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-free Sweet Tomato Tart and Pie, Crisp, Cobbler Carnival

July 22nd, 2011 yum Posted in Baked Goods, Blog Event, Nut Free, Sorghum, Soy Free, tomatoes 9 Comments »

A few years ago, I read about a little tomato stand in the Santa Cruz mountains called Love Apple Farm with heirloom, organic tomato plants that they sold in the Spring. One unseasonably warm weekend in early Spring, the DH and I made our way to that tomato stand (which turned out not to be so little) and bought some tomato plants that we lovingly installed on our balcony. We also picked up some homemade tomato jam from a woman who later started her own business as Jeannie’s Jams, also on Twitter. That tomato jam was very tasty. Fast-forward a few years. The DH and I have bought a house and that house came with a yard (two yards, actually, a front AND back yard) perfect for growing tomatoes. It is also nice for growing other things, but it is really all about the tomatoes for me. We went a little crazy this year and bought about ten lovelies, each one unique and wonderful in its own way. The season has been cool, but using Cynthia of Love Apple Farm’s special techniques, those tomato plants are gloriously healthy and currently about 10 feet tall, with some gorgeous tomatoes on the verge of ripening. I’ve been tapping my toes impatiently waiting for them to arrive, but at the same time, I know that once they do we’ll be swimming in tomatoes. I may start bathing in the stuff. Finally, my patience was rewarded in the tiniest way when my beautiful Marmande finally yielded first one red tomato, and then a second. This is just the tip of the iceburg, my friends.
So, in preparation for the upcoming bounty, and with thoughts of tarts, cobblers and pies dancing in my head, combined with memories of sweet heirloom tomato jam, I developed a gluten-free recipe for an altogether unexpected treat- a gluten-free sweet tomato tart with nary a nod to the savory. You could make many variations on this, whether by changing out the cream cheese with creme fraiche, tofutti better than cream cheese, mascarpone, or be really fancy with vanilla custard or Creme diplomate. You could also JUST put a thin layer of sugar simmered or slow roasted tomatoes on the bare tart and either top it with a creamy sauce (or whipped cream, or cashew cream) or eat it entirely bare. This is a delicate dessert, so beware when relocating it, and do leave it in its protective tart pan until the last possible minute. It is also a recipe I think I’ll be tweaking in the future, but it was so fun that I had to share it with you as the lead recipe in a gluten-free tart, pie, crisp, or cobbler carnival. I was inspired to make all these cobblers this week by the fruit trees in my yard, and also by the Pie Day Shauna hosted recently. I wasn’t able to participate, but I hope to see some of the participants share their gorgeous creations here so I can live vicariously through them just a little. I hope you enjoy, my dears. My breakfast this morning was a homemade cappuccino and a Sweet tomato tart- or is it a tartlette? Either way, it was a wonderful start to the day.

Other interesting tomato tarts (not Gluten-free)
David Lebovitz’s Savory French Tomato Tart Recipe
101 Cookbooks Savory Fresh Heirloom Tomato Tart in a Parmesan crust
Savory Cheesy Tomato Tart
Tomato Tarte Tatin

And now, the promised Tart, Pie, Crisp, and Cobbler Linky for GLUTEN-FREE recipes. If you have a related recipe that is NOT gluten-free, you can share in comments, but let us leave Mr. Linky for the gluten-free recipes.

Rules: Please link only to Gluten-free Recipes for Pies, Tarts, Crisps or Cobblers. Also, provide a link back to this carnival page on your submitted recipe post so people can find us and add more yummy recipe links! Thanks and I can’t wait to see what you share.



Gluten-free Sweet Tomato Tart
Ingredients
Tarts (makes one large or 5 or 6 small tarts)
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
9 Tb. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk, whisked lightly

Cream cheese layer:
1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese or possibly creme fraiche (only if using very soft, runny tomato jam)
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
dash vanilla
1 tsp. powdered sugar (or more to taste)

Sweet Tomato Jam (see notes for the recipe I used)

Directions
Butter 5 small tart pans OR 1 large tart pan and reserve.

Combine flours, sugar, and salt for tart in a food processor and blend to combine.Add your buter and pulse until it is evenly distributed. Add your egg yolk and process until you have smooth dough. Divide into 5 or 6 sections if doing mini-tart option and drop each section into a tart pan. Press out into a tart crust using your fingers, making sure to come up the edges and leave a depression in the middle for the filling. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, Cut out circles of aluminum foil (or parchment paper) for the center of each mini tart. Butter them and place them in the center of each tart. I used aluminum foil but it stuck a little and didn’t leave a pretty, smooth bottom for the tarts, so I’d use parchment next time.
Bake on 350 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown, and then GENTLY remove your foil or parchment circles and bake another 5-10 minutes or until golden.

Cool and reserve for use later. I made them the night before assembling. You should put your filling in just prior to serving or the crust could become soggy.

Whip together cream cheese layer ingredients and reserve.

To assemble, put a layer of the cream cheese in the tart and then gently cover with a layer of tomato jam. Enjoy!

Notes
Tomato jam for 2-3 small tarts
3 heirloom organic tomatoes (small varieties are fun to combine with larger varieties, just slice in half and roast before adding to preserve shape)
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
dash vanilla

3 tomatoes, either diced or with 1 diced and reserved, and the rest thinly sliced and roasted on 250f for as long as you can stand it. For me, it was about 2 hours. Then bring your water and sugar to a boil and add all of your tomatoes (1 fresh and 2 roasted, or all fresh). Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened but still spreadable.

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