One of the things I miss the most being on a Paleo/Primal diet is BREAD. In that category would also be a nice, not too thin pizza crust that I have never been able to replicate with cauliflower. I also wanted to be able to PICK UP the slice of pizza and not have to use a utensil. A lot of gluten free pizza recipes require and knife and fork and leave me feeling like I am eating some sort of soggy polenta dish with tomato and cheese on top.
I finally came up with a ratio/blend of ingredients that make a great gluten free crust, and I will probably never make a cauliflower crust again. I felt confident enough about the crust recipe’s texture and flavor that I made it at the 2017 California State Fair Cooking Demo on the last morning of the fair. Try for yourself, and use the following crust recipe as a base for any kind of pizza you want to make. I am posting the exact recipe below that I made at the California State Fair. 🙂
PS: You’ll need a food processor, 3 sheet pans (at least 9 by 13) a cook top of some kind, and an oven to make this! (Just throwing that out there!) For the oven, place one rack in the middle and one nearer to the top.
2 large sweet potatoes (you can use orange or white, whatever you prefer)
1 1/4 cup nut flour of your choice (I used a ground pistachio/almond blend)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 Tbs garlic powder
1/2 Tbs dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
Peel and cut your sweet potatoes into roughly 1-2 inch squares and pre-cook them. You can do this any way you want, but I would stay away from boiling them because this will leave them waterlogged and soggy. My shortcut is the microwave. Cook them until they will mush between your fingers with almost no effort. You can also bake them if you want. Tip: Cook potatoes the night before, or even a few days before to shave a little bit off your pizza prep time.
If you are making the breakfast pizza, this is the part where I go ahead and PREHEAT the oven and cook my bacon for the topping at the same time. Even if you’re not making the breakfast version, SURELY you’ll want bacon on your pizza anyway! 🙂 This is an easy way to get the bacon super crispy without burning it. I use a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to cook the bacon. While you’re at, go ahead and line THREE sheet pans with parchment paper. Two you will need for the pizza crust, so parchment paper line them and set them aside for now. The remaining pan will get a layer of parchment and then your 6-10 slices of bacon. Don’t crowd the pan too much, or the bacon won’t cook evenly and it won’t render (get crispy). Once you’ve put the bacon on the sheet pan, place it in the oven and THEN turn the oven on. Heat it to 400°F. You’ll want to cook the bacon slow, so a cold oven is OK to begin with. By the time you’re ready to put your crust in the oven, your bacon will be almost ready and your oven will be the temp you need it. Now on to the crust!
Grind the nuts of your choice (I used a mixture of pistachios and almonds–1 cup ground pistachios, 1/4 cup ground almonds) until they look like coarse sand/start sticking to the sides of the food processor bowl (we don’t want nut butter, just finely ground). Pulse in your parmesan cheese. Add the salt, garlic powder and the dried oregano. Then begin adding your sweet potatoes in stages. You will need to add the water, olive oil, and 3 eggs in between adding the potato pieces so that the mixture continues to blend well. Depending on the size of the potatoes, you might not need to add all of them. Consistency-wise you are looking for a thin cookie dough, but thick cake batter. It won’t be the consistency of pizza dough from a pizza parlor, it will be more loose than that.
Spread the dough mixture onto the other parchment-lined pan. Spread evenly across the pan, no thinner than a 1/2 inch thick. At this time, you can check your bacon. It may or may not be done depending on the thickness of the bacon slices. If it is not done, you can leave it in on the top rack and set the timer to remind you to check it (I go in 5 minute increments). Also, make sure to pour any excess grease off of the pan. Pour the grease into a coffee cup or something you can retrieve it from for later use (I will get to that later!) Place the dough pan on the middle rack and bake for 10-12 minutes.
