GF Pizza Foray

My general rule for cooking gluten-free is to seek out recipes that were never intended for wheat or other gluten-containing grains. For example, I love Asian recipes that feature rice, or Mexican recipes with corn tortillas. However, there are some traditionally wheat-based dishes that are just too much a part of our culture for me to ignore them — like chocolate chip cookies — so I make them with an “alternative flour,” as my dad calls it. You can use the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe very nicely with amaranth flour instead (plus two teaspoons of xanthan gum), for example.

Now, the pizza: I am not a gluten-free pro, because GF is not a necessity in our house, but more of a lifestyle choice. Therefore, making GF pizza crust is somewhat hit-and-miss for me, and has included the panicked addition of lots of extra flour — not exactly a relaxing evening in the kitchen. Imagine my happiness at finding a tasty GF pizza crust in the freezer case at Giant! I forget the brand, but based on the ingredients, the maker appears to have used a variant of this recipe. Whipping up a tasty pizza was pretty easy, with the crust already made.

First, pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees. Then I pan-fried some bacon and set it on a paper towel to dry. We get our pastured bacon from Stryker Farms, via Pure Sprouts organic delivery. I am incredibly happy with their quality, selection, and service. We get most of our groceries via Pure Sprouts. If you’re in eastern Pennsylvania (Northampton County and the surrounding area), check them out!

Next, I put the crust on a pizza stone, and poured half a bottle of strained tomatoes on top. After smoothing out the tomato sauce, I covered the pizza with three cheeses I had grated: Kerrygold Vintage Dubliner, Parmesano Reggiano (the real deal, from Italy, via Wegmans), and Jarlsberg. Then I sliced up a couple of onions, separated the rings, and spread them over the cheese. Finally, I topped it all with the pieces of bacon and put it in the oven for 12 minutes. Amazingly tasty. I could have eaten the whole thing, but my husband and our daughter wanted some, too 😉

White Pizza

This is a nice dinner for a cold winter evening. It doesn’t take too long to make it, and you don’t have to have a lot of ingredients on hand. I used a pizza stone, but you can bake it on a circular pizza tray if you choose.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Start with Garvey’s organic Irish brown bread mix (or your own recipe for a soda bread). Mix half of the package (1/2 pound, roughly) with 3/4 cup of plain whole milk yogurt, knead it for a bit, then place it on your pizza stone and spread it out a bit so it is the size and shape that you want your pizza to be. Set it aside.

Take 1/2 pound of sliced bacon, cut each slice in half, and saute the bacon in a frying pan in just a tiny bit of olive oil (medium-high heat) until it is just done. While the bacon is cooking, slice two onions extremely thin; when the bacon is done, add the onions to the pan with a hearty shake of all-purpose seasoning. Cook it all together over medium heat, stirring periodically with a fork, until the onions get slightly soft; then turn off the heat and use a fork or a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and onions from the pan to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

With a fork, mix together one egg yolk, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese (or soft farmer’s / Georgic cheese), and 1/4 cup of plain whole milk yogurt. Spread it on the pizza dough, then cover it with slices of cave-aged Gruyere, then cover that with fresh basil leaves, then top it all with the bacon and onion mixture. Put the whole thing into the oven for 25 minutes. Be extremely careful when you take it out, as it will be tremendously hot Slice it up with a pizza cutter and enjoy!

Hot Stuff

I know, I know–it’s too hot to make soup–but this is one of the tastiest and most nutrient-dense soups you’ll ever eat. I modified the recipe slightly from one in Judy Converse’s amazing book, Special Needs Kids Eat Right.

Cut one pound of bacon into one-inch pieces. Cook the entire pound of bacon by frying it in a saucepan. Set the cooked bacon pieces aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Peel and dice one pound of potatoes. Parboil the potatoes for five minutes in enough water to cover them, in a Dutch oven. After parboiling the potatoes, add the bacon, five diced shallots, one cabbage (cored and cut into chunks), and a generous sprinkle of sea salt and pepper to the Dutch oven. Add enough water or homemade chicken broth to the pot to cover all the ingredients, reduce the heat so that the stew simmers, and allow the stew to simmer for at least an hour. (I cover it so the water doesn’t evaporate too quickly, and I lift the lid periodically (with a potholder!) to stir the stew with a wooden spoon and add water, if necessary.

