Monday, February 13, 2012

Baby Step #2

It was about 8 years ago that I first heard the words High Fructose Corn Syrup . A friend was complaining to another friend that she was sick of finding it in everything. My response was "Huh? WTF (What The France?) is HFCS?"

In case you've been in a cave and haven't heard about High Fructose Corn Syrup, here are a couple of things to know.

  1- Because the corn industry is heavily subsidized, a lot of corn is grown. Corn is the 4th cheapest ingredient in processed food after air, water, and salt. That's why it's in everything.

  2- Most of that corn is genetically modified. (If you're unsure what GMO means to your health, there's a lot of information out there about how bad GMO foods are for you .)

  3-  HFCS is made from corn syrup by an enzymatic process that changes glucose into fructose, which is sweeter. But the man-made fructose is not the same as that found in nature. In the body, the industrial fructose metabolizes into triglycerides and adipose tissue. Even though it's a sugar, it turns into fat.

  4- HFCS is the number one source of calories in the US diet.

  5- HFCS is linked to diabetes, obesity, and a host of other ailments. If you care about your health, you should not put this into your body.

This is just an overview. If you want to know exactly what HFCS does in your body, go ahead and do the research. Just be aware that when you Google it, the first hit you get is paid for by the corn industry and, not surprisingly, tells you what a vital part of a healthy diet HFCS can be.

So what do you do about it? Baby Step #2 is to start reading the label of everything you buy at the grocery store. You will be amazed. HFCS is really in just about every product out there. Breakfast cereals, yogurt, bread, canned ravioli, sausage......and on, and on, and on.

After you read the label, what then? Refuse to buy any product that has HFCS in it. And if there isn't a single brand without HFCS, either make it yourself or do without. I know this is kind of a big Baby Step. It may take you a while to get in the habit of label reading and to clear your pantry out of foods containing HFCS. I still occasionally will find a bottle of salad dressing or a can of something tucked in the back of my pantry that I sigh wistfully and pitch because it's contaminated with HFCS.

So what's the reward for taking your second baby step? A recipe! Lindsey at Northwest Backyard Veggie Patch was the first in line with her request, so here is the grain-free pizza recipe.

I adapted this recipe from Recipe Girl. Her's served 2-3 people and we love to have leftover pizza, plus often have a guest over on Saturdays, so I reworked it to make a larger pizza.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
 - adapted from Recipe Girl
   makes 1 large pizza

1 large head cauliflower
2 large eggs
2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese (or for a spicier pizza, try pepperjack)
2 tsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced (more if you love garlic)
1 tsp onion salt (which I don't have, so I used sea salt and threw in some extra garlic)

Pizza sauce (Your favorite recipe, or from a jar. Read the label to be sure there's no HFCS in it!)
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
Your favorite meat toppings (sausage, ham, bacon, etc.)
Your favorite veggie toppings (mushrooms, green peppers, olives, etc.)

1- Preheat oven to 450 deg. with a rack in the center of the oven. Spray your pizza pan with olive oil. Mine has holes in the bottom, so I covered it with aluminum foil and sprayed it with olive oil. If you'd rather avoid aluminum foil, parchment paper would probably work well, too.

2- In food processor with the grating disk with the larger grater holes, grate the cheese. (Or grate by hand.) Put the cheese into a bowl and set aside.

3- Using the grating disk with the smaller holes, grate the head of cauliflower.

4- Put the cauliflower crumbles into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes on high, stirring once. Allow it to cool a bit. You can use this time to prep your pizza toppings.

5- Combine the cooled cauliflower crumbles with the eggs, 2 cups of shredded cheese, and spices. You can do this with a spoon or with your hands. Dump the mixture onto your prepared pizza pan. Spread and pat the mixture into a round crust. It will be thin. Don't fret if there are small cracks.

6- Spray or brush the crust with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes (or until golden). Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to broil.

7- Spread the sauce on top of the baked crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the sauce and cover with your favorite toppings.

8 - Broil the pizza 3-5 minutes, until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Cut into 12 slices and serve immediately.

Because the crust isn't sturdy like a bready crust, you'll need to eat the pizza with a fork. Small price to pay for something that's so delicious and grain-free to boot!


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I am going to do the cauliflower crust Lynn. Every crazy recipe with cauliflower has been a winner in our house.
and the HFCS on labels is mind blowing but I do read them all ... makes me feel good that much of what I buy has no label, I think that's good, right?

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

WHOOT! I copied this out and will be making this pronto.

Love it, Love it, Love it.

And, um, what the france? is awesome. I am looking for more phrases to substitute in my arsenal of swear words now that the Tot repeats everything I say. (I just tell people she is saying "shirt" and they totally buy it.)

*smirk* Work Verification: dialete - the new dialect you have to come up with when your toddler begins repeating everything you say. EVERYTHING.

grace said...

no question, this is the finest use for cauliflower i've ever encountered. :)

Elizabeth said...

I'm definitely with you on eliminating anything made with high fructose corn syrup. But I'm not sure I'm willing to go the distance by using cauliflower to make pizza crust.

I do love cauliflower though and really like the idea of steaming it and then putting oregano, garlic and mozzarella, laying it on a thin bed of rich tomato sauce and baking it til the cheese has melted... many thanks for the idea.

Elle said...

Never would have thought to use cauliflower for pizza crust but it sounds wonderful! Will have to send this on to Katherine. She has been reducing grain in her diet and adding in more veggies.

michele said...

I too would never have thought to use cauliflower for pizza crust. I love the idea.