15 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs chopped garlic
2 Tbs chopped fresh oregano
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
If you want, you can buy a jar of pizza sauce and skip this step all together. I do this when I am pressed for time. If not, add your crushed tomatoes, paste, and herbs and salt to a saucepan and cook together while the pizza crust does it’s first bake for the 10-12 minutes. You will be simmering the sauce until you need to use it. Also, the bacon should be getting done by now, so check it again and take it out if necessary.
Sausage and Shallots Preparation Ingredients:
Reserved bacon grease
1 lb ground turkey
While the sauce is cooking and crust is baking, dice up the shallots. Then, in another saucepan separate from the one you used for the tomato sauce, pour some of the bacon grease you reserved from earlier, heat it up, and sauté the shallots until they are translucent. Add the ground sausage (turkey or pork, whatever your preference) and cook with the shallots, allowing the meat to cook through and brown. When the meat is browned, turn off the heat and set aside. At this point, the first bake of the crust is probably done, so go ahead and take out the crust and place the pan on a heat safe surface.
At this point, fetch the third parchment lined pan, and invert it, making sure the parchment paper stays put. Place it on the top of the crust and flip it over. This is so the pizza crust will cook through/dry out, and you will be able to pick up the pizza/not eat with a fork! Your oven should still be at 400°F. If you are making the breakfast pizza, this is the part where you will peel the parchment off the top of the crust, use the back of a spoon and make little “wells” on the pizza. I make 4 wells for 4 eggs. The wells I am describing are little indentations so that when you crack the egg on the pizza crust, it will not run all over the top. Instead, it will be captured in the little bowl you made for it. Once you have made the wells and cracked the eggs into them, carefully place the crust into the oven for another 10 minutes. This time, use the rack that is higher in the oven, so the eggs will set.
1 bunch green onions
½ cup sun dried tomatoes
6-10 slices bacon
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
OK, we’re almost done! For final prep, chop the green onions and set aside. Also, chop the bacon you prepped earlier and set aside. I also like to measure out the sun dried tomatoes and the cheese and put everything in a row (so I don’t leave anything out). It’s like a little pizza assembly line. 🙂
Take the crust out (the eggs on top should be almost set). Turn the oven temp up to broil (low), you will need to use the oven one last time after you top the pizza (so that the cheese will melt). Begin with the tomato sauce and spread around the crust, being careful to avoid the eggs on top. Then add the sausage, bacon, sun dried tomatoes, green onions, and top with the mozzarella cheese. You should still be able to see the eggs through the toppings.
Place the pizza back in the oven until the cheese on top melts and browns. I like to keep an eye on the pizza through the window on the door of the oven to prevent over-browning. Once the cheese on top is melted, take the pizza out, allow to cool 5-10 minutes before cutting. This is the part where I set the table. By the time I am finished setting the table, the pizza is ready to cut and serve!
Did I leave out anything? Do you have questions? Contact me here!
In this edition of Flights By Night, we bring you a classic pairing of pork and Pinot Noir. A bone-in pork chop with an apple and onion sauté and an apple gastrique. Served with roasted Brussels sprouts.
The Pinot Noirs that Andy chose are some of the most delicious Pinot Noirs I have ever tasted and they are very reasonably priced. Wine number one is Handley’s 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir (their self-titled “flagship wine”) and wine number two is Talbott’s 2013 Kali Hart Pinot Noir (which is my personal favorite red wine right now, because of it’s drinkability with or without food).
As for Handley, they couldn’t make a bad wine if they tried. Case in point, their Gewürztraminer ($20), but that is another pairing for another time. 😉 Handley’s Anderson Valley Pinot retails for $32 via their website and Talbott’s Kali Hart Pinot Noir goes for ($21). However, you can find the wines at lower prices if you do a google search for them. 😉
The food pairing was a no-brainer because pork is always a perfect match for Pinot Noir. I quartered the Brussels sprouts and roasted them in olive oil. For the apple and onion sauté, I sliced the onions and cooked them in olive oil, seasoned them with salt, and then added 2 Tbs coconut sugar to help caramelize them. Then I added some chopped apples, and cooked the onions and apples down together until the mixture was browned and thickened.
