Tag Archives: gluten free pizza

Want to peek in the oven with me? It’s Pizza Night!

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Want to peek in the oven with me?, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

It was a bit of a girl’s night last night – nothing huge, just out for dinner and then on to see a play at one of the local high schools (our friend made the costumes and her husband is the drama teacher/director). The thing is, the two friends that I went to dinner with are new to me. And they picked the restaurant.

(I can hear all of you gluten-free eaters out there sighing with me already.)

Yes, it was lovely to go out with these ladies. They are quite fun.
And yes, the restaurant was a bummer.

They chose to go to a new Italian restaurant in town. Yep. I was cringing too. “Oh goodie,” I thought “Italian to boot.” Well, here’s the silver lining: salad and pre-planning.

Before heading out to meet my friends, I grabbed a quick bite at home (a little cottage cheese and an apple) so I knew I wouldn’t have a hunger fit in the middle of a high school play. (Not good as the only thing to satisfy this would be the candy bars they sell during intermission. Not exactly diet-friendly, those things.)

This restaurant runs a bit like a chain – you order when you walk in, they give you a little number on a stick for your table and wa-lah. The food comes out. I think in the future, I will avoid restaurants that work like this. You see, the thing is without an assigned server to our table, there was absolutely no control over anything. Not good.

So here’s what happened: I entered and perused the menu while chatting. The menu is easy to read when you only have 5 things to look at. The menu is about 90% thin crust gourmet pizzas, a whole 5 different salads to chose from, and the rest of the menu is filled with booze and soda.

I asked the cashier (aka the person you order with) if the salads had croutons or bread. Yes, of course, she replied. Well, I said, I need a salad without ANY bread, no croutons, etc. I repeated this twice. She said, okay, no problem. She asked if I was on a “diet”, I stated no, I am gluten intolerant (please picture teenage eyeball glaze over here as that is what happened).and that the bread cannot be on my salad. “Oh, I think I’ve heard of that,” she said.

I took my little table number over and sat down. And we waited for our salads. Each item on our order was delivered by a different food runner, none of whom bothered to actually see where the food should go, but rather just dropping plates and cups in front of whoever was closest to them (me!). When my salad arrived, there was a huge piece of garlic toast in the middle of it. I put my hands up and stopped the delivery. This threw the poor runner for a loop and she had to pause.

“I’m sorry,” I told her, “I cannot eat this. I told the gal up front that no bread can be on my salad. I’m going to need a new salad. This needs to be remade.”

Oy vey. She was annoyed. But I didn’t entertain it. After all, I’d explained to the gal up front and was quite clear with her.

After dinner and in the middle of the play, it all became quite clear to me too. She had reserved me the same salad after only a slight delay to fake it being “remade”. Now normally, I would have slide a sugar packet or something under the salad before sending it back. That way when it comes back, if the sugar packet is still there? Yea – same salad and I’m not eating it. But this type of service had me off my game. And I paid for it all night/day with tummy pain.

About 3:00 this afternoon, I finally made up my mind to call the restaurant. I spoke to the “senior shift member on duty” as the manager doesn’t work on the weekends (?!). I explained what happened and then told her how lucky she is that I DON’T have an allergy that would have caused anaphylactic response. (I then explained what I meant by this as she didn’t get it.) I quite clearly stated that the negligence and unwillingness of her server/wait staff to take such requests seriously (as she was quite rude to me too) could jeopardize someone’s health and life.

She wanted my name so the manager could apologize. But I wasn’t looking for an apology. I told her that the reason I was calling was to insist that the wait staff/servers/runners at their restaurant be MUCH better trained as they are risking their clients/customers and their business but being short-sighted and irresponsible.

I wonder if my phone call will make a difference.
Well. At least I tried.
What do you guys do when/if this ever happens to you?

……

I made up for it all by having pizza night at home tonight.
No earth shattering recipe to share with you all.
At least nothing you don’t already know/have access to here.

