Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Pizza Pandemic

At times it feels like I do a lot of writing about gluten-free pizzas. I review GF pizza crusts, and review pizzerias offering GF pizzas, and write about the scratch pizzas we make for ourselves at home. Kelli is kind enough to point out when she thinks I've been covering pizza a bit too much. But now, it appears there's been a reason for it all: a growing pizza pandemic. Across the country, the demand for gluten-free pizzas is causing more and more pizzerias - from the national franchises to the independent pizza parlor down the street - to offer a GF pizza.

Just take a look at this article in yesterday's Bergen County Record in North Jersey. Whether it's because a pizzeria owner (or their spouse) was diagnosed with Celiac, customers asked for it, or a company offering GF pizza crust said "Hey, you should be offering this!" Pizzerias are taking note. In six short months, one pizzeria (A Mano in Ridgewood) went from not even offering a GF pizza, to selling 50 in one week!

Of course, one of the biggest concerns when it comes to GF pizzas at a pizzeria is the issue of cross-contamination. Wheat flour is everywhere - on hands, on shirts, on countertops, in the oven. Pizzeria's handle this risk in different ways. Some choose not to have the risk, and don't offer a GF pizza. Some bake their crusts on a pan, to avoid contact with floured surfaces. A Mano, to its credit, has a dedicated oven for GF pizzas. Most choose not to make their own crusts, instead sourcing par-baked GF pizza crusts from local vendors. Such is the case here in Boulder, Colorado, where the Gluten-free Bistro is supplying its GF par-baked pizza crust to a growing list of local restaurants.

And on that note, keep an eye out next week for our review of Gluten-free Bistro. After my negative experience with Abo's a few weeks ago, I contacted GFB to get samples of their pizza crust and flour blend to independently test and review. I've finished my review of the pizza crust, and will soon be finishing up my review of the flour blend as I use it to bake recipes. The results of that evaluation are forthcoming soon!

- Pete

7 comments:

Cheryl Doyle-Ruffing said...

Pete,

My kids love Uno's GF pizza. My sister says that BeauJo's GF pizzas are fabulous. Have you tried it? Of course, they weren't serving GF pizzas while we were still in Colorado. I make (what I think is) a delicious GF pizza at least twice a week, but probably the best (and most expensive) I've had was at Mozzarelli's in NYC. One rectangular pepperoni pizza and two Cokes set hubby and me back $36.

Cheryl Doyle-Ruffing said...

PS: Who can blame you for being preoccupied with pizza?

camper said...

Pizza used to be such a huge staple in my diet but so many GF crusts don't measure up. I just picked up your book and am excited to try out the thin crust. Recreating old favorites is so important and unless you are writting about pizza weekly then you're fine.

I have reccently not been tolerating dairy well and make a mean Thai Chicken Pie to cope with this (think no cheese but a homemade peanut sauce, carrots, spicy chicken and cilantro) I can't order this when I go out as peanut sauce is suspect when I can't control the GF factor.

peterbronski said...

Hi Cheryl. I was pleasantly surprised by the Uno's. Your sister is absolutely right - BeauJo's GF pizzas are fantastic. Wow, that's a hefty price for one pizza with pep and two sodas! I've seen some pricey GF pizzas, but I think that one wins. Right now, Kelli blames me for being preoccupied with pizza (in a joking way). She's burned out on it, and I apparently have an insatiable appetite for it! We usually make it once a week, though less often lately....

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Camper. I hope you enjoy the thin crust pizza! Lately I've been preparing it by making a quick and easy pizza sauce (one 14.05 oz can of peeled, diced tomatoes no salt added that I blend with a handheld immersion blender, plus a bit of salt, ground pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, and dried oregano). I'll thicken it just a bit with a little corn starch dissolved in cold water. Then I top the pizza with freshly shredded mozzarella cheese. Divine.

Your Thai Chicken Pie sounds tasty. (What's not to love when peanuts, chicken and cilantro are involved?) Have you posted the recipe anywhere? If you like that dish, I think you'll also love our peanut sauce stir fry and chicken pad thai on pages 154 and 155.

Cheers, Pete

camper said...

Hi Pete,
I saw the peanut sauce and pad thai. I live down in Telluride and our Thai food place just closed for off season so we'll be cooking more at home this month!
I've been addicted to the Chebe thin frozen crusts. Even before going GF I had trouble with dough at 9,000 feet but am ready to tackle this again.
I haven't ever managed to get photos of my Thai Pies but the sauce is at http://thinkoutsidethebreadbox.blogspot.com/2009/07/not-so-gluten-free-books.html
Make a gf crust and top with peanut sauce, cooked diced chicken (we like it spicy)and uncooked julienned carrots. Bake and add cilantro at the end so it lightly wilts. I bet a sprinkle of crushed peanuts would be great as well.
The peanut sauce is a work in progress but I bet that you and Kelli will have no problem making some variation of it work!
Enjoy!

peterbronski said...

Hi Camper (Kate)... We were big fans of the Chebe pizza crust (dry mix that we added wet ingredients to) before making our own from scratch. I can imagine what a challenge bakin at 9k is. I look forward to trying out your peanut sauce. Thanks for the link!

Cheers, Pete