When gardens go wild: Low Carb Pattypan Crustless Pizza Recipe

July 26th, 2011 yum Posted in Egg Free, Garden, Hide your Veggies, Low Carb, Nut Free, Pizza, Rice Free, Soy Free, Vegan Option, Vegetables, Vegetarian, corn free, grain-free, low-sugar, tapioca starch free 14 Comments »


The DH and I have always dreamed of having our own garden. It is a bit hard to do when you live in an apartment, and the only access you have to the great outdoors is on your balcony. Nevertheless, we managed to grow a few tomatoes and basil plants, and were happier because of it. When we bought a house we went a bit wild, and transformed a fourth of our back yard from a neglected underutilized corner to a bustling organic gardening paradise, complete with homemade redwood planters. Once we had the planters, we had to put something in them. We chose a wild assortment of the most exotic things we could think of- purple bush beans, dragon carrots, candy radishes, purple tomatillos, and a ton of squash and gorgeous heirloom potatoes. Ok, squash isn’t usually exotic, but it has a certain appeal to lifetime apartment dwellers because it is not generally something that you can grow on a balcony. (Amazing container gardening magic aside.) The plants were in, the DH put in a drip watering system, and then we waited for the bounty to come rolling in. And roll in it did, with pattypan squash seemingly bursting into existence on the vine right along with fourth of July fireworks.
This gave me pause. I had the basics of organic gardening thanks to reading and a class at Love Apple Farm, but one thing I hadn’t researched was when to harvest my beauties. When was I supposed to take the pattypan off the vine? I wasn’t really sure, but they rapidly grew to an impressive size that I’d never seen at farmer’s market harvest. Why did they pick them when they were so small? I felt rather proud of their size.

Then I went online to research the correct harvesting of pattypan. Whoops. Turns out if you let them get large, supposedly they get rather woody and coarse. I was disheartened but couldn’t believe they could really be that bad. People let zucchini get big, after all. Besides, looking at them gave me an idea. They were such nice, round shapes, and I was reminded of my old traditional eggplant parmesan recipe. They would be the perfect size for a personal pizza un-crust. So, I dipped them in a spiced oil and vinegar marinade and put them on the grill to soften them and add flavor. Then I topped them with a really good pizza sauce and cheese. For my dairy-free Mother, I made a few with Daiya cheese instead. The cheese melted and got all bubbly and delicious, and when I got a bite, I didn’t miss a grain crust at all! They were delicious, and the “hard” rind added structure and texture to the crust but the soft squash interior was still soft and delicious. I did notice that the larger they got, the larger their seeds were, and the center of the round was a bit softer than the rest. It could still hold up to a pizza topping, though, and was easy to eat with a fork, although I wouldn’t try to eat it with my hands just because it is a bit messier than a regular pizza.

I’ve been experimenting with my other giant pattypan and have found that they taste just as good as the littler ones. I like a sturdier squash anyway, and one of my biggest complaints over (bad) zucchini or yellow squash recipes is when they get mushy. It is hard to make these giant pattypan mushy, and they take on flavor and are just delicious sauteed in oil. I did prefer to peel them for sauteed applications as otherwise the rind is hard to eat. It reminds me of kabocha squash, actually.

So, if like me you have monster pattypan growing out of control in your garden- take heart! You can still enjoy them, in a fun way generally only possible when you have a home garden or belong to a garden co-op. You could also try mini pattypan pizzas with farmer market or supermarket babies. In that case, you would probably have to simply slice them in half and take care not to overcook them. They should be just as delicious either way!


Other Pattypan Recipes:
Fried Pattypan Squash Recipe
Pattypan Squash Recipe
Stuffed Pattypan Squash Recipe
Herbed Pattypan Squash Medley Recipe
Simple Pattypan Squash Recipe
Vegan Stuffed Pattypan Squash Recipe

Other innovative recipes using squash as a “crust”:
Butternut Squash Crust Quiche Recipe

Shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Seasonal Sunday

Pattypan Crust-less Pizza Recipe
Ingredients
Mutant, overgrown pattypan squash (5 or more inches diameter)

Marinade:
Olive oil
dash of white balsamic vinegar (brown is fine but will discolor your “pizza” crust)
your favorite multi-herb blend seasoning (italian or other)
salt (if not included in above herb blend)

Topping:
High Quality Pizza Sauce such as Muir Glen Organic
Grated mozzarella OR Daiya equivalent for dairy-free, vegan

Fresh basil for garnish

Directions
Slice your monster Pattypan beasts into 1/2 inch thick slices appropriate for mini-pizzas.

