From Rhubarb to Roasted Vegetable Pizza: The Story of my Failed Weekend

Rhubarb

Maybe you saw this picture on my instagram this weekend. Maybe you were like “Ooooo look at this fresh rhubarb, what’s she going to do with it!?” Maybe the answer was bake a dairy free version of Martha’s Rhubarb-Berry Crumble …

But maybe I got ‘caught up’ in Happy Hour with work friends and didn’t get home till 1:30am on Friday. And then maybe I spent Saturday morning on my couch complaining to Evan about how my whole life hurt instead of baking said crumble.

If that’s your train of thought, then maybe, just MAYBE you were right.

ramekins

Sad ramekins are sadly empty.

Friday I had bought rhubarb and raspberries to bake my little heart out, but by Sunday afternoon my raspberries were covered in mold and the rhubarb was all soft and gross. I really believe in storing fresh produce the way it’s stored when I buy it, meaning if it’s not in the refrigerator when I buy it, I don’t store it there. Unfortunately 2 days in my hot apartment isn’t the same 2 days in an AC’ed grocery store.

My discovery of bad ingredients, was mere hours after I had dug out my DSLR to verify the lens was broken, only to discover, that yes, the lens will not focus, but also the camera will not turn on with fully charged batteries. AWESOME.

Feeling defeated and really sweaty in said hot apartment, I got sad and threw everything in the trash {except the camera}. Evan volunteered to pay to replace my putrid produce {he’s a good man}, but I just gave in and had a beer instead.

The good news is our apartment is ridiculously clean right now and I am less fat from not eating the delectable and sugary crumble. The other good news is you get a recipe for homemade roasted vegetable pizza for a blog instead.

pizzaaaa

mmm cheeseless pizzaaaaa

I’ve made this a couple times now, and I got the idea from one of my favorite dairy free pizza’s on the market, Amy’s No Cheese Roasted Vegetable Pizza.  I get frustrated because it’s not always in stock at the stores I shop at, so I figured, why not make my own version?

Source: amys.com

Side story: I’m ‘lactose intolerant’ … I say that in quotes because that’s what I tell people. The story is I ate dairy for the first 27 years of life, until I kept getting sick after most meals. Fifteen thousand blood tests later, it was suggested that I stop eating dairy. So I did. And it changed everything. Seriously, this is coming from someone who constituted Brie, Grapes, and Crackers as “dinner” for most of grad school and beyond {yes this was my poor-person go to meal. I lived the poor-person life.}

Since I survived on cheese for much of my adult life, giving it up was not easy, but even harder was realizing that fake cheese literally the worst thing in the world. I hate it when vegans are like “oh have you tried {insert disgusting blahblahblah} cheeze!” Gross. Get out of here with that shit.

Veggies on Cutting Board

Thus, cheeseless pizza has been the greatest realization of my post-intolerance life. Consequently, it has been the saddest realization in Evan’s New-Yorker-Born-and-Bread life. Anyway, I’ve created this recipe from all sorts of things I’ve read on the internets and in books, so I’ll do my best to credit the stolen parts.

dough

Pre-cooking notes: You can really use whatever veggies you want. Though I haven’t done this, try parboiling the veggies prior to putting them on the pizza. Other wise you’re at risk for overcooking your crust and under cooking the veggies. Unless, of course, you WANT the veggies to be crunchier, then get down with your non-parboiling badass.   You can also pre-roast your topping if you want, just remember they will roast on the pizza for a certain time at a high temp.  Also, to my vegans, sorry if I offended you with my cheeze comment, but the chicken is optional, which would make the chicken-less version totally vegan.  You could also sub in sauteed or roasted tofu for a protein.

oven

Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprout Pizza with Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients

Pizza (adapted from Amy’s Pizza)

  • Pizza Dough (half the recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic reduction
  • 4 – 6 ounces brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and quartered
  • 1 large sweet potato or yam, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 4 – 6 ounces chicken breast, trimmed of fat, pounded thin, and sliced (or just some cutlets)

Pizza Dough (adapted from the Joy of Cooking)

  • 1 1/3 cups warm (105º to 115ºF) water
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (can sub AP flour)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Balsamic Reduction (from my cooking knowledge base)

  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar, reduced

Instructions

Pizza Dough

  1. Combine water and yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand till yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add flour, olive oil, salt, and sugar (if using), and mix by hand or on low speed for about 1 minute.
  3. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth enough and elastic.
  4. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil and coat dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or clean cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Grease a baking sheet and dust with cornmeal, or place pizza stone in oven and preheat for 45 minutes.
  6. Punch down dough and divide it in half.  Roll each half into a ball and let rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap or cloth, about 10 – 15 minutes. (The other half can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for future use – just be sure to fully defrost and let rise in a warm place).
  7. While dough is resting pour 1 cup of balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat at boil and let simmer till amount is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  8. To form the pizza take one half of the pizza dough and roll it out on a floured surface.  You can use a rolling pin or your hands.
  9. Transfer flattened dough to oiled baking sheet or pizza pan.  Use a pastry brush to coat flattened dough with balsamic reduction and covered with desired par-boiled (or not parboiled) or pre-roasted (or not pre-roasted) veggies and protein. Fold over dough at edges to create crust.
  10. Place the pizza in oven and bake for 12 – 18 minutes.  The crust should be golden brown in color if used All Purpose flour, and slightly darker golden brown if you used Whole Wheat Flour
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2 thoughts on “From Rhubarb to Roasted Vegetable Pizza: The Story of my Failed Weekend

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