Seasonal Ingredients

In my dreams, there is pizza

Is it deja vu? Have you seen this post before? It is possible if you have been reading and keeping up with my Fast Foodie Cooks blog. I have decided to combine my blogs back into one. I don't need two. I thought I wanted to make a go at a "real" professional-like food blog but by dividing the food from the running you take away part of what makes me who I am. It is the play between food, running and life that interests me. Maybe I will never "make it" as a food blogger or as any kind of blogger, but frankly, I just have to be true to who I am. I am a Fast Foodie. So to reintroduce you to the foodie part of me (for those of you who weren't checking out the (gluten free) goodness going on over there, here is my most recent and exceptionally delicious post. And while I finish up the transition, you will probably stumble upon broken links, missing pictures, etc. I am working on all of that, stick with me!



There are a few things I don't eat very often: pizza and burgers. Partially because, for the most part, you can't find healthy (fast foodie) type versions of them. Partially because when I do eat them it is a treat or indulgence. But mostly because they usually aren't done well gluten free. In fact, they are usually appallingly bad. They don't crisp up right, they have a weird metallic taste (xanthum gum taste), or they are too sweet. Or they are just plain not good. I have found myself wondering if anyone even tasted the recipe or product before they put it on the market. I mean most of us do know what pizza is suppose to taste like. Thus, for the most part, I go without. I mean I have eaten 2 burgers in the span of time since I stopped being vegan (its just not the same without the bun) and maybe had pizza a half dozen times (and half of those times have been pain inducing but oh so worth it real gluten-y goodness).




Yes, I know I talk a lot about things I don't eat on this blog. And then I turn around and make them into something I can actually have. I thought about that a lot recently since we've been talking about the new Tartine Bread book that's coming out in September. Not a single thing I can eat in it, but I sure will be making sure that I pour over the recipes like nobodies business for some amazing ideas.

But I too have some amazing ideas. Like gluten free pizza. Ok, I didn't say it was an original idea but there are a few baked goods that very few in the gluten free world have mastered. Bread and pizza crust, really anything made with a basic dough in the gluten world, is hard to replicate. And these recipes are often coveted and additionally, it is hard to wade through the sea of available recipes to find the ones that are actually good.

But this one was good.



I will continue to work on it, but the initial success has me so excited I couldn't help but share it. So here it is. I look forward to playing with it more and will update it with new successes and ideas. All I know, is that there is going to be much more pizza eating around here.

Gluten Free Pizza Dough

First things first, you need to make your flour mixture. I have been playing with this mixture as my base for most of my baked goods lately and have found it delightfully versatile. You won't use it all in the dough recipe

GF flour mix:
  • 1.25 cups tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
  • 1.25 cups sweet rice flour
  • 1.5 cups brown rice flour
  • .5 cups sorghum flour
  • 2 tsp xanthum gum

Gluten Free Pizza Dough:
  • 1.75 cups gluten free flour mixture
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp xathum gum
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 3 ounces active yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

In a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients except the yeast until incorporated. Add yeast into warm warm to dissolve then add it and the remaining wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until dough is holding together and forms a ball.

Remove dough from the mixture and let rise, covered in a warm place for an hour. You can skip this step in a pinch but it will crisp up even better if you do.

Once the dough is done rising, it is time to shape. First preheat your oven to 450 degrees. On a large piece of parchment paper, place the dough in the center. Dust the dough with tapioca flour so your fingers don't stick. Add more tapioca flour as you gently press the dough out into the desired size. You can either use a pizza stone (thus make a circle) or baking sheet (thus a rectangle). Spread the dough carefully until the crust is 1/4 inch thick. You won't be able to get the dough off the parchment paper, so place dough and parchment on your baking vessel. Let rise for another 20 minutes.

Once the second rise is complete, lightly drizzle olive oil over the crust. Bake at 450 degrees until the dough is golden, crispy and has air bubbles (yes air bubbles on a gluten free crust!).
Remove from oven.

Being very careful, using the parchment, flip the crust over so that the golden bottom is now your surface to put toppings. Now top with your favorite ingredients, lightly brush the edges with olive oil and bake again for 6-10 minutes.

Toppings:

Pizza #1: Mom's Marinara and fresh basil leaves

Pizza #2: Fresh figs, thinly sliced, Humbodlt fog goat cheese, fresh thyme, saffron sea salt, light drizzle of honey.

