Friday, July 30, 2010

Pizza Night

The weekend is almost here so if your aching for a good pizza night here are my reviews to make sure your GF pizza experience is something to be desired.

Now for tonight I am reviewing pre-baked crusts only because, to be honest, I have yet to taste a good pre-topped pizza crust.

If you really need a suggestion for a pre-topped pizza pie Amy's Rice Crust Pizza is decent.

Pre-Baked Pizza Crusts:

Pros- Where to start. I really enjoyed this crust. It wasn't to thin, just right, somewhere between about 1/8" & 3/16". Great flavor and texture even when it is reheated the next day. The floured exterior keeps it from getting soggy and the crust comes out crispy and chewy. Two important elements in a good pizza. Makes great cheesy bread sticks.

Cons- I wish it was all topped and ready to go in the oven so I could eat it more often.

Pros- Its dusted with corn meal on the underside so it absorbed excess moisture making for a crispier bottom. Its got a nice taste and texture. Price is bearable.

Cons- Recently they have gone from a round to a square shape because they have automated their manufacturing line. Now it make help drive down cost over time, but it causes a few problems for consumers.
- Silly as it may be, kids don't like to feel left out and its just not the same to eat a square pizza or a strange asymmetrical triangle. Sometimes its just nice to feel normal.
- On a more serious note, because of the square shape it make it difficult for the pizza to cook evenly. It makes it difficult to thoroughly cook the center. So if you want your pizza bottom more crispy you will have to make a sacrifice and have burnt crust corners.
- Also the way the package the crust, once they are frozen sometimes them weld themselves together so when you pull it apart you lose that critical outer skin which keeps the sauce from turning the inside into pasty mush. As Alton Brown would say, "That's not good eats."

Pros- Its gluten free....

Cons- The texture is spongy and unless you have some cornmeal on hand the bottom comes out soggy. I have had a package of this in my freezer for two years. I ate one, and haven't used the others since. Its not completely horrible, but when there are better options out there why bother.

Charlotte's Bakery

Pros- Since its baked local to the Wasatch Front and isn't frozen it is less likely to be crumbly. Pretty good flavor and easy to chew (which is saying something for some of the clay pigeon like crusts I've had before).

Cons- Its a bit too sweet and it seems no amount of time under intense heat is able to make it crispy. It goes from soft to burnt. It doesn't have the chewiness to it that is desired of most pizza, it is more just soft....(which is commendable at least.)


The winner is Udi's with Kinnikinnick as the runner up.

Once upon a time the options for gluten free pizza were almost no existent so when a recipe came along calling for bean flour I took the chance to make a gluten free pizza to share with family and friends. But we should have ended the party early because pizza + beans = don't equal a good time. Beware of the bean flour.....The End.

Cooking Suggestions:
Last but not least here are some cooking suggestions and tips.

For a crispier crust:
Place cookie sheet by itself in oven to preheat. Next take a piece of tin foil lightly coat with cooking spray and place pizza on top. Once oven has pre-heated quickly pull out cooking sheet and place tinfoil and pizza on top and place it back in the oven. This will help to "sear" the bottom of the pizza like you would for searing steak.

Cheesy Bread:
Growing up there was this place called the Pizza House and their cheesy bread sticks were to die for. They came with a side of special dipping pizza sauce. Then the owner was deported back to England and it was no more than a memory. So now instead of pizza every time I have more of a "deconstructed type" of cheesy bread sticks with sauce on the side.

First coat your pizza crust with a thin layer of butter. Sprinkle on garlic powder, onion powder, salt (a little more on the salty side but remember the cheese will also add some salt), a titch of pepper, and some Italian Seasoning. Next on goes the parmesan cheese then a combination of white pizza cheeses. Preferably a blend containing mozzarella and asiago.

Place in the oven and baked till golden and bubbly. Heat sauce separately. Then dip and enjoy.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Travel + Gluten Free = Rough Times, but not any more....

Just a few short weeks after I was diagnosed with Celiac I took a trip to Disney World with a club from school. It was challenging to say the least to find filling and satisfying food options on the go. The GF bread I brought with me went moldy with in a matter of days in the humidity and to sum it up I was miserable.

Now years later I had a much better experience when I ventured down to Siesta Key, Florida. Just a few miles from my condo was Island Bakery a Gluten Free bakery and cafe. I can't quite explain the elation I felt every time I entered and could order pizza, sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and muffins that were absolutely delicious and all gluten free. They even have chicken pot pies as well as fruit pies available, not to mention the chocolate layered torte. It was strange for me to order a sandwich and be able to eat the bread too. I could enjoy ordering anything I wanted off the menu and didn't have to worry about how I would be feeling later.

Check and Re-Check

Have you ever bought a food that was conveniently marked "gluten free" on the label in the back only to purchase it the next time and notice that it is no longer gluten free?

If a food isn't made specifically to be Gluten Free then there is so guarantee that every batch of product produced will be gluten free. The ingredients and suppliers or even the factory where it is produced can change, altering the gluten content of the product.

This happend to me recently with the Veggie Crisps sold at Costco. The first several times I bought this product they were marked gluten free but recently their gluten content has changed. I might not have noticed it on the label but my stomach noticed and now I will be sure to check and re-check.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Udi's Bread My Love

Words cannot express the joy I feel when I can pull GF bread out of the freezer and get a soft, airy, springy, delicious, make you eat every last crumb kind of bread.

I had seen the Udi's website a while back but just recently found the bread available at the local health food store. It lived up to its promise and beyond. I am seriously considering a road trip to their bakery/cafe in Denver so I can enjoy the goodness in its freshest form.

Check it out here: