Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gluten-Free: Against the Grain Pizza (Customized)

It's my birthday next Tuesday so in this week's gluten-free post I'm talking about the most desired and requested birthday food besides cake -- pizza.

Pizzas (and / or bases) are one of the items given out by Pierce's Pantry and I've received a number of them from the Acton food pantry.  The best ones I've gotten so far are from Against the Grain Gourmet.  Larger than most gluten-free pizzas at a size of 12" with sauce and three-cheese topping, it's pretty good by itself.  The use of dairy & casein makes it somewhat less liable to crumble & fall apart than most gluten-free pizza bases who try to please all by covering multiple allergens but end up pleasing none; the sauce tastes a bit less authentic Italian than I normally like, but there is liberal helpings of all three (real) cheeses for a fantastic base on which to build.

Pizza from scratch or on bases which provide a totally blank canvas take way too long when a hungry toddler is waiting for them.  These Against the Grain pizza bases provide a happy medium between spending hours creating the whole pizza while still tasting (and looking) homemade and ordering an (expensive) one from a pizzeria which serves gf.  This is especially true since I like toppings.  I mean, I really like toppings.  The best pizza I ever had -- prior to going gluten-free -- was a thirteen topping gourmet pizza at an upscale restaurant in Worcester, England.  But I digress, mostly because I'm making myself hungry.  Mmmm... toppings.

In this particular instance for which I only somewhat planned ahead, I used the "what's available & about to go bad in the fridge" method of deciding toppings.  That ended up being about half a package of button mushrooms (cut into slices & chunks), about an eighth of a pound of Dietz & Watson chicken parmigiana deli meat (part of their gluten-free line), another eighth of a pound of prosciutto, and a large bag of shredded mozzarella cheese.  I prefer my toppings not to be all stacked up on top of the cheese, especially when there are excessive amounts of them, so I made randomized layers of toppings between layers of mozzarella cheese.
So good I forgot to take a picture of it before starting to eat.
My pizza was delicious.  The crust  -- which looked and tasted homemade -- didn't fall apart even stacked up with the amount of toppings I forced on it, cooking nice and crisp on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside.  The chicken parmigiana meat was much better on a pizza than I found it on a sandwich.  The prosciutto, mushrooms and chicken complimented each other nicely and were enjoyable to locate between blankets of mozzarella on a sauce & cheese mattress.  I could say that was just Liberty playing with her food... but it wasn't.
Liberty says "thumbs up"
to yummy pizza.

Despite its fabulousness when fresh as well as being eaten by one famished adult and an equally hungry child, there were leftovers.  Like most pizza regardless of its gluten status, the reheated pizza (which I tried in both the microwave & the oven) was arguably even more delicious than the fresh pizza and continued not to crumble whether fork or hands were used.

Locally made in Vermont and a socially responsible regular donator to Pierce's Pantry, Against the Grain pizza shells can be purchased at Hannafords, Wegman's, Roche Bros, Whole Foods, and other good supermarkets.