Andy was busy with the pork chops on the grill and meanwhile I made the apple gastrique. It was such a simple preparation. I just used one part honey to two parts apple cider vinegar. I started with the honey in a small saucepan, and roasted over low heat until the honey turned darker. Then I added the apple cider vinegar and brought to a simmer, then turned down the heat slightly and reduced until the gastrique stuck to the back of a spoon (gastrique will thicken even more as it cools). Tip: You can serve the gastrique with pork, duck, or chicken. 😉
That’s it for today’s Flights By Night! Check back in a few days for another great food and wine pairing!
Last Monday, Andy and I attended a hospitality professionals meeting and I won a bag of groceries from Whole Foods Arden (Sacramento). They are also members of the group and brought the bag to give away at the meeting through a raffle of business cards of all the attendees.
We rarely buy quinoa, because it is a grain and not technically Paleo, but since it is a gluten free grain that is high in protein and the box was in the bag of groceries, I decided to make good use of it and post the recipe here as my thanks to Whole Foods! 🙂
Chili Lime Shrimp with Vegetables and Quinoa
Inspired by a Kaiser Permanente recipe
2 tsp chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Tbs teaspoon cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes (this will make the recipe moderately spicy, omit if you don’t prefer heat)
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper
20-24 uncooked, peeled and deveined medium-sized shrimp (roughly one pound)
Note: If you can’t find peeled and deveined shrimp, it’s pretty easy to do at home, it just takes about 15 more minutes to do it. After you peel back the shell, use a small knife to make an incision right on top of the vein and down to the tail. The vein will come practically on its own under running water. I also removed the tails for this recipe.
Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the shrimp, tossing them in the bowl until they are coated. Set aside and work on your vegetables.
2 Tbs olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 of a large red bell pepper
1/2 of a large yellow bell pepper
1/2 of a large yellow squash
1/2 of a large zucchini squash
1/2 of a large eggplant
1/2 of a large onion
1 1/2 cups of your favorite tomato (I used some cherry tomatoes left over from a veggie tray and one large heirloom tomato)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 of one bundle of cilantro
After you wash and chop up the vegetables (cube or cut each into bite sized pieces), set them aside and prepare the quinoa.
1 1/2 cup 365 Organic Quinoa
First, for a nuttier flavor, toast the quinoa in a skillet until it turns a little brown in color. Then prepare according to package directions. For even more flavor, cook the quinoa in a vegetable or chicken broth (substituting the water and using the same amount of broth in the directions on the package).
Prepare Vegetable Sauté:
While the quinoa is cooking, begin your vegetable sauté by heating the olive (or coconut oil) in a skillet and cooking the onion until it is translucent and then adding both the red and yellow bell peppers. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, then add the squashes, and then the eggplant. At this point the pan will be getting dry, so add a little water or white wine (1/2 cup), add the tomatoes and the garlic powder, and cook until vegetables are tender and the alcohol has cooked out of the mixture. Lastly, remove the pan from heat and add the cilantro leaves allowing them to wilt into the vegetables.
By this time the quinoa will be done or nearly done. Drain any excess water (or broth) out of the quinoa and set aside.
Cook the Shrimp:
Heat a pan big enough to accommodate the 24 shrimp and get the pan really hot. Place your shrimp in the pan, along with all the marinade and cook the shrimp 3-4 minutes (until they sear and turn color). Then add the shrimp to the vegetable pan, and place the vegetable pan back onto low heat. Fold all the ingredients together until everything is well combined and heated through.
Begin with the quinoa, and place the amount of your liking in a circle shape on a large plate. Make a nice big crater in the center of the plate, and fill it with the shrimp and vegetable sauté. Then garnish with a little more cilantro if you’d like.
You can also make this recipe with chicken if you don’t like seafood. I would marinate and cook it in the exact same fashion. 🙂
You can find Whole Foods Arden (Sacramento) on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.