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Butternut Squash, Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza

After being on a cleanse for two weeks, removing meat, fish, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, the usual gluten and processed foods, etc – I was looking forward to slowly adding some things back in this week. I love that after two weeks of removing those things from my diet, I no longer crave them, I don’t feel weighed down, exhausted, sluggish, bloated, etc. I feel like the change of seasons is the best time to wipe your slate clean and start fresh and new. Personally, in my life I like to subscribe to the idea of ‘all things in moderation’. That’s not to say I eat junk food, corn syrup laced sodas, processed foods, factory farmed meats and all that other yucky junk in moderation or at all, but there are some things that, though I know in excess can be bad for you (specifically for me – caffeine, alcohol, dairy, meat, sugar), I think in moderation are OK and in some ways good for you.

I like cleansing because I can reset myself and my cravings and start over with the new season. I don’t see myself giving up dairy entirely anytime soon, or cocktails for that matter, so by doing a cleanse I can clean myself of all the junk in my body and any excessive cravings I may have for these things, especially after months of traveling and eating and drinking more than I would like to.

Once I am off a cleanse, I don’t go all in again the very next day and make a drink to have with my massive cheese and meat platter, all finished off with a huge plate of cake – but instead I slowly start adding small amounts back into my diet. This is partially so my system isn’t shocked after two weeks of eating mostly vegetables, whole grains and legumes, but also so I don’t just jump back into old habits and cravings. This week I wanted to enjoy and add back in small amounts of locally farmed dairy and meat and some sweets – but only those made from alternative sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, no straight cane sugar just yet.

This pizza was the first real treat after coming off the cleanse and I felt like it was a good way to go back in. I made the crust with flaxseed egg replacer (2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons of warm water) and I got the goat cheese from First Light Farm & Creamery, a wonderful local farm with delicious goats milk products. In addition, the arugula, squash and onion were all from the farmers market and the rosemary was from my own garden. It doesn’t get much fresher and tastier than all that!

This pizza is loaded with delicious fall flavors, everything pairs together so well. The arugula retains a nice subtle and spicy crunch, the squash is tender and so perfect with the rosemary and onions and the goat cheese finishes everything off with a super flavorful, rich and creamy tang! As mentioned in the recipe below, please feel free to use your own favorite pizza dough recipe (with or without gluten, it doesn’t matter) or even a good store-bought dough or crust. Since it was a busy weeknight, I used a package of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pizza dough mix. Although I have made some delicious gluten-free pizza doughs completely from scratch, I really love how easy and delicious the Bob’s Red Mill dough is for when you don’t have all that time. It is a pre-mixed blend of flours (without any additives or other wacky ingredients) and it comes with a package of yeast. You just add olive oil, eggs (or a flaxseed egg replacer) and warm water, that’s it. I like their crust because it is light, it has the perfect balance between chewy and crispy and it isn’t too thin or too thick. When I don’t have the time to make my own dough it really is a great alternative.

I made this pizza earlier in the week and since then I have had a small amount more of organic dairy and some pasture-raised local meat from our farm.  I am still feeling really, really great! I am really looking forward to having a glass or two of wine this weekend in celebration of my birthday and I am also looking forward to experimenting this weekend with making some healthy sweets made from sugar alternatives. Look for a recipe tomorrow for my gluten-free pumpkin oatmeal raisin cookies made with honey instead of sugar and grapeseed oil instead of butter. Sunday morning we are going apple picking so keep an eye out for an updated version of my gluten-free apple crisp, I am going to try to make a version without butter or sugar! I can’t wait to play.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Butternut Squash, Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza

Butternut Squash, Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza
makes 8 pieces

1  – 1lb ball of  your favorite gluten-free (or not) pizza dough or a ready-made crust. You are looking for a 14-16″ round crust (I used a package of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pizza dough mix and made one large pizza with it instead of two)
2 1/2 cups cubed local butternut squash (about 1/2-inch square pieces)
2 tablespoons olive oil (half for the squash and reserving the other half for the crust)
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped (you can use dried rosemary here, just use less)
3 cups organic arugula, roughly chopped
6 ounces crumbled local goat cheese

Preheat oven to 425º. If you are making your own pizza dough, have it already mixed and rising. While your dough is rising, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, half of your salt, half of your freshly ground black pepper and half of your fresh rosemary. Cook the squash until slightly browned and tender, about 25 minutes, tossing occasionally to ensure even cooking. Set aside.

