Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gluten Free, Grain Free Pizza

Walt and I are having wonderful success on South Beach.  I'm down 28 lbs., Walt has lost 33!  The problem is, it restricts grain, and we're bread people.  Walt was missing pizza.  (I could do without pizza, since I almost always had a tummy-ache afterwards).  To satisfy our bread cravings, I looked for grain-free breads and found a recipe for Socca, a flatbread from France that uses garbanzo bean flour instead of wheat flour.  I had my doubts, but went to Woodman's, bought some Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour and gave it a try.
The method is entirely different from wheat crust - no yeast (!) and it's made from a watery batter.  Hint: Wipe up any spills, it dries like concrete!

Equal parts garbanzo bean flour and water plus salt, seasonings and olive oil are whisked together.  It's poured into two screaming hot skillets and baked for 20 minutes. That baked crust is very different.  Different can be yummy, too.

The toppings must be fully cooked before adding to the crust, because it's topped and then put under the broiler only long enough to melt the cheese.  I microwave the veggies with a little water in a covered dish. My pepperoni pizza below has Pastorelli brand sauce, thinly sliced onions, red bell pepper, turkey pepperoni and reduced fat cheese.

My Margherita pizza has my own white garlic cheese sauce, grape tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and reduced fat cheese.

The white garlic sauce is very easy to make from cream cheese, minced garlic, cottage cheese and parmesan cheese. Just whizz them together in a mini food processor (or stir in a bowl).

For the Crust
makes 2 10" crusts

1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
extra olive oil for the skillets

Whisk together.  Set aside while heating oven and skillets.

If your broiler is at the top of your oven, place one oven rack at the uppermost slot. Another rack should be on the middle slot. Place two 10" cast iron skillets in oven on the middle slot.  Preheat oven to 450F.  When oven and skillets are hot, remove and add 1 tablespoon olive oil to each skillet.  Swirl to coat bottom of skillets.

Add half of batter to each skillet.  Swirl to coat evenly - kinda like making a crepe. Put skillets back in oven and bake 20 minutes.

For the Toppings
While crusts are baking, slice and cook any toppings (except the cheese, natch).  I microwave sliced onion until limp; sweet peppers until just tender.  Pepperoni is already fully cooked, but if I make sausage pizza, I cook it thoroughly then drain very well on paper towels.

For the Red Sauce
We like canned Pastorelli pizza sauce or Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce. 

White Garlic Cheese Sauce
2 Tablespoons cream cheese
2 Tablespoons cottage cheese
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Whizz together in mini food processor or stir together until the cottage cheese is smooth.

Doctoring the Crust
When the crusts are done, remove from the oven and wrap a towel around the skillet handles to remind you that they're screaming hot.  Turn the oven off and the broiler on High. 

Spread crusts with a small amount of sauce - 2 tablespoons or less.  Add pre-cooked toppings and cheese.  Sprinkle with additional Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, whatever you like.  I like Lawry's Seasoned Salt.  Place under broiler until cheese melts.  Let it brown as much as you enjoy.

Remove from broiler onto sturdy cooling racks (or your stove grates).  Using a thin metal spatula, loosen crust and slide out onto a cutting board.  Let rest a couple minutes before slicing.

Serve with cold beer or soda.
Unexpected Bonus 1 - NO more Pizza tummy-aches for me!
Unexpected Bonus 2 - cast iron skillets get very well seasoned!
What do you do when you have lots of leftover sauce?  Using two tablespoons per pizza, the 16 oz. can of sauce goes a long way.  It will go bad in the fridge before I can use it all. So I froze it in an ice cube tray from the dollar store,  popped out the frozen cubes and put them in a zip top bag. On Pizza
Night, I pull out a couple of cubes and zap them in the microwave to thaw.  Each cube is about 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce.

What do you put on your pizza?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Skillet Chops with Mushroom Whiskey Peppercorn Sauce

I was gone a long time.  Many things took up my time.  Volunteering, helping my in-laws, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day and Easter.  The best thing that took time wasn't a thing.  It was a tiny, perfect human named Naomi Dawn.  She is my newest grandbaby, born in February, and she has the entire family wrapped around her tiny fingers. Who wouldn't love such a happy baby?
Her older brother and sister have grown too.

I've gotten a wee bit smaller.  At the New Year, my husband suggested we go without potatoes, noodles, rice or bread and see what happened. Yikes!  My immediate thought was "What's left?!? This won't last a week!" So I started doing a little research and re-discovered The South Beach Diet. I say re-discovered, because several of our favorite meals are South Beach, BUT we had never followed the program.

So I borrowed several South Beach Diet books from the library and dug in.  After a rough week, our starch and sugar cravings faded.  Oh yes - NO sugar. Twelve weeks later I'm down 23 lbs. and my hubs is down 28.  Not bad.
Here's what we had for dinner last night:

Skillet Chops with Mushroom Whiskey Peppercorn Sauce
For chops:
4 thick cut boneless pork chops
course ground black pepper
1 T. butter
Season chops with salt and pepper.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Add oil and butter.  Swirl to combine and coat bottom of skillet.  Add chops.
Brown well on both sides, about 4 minutes per side; then lower heat, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cover while making sauce.
For Mushroom Whiskey Peppercorn Sauce:
1 T. butter
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onion, sliced
2 -3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. peppercorns, slightly crushed (optional)
3/4 cup reduced fat, low-sodium chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup half and half
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup whiskey (I used Seagrams VO, Jack Daniel's would also be good)
Preheat oven to 400F.
In same skillet you cooked the chops add EVOO and butter, swirl to coat skillet. Add mushrooms and onions.  Cook over medium high heat until well browned (Brown = flavor), turning with a spatula every couple of minutes.  It will take 10 - 15 minutes depending on the water content of the mushrooms.
Add garlic and peppercorns, stir.  Add chicken stock and balsamic vinegar and stir to loosen browned bits from skillet.  Add half and half, stir.  Remove pan from flame and add whiskey.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens slightly.
Add chops and any juices to skillet.  Place in preheated oven 10 minutes to finish cooking. 
Test temperature for doneness.  Serves 4 (6 if you're on South Beach)
Along side the chops, serve:

Summer Squash with Parm
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 medium summer squash, cut in 3" strips
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded

Heat skillet over medium heat.  Add EVOO when hot.
Add garlic and onions, stir to coat.  Cook until onions wilt.
Add squash.
Cover and cook 3-4 minutes, turning gently several times.
Add broth, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Serve with 1 T. parmesan cheese

Serves 4
Stay tuned and find out how I make pizza without wheat flour.  Gluten Free!