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TWD: Eastern Mediterranean Pizza, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

We actually made this recipe for the first time a couple of weeks ago, but it was late in the day and we lacked the necessary natural light to photograph it. This recipe intrigued us, since pita bread is not easily converted to gluten free, and admittedly, we have yet to make just pita bread using this recipe. Before singling out the pita bread, we wanted to just explore this dough for the pizza itself, and if it turned out  to be successful, develop it further for really good gluten free pita bread in the future. The contributing bakers  on the original recipe were Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid and you can watch the Baking with Julia PBS segment here.  Please do check out the contributions by all the other doriestas at TWD’s link here. Sadly, we are currently without a host for this recipe, but you can find the original recipe in Baking with Julia, page 156.

The recipe turned out to be quite straight forward and simple to prepare, even after allowing for our gluten free adaptations.  You do, however, have to allow for enough time to prepare the necessary sponge.  For the gluten free pita bread dough, you will need the following ingredients. Please note, we only made half a recipe, which makes approximately six small pizzas, or four medium-sized ones. The entire recipe is not only gluten free, but vegan, since with our adaptations it does not contain any meat, dairy, or eggs.

Pita Bread Dough:

  • 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 cups tepid water (80°F-90°F)
  • 1-1/4 cups gluten free whole grain flour blend, consisting of:  1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 brown rice flour, 1/4 sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Himalaya salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/4 – 1-3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend, consisting of: 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 sweet rice flour (if you need additional flour, add sweet rice flour by the tablespoon, as needed)

In a large bowl, prepare a sponge, by adding the yeast to the tepid water. Using a wooden spoon, stirring in one direction only, slowly add the gluten free whole grain flour blend, then stir 100 times in the same direction until fully mixed. This is not as bad as it sounds. You can sing your favorite song, or recite your favorite poem while counting. When you are done, the mixture should look smooth and silky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least one hour, or until doubled in size. Our sponge took two hours to double in size.

TWD: Eastern Mediterranean Pizza, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

While the sponge is developing, you can prepare the topping ahead of time.

Topping:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (we substituted a finely chopped red onion and several finely chopped green onions)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 lb. finely ground lean lamb (we did not use meat in our version, but added additional tomatoes instead)
  • 8 – 10 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped (or use well drained canned tomatoes)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalaya salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a heavy sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Then add the garlic, tomatoes and spices and cook over medium to low heat. You want to retain enough moisture. Then turn off  the heat and set aside. Please note, the topping can be made several hours ahead of time.

Now continue with preparing the pita bread dough, by removing the plastic wrap from the sponge. Sprinkle the salt and drizzle the olive oil on top  and again stir in the same direction. Now add the gluten free all purpose flour blend, one half cup at a time, until well incorporated. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface, gently working in the remaining flour. The original recipe calls for a heavy duty kneading session of about 8-10 minutes. Please refrain from doing that, your gluten free dough will never recover from that kind of abuse.

Depending on the number of pizzas you wish to make, oil two large baking sheets and divide the dough into either four or six pieces. Gently roll out each piece on a lightly floured (with sweet rice) work surface and place each piece immediately onto the oiled cookie sheets. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out, and allow to rise until doubled in height. In a warm kitchen, this process does not take very long, maybe 30 minutes. Divide the topping evenly amongst the pizzas and bake in a preheated 450°F oven, for about 7 – 10 minutes (our pizzas required 10 minutes).

TWD: Eastern Mediterranean Pizza, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved.

This recipe was a huge hit in our house, winning compliments from everyone. Definitely one we will be making again.

 

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Energy Soup, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

When most of you land on our website, your have come to expect yet another gluten free dish, ideally in a baked version. Don’t worry, we are still developing gluten free recipes and plan on doing so for some time to come. However, in our own home, we also prepare many raw food dishes as well. We especially enjoy the many nutritional benefits they offer.

I was first introduced to raw foods about 25+ years ago,  through friends and acquaintances and through their convincing arguments, enthusiastically  purchased a champion juicer. I loved making vegetable and fruit juices, as well as the occasional nut butters. Some of the resulting vegetable pulp was used in making delicious vegetable burgers, blended with spices, seeds and some rice, or spelt. But my all time favorite comfort foods have always been salads.  Now, I am not talking about the currently popular “tossed meals”, overflowing with the addition of too much meat and cheese, and, of course, the inevitable croutons.  I am talking about salads that are primarily made with a variety of greens, sprouts, carrots, avocados and some fruit. In those days, I was completely unaware of being gluten intolerant and, no doubt, consumed too many gluten containing breads, crackers, etc. No one ever talked about gluten intolerance, or celiac disease. In fact, everyone talked about adding whole grains to one’s diet. Some health books espoused this untruth and many followed these teachings, myself included. At the time, book selections involving nutrition and health, were far more limited than they are today. But Ann Wigmore’s books were readily found in most health food and book stores.  I read most of them and found her to be  a fascinating lady. In her autobiography “Why Suffer? How I Overcame Illness and Pain Naturally,” Ann Wigmore (1909-1994) recalls observing her grandmother using herbs and natural remedies, growing up  as a child in Lithuania. As an adult, she began testing various whole foods and dietary approaches, which she credits with solving her medical problems and changing her life.

Energy Soup, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Together with  Viktoras Kulvinskas, Ann Wigmore co-founded the Hippocrates Health Institute back in 1968 . She was an early pioneer in the use of wheat grass juice and living foods for detoxifying and healing the body, mind and spirit. In case you are not familiar with her work, you may want to check out two  living food lifestyle and health facilities that continue to spread her teachings.  One is located here in New Mexico, the other program is located in Puerto Rico.  Today, Brian Clement owns the Hippocrates Health Institute, which he moved from Boston to West Palm Beach, Florida.

