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Making Pizza: My Idea of a Relaxing Night In

 

 

Gooey cheese. 

Fluffy dough. 

The perfect ratio of dough-sauce-cheese-toppings. 

 

I haven't tasted real pizza that didn't make me ill in almost five years. 

 

Store-bought and pizzeria gluten-free pizzas aren't the same; there's something lacking their cracker crust. As a gluten-free individual, I occasionally ordered pizza. This was frequently followed by stomachaches and nausea (at the same time, dairy wasn't my super nemesis; I could still eat it every so often). Since realizing dairy is my main issue, I haven't attempted to eat a gluten-filled pie. As much as I want to, I'd prefer not be sick. 

 

The lack of pizza in my life was upsetting. All hope was given up that a solid pizza option existed. If it weren't for Thug Kitchen, my house would remain a pizza-free zone.

 

The more recipes I make from the Thugs, the more I love their cookbooks overall. When Sam flipped through their second cookbook, he proclaimed that we must make pizza. I didn't argue; the recipe for the dough looked easy enough and the pizza options--including buffalo tempeh and shaved asparagus--looked appetizing. 

 

When making pizza, you should definitely make the dough ahead of time. We planned to have a pizza making and beer night on a Friday, so I made the dough Wednesday. It wasn't difficult; the longest part of the process was waiting the hour and a half for the dough to rise. The recipe makes enough for one giant pizza or four "personal" (personal meaning the kind of pizza you're served in Italy, so the equivalent of a small pizza in the states). 

 

The buffalo tempeh recipe came straight from Thug Kitchen, but for our second pizza, we pretty much threw a salad on it.  

 

Spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, avocado, roasted garlic, and dairy-free mozzarella covered our second pie. Both pizzas were easy to make and packed with flavor. 

 

The two pizzas were enough to feed four, but I'll never complain about having leftovers!

 

With the rest of the pizza dough, I made calzones. 

 

How to Make a Calzone

1 ball of dough, made ahead of time

sauce (I used a spicy, garlic marinara type sauce from Trader Joe's)

filling--anything from spinach and mushrooms to various meats

extra flour

melted butter

 

Preheat your oven to 475. 

Throw some flour down on the table and roll out your dough. It doesn't have to be a perfect circle, but kinda circular works best. 

Put some sauce and your filling on one side of the dough and fold over the other side.

Pinch it all up so nothing leaks out. 

Cut three vents in the top of your calzone; this is important so your calzone cooks evenly and doesn't explode. 

Brush on the melted butter. 

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the calzone is a golden brown. 

 

This dough made the perfect calzones with the right amount of crunch and doughiness. 

 

I learned a few things while cooking: 

  1. Roast garlic regularly. Eat it all the time. It's easy and can go in pretty much everything. 

  2. Buy artichoke hearts in a jar. Roasting an artichoke takes an hour and fifteen minutes and results in one tiny heart. 

  3. Making pizza yourself is the bomb, especially if you have an assistant to chop all your vegetables. 

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