Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October Daring Bakers Challenge: Pizza

Yes. I decided to join the Daring Bakers! I needed to be more focused on my baking, and this was the best way to do it. This month, the food was pizza. Who doesn't like pizza? This month, the challenge was hosted by Rosa, from Rosa's Yummy Yums and was adapted for us Gluten-free peeps by Natalia at Gluten-a-GoG0 from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Maker's Apprentice..

I went very traditional with the pizza - since as you know, my husband tossed pizza for about 10 years. (He made both New York and Chicago-Style Pizza in the pizzeria he worked in.) Just a simple tomato and cheese pie.

The recipe is forgiving. For gluten-free you could either use a flour blend that is premixed with Xanthan/Guar gum or use the recommended flour combo below. I used my "mystery freezer" mix. A few months ago, I was going to make bread - to be honest, I think a foccacia. I blended up flours, xanthan, and guar (since everyone knows I love using both of them together) according to the recipe. Once I blended the flours, I got distracted and didn't make the bread product. I stuck the mix in the freezer so I wouldn't waste it. Lo and behold, I lost the recipe and never labled what was in the flour blend. So, when I couldn't find Corn Flour at the HFS, I went to my freezer and popped out my "mystery freezer" mix. I think there is Brown Rice flour in it (since I got my first bag of Authentic Foods' Superfine Brown Rice flour around that time), but I'm not sure. The next time I make it, I'll probably use brown rice flour, sorghum, millet (or teff) and arrowroot with a tsp each of xantham and guar. I love the word guar. guar guar guar guar guar guar guar

Basic Pizza Dough

  • 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan/guar gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour & 1 1/2 cup arrowroot starch with 2 tsp of xanthan/guar gum
  • 2 tbsp of flax seed meal
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • Cornmeal flour for dusting


1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl.

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. If the dough is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with parchment paper. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or fewer pieces if you want to make larger pizzas).

5. Sprinkle some corn flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with oil. Slip the pan into a plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to three days.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on a shelf in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven at hot as possible (500 Degree F/260 Degrees C).

10. Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9 - 12 inches/23 - 30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180 g piece of dough).

11. Lightly top the dough with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

12. Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5 - 8 minutes.

13. After baking 2 minutes, take a peek at the pizza. For more even baking, rotate the pizza 180 degrees.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3 - 5 minutes before slicing or serving.

And watch out, make sure you watch out for your little helper's fingers.....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spaghetti Squash with Pomodoro Sauce

Today, we decided to be daring. We made spaghetti squash. To be honest, we have been talking about making it for awhile, but we had no idea what one looked like. But, thank god for the produce guys at King Kullen, we figured it out.

When figuring out what we wanted to have in our recipe, I needed to have bacon in it. Why you may ask? My Twitter "sister", Maureen at Hold the Gluten, loves bacon and isn't thrilled with spaghetti squash. I wanted to make a dish that she would eat. So, we put in Italian bacon - panchetta. Also, I wanted to use the new Jersey Fresh canned tomatoes. I'm partial to Jersey tomatoes. I eat them all summer long, fresh from the farm. Plus, I'm a born and bred Jersey Girl. You know what they say, "You can take a girl out of Jersey, but you can't take Jersey out of the girl."


  • 1 spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 lb)
  • olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed plum tomatoes
  • 14 oz of water
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of red wine (we used merlot)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 12 leaves of basil
  • 1/4 lb of panchetta, cubed
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees;
  2. Slice spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.
  3. Drizzle cut side with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Place squash, cut side down on parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake until squash is tender when pierced with a fork (35min-1hr, depending on squash size);
  6. While squash is cooking, saute onions and panchetta together in olive oil for 5 minutes;
  7. Throw in garlic for and saute together for about 2 minutes;
  8. Add the wine,water, tomatoes and tomato paste to the mixture;
  9. Next add, the seasonings and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Lower heat if sauce begins to boil;
  10. Remove squash from oven and scrape crosswise to pull strands from shell;
  11. Pour sauce over squash and serve - we added ricotta salata for some extra flavor on the top.

This is now part of our recipe rotation. We also love the sauce on it's own - we saved the extra sauce to use for a different meal later this week. Our goal is just to make the sauce and jar it for meals later on this year.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches

You are probably looking around my site and you are asking the question..."What is Foodbuzz?" Foodbuzz is a kickass online community with content created by food bloggers and rated by foodies, offering over 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly. Members can vote for their favorite pieces of content (recipes, photos, blog posts, videos, restaurant reviews) by “buzzing” them up to the top of the daily menu of submissions.

