1 cup potato starch (also called potato flour) 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal) 1 cup brown rice flour or other whole-grain flour (EG quinoa,barley, amaranth, or millet; make sure it's gluten-free if you're cooking for someone with gluten intolerance) 1 cup tapioca starch 2 teaspoons of sea salt 2 tablespoons baking powder
chia seeds or other seeds, such as sesame or hemp (optional)
additional polenta (optional)
extra virgin olive oil
water (up to about 2 cups) bacon grease (optional)
Making the 'sauce'
Slice the tomatoes into thin slices and lay onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh-ground pepper. Broil on high until tomatoes begin to brown and you see them softening. Flip them over and broil until the other side of the tomatoes is slightly brown. Remove from oven and set aside. Switch the oven from broiling mode to baking mode and preheat to 430 degrees Fahrenheit, then begin to assemble dough.
Making the crust
Assemble dry ingredients in big metal bowl or dry Vitamix blender container, and mix. If you are using a Vitamix, you can start with whole dry grains, and grind them and continue blending until well mixed. Then, transfer into your large bowl. (When I use my Vitamix, I reserve some polenta and the seeds to add after the mixture goes into the bowl, so the dough has a bit of grainy texture.)
Add a tablespoon olive oil and about a cup of water, and mix the ingredients with your hands. Knead together, adding water and a little more olive oil as needed and kneading until the mixture holds together loosely in a ball. It will be a crumbly and somewhat sticky dough.
Divide the dough into three sections. Two balls can go into a bag in the fridge for up to a week for future pizza adventures.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 12-inch cast iron skillet with bacon grease or olive oil. (Bacon grease makes for an amazing flavor, but if you're veggie or concerned about saturated fat, you'll want to stick to olive oil.) Press the dough into the skillet, using your fingers and the flat of your hand to press the dough down and toward the sides of the pan. Keep going until your dough is satisfactorily thin and even. I like to have it climbing up the sides a bit to make for a more deep-dish style pizza. It can make it easier to spread it out if you sprinkle a bit more olive oil on top and slide the dough out with your fingers. In any case, sprinkle it with a little olive oil before it goes into the oven.
Bake in an oven preheated to 430 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. While it's baking, assemble your allergy-friendly pizza toppings. Some favorites for us: shredded vegan 'cheese' and/or crumbled goat cheese (I personally can't have dairy and have to avoid yeasts, but seem to be able to tolerate goat cheese occasionally); roasted or sauteed vegetables (especially kale chopped into bite-sized pieces and sauteed in garlic and olive oil); fresh-chopped herbs from my garden such as oregano, thyme, and basil; Applegate's pepperoni (gluten and casein-free and free of hormones, antibiotics, and added nitrites). . . and the list goes on.
When the pizza crust has baked for 10 minutes, take it out of the oven. Lift the roasted tomatoes out of the baking dish and arrange in the bottom of the crust.
Sprinkle your cheese or cheese substitute over the tomatoes, and layer your remaining ingredients on top.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until your cheese or cheese substitute has melted and the top of the pizza is gently browned. Serves about 2 persons.
In a cottage on a lake in the country outside Ann Arbor, Michigan, I find sanctuary in my kitchen and garden from the harried life of a Ph.D. student. Food is an object of political concern and intellectual curiosity, but especially a passion and a way of life for me. The kitchen, in turn, is a magical place of healing, experimentation, play, discovery, loving kindness, health, and peace. It is a place for singular meditative practice, a place for laughter and sharing. It's no wonder that all of my dearest friends also cherish cooking and baking.
The Empress is one of the cast of characters in the tarot deck, signifying creativity, ripeness, and the gestation of what is to be born. To me she is a symbol of nourishment, of life-giving, and all that I love about the act of preparing food. She also reminds me of the seasons, of the importance of waiting for the most delicious things we have anticipated, both in the kitchen, and in life in general.
Here, I reflect on the fruits of my labor in the kitchen, with an emphasis on local, natural, slow food, whole grains and raw, unprocessed, organic ingredients.