I made a mock lavash recipe with fennel, oregano and basil as my herbs. Then I divided it into 4 equal dollops and smeared each on to a piece of parchment paper. I let the over preheat with our pizza/bread stone inside and then I slid each crust in to the oven to prebake for about 7-8 minutes until golden. I pulled them out of the oven and let them cool a bit on a rack (but still on the parchment paper) while the other crusts baked. Two of the crusts were then wrapped up and packaged for the freezer for a quick meal one night in the future and the other two were made into pizzas. (One was chicken, garlic and roasted shallots and the other was chicken, tomato and garlic.)

And you know what?
I’m convinced that pizza is better when it’s homemade.

AND it sure makes a house smell wonderful.

All’s well when your house smells like garlic pizza, if you ask me. ;)
Happy weekend, everyone!
-Kate

GF: Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato pizza

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An easy, peasy gluten free lunch (or dinner!) idea. If I’m working, I make this the night before and reheat it for lunch. It’s not as tasty as it is fresh though.

What’s makes this lunch or dinner delicious are the fresh ingredients. Don’t try to use dried basil for the fresh basil called for if you are trying to recreate this fresh taste. It just won’t be the same.

I’ve made this recipe many times now for several months. When I started using the mock lavash bread, we feel in love with it even more. We are crispy-crust fans and thin-crust pizza fans around here DESPITE our Chicago-roots.

Using a wet rubber spatula and parchment paper, I can spend a little time (3-4 minutes) smoothing the dough as thinly as possible on the parchment paper. Then I bake the “”crust” for 15-16 minutes until golden. We’ve even made small, individual rounds of the mock lavash for individual pitas, sandwiches, pizzas, wraps, etc. It’s fast… and tasty!

You can even put a little baking powder in the lavash dough (add about 3/4 teaspoon when you add the dry ingredients) and your bread will puff up and get more crisp as well.

Give it a try! What have ya got to lose?

Gluten Free: Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato Pizza/flatbread
Ingredients:
1 mock lavash recipe (baked for 15-16 minutes and use fennel, oregano and basil for your seasonings in addition to the onion)
1 large handful fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped (chopped will bruise them a bit, but it’s faster for me sometimes to chop)
2 fresh, firm tomatoes, diced
2 or 3 medium fresh mozzarella balls (about 2-3 inches in diameter) (*See note below.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
up to 1 Tablespoon fresh sea salt or other finishing salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Dice your fresh tomatoes. Set in to a colander, stir them around a bit to get the juices flowing and strain the tomatoes. (This avoids the mushy crust syndrome.)
  3. Make one lavash recipe and spread thinly with a wet spatula on to parchment paper.
  4. Bake the “crust” for 15-16 minutes. Remove from oven.
  5. While the crust is baking, cut the fresh mozzarella balls into slices that are about 1/2 inch thick. Then cut in to strips and then half again. This will make pieces that are about 1 inch in length and about 1/2 inch in width. (The size of your pieces only matters for baking time. If your pieces are larger or smaller, please adjust your baking time as necessary.)
  6. Tear or chop your basil into small slices/strips.
  7. Drizzle the 1 tablespoon of olive oil on to the prepared mock lavash crust and brush the top to evenly distribute the oil.
  8. Sprinkle on your ingredients: tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. (We’ve also added hot sopressata at this point too.)
  9. Bake until the cheese is melted and the crust edges are browned (about 14-18 minutes).
  10. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with finishing salt.
  11. Slice and serve.

Eat it outside in the sunshine with a fresh salad and fresh fruit. That’s what we’re doing tonight! :)
Happy gluten-free eating!
-Kate

(*A NOTE ABOUT FRESH MOZZARELLA: Fresh mozzarella is becoming easier to find in traditional super markets. If you supermarket has an olive bar, check there in addition to looking in the dairy department or deli. The mozzarella balls are stored in a brine. After purchasing, be sure to keep the mozzarella in a fresh liquid brine as well by changing the water and rinsing daily (or every two days at least). This will keep the mozzarella fresher. However, I highly recommend using fresh mozzarella within a few days of purchasing it. as it will spoil. Spoilage will occur faster if you fail to change the brine as well.)