While the squash is cooking, caramelize the onions in the other tablespoon of olive oil with a dash of salt in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Stir often and cook 10-12 minutes until perfectly browned and caramelized. Set aside.

Once all of your toppings are ready, pre-bake your dough without the toppings (mine took approximately 10 minutes), then remove from the oven and top with squash, onion, arugula, crumbled goat cheese and the remaining rosemary, salt and pepper. Bake until the crust is crispy, lightly browned and the cheese is melted, about 15-18 minutes.

Obviously whatever pizza dough recipe or ready-made crust you choose to make this with will be fine, just adjust your cooking temperature and times accordingly (if necessary).

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Gluten-free Whole Grain Pizza with Asparagus, Parmesan and Eggs

I’ve been using the same gluten-free pizza dough recipe for sometime now and though I do like it, I wanted to try something a little different and without the gums. I came across this recipe on Gluten Free Girl and The Chef a while back and when I saw that it contained no gums and it was flexible with the flours you can use, I was very intrigued. Shauna has a formula she created to make your own gluten-free all-purpose flour without gums and by weight instead of volume, plus it is very easy to make it a whole-grain mix by using different flours. Here is the original post about their pizza recipe that they changed a bit since their book came out. There are a few different flours you can choose from if you have sensitivities to things like corn or potato. I used their whole grain flour mixture that they featured in their post for whole grain muffins. I don’t have a ton of experience with baking, it is something I have only learned to love in the last year or so, but with the little bit I have done, I find that weighing your dry ingredients as opposed to measuring really gives you a consistent result, time and time again.

I decided a nice way to try out this new pizza dough recipe was to really let it shine, by not loading it with ingredients and sauces. I wanted a simple, tasty spring pizza that featured asparagus and eggs. The only thing I may change next time would be to use some mozzarella in addition to the parmesan to give it a bit more melty of a cheese base since the parmesan tends to not get super melty, however the dough was so delicious it honestly didn’t need it. Overall it was full of flavor from the asparagus and the fresh chives and the eggs were a wonderful compliment on top. The runny yolk was perfect for dipping the delicious crust into. You’ll be so surprised when you taste this crust at how it tastes just like real pizza crust – you’ll never know it’s gluten-free.

I know this post is large and contains a lot of info – but I promise it is all worth reading through. I am happy to finally have a good all-purpose flour mix to have on hand for different things and an even better pizza dough recipe. Play around with different toppings and flour combinations and please feel free share, I’d love to hear what you come up with.

GLUTEN-FREE GIRL’S ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR MIX

Here is the original information on the all-purpose flour mix (all content and info contained in both the flour mix and the pizza recipes is copyright of Gluten Free Girl and The Chef)

Want to make a whole grain AP mix in your kitchen? Here’s how.

We’re working with 70% whole grains/30% starches. We might someday go to all whole grains for some baked goods, but this blend works well for us now.

If you want to make a big batch for all the baking in your kitchen?

Choose 700 grams of any combination of the following flours:

Almond

Amaranth

Brown Rice

Buckwheat

Corn

Millet

Oat

Quinoa

Sorghum

Sweet Brown Rice

Teff

Almond is not a grain, but it is a whole flour, so I’ve thrown it in there. You might notice that I have not put in garbanzo (I don’t like it) or coconut (I don’t like the way it tastes or the way it sucks all the moisture out of a baked good) or soy (I’m having a hard time finding a good gluten-free one). You might like those. Substitute if you want.

