Friday, October 17, 2008

Crispy Cheese Chow Mein

This is an entry to file under both "succesful" and "not so succesful". A couple of weeks ago, my guy and I (my husband? the man who lives in my house? my love? the oak to my elm?) decided to make pizza from scratch. It's Friday night, the music is turned up, the wine is flowing, and we've still to decide which recipe to use. I found what looked to be a fairly good and simple recipe at the website for Capers Market, which is under the umbrella of Whole Foods Market in Vancouver. I just checked the website for the on-line version of the recipe and it appears they've changed things and taken the recipes down, so I'll type it out below. Anyway, I made the dough, following the recipe, and it turned out great, thankfully! We put our organic tomato sauce on the bottom, and we chopped up all our toppings - green peppers, onions, tomatoes, pepperoni, mushrooms, broccoli, and CHEESE.

We made two pizzas - one for guy, and one for me. The one for guy had real cow cheese... mmm... yummy and melty. One half of mine was plain (just the toppings listed above), and the other half was loaded with the toppings, plus casein-free cheese - I wanted to give myself an out in case my cheese failed me. I chose a soy cheese, as, believe it or not, most of the non-cow cheese alternatives made with rice actually have dairy in them. All the rice cheeses that I've checked include casein as one of the main ingredients to give it, well, a cheesy consistency and taste. The soy cheese I used does not have casein, and that was the main reason I chose it - plus, it was the only casein-free option at my local grocery store.

So you don't confuse this product with cow cheese, the packaging calls it: Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Soy Block (Mozarella Flavor). I grated up my lovely soy block, and put it on half the pizza. I was very excited. I hadn't had cheese since May. I was maybe a little too excited - really, it's only cheese. (Sometimes I catch myself doing senseless things. I had to ask myself, really? I'm jumping up and down over soy block? Yes, yes I was, and many of you people who are deprived of cheese, and are given a glimpse of cheesy hope would have been jumping up and down too).

I put the pizza in the oven and held my breath.

I watched the pizzas get warm.

I watched guy's pizza starting to ooze and bubble and look golden and melty.

I watched half of my pizza start to burn.

Seriously, the shredded soy block was just getting crispy. There was no melting. There was no oozy goodness, there was no more jumping up and down. I had to look away. I had to convince myself everything would be fine in the end.

It wasn't.

15 mintues later, we were eating our pizzas. I basically had to get over my cheesy excitement, and accept the fact that my pizza was italian-asian fusion, as there was nothing else to compare my grated cheese to than crispy chow mein.

Has anyone had casein-free cheese success? Let me know!

Here's the pizza recipe:

3/4 cup organic milk (about 110F) - I used casein-free rice milk
1/2 tsp honey
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 envelope instant yeast
1 Tbsp xanthan gum - more on this later, it's an excellent binder and emulsifier
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 425F. Dissolve yeast in a small bowl with milk and honey. Set aside. Sift together brown rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, sea salt and spices. Whisk olive oil and vinegar together. Add to dry mixture. Mix. Add milk and yeast. Mix well. The dough shoud be soft and pliable. Turn onto a (rice) floured work surface and knead gently for about a minute. Roll or pat dough into a 12-inch round, place on a pizza stone or lightly oiled pan. Crimp edges to hold in toppings. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, add toppings and bake 15-20 minutes longer, or until the crust is lightly browned.


Anonymous said...

Can you have fries with that?

Man, that would be my worst nightmare, for cheese to be added to my "do not consume" list.

I would love to see pictures of your creative disasters. If you post something especially juicy, I promise to post an extremely unflattering picture of myself doing Tae Kwon Do.

monkey said...