I got involved with Foodbuzz through my involvement in the Foodie Blogroll. Between reading about the various other food bloggers experiences with Foodbuzz on the Foodie Blogroll and my own buzzing, I knew that Foodbuzz was the right choice for me. And, I was right - now I'm a featured publisher on Foodbuzz.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pecan-Crusted Tilapia with Coconut Rice & Sauteed Spinach

Recently (I mean Thursday), my better half and I decided to start to limit red meat in our diet and add more fish. So, for his birthday, I decided to make him Pecan-Crusted Tilapia with Coconut Rice and Sauteed Spinach for dinner. This dish was tasty, healthy, and quick to make. The hardest part of the recipe was trying to keep my son's hands out of the coconut milk!

Pecan Crusted Tilapia

  • 4 Tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup of finely chopped pecans (I bought whole pecans and chopped them in my food processor)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil


  1. Preheat oven at 375;
  2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat it with olive oil;
  3. Season the tilapia fillets with salt and pepper to taste;
  4. Mix the mayo and Dijon mustard together in a bowl;
  5. Dredge each fillet in the mayo/mustard mixture and then into the pecans;
  6. Place fillets onto the parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes till done.

Coconut Rice


  • 1 cup of uncooked rice
  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • salt


  1. Put the rice, coconut milk, and water into your rice cooker and turn it on;
  2. When rice is done season with salt to taste.

Sauteed Spinach

  • Two bags of fresh spinach
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Olive Oil


  1. Rinse & discard stems of spinach;
  2. Oil a saute pan and put it over high heat (it's too high if it smokes)
  3. Add some of the spinach and garlic into the hot pan;
  4. Saute the spinach & garlic until the spinach is wilted, but still green;
  5. Take off heat and plate;
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste;
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 till all spinach is done.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

A few months ago, I made Karina's Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. Our family loved it. I have made it many times since. But since my son keeps eating all the bananas before I get to use them, I had to change up the dessert.

Since it is Autumn, I opted to try subbing pumpkin for the banana. And, like the original, my family loved it. If I had either on hand, I would have put a caramel or butterscotch glaze over the finished bread. Yummy.

One thing to note, I use a mix of both xantham and guar gums. I'm a fan of using both of them instead of just one or the other. If you want to start using guar gum, introduce it slowly and not when your GI tract is in flux. Guar gum is quite "fiberous."

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread


  • 2 2/3 cups of pureed pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup of light olive oil
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar (I used Spenda Brown Sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons of real vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of gf flour mix (I used Bette Hagman's GF Mix)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon of xantham gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon of guar gum
  • 1 rounded teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 rounded teaspoon of nutmeg
  • (If I had cloves, I would have added a rounded teaspoon of ground cloves)
  • 1/2 cup of mini-chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F;
  2. Lightly oil the bottom of a standard bread loaf pan and dust with rice or corn flour;
  3. Combine in a large bowl the pumpkin, olive oil, light brown sugar, & vanilla extract;
  4. Whisk together in a separate bowl: gluten-free flour mix, baking soda, baking powder, salt, arrowroot starch, xanthan gum, guar gum, cinnamon, and nutmeg (plus cloves if you have them);
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and stir until smooth.
  6. Add chocolate chips
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the center of a preheated oven for an hour, until the loaf is firm, a bit crusty, and a wooden pick inserted into the center emerges clean.
  8. Cool the loaf on a wire rack.
  9. Slice and wrap each slice in foil; bag and freeze.
  10. Makes about 8 or so thick slices.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gluten-Free on Emeril Green, again?!?!

Emeril did it AGAIN. He did another episode on Emeril Green on gluten-free cooking! If he was in front of me (or at least on Staten Island), I'd kiss him. Really.
He opened the show by walking around Whole Foods asking customers what they would do if they couldn't eat bread anymore - one of the responses was that they'd contact Emeril! Also, Vanessa Maltin from NFCA was on the show. Vanessa did a great job explaining the uses different flours and xantham gum. Plus, she had a variety of products and baked goods. The only negative about her presentation was that she brought up that some flours have a "beany" taste, without explaining about bean flours.
Emeril did a great job at explaining that the dry ingredients must be sifted together before adding the wet ingredients and that when gluten-free that you'll need a lot of room in your pantry for all the flours. He also pointed out that you need to watch out for your toppings with pizza - that if you put too many moist toppings on the gf dough, the dough will be too moist and not cook right.
His recipes:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mr. Rogers....oh, I miss those days

Mr. Rogers is one of my son's favorite shows. It was one of my favorite shows as a child. To this day, he still makes me feel better about myself. Until today. Today, Mr. Rogers was grocery shopping. He bought a gallon of whole milk, a big yogurt, and a massive bunch of bananas for....

Milk costs more today! Grrrrr......I miss simpler times.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New York Times' Red Pepper Risotto

This weekend, I wanted Risotto. I've had arborio rice in the pantry for months, but haven't been in the mood to stand over a hot stove. Until this weekend. I was looking through the New York Times online and noticed a series of recipes using red peppers. One of the recipes was for Red Pepper Risotto. That was all I needed. There was a few choices that NYT had in the recipe: I used onions, not shallots; didn't use saffron; and a mix of parsley & thyme.
This was a rousing success....everyone loved it!