Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Adventures in Pizza

I was really excited after a pretty craptastic day to make pizza for Mr. T, because we'd been lamenting for days (if not weeks) about how there's no place in the Gush where I can purchase pizza that's gluten free (there is a pizza place, but, come on, it's kosher pizza, which means it's extra greasy and chock full o' gluten!). Then I came to find out he went out for lunch in Beitar at one of these said greasy pizza joints. Major planning fail! Luckily, with my mad cooking skills in tow, I managed to blow that pizza out of the water, redeeming the pizza cravings that have plagued us for so long.

I have to say that I'm incredibly blessed to have a husband who is down with gluten-free eating, and with our CSA (community-supported agriculture) has been rocking our socks as of late, we've been eating fresh, healthy, and seasonal. Oh it feels so good!

So, I give you, the instructions to make this easy, quick Gluten-Free Roasted Beet and Beet Green Pizza with Feta. Let me know if you try it. Truth be told, the crust could be eaten as a flat bread, or even spread thinner and cooked longer to be an Italian cracker. You'll also notice I use parchment for everything. I like a clean cooking space and not having to scratch food off of my favorite baking sheets. If you have a pizza stone, use it. If you don't, don't. I'm pro-parchment, you should be, too!

The Beets
Yes, this is a popular band known on the hit Nickelodeon cartoon "Doug," but they're also an incredibly messy root vegetable. So put on your rubber gloves, and prepare to wipe down your counter every five seconds so that you don't dye anything red.

With roughly a pound of beets (for me this was three medium sized and two very small), peel them and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Throw them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven for about 45 minutes until they're fork tender and aromatic.

While the beets are baking, feel free to move on to ...

The Crust
I decided to go with a mashup of several recipes I found online based on what I had on hand. This crust is shockingly stable, super delicious, and incredibly flavorful.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a KitchenAid (or with a spoon, to be honest), mix together the following:

  • 2 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp olive oil
When the ingredients are full combined, throw the dough onto a piece of parchment and flatten out with  the palm of your hand (wet your hand to keep it from sticking) to about a 1/2-inch thick or however thick you want it. Place the parchment with the perfectly pizza-shaped (yeah, right!) dough onto a baking sheet (or, if you have a pizza stone, do it all on there) and place in the oven for about 15 minutes until the edges are brown. 

Thank you to Mr. T, the hand model. We were both blown
away by how stable the crust was. No bending, no flopping,
no soggy gluten-free crust over here!

The Other Toppings
I'm a big fan of using every last bit of produce in my CSA before it rots (so hard sometimes, honestly), so I was happy to make this pizza using every last inch of usable beet goodness. 

Grab a large saucepan, throw some olive oil in it, and prepare the following. 
  • 1 small or 1/2 a medium/large red onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • The greens from the beets with the stems removed, chopped roughly, rinsed and dried
In the saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, and saute the red onion until it starts to brown. Throw in the garlic and cook for another minute. Throw in the beet greens, mix around, and then place a lid on the pan for about 3-5 minutes until the beet greens are slightly wilted but still incredibly colorful. 

Assemble the Pizza!
Once the crust is brown around the edges, take it out of the oven and throw on the beet greens/red onion mixture first, then the roasted beet cubes, then top generously with delicious feta cheese. Yes, I took a bunch of Lactaid to be able to consume this pizza, but I guarantee you the beet/feta combo is unforgettable. 

Place the pizza back in the oven long enough for the feta to get soft and start to brown. Feel free to turn on the broiler to hasten the process. 

Then? Enjoy! Eat the heck out of this pizza. The great thing about it is that it's incredibly filling, doesn't have the greasy grossness of a lot of regular pizza (2 teaspoons of oil, people), and the nut crust and hearty topppings will leave you feeling satiated but not weighed down. 

This is healthy, kosher, gluten-free living. (It's kosher for Passover, too!) Now to find a vegan feta ...