Not-So-Typical Pizza

RPM Date Night!

RPM Date Night!

I recently checked another item off my Chicago bucket list and dined at Bill (my not-so-secret crush) Rancic’s RPM Italian. The food was incredible and they were more than accommodating when it came to my soy-free restrictions. The only disappointment of the evening came when I heard Bill & Guiliana had been in several times throughout the NHL playoffs and I had just missed them. Darn it. 

Since our visit, friends have asked if RPM lives up to its hype. ABSOLUTELY. For me, eating out is about the food. RPM’s food was to die for. We ordered wood-roasted octopus, morel mushrooms served on hand-cut tagliatelle, short-rib pappardelle, a wood-oven pizza special, and dessert (of course). Needless to say, I left stuffed! Over the next few days, I found myself daydreaming about how full of taste each dish was. Not one item we tried could be described as bland or average.

I decided to try my hand at recreating something with such profound and original taste. Let’s be honest, I’m not cooking octopus and I cannot afford fresh morel mushrooms. I’ve tried short-ribs before and they were a complete failure; I almost lost a tooth. So, pizza it was! I couldn’t tell you what cheese or toppings RPM used. My version is not meant to replicate theirs (I would insult them terribly), but rather to experiment with new flavors. Here it goes…

 

Ingredients:

Fresh whole-wheat pizza dough (Trader Joe’s offers a soy-free version. If gluten free – Better Bread Company offers a fresh option)

Pesto (Trader Joe’s now carries a soy-free pesto!)

Trader Joe’s freshly shaved parmesan, romano, & asiago cheese (If you’re lactose intolerant and can use Lactaid pills, I suggest this option. If not, a less flavorful rice cheese will suffice)

Cheese

Cheese

Fresh arugula

Fresh basil

Cherry tomatoes

Oyster mushrooms (Best from a farmers market- sometimes they offer mushroom medleys which will also work)

Crushed red pepper

 

Directions:

Follow the directions specific to your crust for rolling & baking. Regardless of the crust, I always sprinkle my stone with cornmeal to prevent sticking.

Once the crust is rolled out, paste it with a layer of pesto. Evenly distribute your cheese.

Wash & dry your greens. Tear the basil and arugula into smaller pieces. Layer them on top of the cheese.

Halve your tomatoes and layer them on with the mushrooms.

Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and bake.

Pre-baked pizza

Pre-baked pizza

Baked pizza

Baked pizza

 

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Mom’s Sugar Cookies

No matter what the occasion, these sugar cookies are a staple. I’m not a cookie person. When given the option, I will ALWAYS choose ice cream, pie, AND chocolate. That said, something about this recipe sucks me in. I made these last week- the batch is gone. It should be noted, I live alone.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup butter (Soy-free, dairy-free: Earth Balance. Soy-free: Land of Lakes)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1  teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl

Add liquids and egg

Blend (Add a food coloring if you’d like)

Chill overnight (at least 3 hours if you’re impatient!)

Roll out and cut with seasonal cookie cutters

Apply confectionary sugar

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes

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Can you tell which one is Brett’s masterpiece?

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Yum! Lactaid Milk!

Protein Bar Plug!

On my first date with Brett (boyfriend), I had the dreaded conversation with the server. As it turned out, the restaurant had NOTHING soy-free and only cooked with vegetable oil (always contains soy). I was embarrassingly limited to a cup of fruit. I’m sure Brett thought I was a freak (or an under-eater).

Instead of running for the hills, he texted me promptly Monday morning asking for my email address. Five minutes later, my inbox dinged with an email labeled “Protein Bar” containing only a link. I dismissed it thinking it was literally a bar of protein, something comparable to a granola bar. I later found myself in an awkward position when he asked me on a second date to Protein Bar (yes, a location, not granola). Oops.

When I was first diagnosed with my allergy, I thought for sure fast-food was off the table. Protein Bar is the exception! They are cognizant of all allergies, and incredibly accommodating. I had a burrito (quinoa) and chocolate shake (whey protein, cocoa, and almond milk) on that date! Their food is incredibly healthy and delicious! Try it.

They currently only have locations in D.C. and Chicago. However, they’re spreading rapidly. I suggest writing letters petitioning them to open a location in your city.

Here’s the link: http://www.theproteinbar.com/

And, credit goes to… Brett!