While we were in Savannah in October for our wedding, I bought Animal, Vegetable, Miracle from E Shaver Books It’s a story about one family’s attempt to gain a stronger connection to their food and how it’s grown and harvested. It’s also an attempt to disengage from the fossil fuel economy that allows all foods to be available at all times. It’s an eye opening book best treated with a full post somewhere else but one tradition they have is Friday Night Pizza. Every Friday they would make pizza at home. The dough was homemade, the ingredients were home grown or acquired locally and it’s a huge improvement on the quality of what they could get from Pizza Hut, assuming they even had a Pizza Hut in their small Virginia town.
I haven’t made pizza at home in years but yesterday, I decided it would be an easy Friday night dinner. I’m back on Paleo so it’s a little different but I figured I could find some gluten free pizza dough or crust at Tom Thumb down here in The Cliff. Alas, the food choices at grocery stores here strongly lean towards carne asada and conchas. However, I did manage to find some La Tortilla Factory <a href=”http://www.latortillafactory.com/view/products/gluten-free-wheat-free-wraps/”>gluten free tortillas</a> made from <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eragrostis_tef”>teff flour</a> which I had never heard of. It’s actually a grass originally from Ethiopia. These are some pretty good tortillas though like most bread products made from non-wheat ingredients, they have a tendency to break. I have to assume that’s because most non-wheat flours lack the protein that makes bread stick together but also tends to irritate those of us with real or imagined gluten sensitivity.
Even though these are tortillas, when baked at a high temperature on a pizza stone or baking sheet, they crisp up into excellent, very thin crust, pizza crusts. I made BBQ chicken pizza with chicken, red onions, mozzarella and BBQ sauce. Because I was using chicken that was already cooked, I did not actually have BBQ chicken but instead just drizzled Stubb’s Spicy BBQ on my pizzas. Cooked at 450 for about 9 minutes, the pizza turned out pretty well. At first, I thought it was going to be a fork and knife kind of pizza but the tortillas held up pretty well. Mara made a much more traditional pizza because she specifically said she didn’t need gluten free crust. So she had a margherita pizza with mozzarella and basil on a plain old pizza crust.
While those tortillas worked out pretty well, I may try to make some rice flour pizza dough this weekend. Wildly exclamatory claims aside, this <a href=”http://minimalistbaker.com/the-best-gluten-free-pizza-crust-sauce/”>recipe looks pretty good </a>and while it has xanthan gum, it doesn’t have soy lecithin and other preservatives that the tortillas have to have to sit on the shelf for a couple of months without spoiling.
In other news, the bird feeders had been pretty lonely lately after I ran out of sunflower seeds in December. Two weeks ago I noticed a flock of goldfinches hanging around the backyard so I picked up some niger seed which has kept them happy but the cardinals, doves, chickadees and titmice were mostly out of luck. We don’t have a Tractor Supply anywhere near here and they always had the 50lb bags of black oil sunflower seeds that most birds seemed to love. But last weekend I was back in Wylie for a golf tournament (1st place net after not playing for 3 months, crazy) so I stopped at a couple of old haunts one of which was Tractor Supply. They were actually out of the sunflower seeds in large packages so I picked up some basic seed and refilled the feeders. With the snow yesterday, the birds have been pretty happy to have a regular food source. This is a pretty grainy, shot through the kitchen window iPhone photo but you can see the doves and goldfinches if you squint real hard.