Serve with homemade bread (like the sourdough rye bread in Heidi Swanson’s book here, which I make with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour instead).

Bacon!

Here’s a fun recipe to use up a head of cabbage you may have in your refrigerator. My five-year-old daughter will eat a few bites of my coleslaw, but she told me this dish was “super terrific,” so I’ll be making it again 🙂

Plan to be working in your kitchen for at least 90 minutes, and perhaps as long as two hours. This is a stew, so it’s a great dish for winter, but on any non-super-hot day, it works well.

Cut one pound of sliced bacon into 1.5-inch-long bits and fry it all in a skillet (with a bit of olive oil, if needed). Keep poking the bacon with a fork (or two) in order to cook it all thoroughly and evenly. Don’t let it get too crispy, but make sure it all gets cooked.

While the bacon is cooking, peel two pounds of potatoes and cut them into one-inch cubes. Put the potato cubes into a small pot, cover them with water, put the lid on, and heat the pot on high until it boils. Then cook the potatoes at a managed boil for five minutes. DO NOT DRAIN THE POTATOES.

Take a Dutch / French oven and sprinkle garlic salt (I love Himalasalt), pepper, and minced onions on the bottom. Wash a head of cabbage, peel off the grody outer leaves, core it, and cut the cabbage into small chunks. Place the cabbage chunks in the Dutch oven on top of the seasonings.

When the bacon and the potatoes are ready, put them (along with all of the potato water) into the Dutch oven, and add as much water (or homemade chicken broth–just boil the legs and wings in a soup pot for an hour the next time you roast a chicken) as you need to cover everything in the pot. Heat the pot over low (or, at most, medium-low) heat to a simmer, and keep it simmering for an hour, stirring periodically.

Serve with bread. (I like the Rye Sourdough recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, although I make it with Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour.) Enjoy!

Nick and Nick’s Egg Salad Club Deluxe

For more than a decade, I’ve been going to a diner near the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 44th Street in Manhattan called Red Flame. Because of the names of two of the guys who work there, I have always thought of it as “Nick and Nick’s,” which has led to confusion when I’ve asked friends to meet me there. I forget that “Nick” isn’t written anywhere on the sign.

Recently, director Whit Stillman asked an interviewer to meet him outside the Harvard Club, but then took the interviewer to lunch down the block, at Nick and Nick’s. Why? The Cobb salad is cheaper there.

My favorite Nick and Nick’s entree, which I had again last night, is the egg salad club deluxe. “Deluxe” because it comes with fries. It’s simple to make, but oh, so, good:

Hard-boil eggs (put 8 raw eggs in a pot, cover them with water so the water goes an inch above the tops of the eggs, and put the cover on the pot; turn the heat on high, and turn it off as soon as the water boils; let the eggs sit with the cover on for 15 minutes; rinse them in cold water and take off the shells). Let the shelled, hard-boiled eggs sit in the refrigerator long enough to get cold (several hours). Dice the chilled eggs.

Fry up some bacon. I use only nitrate-free bacon from pastured animals procured by Pure Sprouts; Good Earth Farms seems to be a good alternative for those of you not lucky enough to live in my area.

Toast several pieces of white bread ever so slightly. Coat one side of each slice very thinly with mayonnaise. Make the sandwiches with toast, lettuce, tomato, diced eggs, and bacon. Slice diagonally; hold each half together with a decorative toothpick, if desired.

Other people have posted some great recipes for fries online; feel free to try my deep-fried parsnip recipe (with potatoes instead of parsnips). When you make this for dinner (or lunch), consider it a little tribute to the best diner in Manhattan.