Friday, January 21, 2011

Pin-up pizza.

I am easily distracted these days. Thoughts spring while body still hibernates.
Another cold weekend at home. Winds whisk like sky-held beaters, peaking snow stiff like egg-whites. Naked ground brownly belies precipitated covering, accumulating warmth in absence. Lights fail. Time dies...reviving moments later, blinking a minute late. Behind, but on time. If, that is, you remember to think back...

...slowly, to a time and place where things roasted.

This winter I have treasured these days at home...alone. I have savored this time and place. I have taken the time to roast...tomatoes.

I don't like replacing real things with replicas --imitations -- since when has imitation anything been believable, or even passably good? Imitation crab; Tofurkey (if you want to eat turkey, eat turkey. Otherwise, please just eat your damn tofu!); margarine, also known as "buttery spread" (how are soybeans, artificially agitated to cream, better for you than milk churned straight from a cow's teat?)....the food world (don't even get me started on thepeople world) is filled with these imitations...and I want none of them.

I want the real thing. I crave the real thing. In food. In writing. In people. In love.

I haven't eaten pizza since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, almost 4 years ago now. My mom tried making a gluten free pizza once (I don't remember what crust recipe/mix was used), and she reported back to me that the toppings were scrapped off and the crust given to the dogs. Well, she tried to give the crust to the dogs. They would have none of it. Dogs sticking their noses up at food -- people food? Obviously, this 'people food' wasn't even passable to pets. Even dogs can sniff out the false front...

Don't try to pass off an imitation on me. I spend a lot of time with my dog. I can smell you out.

I didn't want my first pizza back to be only a doughy imitation, breaking through years of crustlessness. I wanted something different. A thought popped like corn, around in the pan of my head for days...loudly...and it left me no old maids...only this kernel...


Somewhere, I had seen a pizza made with a polenta crust. I don't remember where now, but I'm sure it was probably in one of the foodie magazines whose pictures I lust over like an adolescent male just discovering certain black-plastic-wrapped magazines...strange new things...

In my case, this new thing? Polenta.

I pinned it up. It would be the centerfold, the layout, the understated knockout. This crust was going to be the sexy smile beneath the layers...

Pizza Crust ~
(adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for pan
½ cup whole milk
2½ cups water
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Polenta
1. Brush a layer of olive oil on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, water and a large pinch of salt. Bring just about to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and add cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking all the while to prevent lumps from forming. Simmer, whisking frequently for 10 or 15 minutes.
2. Stir 1 tablespoon oil into cooked polenta. Spread onto prepared cookie sheet, spread it evenly to a thickness of about ½ inch all over. Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and put it in refrigerator until it is firm (I am not absolutely convinced that this step is necessary).
3. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Put polenta in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it begins to brown and crisp on edges.

4. Top with sauce (tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, oilive oil - roasted at 400 degrees F for around 2 hours and then blended together), mozzarella, and basil.

5. Cook until cheese is melted and browning slightly.


  1. What'd you think of the polenta crust? Should I try it? I can't have cheese, so I'm wondering if it'd taste "right" still.

  2. I thought the polenta crust was delicious. It is corn though. Does MJ need to avoid that? I think that even without the cheese, it would still be "right" and you could definitely substitute the whole milk with almond or rice milk.

  3. "Lights fail. Time dies...reviving moments later, blinking a minute late. Behind, but on time. If, that is, you remember to think back..."

    Awesome imagery...I can see the red, blinking of an alarm-clock radio in a suddenly dark room. And can hear the wind... And the time is not off (is it?) because your life paused is still 9:16....

    Pizza looks divine, by the way...

  4. "Winds whisk like sky-held beaters, peaking snow stiff like egg-whites." These words indeed depict the wind and snow as they intertwine and dance upon the mountain.

  5. "I can smell you out" POW! I love it. Our time spent with dogs and animals in general must be why we Blocks have an uncanny ability to sniff out a rat in the room.

  6. Jay - No, time is not (and the company) was divine...

    Anonymous - Typo fixed! Guess that is what I get for writing while distracted. Happening a lot lately, distraction...curious. Gibberish = recipe...? Oh, and "btw"...thanks!

    sgb - I am glad you enjoy my "dancing words"...and yes, we Blocks have good noses. ;)

  7. Uh, did not think my comment would make it past the editor. My bad.

  8. Dom - This editor has edge...full of surprises!