Against the Grain Gourmet Pizza
On my trip to Whole Foods today, I happily picked up the newest product by Against the Grain Gourmet. They are now selling their pizza shells topped with two choices of sauce, a nut-free pesto or a traditional marinara. The pizzas come with cheese only, so if you want pepperoni, sausage or veggies, there is still some assembly required. I picked up the nut-free pesto version and topped the pizza with Bell & Evans Gluten Free grilled chicken.
Bell & Evans has a “No Junk” pledge where they promise that their chickens will be fed an all natural vegetarian diet, with no growth hormones. They also promise not to add any preservatives, artificial flavorings, fillers or extenders. They are also free of hydrogenated oils. Plus they have gluten free products with a breading that my son has no clue is gluten free. I have found that preservatives, artificial flavors, fillers, and gluten can trigger a Fibromyalgia flare-up. So I appreciate the “No Junk” promise, and with Bell & Evans I trust their products.
Against the Grain Gourmet seems to be another company with similar values to Bell & Evans. The Against the Grain Gourmet pizza box even has a value statement printed on the back.
No one ever said it would be easy going Against the Grain. And no one understands more than we do, the challenges of delivering delicious gluten free products in a world of industrialized food. There was a time when food was hand-crafted at home from simple farm-fresh ingredients and eaten with respect. Somewhere along the way, the people were taken out of food production, and then the real ingredients themselves. Food chemists invented flavor enhancers, dough conditioners, binders, preservatives, and modified basic food starches beyond recognition. Something as sacred as a cheese-topped pizza was transformed from comfort food into a chemistry experiment.
Here at Against the Grain, we sincerely believe that you are what you eat. Our milk comes from a local family farm that bottles the milk less than 24 hours before we receive it. Our eggs are delivered directly from the hens to us by a local family egg farm – you can’t find them any fresher. We use expeller–pressed non-GMO canola oil and low fat mozzarella cheese made from the milk of dairy cows that are routinely veterinarian inspected. Our cheese has no added growth hormones, no anti-caking agents, and is natamycin-free. We never use any binders, dough conditioners, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, or preservatives. In fact, you can pronounce and spell all of our ingredients!
Although this is not an organic product, I appreciate that this value statement closely matches my own personal goals for meeting my nutritional needs. When I went gluten-free, processed foods free almost a year ago, I decided I would no longer purchase products that I felt I needed a chemistry degree to decipher what I was eating. There is so much junk in our grocery stores; almost everything is so highly processed that they actually add nutrients back into products before they are distributed. Of course they have to lace them with preservatives in order to extend the shelf life. Anyway, before I go off on a rant, I appreciate companies like these that are producing real food items that won’t leave you nutritionally deficient. I am a working mom, so unfortunately I do not have large amounts of time to make gluten-free dinners for the family. And there are some nights when I am working late, I need to be able to just throw a pizza in the oven. This product gives me the opportunity to do just that.
All I had to do was thaw one of the Bell & Evans chicken breast in the microwave, while the toaster oven was pre-heating to 400 degrees. I sliced up the chicken and threw it on the pizza. I wish I would have sliced up some tomatoes too, but I was being extremely lazy. I put the pizza straight onto my toaster oven rack, and let it cook for just over 12 minutes. I pulled it out of the oven, and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing. The sauce was delicious and the crust was crunchy, not chewing like the ones that have gelatin in them to make them airy.
This pizza shell has a cheese based dough, so it has a tendency when cooked on a pizza pan to become very flimsy. I haven’t invested in a pizza stone to be dedicated gluten-free yet, so this hasn’t been tested on a pizza stone. I prefer a thin cripsy crust though, so it works perfectly to put it right on the rack and bake. If you like a soft crust, you may have to deal with a flimsy pizza from this shell. The thing I like about this pizza shell, is that it doesn’t taste like rice. Many gluten-free pizzas when you reheat them, the rice crust overpowers everything. This is definitely one of my favorite gluten-free shells, as it reminds me of the stuffed crust pizza I use to love before going gluten-free. As for the pesto sauce on this pizza, I didn’t even notice that it was made from sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. I thought that the sauce had a nice flavor. I would purchase this product again.