recipe

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.

Big bowl of nutrition



I eat healthy, nutritious, real food. Even my indulgences (like a certain muffin obsession) are healthy and can be consumed on a regular basis without question. I think back to my diet when I was a high school and college basketball player and shudder, it was pretty opposite to what I eat now, though I have always been a fan of fruits and vegetables (thanks mom!). Despite being a super healthy eater, someone who eats a salad every day for lunch and a green drink every day with breakfast, sometimes I still crave a dish that take nutrition to the next level. Something akin to nutrition squared. It may sound weird, but sometimes all I want is a plate of brussel sprouts or a steamed head of broccoli.

Before I headed off to France for Advanced Week, I was seriously craving some nutrition squared, especially since I had no idea what kind of food would be in store for me upon arrival in Bedoin (thank goodness there was lots of salad and they made me separate gluten free dishes! Found most of the fare to have pretty light and healthy options).

To tame the raging craving beast, I came up with this fruit, tofu and green salad. I have to say, sometimes when you think something is going to just taste "healthy" you can be blindsided with outrageously great flavor. The fruits were not overly sweet, but perfectly ripe. There was a great playfulness in the levels of crispness and crunch of the apples and the smoothness of the mango and papaya. This salad could make an appearance at breakfast, lunch or dinner and no one would blink an eye. Not only was it nutritious, it was easy and of course delicious. It kinda made me want to break into what my dad calls my "I'm so good" dance. Oh yeah. I'm so good. Now, I need to come up with another muffin recipe to bring the nutrition ratio back to just plain nutritious, not nutritious squared.



Chia Seed Fruit Salad


Ingredients:
  • ½ mango, diced
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • ½ cup papaya, diced
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • 1 serving baked tofu, diced
  • 5 medium strawberries, sliced
  • 4 cups mixed baby greens
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon flax oil
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Real Sea Salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, place mixed baby greens. Toss together fruit, tofu and avocado and put over greens. Drizzle with apple cider vinegar and then flax oil. Sprinkle chia seeds and nutritional yeast. Salt to taste Enjoy!

Gluten Free Banana Ginger Muffins


Calling my name, GF Banana Ginger Muffins

There are many times in life since going gluten free that I will pass by a bakery window and gaze in upon stacks of beautiful fresh baked muffins and wish that I could have one too. As I have mentioned, I don't crave sweet that much but I do love an occasional muffin. Last year, when I was able to "take a break" from my no-gluten diet (doctor's recommendation for testing) I stumbled upon my all time favorite muffins at Macrina Bakery in Seattle. Vegan Banana Ginger Muffins. I went home after that, totally obsessed and created a version of my own and posted the recipe. But those were made with whole wheat and spelt and soon I had to reliquish their hold over my tastebuds and go gluten free again (thanks for the painful vacation doc!).



I will wait for these to cool, I will wait for these to cool.

After that, I baked muffins occasionally, picked up muffins at Flying Apron when I was in Seattle, and generally went without. And then, the other day I remembered these muffins. I think it was because I was planning a big group run around Discovery Park in Seattle for my visit home this weekend. Last year a bunch of speedsters got together and ran some loops and then went to Macrina. Oh those muffins. I instantly knew that it was up to me to create a gluten free version that would be as crave worthy as the Macrina ones.

I did it. Yes, me and my little creative brain did it.



I took my own original recipe and then worked through some possible flour combinations/ratios. With muffins, especially gluten free ones, texture is huge. And picking the right flour combination makes a huge difference. I settled on brown rice flour and garbanzo bean flour in a 2:1 ratio. Flying by the seat of my pants as it were, I also kicked up the ginger content two fold as I recalled that my previous batch a year ago was not as gingery as I liked.

I baked. I waited. I let them cool so completely that by the time I went to eat them I was bonking from lack of food. I think there was a bit of trepidation in there too. I was afraid to try them. The looked like a winner, but would the taste be triumphant? Would the texture leave me once again annoyed that gluten free will never translate the same? Would they dissolve into a wet, fallen mess overnight (like a lot of GF baked goods do)? Would they be hockey pucks?


In a word: No. I was awe struck by these muffins. Look at that texture! If I didn't tell you it was gluten free, you would not know. The taste, oh my! Smooth banana flavor with a perfect and very present ginger flavor. They played nicely together, letting each other have a share of the glory and spotlight. Neither dominated, they comingled, they made music together and my taste buds were singing! My favorite part was that the banana and ginger were present but the muffin was still predominately savory, not overly sweet- just enough. Again a very fine balance, I think.

I was so excited I couldn't wait to share them with the Baker.

He made me wait though. I fed him way too much bibimbap and homemade coconut milk ice cream for dinner. I waited patiently for my second opinion. I finally got it post early morning run with our regular crew in the Headlands. I open the container (which I left on the counter), prepared myself for some caved in or other gluten free horror to unfold but they were still perfect, together, moist.  The Baker took one out and  took a bite, I prepared myself for a polite, "they're good" and to go back to the drawing board.


"Wow" He said. "These are good. These are really really good. Where did you get the recipe?" Happy dance in my head, something along the lines of a end zone dance, complete with strutting and waving of arms!

"From my head" I answered. "Completely original recipe". I liked being able to say that. I feel it is important to my perspective to keep perspective on the whether things are "good for a gluten free item" (because we all know there are plenty of really bad options out there) or "universally good", meaning gluten free/egg free or not these are damn good. I am glad my second opinion heralded them as the second. I made my muffins in small muffin tins so we shared a second muffin, though I am sure we easily could have each had two and not be making a bad dietary choice (since in addition to all the other awesome things about this recipe, there is only 1/4 cup of butter and that is the only fat). These are not "you can eat those because you run 100 miles" muffins, these are part of a healthy and delicious lifestyle muffins. I don't think it is a bad thing when you can have your decadent cake and have it be nutritious too. It is just an added benefit to these muffins that you don't even have to think about it.

They are good. Damn good. I will be making them again and again and again. I have a feeling that down the line, someone will be looking at one of these babies through the window of my own bakery.

Gluten Free Banana Ginger Muffin

Ingredients:
5 small very ripe bananas (if not super ripe, add 1/4 cup almond milk)
¼ cup butter , room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 ⅓ cup brown rice flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
⅔ cup garbanzo bean flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2 ½ tsp. ginger zest, divided
4 tsp. crystallized ginger, minced, divided
1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
pinch fresh nutmeg

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 and line with parchment cups/grease 2 muffin pans (12 muffins). In a food processor, mix together the bananas and butter. Mix in the two types of brown sugar and blend together. Add in vanilla, 2 tsp of minced crystallized ginger, 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger (zest).

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients including the remaining ginger until incorporated. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine.

Scoop about 1/4 cup of muffin mix into the muffin pans, making 9-12 muffins. Sprinkle the muffins with dark brown sugar and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted and the tops are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes