Monday, December 19, 2011

My Iron Chef Test

I could be the Next Iron Chef. Why? Because I just passed the "improvise" test in my own kitchen. That's right. I wanted to make pizza for dinner but all I had was instant yeast, brown rice flour, and cheese. I had no real toppings, no sauce, and I wasn't able to use garlic or onion because they contain the dreaded FODMAPs. What did I do? I improvised!

No sauce? No garlic? No problem! Take a jar of fire roasted tomatoes, add about 2 tsp. garlic olive oil (or regular olive oil and 1/2 clove whole garlic, if you're lucky and you can have garlic!), and puree. sauce!

I followed this recipe for the crust, but used my "homemade pizza sauce" for the sauce, and infused more garlic into the pizza by using garlic olive oil in the dough, instead of plain olive oil. This pizza was my best one yet.

I think the garlic in the crust and in the sauce really elevated the flavor. Plus, I'll admit, I went a little crazy on the cheese. I did end up finding a jar of banana peppers in the fridge, and that was our only topping.

And, I had some sauce leftover for my spaghetti squash dish the next night. Below is a bowl of spaghetti squash topped with steamed vegetables, ground turkey, and my sauce. I also added grated parmesan cheese and pepper.

So long story short, my can of fire roasted tomatoes and my garlic olive oil turned into the perfect pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce. Not bad for my improvisation test, right?!

And on a completely different note, I just finished reading a fantastic book called The Art of Racing in the Rain. I know I read about this on someone's blog, but I can't remember who. Whoever it was, thanks for the great recommendation!!!

QUESTION: When was the last time you had to improvise in the kitchen? What was the last great book you read? I'll take suggestions anytime!

Enjoy your week everyone! Can you believe Christmas is SUNDAY?! And to those who celebrate, Happy (almost) Hanukkah!


  1. I LOVE your modifications, it take a creative mind to do that!..isn't that funny how they can turn out better sometimes?? We (We...I mean 'I') are making pizza for Christmas eve! Banana peppers are my boyfriends fav..he puts it on every pizza!
    Book? The Hunger Game series! I just started book 1 last night!

  2. great thinking on the spot- the pizza looks like you had planned it perfectly!

  3. Just yesterday I whipped up some curried salmon salad and topped an avocado half with it. I thought it was yummy!

    Latest favorite book? The Help, which probably doesn't help, since everyone seems to have already read it. Nonfiction: Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Read it a long time ago, but still highly recommend it to my clients.

  4. i'm wondering when you're planning on taking the red eye bus to hang out with me.

    ....i'll wait for an answer and scream with joy when you do!

  5. Ooh, I love giving/getting book recommendations!

    Have you ever read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks? It's really fascinating and well done and is probably more meaningful for anyone who is in the health biz.

  6. Improvising is a great alternative to making a run to the drive through because you don't have the right ingredients for a meal. Chances are you do have something in your pantry that could constitute a meal.

    Book recommendations: Just finished one called "Room" that was good. The author's last name is Donoghue.

  7. thanks for the ideas!! I need to try out your pizza recipe. My niece & nephew love making pizza with me, but my niece is allergic to wheat, soy, eggs, peanuts, chicken, & shellfish, so it gets hard to find ingredients that don't interfere with her allergies. I can't wait to try this pizza!
    Also, the last really good book I read was called Roses. It's big but easy & quick to read

  8. Just found your blog. The Art of Racing in the Rain was a fabulous book. Have you read Still Alice or Left Neglected? These are both wonderful. Your pizza looks great too by the way.

  9. Sounds delicious! Sometimes improvisations are the best, although I can't think of a recent improvisation right now....Book recommendation-The Thirteenth Tale. I gave it to my friend to read and she loved it too. Happy reading!

  10. I love the title of this post! :) So cute!

    I hope that PKD/renal info helps. Phosphorus is tricky because literally, it's in EVERYTHING. Maybe research if PKD patients can take phosphorus binders (usually a calcium acetate) to bind the phos for excretion vs. absorption into the blood. Just thought of that. If they're on a phos binder, they can liberalize the phos restriction. Renal patients so often suffer from malnutrition that liberalizing is what RD's end up doing.

    I am reading the Hunger Games right it!

  11. the last book i read was called Bringing Home the Birken. A very cutesy and light read. I recommend :)

  12. I end up improving often, but nothing major. The biggest ever was making tuna fish salad and learning that we had no mayo. That was how we wound up doing the mayo installment of from scratch weekends. We had the ingredients so we had to do an impromptu mayo experiment to make the tuna salad. Great idea with the veggies on the spaghetti squash. I have one I need to cook and was trying to think what I would put on top.

  13. Nice! You would win for sure! I tend to improvise most of the time when a recipe calls for something I don't have or don't want to buy. I am going to have to really improvise tonight because I don't think we have anything left to make but pantry items. I'm sure there will be pasta involved as usual! I'll have to see what that book is all about.