I'm less surprised that I got the toppings right, since I've had some practice at my friend Shelly's regular pizza nights (she and her roommates provide the dough, both regular and gluten free, guests bring toppings to share, and people take turns assembling pies and running them through the oven). The gf crust mixes that Shelly has tried are fine, but they have struck me as a bit too thick and too sweet—more biscuit-like than pizza-like. (I think at the most recent pizza party she used Bob's Red Mill's mix.) These more biscuit-like crusts actually make a great base for a blue cheese and fig jam-topped pie, but I wanted something thinner, chewier, and more savory.
My son got me a book called 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes for Christmas last year, so this is where I turned for an alternative to the prepared mixes. The author, Carol Fenster, has a recipe for what she calls "Carol's Sorghum Blend" that is the basis for most of her baked-good recipes. I apparently bought the ingredients for it a while back thinking I would make some but never got around to it; luckily everything was still in date (or close enough). It's simple:
1.5 c. sorghum flour
1.5 c. potato starch
1 c. tapioca starch
It makes 4 cups, and you will only need 1/2 cup for this recipe, so store the rest. (I spooned most of mine into a container, but what didn't fit—probably a scant 1/4 cup—I just left in the bowl and later mixed with glutinous rice flour for dusting.)
Now, the recipe for the crust as written, with notes about what I did wrong/differently.
1 T. active dry yeast (I used 1 packet of Hodgson Mill Active Dry Yeast)
2 1/2 t. sugar (I used only 1 unleveled teaspoon)
2/3 c. warm (110°F) milk of choice (I used 1/2 c. half and half and made up the remainder with Fat Free Lactaid milk)
2/3 c. potato starch
1/2 c. Carol's Sorghum Blend
2 t. xanthan gum (it looked like the pantry moths I've been battling for months got into my supply of xantham gum, but I have been leaning toward guar gum instead recently anyway and had a fresh batch of that, so I substituted 2 unleveled teaspoons of guar gum)
1 t. Italian seasoning (I threw out my supply when I cleaned out the spice cupboard last week and haven't replaced it yet, so I left this out)
1 t. onion powder (I don't have any of this, so I substituted a few shakes of granulated garlic)
3/4 t. salt (I used a scant teaspoon of kosher salt)
2 T. olive oil
2 t. apple cider vinegar (I thought to double-check the measure only after adding the first *tablespoon*, so I technically used 3 t.)
Shortening for greasing pizza pan (there's an admonishment to not use cooking spray; I didn't have spray or shortening, so I used unsalted butter and a nonstick cookie sheet)
White rice flour, for dusting (I used the sorghum blend-mixed-with-Mochiko mentioned above)
Place a rack in the bottom position and another in the middle position of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°.
In a small bowl (I used a measuring glass), dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk. Set aside to foam, about 5 minutes. In a food processor, blend the yeast mixture, potato starch, sorghum blend, xanthan gum, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, 1 T. of oil, and vinegar, until a ball forms. (I measured all my ingredients into a bowl first, and only noticed that I was supposed to reserve 1 T. of the oil after I'd added both tablespoons. I mixed it all up, dumped it into my mini food processor, and blended until the motor started to chug and give off a burning electrical smell, which was before the dough formed a ball. I scraped it out of the food processor and back into the bowl, then set the bowl on the stove while I greased my cookie sheet.)
Generously grease a 12-inch nonstick (gray, not black) pizza pan with shortening. Do not use cooking spray—it makes it harder to shape the dough. (As noted, I used unsalted butter and a cookie sheet.)
Place the dough on the prepared pan. Liberally dust the dough with the rice flour, then press the dough into the pan with your hands, continuing to dust with the flour to prevent sticking as needed. (I pressed my crust out as thinly as I could without leaving holes.) Make the edges thicker to contain the toppings. Bake the pizza crust on the bottom rack until the crust begins to brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes. (I guessed it would take 10, and was about right. I probably could have left it for 12.) Remove the crust from the oven.
This is where I said, "OK, I have a crust; I don't need instructions on how to top it," so what follows is not from any recipe. I used (amounts approximate; I didn't measure):
2-3 T. Trader Joe's pizza sauce (I should have mixed in a bit of barbecue sauce, which goes REALLY well with goat cheese, but I went a bit overboard in trying to avoid the sweetness of the prepared crust mixes)
1/4 - 1/3 c. Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio
1/2 c. chopped broccoli crown, stir fried with olive oil and granulated garlic in a very hot cast iron skillet
1 T. crumbled goat cheese
1/4 - 1/3 c. mozzarella cheese
I layered these onto the crust in the order noted, then greased my fingers with olive oil and rubbed the raised crust a bit. The pizza went back into the oven on the middle rack until the cheese started to bubble, and then I slid it onto the counter and cut it into slices. Very, very, yum.
Posted by Lori in food
at 12:42 PM on January 27, 2013
"My goal today is not to be a pain in anyone else's ass."
