One of my favorite food writers is Mark Bittman. The New York Times columnist and author of the bestselling books How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, has just come out with a new book called Food Matters; A Guide to Conscious Eating. As a nation, we have all become aware of changes in our health and the increasing obesity of our population. Diabetes is epidemic and heart disease is effecting more and more people. Our food supply, in my opinion, has become questionable. Have you noticed that the whole chicken you buy from the Supermarket has a strong chemical smell when you open it from it’s plastic wrap? And what is going on with the inhumane treatment of beef cattle just so we can enjoy a good steak at a reasonable price? There are very few family farms left where chickens scratch in the barnyard and cows munch grass in the pasture. Agribusiness has taken over and it is not a pretty sight. But what can we do about it? In his book Food Matters, Mark Bittman lays out the statistical facts about what is happening to our food supply and offers alternatives on how to eat better and save the planet. His premise is to eat less meat and only from reputable sources, avoid refined carbohydrates like white flour, rice and bread, and avoid junk foods at all cost. We should be eating more fruits and vegetables and visiting our farmers markets to support our local farmers. I have discovered that there are alternatives in our meat supply too. You can find organic free range chickens and beef that has been raised in the pasture. You may have to pay a little more, but it is worth it.
Pizza is one of my favorite foods. The great thing about pizza is that it is adaptable. You can make it very unhealthy if you load it up with fatty pepperoni, sausages and lots of cheese on a white flour crust or you can modify it to a healthier alternative. Let’s start with Mark Bittman’s easy whole grain flatbread. He states ” The simplest bread is nothing more than water and flour”. In this case he uses whole wheat flour and water. He oils the pizza pan, scatters onions and rosemary over the pan, heats it and then pours the flour and water mixture over the hot pan and bakes it until done.
It comes out of the oven crusty around the edges with a few charred onions peaking out from the sides. To make it pizza you can add a smear of tomato sauce, lots of sauteed vegetables, a little cooked meat and a light sprinkling of cheese. Put it back into the oven on broil just to melt the cheese. Here are the details.
You can use any ingredients you wish for your toppings. I used tomato sauce with a sprinkling of oregano and hot pepper flakes, sauteed red and green peppers and onions, a leftover cooked chicken breast, shredded and a sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. This is definitely a new approach to pizza and I loved it.