Saturday, November 19, 2011

perfect pizza

We like pizza.  Back in the day, on Fridays, I would make pizza dough from scratch and we would construct our own pizzas.  My older boy liked Pizza Hut thin crust pizza (me too), so my goal was to make one that he liked even better.  I did my internet research and found out how to do it.  I learned to pre-cook my crust (and my toppings too).  I rolled out my dough and poked holes in it.  I got a pizza stone as a gift from my lovely wife, which helped a lot.  Other than that, the thing that made the most difference was high gluten flour.  I had it down!  My oldest proclaimed that he'd rather eat my pizza than Pizza Hut (which is not precisely the same as saying that mine tasted better, but I'll take it).

And that's when it happened...I took the boys to visit my family, back in Tennessee for the holidays.  After a couple of days, my sister let me know that one of her acquaintances had cured her child of autism by switching to a gluten free diet.  Not wanting to appear a slacker in front of my mom, I said "OK, let's do it!.  What's for dinner?"  My mom looked a little panicky, but stepped up to the challenge.  For the rest of Christmas, we had more fruits and vegetables than I had for my entire youth.

A little more research told me that it was not just gluten free, but GFCF...gluten free/casein free that we needed to be. Casein is a protein found in milk, so no dairy.  No cheese grits, no corn bread, no .... pizza.  I don't really grok the theory about why we're supposed to be GFCF, but I will say that his digestive tract seems to be happier when we don't have those things.  When there are occasional issues, we can almost always find something that we can blame it on (Twizzlers have wheat flour in them!).

We've been doing this for almost 2 years now.  Our family eats lots of rice and beans and corn.  Asian and Indian cuisine works pretty well.  There are some pretty good pasta substitutes, using rice or quinoa.

Does it work?  I don't know.  What we really need to do is buckle down and do an elimination diet.  That's hard because he wants to eat what other people are eating, which means either a fight every night, or we all get fascist on our food for a few months.  How about it?  Any of you done an elimination diet?  Any tips for me?

Here's a recipe for ya.  I pulled it off the web and have made it 4 or 5 times, with good success unless I use light coconut milk.

  •   2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •   1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  •   2 garlic cloves, minced
  •   1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  •   1 1/2 pounds lean ground lamb
  •   1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  •   1 medium sweet potato (1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  •   One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
  •   1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  •   Salt and freshly ground pepper
  •   1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
  •   1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  •   Hot sauce, for serving

  In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderately high heat until barely softened, about 4 minutes. Add the lamb and cook over moderately high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder and sweet potato and cook for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and simmer over moderate heat until the sweet potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the peas and cook until heated through. Stir in the cilantro and serve with hot sauce.

Serve with warm naan or white rice.

p.s.  here's anonymous's link from the comments:  Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap


  1. If you would ever like me to, I'd be delighted to share some of my df/gf favorite recipes on here :) Ben usually seems to like RaRa's food

  2. Sounds delicious. BTW, I really like this GF cookbook:

  3. Thanks, both of you! Looking forward to some gluten free gluttony.

  4. Hi Jon!!

    Just discovered your Blog! Enjoyed reading and catching up on your life in Utah! I will admit that I laughed out loud when I read your dismay in learning that Cheese Grits were off the menu thanks to the casien!! I have wonderful memories of your Mom's infamous Cheese Grits and I know how much you love them! (Ok - so now I'm craving them at midnight....not good!)

    Glad to hear you and Juliet are doing well. Did not realize that Ben was within the Autism Spectrum. Sounds like you are doing a great job with managing the diagnosis. His school sounds amazing! Such a Blessing that you have such a wonderful resource close by. I have a few friends whose children are within the spectrum and will definitely share your blog with them!

    Hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Haley (Fox) Bailey

  5. Hi Jon,
    We discovered that cutting out food coloring really helped with Alec. Luckily, we were able to find healthy alternatives he actually liked, and we got smarter about reading labels. Alot of companies now use natural coloring like beet juice instead of dyes.


  6. thanks, deb. i have not paid any attention to food coloring. where do i find good stuff? i wanna try some. with ABA, they use lots of treats -- i need a source!


No bots, please.