This means that you can make your own blend. If you are allergic to corn, and you know you can’t eat the certified gluten-free oats, blend up 100 grams each of almond, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, sorghum, and teff. (I want to write more about this later, but the flavor you find by blending all these different taste is fascinating. It’s amazing how boring regular AP flour seems after you use this.) Find your own favorite combination.

And then throw in 300 grams of any combination of the following:

Arrowroot

Cornstarch

Potato Starch

Tapioca Flour

White Rice Flour

We like using 150 grams each of arrowroot and potato starch, at the moment.

Combine the 700 grams of whole-grain flours with the 300 grams of starches in a big container. Shake it all up. You have whole-grain flour mix.

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For my AP mix I went with 175 grams each of Almond, Millet, Sorhum and Teff flours and 150 grams each of potato starch and tapioca flour. It was super simple to mix up and it made 1000 grams of all-purpose flour so I have enough to make pizza again.

The flours brought so much flavor to the crust and it was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy inside. This was by far the best crust I have ever made at home and it was simple. I’ve noticed that some gluten-free crusts get abnormally puffy and airy and don’t taste like usual pizza, others are so thin and crusty that it’s almost like eating a large cracker. I also really love

GLUTEN-FREE GIRL’S WHOLE GRAIN PIZZA CRUST

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or ground chia seeds

500 grams whole-grain gluten-free flour mix

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

15 grams (4 teaspoons) active-dry yeast

50 grams (1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil

85 to 190 grams (1/2 to 1 cup) warm water, about 110º

olive oil for brushing on top of the crust

Making the flaxseed or chia slurry. Mix the flaxseed (or chia seed) into a bowl. Pour 2 tablespoons of boiling-hot water over the seeds. Whisk immediately and quickly until you have a thick paste. Let this set aside and cool down.

Combining the dry ingredients. Put the gluten-free flours and the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix them up together.

Activating the yeast. Put the yeast, olive oil, and half the warm water into a small bowl. Stir gently. Let them sit for a moment to activate the yeast.

Making the dough. Add the slurry to the dry ingredients and mix for a moment. Pour the yeasty water into the dry ingredients. With the mixer on medium, whirl for a few moments, until the dough comes together into a soft ball around the paddle of the stand mixer and feels soft and pliable. If the dough feels too dry, add more of the warm water in small amounts until the dough feels right. (You might not need all the water. You might need more. Yeast doughs can differ from kitchen to kitchen.) Set the dough aside in a warm place and let it rise for 1 hour.

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 450°. (If you feel comfortable with heat, take it up to 550°. Just watch the dough in the oven, carefully.) If you have a pizza stone, make sure it is in the oven. If not, sprinkle a pizza tray or baking sheet with gluten-free cornmeal.

Rolling out the dough. Grab 1/2 of the dough and put it between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Through the paper, roll out the dough to your desired thickness. (We like super-thin crust around here. You might like it thicker.)

Pre-baking the dough. Take the parchment paper off the dough, then transfer the dough to the pizza stone or prepared pizza tray. Brush the top with olive oil. Bake until the dough has started to crisp up and browned at the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. (And less if you have the oven cranked up to 550°!)

Take the crust out of the oven. You now have a pre-baked pizza crust. Top with anything you fancy and continue baking until the cheese is bubbly and melty.

Makes 2 – 8-inch pizza crusts or 1 – 16-inch pizza crust. I went with 1 large round pizza. Don’t worry too much about the shape, enjoy the rustic wonkiness of handmade pizza dough.

SPRING PIZZA WITH ASPARAGUS, PARMESAN AND EGGS
Makes 1 large pizza or 2 small pizzas

Gluten-free Girl’s Whole Grain Pizza Dough Recipe (above)
Olive oil
Kosher flake salt
Black pepper
10 asparagus stalks
1 clove garlic, minced
1 – 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or mozzarella (or both)
1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped
2-4 local farm fresh brown eggs (I put 2 eggs on one large pizza, but you could certainly put 2 eggs each on 2 small pizzas)

Prepare dough according to above instructions (or whatever instructions come with your dough recipe). Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Rinse the asparagus, snap off the tough ends and cut in half or thirds depending on how long they are. You want to end up with 20-30 3-inch pieces. Take each 3-inch piece, cut in half on the long side, and then again to quarter. Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat , saute the asparagus slivers and the minced garlic with black pepper and a large pinch of kosher salt until tender and still bright green. Remove the asparagus from the heat and set aside.

