well, it sounds flip, but it's really kind of true. You just need to pay a bit closer attention to the other ingredients & you're set.

Here's the crust I usually use. I'm not going to say it's the best pizza crust ever (though I'm loving it more each time I have it), but if I spread the batter out really thin, I get 3 pizzas out of the recipe and they're thin enough that the texture is quite good. (The cooking temp was left off the PDF I linked to up there... it's 350F.) Eventually, I'll get around to trying a yeast-based recipe or two but for now this works for us. (And yes, I sub flours all the time...and it always seems to work okay.)

First off, I make sure I use a good sauce. I am not a huge fan of tomato sauce in general but I like (Surprise! What can I say? There's a reason I rep their food, people!) the Wildtree one (Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend, but I'm going to try the Scampi blend sometime soon, too, for a tomato-free version)...partly because you can easily customize it to your own tastes. If you get that one, ignore the cooking instructions on the package. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then you can cook it as short or long as you want (I usually do at least an additional 10 minutes). The boil/simmer helps the tomatoes to carmelize, which gives the sauce a MUCH better depth of flavor. You'll just need to watch the moisture level, as the simmering can thicken it up pretty quickly. Oh, and I usually use canned tomato sauce rather than stewed tomatoes because I like the texture better. Use whatever works for you.

Now, what about toppings? I'm sure you have some favorites & those will probably be fine here as well, unless you're a one-topping type and then I'm thinking you might want to branch out a bit. ;)

A few of my favorite combos:
-- ground beef, spinach, tomato, garlic (or leave off the beef and add basil for a fabulous veggie version)
-- turkey sausage, ham, sauteed spinach & onion, pineapple, olives or olive tapenade
-- turkey sausage, sun-dried tomato, olives, spinach

Since there's no cheese, I usually drizzle on some grapeseed oil (flavored oils work great for this) or extra virgin olive oil--after baking, so it doesn't all soak in--both for flavor and mouth feel. You could also add a bit of balsamic vinegar on top, if that strikes your fancy. I also once used Karina's Best Cheesy Uncheese Sauce and, while it didn't fool me into thinking there was cheese on my pizza, it wasn't bad. (My subs to the Uncheese Sauce: other wheat-free flour, oat milk. I added the mustard but then decided I'll leave it out next time...flavor was too overpowering. And we are seed-free, so no tahini. And it was still pretty good.)

My kids LOVE pizza. Even the cheese eaters in the household like these versions a lot and my picky eater has even started requesting his pizza without cheese. Now that's an endorsement. :)

**I've recently discovered that Daiya fake cheese is safe for my little guy so we have added that to our pizzas now. I do like it better than w/o any cheese at all but pizza seriously was a fave even before that. (We've only had it once so far with the Daiya, if that means anything to you.)

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