The most wonderful time of the year


I posted recently on my running blog about realizing I need to eat more meat. That post was about a month ago and the truth of the matter is, I probably haven't been that much better about eating meat more. Maybe 1x per week more. That still means I am eating meat/fish only 3 days a week. Not so good. Even in France I was limited to little meat because often times the main offerings had gluten in them. I probably managed to eat meat 4 times while I was there, which by all accounts is comparatively pretty fantastic.

The problem is not that I don't like meat. I do. Just like the problem is not that I don't like cookies (gluten free of course). If you put them in front of me, I will eat it and probably a fair amount. Thus, meat or even cookies for that matter (speaking of which I have managed to eat 4 small teff peanut butter cookies today already, someone stop me!) don't tend to stay around very long. On top of that, my grocery of choice Rainbow grocery, does not sell meat. Thus, I usually don't want to make a second trip to another store to get meat. I shop at Rainbow because I am primarily a fruit and vegetable eater and Rainbow provides the most local organic produce you can find outside of a farmer's market. I love fruits and vegetables more than cookies and meat combine. But I also know I need to eat more meat. Thank goodness for St. Patty's Day.




As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I was making Gluten Free Irish Soda bread (and cookies magically got made as well) to compliment a slow-cooked corned beef brisket. I love corned beef brisket. My favorite time of year is around St. Patty's day because corned beef brisket is readily available, it is one of my more favorite cuts of meat. Plus, it is an excellent excuse to make my mom's horseradish sauce (1 part fresh prepared horseradish, 1 part dijon mustard, 2 parts sour cream).

The soda bread was a hit with my diners, sucked down as both appetizer and dessert (with a little left for breakfast). The brisket was outstanding though. Starting at 4pm, I turned the oven on to 300 degrees to preheat. Meanwhile, I put my large Dutch oven on the burner and put the brisket in with it's brine and spices. I added 2 fresh bay leaves. Then I covered it with enough water to have about 2 inches of water above it. I brought it to a boil, skimmed the gunk off the top and put the lid on, then straight into the oven. I let it cook for 3 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, I did other things, got stuff done, wasted two hours, then went back into the kitchen to put together the mustard-roasted potatoes. I used the mix of ingredients from this recipe, but problem was, I was already using the oven and it was at 300 degrees not 400. Thus, I decided I would slow roast the potatoes on the very bottom rack and when I took out the corned beef, kick up the temperature to 425 to get some crisp on them.


The potatoes roasted for an hour and when the corned beef was tender, I pulled the Dutch oven out, put it back on the burner, removed the meat and covered it tightly with foil. Then I cranked up the heat on the stove and threw into the cooking liquid a half head of green cabbage cut into wedges. Cooked that for another 15-20 minutes while the potatoes, now at 425 and on the middle rack of the oven, crisped. Wham bam, done delicious.

It was all really good. To serve I put the cabbage on a serving plate with the meat sliced on top. I had people spoon cooking liquid from the meat over the top of their food for additional kick. While I tend to think that the horseradish sauce is what brings me to the table, everything was incredibly flavored, dang near perfectly cooked and awesome.

(P.S. sorry the pictures aren't as awesome as I would like, no natural lighting by dinnertime, even with daylight savings time!)

Taming the Green Monster

I know I am a strange person. That is not news to anyone who knows me.

Yesterday I was reminded again that the things I eat and the foods I crave are also not normal. I was doing an interview for DailyMile and we were discussing food and I mentioned craving salads and vegetables which produced a quizzical look. Later on that day, when I was talking to Scott my massage therapist at Psoas, he said "I never crave fruits and vegetables, just fatty food or sugar, etc". Never? Really?!

I thought about it for a while since honest to goodness I don't have sugar cravings, in fact I wouldn't really say I have cravings at all. Usually on my long runs I start thinking about the food I will refuel with and get particularly fixated on something but it's not a true craving and even if it were, well, I usually have earned it. On my 34.5 mile run this Sunday I got fixated on the idea of having roast chicken and salad for dinner and ultimately that is what we had. Rotisserie chicken from Limon and a big leaf salad. Really hit the spot.

After all the talk of food cravings or not, last night all I could think about was a big green salad. Not your restaurant style green salad which is usually just beautiful greens plus a delicious dressing. I am talking greens, green vegetables and even a herb-y dressing. Yes, I was craving it. I needed to tame that green monster.