Whisk oil, vinegar, spices and salt together in a pie tin or other medium-sized dish with sides. Keep in mind that pattypan are like eggplant. They are greedy little sponges for oil. Make more than you think you need. Dip both sides pattypan slices in seasoned oil and reserve on a large plate.

Heat your grill or grill pan to a high searing temperature. Lightly shake off any excess oil from your pattypan slices and place them on your grill. Sear and then lower temperature to medium. Let slices soften, and then turn to sear and cook the other side. You want your pattypan tender but not mushy.

You have two options for the pizza preparation if you are using a grill. You can either place your topping on top of your seared pattypan crust in the grill, close the lid and allow the heat to melt the cheese, or you can reserve your slices and heat the topping in the broiler of your oven. The latter option will result in more browning, so I found I preferred to use the broiler. For broiler option, place pattypan slices on a baking sheet and place under broiler on high. Remove when cheese is melted and has browned. You can use Daiya cheese as a dairy-free alternative, but it will not brown in the same way so just remove when melted.

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Gluten freee menu and Dairy-free Pesto Green Bean Pasta Salad Recipe

October 5th, 2009 yum Posted in Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday, Hide your Veggies, Menu, Menu Plan Monday, Nutritional Yeast, Vegan, green beans 6 Comments »

mebaby4 I recently attended Blogher Food ‘09 and the DH brought baby to join me for the cocktail after-party. All my new gluten-free blogger friends got to meet baby Yum.. . but that’s a whole different blog post! Isn’t Baby Yum getting big? Speaking of Baby Yum, it seems she still is sensitive to something in my diet, so in the interest of hypo-allergenic diets, I’m going temporarily vegan and cutting egg out of my diet. I’m sure those of you who are egg-sensitive will be happy to hear that!

As always, you can find the gluten-free menu headquarters with Cheryl at GF Goodness. Asparagus Thin is hosting this week’s gluten-free menu swap with a challenge to readers to incorporate 10 super foods into our menu! She lists the following as super foods (those in bold are those I plan to enjoy this week): Avocados, Berries, Beans/ Lentils/ Pulses (and how), Cacao, Cinnamon, Dark Leafy Greens, Eggs, Eggplant, Flaxseeds, Garlic, Kiwi, Mushrooms, Nuts (Almonds and walnuts specifically), Oranges (in my sweet potato), Pumpkin, Red Wine, Non-veg bits, Sea Vegetables, Soy, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Tea, Whole Grains, Yogurt.

I would personally include beets and broccoli in there as well… What can I say, I’m a b-vegetable kind of girl. Below is my menu, but don’t forget to check out more menus at Org Junkie.

beansalad

Sunday: Middle Eastern
Baked Falafel, Bette Hagman’s recipe for Gluten-free Pita Bread, baba ghanoush, tahini sauce, roasted green beans

Monday: Vegan
Lentil soup and roasted organic white yams and broccoli

Tuesday: Mexican
Refried Bean fresh tortilla rollups, dairy free tomato cumin soup

Wednesday: Vegan
Bette Hagman crumpets with pinto bean un-tuna salad

Thursday: Calcium happy
Wild rice quinoa salad
Stuffed collard greens

Friday: Vegan
Roasted chickpeas
Sweet potato cinnamon boats

*Many of these recipes are based on recipes from an interesting book called “Calciyum” (pictured) that has recipes with high Calcium content WITHOUT dairy. I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out!

This week I’m sharing a delicious and fresh gluten-free pasta salad I made recently. I love whipping up an easy batch of dairy-free pesto for pasta. This time I made it with spinach for extra nutrients. It went beautifully with perfectly crispy fresh green beans from the farmer’s market. Hope you enjoy!

Dairy-free Pesto Green Bean Pasta Salad
Ingredients
Dairy-free Pesto:
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup toasted pecans
salt to taste
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
olive oil

1 lb. fresh green beans
1 package gluten-free pasta (I like a corn-rice blend)
1/8 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1/4 cup pecans
salt
sugar

Directions
Combine basil, spinach, seasonings and pecans in a food processor. Drizzle in enough olive oil to make a paste. If you are watching your calories, use a little olive oil and supplement with water. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

Prepare pasta until al dente and rinse in cool water to remove excess starch. Blanch green beans (i.e. drop in boiling water and then rinse in cold water when crisp tender.) Cooking time depends on the bean- I used fresh ones from the farmers market and they cooked quickly but older, tougher beans like those at Trader Joes will take more time.

Toast pecans in pan on stove on low heat, sprinkling with salt and sugar as they start to warm. Continue toasting and remove from heat before they burn.

Mix pesto into the green beans. (You may have extra for the pasta or for another use). Fold into the pasta, and add your olives and sugared pecans.

Serve and enjoy!

Notes
The fresher your green beans, the better this will be!
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