"That's a good goal. Mine is always not to get frustrated."
"That's too big a stretch for me right now."
Posted by Lori in work
at 8:24 AM on January 10, 2013
Tropical Banana Bread
I've written about a variation on my mom's banana bread recipe before, but I have a new one to share. I'm not sure I've ever made my mom's recipe as bread until now, actually; I think I'm much more of an impatient muffin baker most of the time. This recipe is worth the extended baking time that a loaf requires, however.
I've been gluten free for a couple years now, so pretty much all my recipes, including our now-weekly Sunday morning pancakes, are just my old recipe with Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour and a bit of xanthan gum in place of the regular flour. If you're not gluten free, just leave out the xanthan gum and use regular flour.
2 ripe bananas
1 cup, give or take, pineapple puree (you can use canned crushed, which will be a bit chunkier, or whiz semi-thawed frozen pineapple tidbits in a food processor or blender)
3/4 c. sugar (1 c. if the bananas don't have brown spots)
1 1/2 c. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour
1/2-3/4 t. xanthan gum (I just don't level off my 1/2 t.)
1/4 c. coconut butter, melted (aka coconut oil at 75 degrees or so)
1 t. baking soda
Preheat oven to 325°. Mash banana with a fork or potato masher, then stir in remaining ingredients in order listed. If using gf flour and xanthan gum, the batter will seem a bit thick and gloppy, but this is OK. Grease a loaf pan with some coconut butter and pour batter into pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes; tester in center should come out clean. (It is very likely that the ends will be done before the middle, and thus will be firmer. Don't worry; even if the middle is a bit gooey, it ends up tasting like an extra-yummy bread pudding. No harm, no foul.)
I usually cool for an hour or so on the stovetop, then slice into about 1/2" thick slices. I'll put half in the fridge, and half in the freezer for later. If you can't wait for the entire loaf to cool, cut one slice and eat it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Delicious!
Posted by Lori in food
at 11:22 AM on May 2, 2012
Detroit Road Trip: An Introduction
I didn't want to blog while we were away—heck, I haven't wanted to blog in a while!—but I found myself wanting to share our Spring Break road trip to Detroit (yes, Detroit!) as it was happening, so I ended up pecking out emails to my mom and sister from the car, hotel rooms, rest stops, and even a Ford factory. Since I was doing this on my iPhone and iPad, I came home with a pretty severe case of tendonitis in my right hand, but feeling like I'd gotten a bit of my narrative mojo back. About halfway through the trip I decided to post the emails to my blog upon our return, when I'd be able to properly link to the photos I took in context.
Over the next couple hours I'll be posting the emails and photos the detroit road trip 2012 category. Since the front page of the blog puts the posts in reverse chronological order, I recommend reading from the category page, where they will appear in chronological order. I'm going to post the emails with their original dates, so it's going to look like there are suddenly a bunch of posts appearing from earlier in the month. I thought about back-dating this one so that it would appear first there, but I think I'll leave it as is so it stays at the top of the front page as a sign post.
So why Detroit? I think the idea was first planted by my hockey teammate, carpoolmate, and friend Shelly, who took a vacation entirely by Megabus back in the fall, making a stop in Detroit. I remarked that I'd never been, and I was intrigued by the bus road trip concept. Al and I started talking about doing something similar, and the Beaner put in that he would really like to go to Detroit to see where cars were made. We were a little nervous about heading north for spring break rather than south, but since the Beaner's spring break was relatively late, we thought there was a decent chance the temperatures would be above freezing, and possibly well above.
When Megabus tickets finally went on sale for the first week of April, Al waffled a bit on the itinerary, I think failing to fully grasp that the biggest benefit of Megabus, aside from not having to drive ourselves, was that if you were the first to book, you got the cheapest fare. He also wasn't fond of the inflexibility of the departure/arrival times (in fact, this may have been the biggest factor, rather than indecision). Within a couple days, the fare for the three of us had gone up to about what Al figured we'd spend on gas, and we decided that if it wasn't going to save us any money, we might as well have the flexibility to stop when and where we wanted by driving ourselves. We considered changing destinations as well, but the Beaner was pretty set on Detroit.
It may help to know when reading the first email that Al was in a car accident not long after we'd decided to drive instead of bus; he wasn't hurt, but our car was totaled. We ended up buying another used car, a few model years newer than our old car, to replace it. I thought it was a really nice car, a practical car for carrying hockey bags and golf clubs and teammates, but it was also a small SUV, and I had trouble adjusting to the fact that I was now an SUV driver. It felt a bit surreal, like it couldn't possibly be MY car. I did suspect, however, that it would make a great road trip car. (One of my mental criteria while we were car shopping was, "can I see myself driving to Detroit in this car?")
When we returned, Shelly asked, "does it feel like your car now?" I think the first email answers that question.
Posted by Lori in travel
at 9:16 PM on April 25, 2012
I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.