Yes! February is Heart Health Awareness Month and I am sharing the love by teaching you how to make everyone’s favorite party food: pizza and soda. We use quality nutritious whole grain flour and lots of fresh, whole foods and herbs to create a pizza that feeds our brains and muscles instead of our adipose tissure, or fat cells. Traditional junk food pizza and soda has lots of artificial ingredients and preservatives that make it difficult for our bodies to even find the nutrients to absorb. When you make clean, fresh pizza from scratch you are giving your body the easiest nutrition the food can offer. This easy nutrition helps our emotions stay positive, our bodies stay energetic, and our minds stay active. So gather up the people you love and chow down on some pizza that will keep y’all enjoying life together!
Yields 1 10- 12” pizza, about 8 slices
· 1 ½ cups whole-grain unbleached self-rising flour (King Arthur makes a nice blend)
· 3 tablespoons olive oil
· ½ cup room temp water
· 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
· 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
· 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
· 1 large bunch basil
· 10 leaves spinach (or more!)
· 10 low-sodium, uncured pepperoni, torn into three pieces each
· 1 -2 ounces grated or torn smoked mozzarella cheese
· Dashes of sea salt and black pepper
You will need a 10 – 12 inch oven-safe frying pan for best results.
1. In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, combine the flour, water, and olive oil. Run the processor until a sticky dough ball forms. Very carefully remove the dough and turn onto a floured surface.
2. Flour your hands and the rolling pin and lightly pat the dough into a circle shape. Roll the dough in a north-south-east-west pattern until it is big enough to fit your oven-safe frying pan. Lift the dough and press into the frying pan. Form the crust.
3. For the pizza sauce, drain the can of tomatoes and pour the tomatoes into the food processor. De-stem a big bunch of basil and put most of the leaves in the food processor with the red wine vinegar and salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Save some leaves in the bowl with the spinach. Run the processor until the basil leaves are finely chopped and the sauce is smooth. Spread it onto the pizza dough in the pan. We spread it onto the top parts of the crust for some more flavor. Experiement with how much or little sauce you like on pizza—get creative and try pesto or red pepper, kale, and chilis sauce!
4. Scatter the torn-up pepperoni around the sauce and place some basil leaves and spinach leaves in a single layer on top of the pepperoni. Sprinkle the grated or torn mozzarella all over the pizza and if you like, shake some Italian seasoning on top of the cheese.
5. Heat a stove-eye to medium-high and place the loaded pizza pan on there to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is holding its own shape. Transfer to a hot broiler and let cook about 3 minutes or until the cheese is brown. If your oven does not have a broiler, just turn it up to 500 degrees and let it bake for about 8 minutes or until the cheese is melty the way you like.
Strawberry Ginger Soda
· 1 -2 cups frozen berries, completely thawed
· 3 inches ginger, peeled
· 1 cup sugar
· 24 – 32 ounces sparkling water
1. Puree the strawberries until they are a smooth liquid. Strain through cheesecloth to remove seeds.
2. Pour the strawberry puree and the sugar into a medium saucepan on the stove. Grate the ginger on top. Make a simple syrup by heating the stove eye to high and whisking until the sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to boil for about 1 minute then remove from heat. Whisk into the sparkling water while the syrup is warm. Serve over ice.
Ginger is the underground rhizome of the gingerroot plant that has a long, colorful history in traditional world medicine applications. It is primarily valued as a carminative, or stomach soother. We use it in the soda because the enzymes and reactions ginger causes in the tummy helps to digest the sugar in the soda syrup. Herbal medicine uses ginger extensively for its quick ability to relieve gastrointestinal distress. Ginger has also been the subject of much recent scientific inquiry and the scientists studying ginger have found it tobe full of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing compounds. Think of ginger as a protective sealer for your tummy linings. It is powerful!
All herbs are great resources for phytonutrients, the colorful nutrients from the sun that protect us from free radicals and oxidation that leads to cancer. These are called flavonoids and they protect your body at the cellular level. To guarantee the food you are eating has tons of these super-nutrients, simply look at it closely and ask yourelf these questions: is it a plant (fruit, vegetable, legume, nut, seed, grain)? Is it colorful? If the answer to both is yes—you are definitely eating some phytonutrients. Basil and its cousin oregano are also widely used in traditional cultures for their anti-bacterial compounds. Pesto anyone? Just look at my Pesto Pizza Salad from this year or the Roasted Broccoli Pesto from last year. Tons of basil in each!
A note about frozen fruit: use it in the off season! Better to buy the fruit frozen than to buy fresh fruit from distant climates because frozen fruit is picked when it is the freshest and so it is frozen during a prime and natural state of growing. Often fresh berries in the winter mean unnatural simulated grow environemnts or travelling many miles.
Local Farmers Markets
If your local farmer’s market is not open during winter months, I recommend the year-round Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
1 Ferry Plaza (Embarcadero): Tuesdays 10 – 2; Thursdays 10 - 2; Saturdays 8 - 2
Noe Valley Farmers’ Market: 3861 24th street: Saturdays 8 - 1
Parking Lot between 8th and 9th Avenue, South of Irving: Sundays 9 – 1
Kaiser Farmer’s Market: 2525 Geary at Saint Joseph’s street: Wednesdays 10 – 2:30
Saint Vincent de Paul
Fort Mason Center: Marina & Buchanan: Sundays 9:30 - 1:30