i’ve recently experienced a dietary breakthrough that has also led to a creative breakthrough. i’ve been eating grains. and gluten. and all the things. and it’s amazing.
let me back up.
i’ve known for awhile that my digestive issues have had less to do with the protein of gluten and more to do with how grains are farmed and processed here in the ol’ U.S. of A. i rarely have issues eating breads, pastries, and the like when traveling abroad, usually because these items are produced fresh daily with flours milled under much harsher regulations than the ones farmers are required to uphold here. don’t even get me started on european standards (for food, cosmetics, healthcare, work/life balance, etc) versus american standards, or we will be here for a very long time.
that being said, i’ve avoided gluten for the past six years and have taken it easy on grains in general since doing our whole30 last fall. the exception to this has usually been made when visiting my parents, as my mother mills her own organic grains to make fresh baked goods. while it hasn’t been foolproof, i have rarely experienced any discomfort or side effects when eating (in moderation) her homemade breads. because of this, i’ve toyed with the idea of buying my own mill, but i didn’t want to make the investment if i wasn’t 100% sure i’d use it; then i realized my blendtec can do the job, and the rest is history. reason #893 i love my blendtec.
i stocked up on organic whole grains at the farmer’s market, got to milling, and have been going whole grain crazy ever since. i’m currently tending to a whole grain sourdough starter, and i’ve been experimenting with lots of other breads as it ferments. last night, i made the most legit, off-the-cuff pizza of my life, and i’m now inviting you to join me in making this ode to the end of summer ‘zza that will have you singing for joy. if you need to keep it gluten-free, do your thing, baby. if you want to get down with some whole grain goodness, though, then this whole wheat dough recipe from sally’s baking addiction is a good place to start; this recipe yields two 12″ crusts, a fact i realized after starting it, so halve it unless you want to invite your neighbors over for a last-minute dinner date (which is exactly what i did).
the crust is really just a vessel for the glorious toppings that create a mouth symphony so beautiful, you’ll be calling for an encore before you’ve even finished your first slice. the sauce, a creamy blend of caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, and goat cheese, topped with fresh figs, arugula, mozzarella, and pepper-crusted salami all blend together in perfect harmony. i die just thinking about it. it will taste so much more indulgent than it actually is (it only comes out to roughly one serving of dairy for two slices), and the figs and arugula are both digestive aids and together add iron, calcium, vitamins A and C, and essential fatty acids. don’t let the health benefits fool you into thinking it’s not a legit pizza, though–it will be the star of any dinner party you host, even if you’re the only guest in attendance.
go ahead and try it. you won’t be disappointed.
Late Summer Pizza
yields one 12″ pizza
- 12″ prepared pizza dough
- creamy balsamic sauce, recipe below
- six black mission figs, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
- baby arugula
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella
- dried salami (i used pepper-crusted for an extra kick), omit to keep vegetarian
- preheat oven according to the dough’s instructions
- spread the sauce thinly over the pizza, leaving a 3/4″-1″ barrier between the sauce and the edge/crust
- top with arugula first so it can stick to the sauce, then sprinkle the fig slices, salami, and mozzarella across the pizza
- bake according to the dough’s instructions
- slice and serve immediately
Creamy Balsamic Sauce
yields enough sauce for one 12″ pizza
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbs aged balsamic vinegar
- 3 oz goat cheese
- halve onion and thinly slice into pieces
- heat olive oil on medium heat in a sauté pan, then add onions and salt, stirring occasionally to prevent burning and encourage even cooking
- while the onions are cooking, mince the garlic and set aside
- when the onions are soft and beginning to brown on the edges, add the garlic and herbs, stirring for 1 minute
- add the balsamic vinegar and stir for an additional 1-2 minutes
- remove the pan from heat and add the onion mixture to a blender or food processor along with the goat cheese, blending until creamy
- use as a base for pizza, a salad dressing, or eat it with a spoon. it’s that good.
leave a comment below and let me know if you try it! i’d love to hear if you’ve had a similar experience with freshly milled grains or if you just really, really love pizza (although, let’s be real, who doesn’t love pizza?).