And wow was it good. I actually ate WAY slower than I usually do so I could savor each and every bite. The only things that weren't green in this salad were the baked tofu and the sauerkraut. I felt like a superhero after eating this salad. I felt invigorated and satisfied. It is definitely one that I will be making again and again. Salad may not be rocket science, but that doesn't mean it can't be profound on occasion.

Greener than Green Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup broccoli, lightly steamed (to make it less gas producing)

2 stalks of kale, cut into ribbons

4-6 cups of greens including arugula, spinach

2 tbsp fresh cilantro

1 green onion, chopped

1/2 cup sauerkraut

1 package baked tofu

1/2 avocado

1 cup rice vinegar

4 cloves garlic minced

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp fresh ginger

2-3 tbsp mixed fresh herbs

1/2 cup+ peanut oil

Directions:

Mix vinegar, garlic, herbs, sesame oil, ginger in a blender. With the motor running, add in peanut oil until dressing emulsifies.

In a large bowl, put the cut kale into the bowl and add 2 tbsps dressing. With clean bare hands, massage the kale for 30 seconds until the leaves slightly soften. Add in greens, spinach, arugula, cilantro, and green onions. Toss to coat with dressing adding more to taste. Top with steamed broccoli, avocado, tofu and sauerkraut. Enjoy. This salad is definitely a meal, split it into two and have it as a side.

Speaking of weird cravings, last week I was seriously jonesing for chickpeas. I mean really, I couldn't get it out of my head. I decided for Wednesday dinner that I would call on my inner Greek and make some recipes from Vefa's Kitchen which I had gotten over the weekend. I made Vegetable and Garbanzo Bean Casserole as well as Chicken Souvlaki. Both were delicious and I am super keen to try more recipes from the cookbook. It is a good one, a classic and a compendium of Greek Food (it's been called the bible of traditional Greek Food). I won't share the recipes, but I will share a few photos of the delicious final product!



California Winter Wonderland

I am so happy. I love where I live. California rocks. Seriously.


View of the Pacific Ocean from Point Lobos


Over the weekend, I headed down the coast for a super secret mission that involved a trip to the Monterey Aquarium, wine tasting, and all sorts of adventures from San Francisco down to Monterey. There was Whale Spotting from Point Lobos Wildlife Reserve, Porchetta Sandwiches from Roli Roti and a Saturday night picnic of fresh greens, pickled vegetables (Happy Girl Kitchen), and roast chicken & potatoes (also Roli Roti) from the San Francisco Saturday Ferry Building Farmer's Market. Lunch in Santa Cruz at Walnut Ave Cafe of tofu scrambles and potatoes. There was a perfect run up the Skyline-to-Sea trail and watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean. I am sure I am missing a fresh from the market persimmon and loads of Jer's Chocolate Peanut Butter in there too. It was fantastic. It was the kind of weekend where at the end you sigh and say, "wow, we live in an amazing place". I ate good food, ran in amazing places, slept in the biggest bed ever, and pulled off the birthday surprise of the century. Ok, well maybe not the century, but I kept a secret for like a month and that is a big deal. While the weekend sounds packed, it was actually the most fun relaxed weekend I have had in a long long time. After the stress of the holidays, we all need a little vacation right?


Looking up and forward to the new year.


After the weekends activities, actually for about a week before and even now, I have been seriously hankering for hearty, pickled vegetable laden salads. Probably post-holiday balancing after eating a few things my body doesn't like (gluten). I ate really healthy and light for most of the holiday season, but ate my mom's Stollen that she makes every year and a super secret sugar cookie or two as well. As we were driving back, salad was on our minds and I suggested a salad I had been playing with over the course of the week. Fresh greens, arugula, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, roast onion and a very bright herb dressing. After a bit of brainstorming, we decided that the additions of a nice soft cheese and avocado would take it to the next level. It was awesome.


This salad balances the light crisp flavors of the greens, dressing, sauerkraut and arugula with the hearthy, warm winter vegetables of sweet potato and roast onion. Profoundly good for being profoundly simple. This salad is a keeper.

Sauerkraut, Sweet Potato and Roast Onion Salad

5 cups salad greens
3 cups arugula
2 sweet potato
2 small red onion, sliced
2 cups sauerkraut
2 small avocado, chopped
½ cup soft cheese, crumbled
red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Baked Sweet Potatoes until tender. With about 10 minutes left before the sweet potatoes are done, roast red onions on a baking sheet with parchment paper until tender.

Compose salad in large bowls. Toss greens and arugula with red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients to taste.