Pizza and Making Yourself Do Stuff

Check out this awesome misshapen pizza.  The recipe came from Silvana Nardone’s Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals.  I found out about this book thanks to Lorenia’s post, which I saw the day I decided to be gluten-free.  I spent about an hour flipping through cookbooks at Chapters before deciding on Cooking for Isaiah.  It’s quickly becoming my favourite cookbook.  Ever.  This morning I made one of her waffle recipes and immediately considered changing my religion on Facebook from “Cadbury Creme Eggs” to “Silvana Nardone’s Cinnamon-Toasted Waffles”.

Anyway, pizza!

Firstly, you need a gluten-free flour.  I use Silvana’s.  So far it has been awesome in all recipes.

Silvana’s All-Purpose Flour Blend
6 cups white rice flour (preferably Bob’s Red Mill)
3 cups tapioca flour (preferably Shiloh Farms; I used Bob’s Red Mill since Shiloh Farms doesn’t supply to Canada)
1 ½ cups potato starch (preferably Bob’s Red Mill)
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp xanthum gum (preferably Bob’s Red Mill)

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, salt and xanthum gum. Transfer to an airtight storage container and store in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.

Secondly, the pizza crust. I screwed mine up somehow. It didn’t get as fluffy as it did in other pictures, but it tasted alright. The one thing I’ve noticed about gluten-free pizza crust (from my vast sample size of 2) is that it’s denser and WAAAAY more filling than other pizza crusts.

Perfect Pizza Crusts
2 cups Silvana’s All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
1 (¼ ounce/7.5g) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
¾ cup warm water

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the egg whites, olive oil and water. Using a wooden spoon, beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Divide the dough into two equal pieces; place each on a lightly floured, 12-inch (30cm)-long piece of parchment paper.  Lightly flour the top and, using your fingertips or a rolling-pin, press the dough out to make a round about ¼ inch (9.5cm) thick. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  3. Position a rack in the bottom of the oven with a baking stone on the rack and preheat to 450ºF. Working with one piece of dough at a time, slide the dough with parchment paper onto the preheated baking stone and bake until puffy and crisp on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.

I think I may have screwed up with the yeast.  It calls for 1 7.5g package of active dry yeast, but all the packages I found were 8 grams.

Thirdly, the pizza.  I don’t have a recipe for this.  Just get a bunch of pizza toppings (sauce, tomatoes, veggies, cheese, etc) and slap ‘em on the crusts.  Then cook on a pizza stone at 450ºF for about 8 minutes.  Terrible, I know.

They were pretty good!  Messed up crusts and all.

—–

I’ve been meaning to write about something I’ve been struggling with: forcing myself to do stuff.  With chronic illness, it’s so easy to just give up; to decide you don’t feel well so you’re going to stay in bed.  I’ve quit school (twice) and jobs, skipped events with friends, and lost relationships.  I’ve gone weeks without leaving my apartment; days without leaving my bedroom.

It becomes a cycle, because staying at home certainly doesn’t help me feel better, and the worse I feel, the harder it is to push myself to do the things that might make my situation improve.  So, I’m trying to force myself to do stuff.  I tell myself, you just have to go, and if you get there and you don’t feel any better, then you can leave.  But it’s hard to know where to draw the line.

I recently signed up for a soccer team, even though I haven’t played in over 8 years and I haven’t been keeping up with my exercise routine.  I mentioned that I fell down the stairs on the way to soccer practice last week.  I had already tried to force myself to go – to get out of bed, to put on my soccer gear, to leave my apartment – and then I just lay there on the staircase feeling like a (bruised) failure.  I didn’t go.  But I did reschedule for Saturday, and even though my brother had to pick me up at my apartment and escort me to the field, I made myself play and it felt really great.

We had our first game on Monday, and in the first 2 minutes, I thought my heart was going to explode in my chest.  So out of shape, I literally thought I was going to throw up and then pass out on the field in my own vomit.  But I made myself play right until the end, and I felt AMAZING afterwards.  If I had just done what I wanted (stayed at home watching Netflix) I wouldn’t have felt so much better and I would have continued being miserable.

Then there are bad days.  On Thursday, I forced myself to go to BodyPump class.  But I felt “off”.  I kept pushing through, hoping the endorphins would kick in, but I eventually got to the point where I had to stop.  There were only 3 songs left in the class, but it took every ounce of energy I had to just put my equipment away and then walk home.  I was shaking so much I dropped my bench on someone’s leg.  I had no energy for the rest of the day.

It’s hard to know when things are going to make me feel better, and when they’re going to make me feel worse.  I’m trying learn when to listen to what my body is telling me, and when to override those feelings because I know I’m just being lazy or scared.

Mostly I just want to feel better already.  I need my life back.  I need to get back to work and I need a social life.  I have decided that it’s time to find a proper doctor who wants to work with me to figure this out, and stop trying to do everything on my own.  I need help.  But the thought of having to find someone new is making me want to dig a big hole and hide in there forever.

Comments

  1. Rosanna says

    I see this is a couple years old, so maybe you’ve perfected the recipe by now. The first time I tried I didn’t let the eggs come to room temp and the crust was very dense. I finally decided to give it another shot, let my eggs sit out, mixed everything up and the dough was just extremely sticky. So, I’m thinking it’s maybe the yeast. Have you ever figured out how many teaspoons 7.5 g is? My kids desperately want pizza again, and I desperately want to figure this out!

    • says

      I haven’t made this recipe again actually. I bought GF crusts instead :( Now I’m working on a grain-free crust and it’s even harder!

  2. says

    The eggs will do it. It's all about the chemistry. I was too impatient to wait for them to be room temp as well, so what I did was pop them in a bowl with warm water for a few minutes. As soon as they were lukewarm, I used them.

    As for cooking times, I rarely pay attention to recipe cooking times. Don't remove things from the oven (or leave them there for that matter) until they're the *color* the recipe claims they should be or start looking like they're the right consistency. :D

  3. says

    Hm, I wonder what you did differently with the crust? I, too, have noticed (and hated) how much denser gluten-free crusts invariably are, but when I made this one it was fluffy and light and puffed up like a balloon when I baked it alone before baking it with the toppings!

    • says

      Mine just stayed flat and dense. I knew it was wrong because it didn't look at all like any of the pictures.
      The only things I did differently were:

      - Some of the GF flour ingredients were a different brand.
      - The eggs weren't room temperature because I was impatient.
      - The yeast… the only packages I could find were 8g and not 7.5g like the recipe calls for.

      I've also noticed that all of the recipes of hers I've tried, the cooking times were WAY off in my oven. So I possibly didn't keep them in long enough.

      I have no idea. I'll try it again I guess.

      • jen says

        it was the eggs, then. do them room temp next time and it'll probably turn out perfect!

        (arrien from LJ)

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