So I love pizza. And we live in a van. And we have two pans, a pot and a frying pan. And we hardly ever “plug in” to an electrical source or run our generator, so we can’t often use our microwave/convection oven. And I have celiac disease. You might say, “Hell, just give up and eat Campbell’s Soup out of a can.” But not me. Like Matt Damon in The Martian, “I’m just going to have to science the shit out of this.” As my pal, Matt, says, you have to solve one problem, then the next, then the next.
So, first was the crust. The solution: Pre-packaged gluten-free pizza crusts the exact diameter of my frying pan. They must have made them just for me. I toast them on one side in some olive oil, then flip them over,
Next, the ingredients. The solution: Pre-cook them, so they only need to heat through.
Last, the final assembly and heating. The solution: Put a lid on the frying pan, lower the flame underneath and let sit until the crust is browned and the ingredients hot and bubbly.
I recently made two versions, one with thinly sliced potatoes, reminiscent of the one I had from a street vendor in Paris years ago (Yes, I am that sophisticated.), and another with red peppers and goat cheese, which I will put on ANYTHING. You could use pepperoni, grated mozzarella, eggplant, anything you like.
And trust me, if Matt had this on Mars, he might not have worked so hard to get home.
Gluten-free Van Pizza
Pre-packaged gluten-free pizza crusts to fit your pan
Pizza sauce (commercial or your own)
Your favorite pre-cooked ingredients
1 – Thinly sliced potatoes, sautéed in olive oil, salt and pepper until brown and crispy
2 – Diced red peppers, sautéed, and goat cheese
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan.
Cook crust until browned on one side.
Top with ingredients.
Cover and cook until crust is toasted brown on the bottom and ingredients are hot and bubbly.
Everyone who knows us knows that Tom is the real cook in the family. But that doesn’t mean I’m a total food failure. I can put together something to eat once in awhile. And, if I do say so myself, sometimes it’s pretty good.
One of the things I’ve made in the one-pot cooking world of The Epic Van is a version of a recipe my mother always makes for the vegetarians in our family. (The garbanzo beans are my addition. You’re welcome.) I’m not sure where the original recipe came from, but I’ll call it Sweet Potato Hash. It can be scaled to feed any number. And it’s the kind of no-rules recipe I like: Put in as much of each ingredient as you like.
By Tom Nichols
On our way through Hatch, N.M., in 2015, I bought some some mild-green-chili powder for myself and Jeannine Dahl, my dear mother in law and cooking partner. We’ve shared many good times in her Arizona kitchen, trading ideas on how to tweak traditional American classics. This is a mellow Southwestern twist on Mac and Cheddar, with portions reduced to accommodate our four-quart pasta pot (sauce pan) in The Epic Van.