If you are familiar with her teachings, you already know that she recommends a raw living food lifestyle to heal from disease. [ Please note, that we are not advocating a particular program to heal from disease. If you find yourself ill, do your homework, and, if necessary, consult with an accredited health professional of your choice.] It should also be mentioned, that we are not living a 100% raw lifestyle, but generally abide by a whole foods lifestyle ,with the exception of the occasional recipe development project. All we know is that if you have celiac disease, are gluten intolerant, or just sensitive to gluten, please, do yourself a favor, and eliminate it strictly, completely and permanently. Even the occasional small ingestion of gluten can leave a residual and damaging effect that can last for months. You don’t have to necessarily exhibit symptoms either, although most do.

Energy Soup, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Now to my favorite raw soup recipe. Aren’t we all looking for a little more energy around now? This tasty and very simple to prepare soup offers a lot of that.  When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, juices and smoothies offered an easy to digest and prepare alternative.  Always having had an interest in nutrition, I read countless books on raw food cuisine. The original “energy soup” recipe recommended by Ann Wigmore, calls for the addition of rejuvelac, a fermented beverage made from sprouted wheat berries. Some say, that there is no, or little gluten in the finished product, but I personally would want proof, and no has been able to offer me that. As a result this recipe does not include any form of grains, gluten free, or otherwise – the emphasis is strictly on organic greens, sprouts, cucumber, lemon, garlic, herbs and one fruit. It is best to use a high powered blender to achieve that desired creamy consistency in the end product. A Vitamix, or Blendtec would be perfect, but we are currently using a Ninja blender, which does the job adequately. . . for now.

Ingredients for 2 large servings:

  • One head of organic romaine lettuce
  • Large handful of organic baby spinach
  • 1 organic cucumber, peeled, cut into smaller chunks
  • 1 organic avocado
  • Leaves from several sprigs of Thyme
  • small handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 organic lemon, peeled and quartered
  • 1 organic apple (any variety), quartered and seeds removed
  • 1 cup of your favorite sprouts (sunflower, alfalfa, radish, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup organic cherry tomatoes
  • a few small pieces of dried dulse, (optional)
  • 1-1/2 cups of purified water

Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, scoop out the flesh, and add it to your blender. Top with the remaining ingredients (tomatoes, cucumber, romaine, spinach,  apple pieces, lemon, sprouts, garlic, thyme, dulse and the purified water). Pulse several times, incorporating the ingredients and then blend for a couple of minutes at the highest setting until everything is well blended and creamy.

Energy Soup, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Pour into your favorite soup bowls, garnish with some fresh herbs and enjoy right away. It is a wonderfully tasty and delicious alternative to regular soup, and of a slightly heavier consistency than green smoothies. If you enjoy this soup, or green smoothies, also plan on growing some of the vegetables in your own garden this Spring and Summer.

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DSCN1294

This is a simple and very easy to make vegetarian lunch, or dinner.  Especially, when you are in a hurry. It can be made in less than half an hour, and fits the bill for a quick bite of lunch,  during one of our very busy days here at home.  You could use any number of vegetables for this dish, so don’t let a lack of a particular vegetable stop you from making this dish. We used the following:

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 zucchini, chopped into small pieces

6 stalks of baby broccoli, stems cut into small pieces

7 sprigs of thyme, cut into smaller pieces

1 large heirloom tomato, cut into small pieces

About 15 small cherry, or heirloom tomatoes

A couple of handfuls of spinach

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

olive oil

1/2 tsp. Himalaya salt

Black pepper, to taste

Seaweed Gomasio Seasoning, optional

1 packet of Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta

Prepare the pasta following the directions on the package.

Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Spaghetti

Add the pasta to the already boiling water, and stir it frequently while it is cooking to prevent the pasta from sticking together. This pasta turns out really nice, but, once cooked, be sure to rinse it with lots of water to remove the starchy residue. Set aside. This holds true not just for the spaghetti, but all the other rice pasta alternatives. (I am sure that some of you have given up on this particular gluten free pasta, because it leaves such a starchy residue in the cooking water.)

Cut Veggies

In a large frying pan, or wok, heat the coconut oil and add the chopped onions and garlic. Turn down the heat slightly to prevent any excess browning. The onions and garlic should be translucent and golden in color. Add the zucchini, cherry tomatoes,  and broccoli. Drizzle with some olive oil and let cook, turning frequently, for a couple of minutes. Then add the spinach, tomato and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Tomato with Thyme

Incorporate all the ingredients well and add a little more olive oil. Let cook for another couple of minutes. The vegetables need to stay fresh, and not overcooked.

Veggies with Spinach

Then add the prepared and well rinsed pasta to the vegetables, mixing all the ingredients well. Again, cook for another couple of minutes to let the pasta be infused with the wonderful flavors of the vegetables.

Cooked Rice Spaghetti with Vegetables

Enjoy this simple Mediterranean-inspired meal for lunch, or dinner.

Mediterranean-style Rice Pasta

What is your favorite gluten free pasta?

If you are exploring raw food options, another great way to serve this same dish is to use kelp noodles (prepared according to package directions),  served with the same vegetables, but fresh and raw.  Seaweed Gomasio seasoning  ingredients: sesame seeds, sea salt, kombu, dulse and nori) makes a great addition to either version of this meal.

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