Brush the pre-baked pizza crust (pre-bake according to above directions) with olive oil. Sprinkle the crust with the cheese, reserving a small amount for sprinkling on top. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer over the cheese. Crack two eggs into the center of the pizza, sprinkle fresh chopped chives over everything and top with another light sprinkle of cheese. (If you are making two small pizzas, divide all the ingredients in half over the two crusts and arrange in the same order)

Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the egg whites are cooked and the pizza is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly for a few minutes, then cut and serve while still warm.

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Sun Dried Tomato, Mozzarella & Arugula Pizza (gluten-free)

I am a big fan of homemade pizza, my Mom always made it when we were kids, with homemade pizza dough and all. I love how much fun you could have with toppings. This pizza turned out perfectly, it had so many lovely subtle flavors and the arugula finished it off nicely with a little bite. I used the same pizza dough recipe from my Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza, but I am going to include it again here so you don’t have to look it up. Since I made this recipe up on the fly and also was making a second non-gluten-free pizza for Mark, my measurements may not be exact, so feel free to just improvise and go with what you think on the toppings. The only thing I would like to find a way to change is, some of the sun-dried tomatoes started to really blacken up as the pizza baked, it seemed to only be the ones not covered by cheese, so maybe I just need to add more cheese next time (oh darn!).

I took one leftover piece of this pizza this morning, toasted it up in the toaster oven and topped it with one fried egg. Oh my gosh was that amazing. The perfect breakfast to start a very busy day.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Mozzarella, Fontina & Arugula Pizza (Gluten-Free)
serves 2-3

Gluten-free Pizza Crust

1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp quick-rising yeast
3/4 cup warm water (about 110° F)
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp fresh rosemary, basil or oregano (I went with basil and oregano)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.

In a small bowl, combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir until just dissolved. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside in warm are for 10 minutes. Mixture will form a foam head of about 3/4″.

Using your food processor (which is how I did it and it worked surprisingly well), add all dry ingredients: flours, potato starch, xanthan gum and salt, directly into the processor bowl. Blend in the processor, about 1 minute. If using a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, and whisk together until well combined.

In another small bowl, whisk olive oil, eggs, and vinegar until blended. Add egg mixture and yeast mixture to dry ingredients, mix until combined.

Blend dough in the food processor for 2-3 minutes. Dough will be sticky and soft, it doesn’t seem much like dough at all. Add in the herbs and gently pulse or mix to combine.

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Dip your hands in water or olive oil and shape the dough into a round shape about 1/4″ thick. Place in a warm, draft-free area and let rise 40 minutes. Dough should double in size.

Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of course salt.
This recipe can also be used to make gluten-free focaccia if you spread it to 1″ instead of 1/4″.

Toppings

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs, I went with basil and oregano from my garden
2 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes, sliced very thin
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella (I used organic)
1/2 cup of shredded fontina
red pepper flakes
2 cups of fresh baby arugula
fresh parmigiano-reggiano

Preheat the oven to 400° F

After you have brushed a bit of olive oil on the crust and sprinkled with a bit of salt (see above), sprinkle the minced garlic all over the crust. Next, evenly sprinkle the fresh herbs and sun-dried tomatoes all over the crust. Add both cheeses and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Bake the pizza. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is a golden brown and the cheese is melted. After you pull the pizza out, top the entire pizza with the baby arugula. Lightly grate fresh parmigiano-reggiano on top. Cut pizza into wedges, serve immediately.

Sun Dried Tomato, Mozzarella & Arugula Pizza (gluten-free)

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