Monday, April 25, 2011

Pizza Toast

I have often felt that my kids have somehow been missing out on a part of life because they have never eaten pizza. Growing up, my parents would get pizza for lunch almost every Sunday, so pizza and childhood seem to some degree intertwined for me. (Not to mention the fact that, as a teenager, I would eat frozen pizza several times a week for lunch as well. *cringe* I seriously can't believe how bad my diet was back then...)

Anyway, I was pushing my 2-year-old on the swing today and asking her what she would like for lunch. Jelly sandwich (on gluten-free bread)? No. Lunch meat snack plate? No. (Those were the only two readily available choices, so I started getting silly.) Pickles? No. Salami? No. Pizza? Yes! Hmm... well... ???

The real problem with giving my girls pizza, however, is not the dough -- I can make a gluten-free crust if I need to. The real problem is the cheese. Everyone in our family except for me has issues with dairy, and since I am still nursing my youngest, I stay mostly away from it for her sake. Fortunately, though, none of us are extremely allergic or sensitive, so I do occasionally let my girls have a little bit of something with diary -- like a handful of normal chocolate chips or M&M's. I think perhaps theirs is more of a lactose intolerance.

With this in mind, I remembered that I had some Kashkaval sheep cheese in the freezer. I don't know much about it, but it is semi-hard and tastes tangy and somewhat sweet, similar to cheddar. And -- who am I kidding? -- the only reason I bought it was because it was made from sheep instead of cows, so it has less lactose. So I figured I'd try some on a little "pizza." And remarkably, it worked even better than I'd hoped. It had seemed a little strong when I'd tried it on other things before, but against the tomatoey sauce, it balanced quite nicely. Mmm... I want more...

So anyway, if you can have dairy, you are one of the lucky ones. If you can have just a little dairy, or some form of non-cow dairy, you are in luck with this recipe. If you can't have dairy at all, I am so sorry... you'll have to have yours without cheese. (Unless you can stand soy "cheese"... ick.)


4 thin slices gluten-free bread (I used fresh-baked Pamela's)
1/4 c. tomato paste
1/4 c. ketchup
1 c. Kashkaval sheep cheese (approx.)
garlic powder
Italian seasoning
ham, fresh veggies, or other toppings (optional)

Lay bread on a cookie sheet. (I may toast it first next time.) Mix ketchup and tomato paste; distribute between the pieces of bread and coat evenly. Sprinkle each piece of bread with a light dusting of garlic powder; repeat with Italian seasoning. Add cheese and toppings. Set on middle-to-low rack of over and broil on high (500ยบ) for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and toppings begin to look toasted.

Note: I only used ham for topping this time, but if I use fresh veggies next time, I will likely sautee them for a couple minutes so as not to let them stay too raw for my taste.

So to conclude my story, my girls tasted "pizza" for the first time today. My 2-year-old liked it pretty well, and my almost-4-year-old claimed she liked it, but only picked the topping off a few pieces. Sad to say, even in the case of one of my favorite childhood dishes, their will is usually fixed against liking (or sometimes even trying) anything new. :-p

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