A bunch of bloggers whose work I adore have come out with cookbooks lately. One such blogger is Erin Alderson of the blog Naturally Ella. Her brand new book is called The Homemade Flour Cookbook: The Home Cook’s Guide to Milling Nutritious Flours and Creating Delicious Recipes with Every Grain, Legume, Nut, and Seed from A-Z.

This book is based on the very cool concept that you can easily make your own fresh and nutritious flours at home. As much as I love to cook and bake, making my own flours isn’t something I’ve delved into much before (apart from blending oats to make oat flour), mostly because I assumed you needed special equipment (like a grain mill). While Erin does recommend investing in a grain mill, it turns out that you can do quite a lot more than make oat flour with a high-powered blender (which I already own). You can also mill some flours in a coffee grinder!

In this book, Erin not only delves into all the different ways you can make your own wholesome flours from different grains (including gluten-free grains), legumes, nuts and seeds, she also shares 100 very yummy-looking recipes that utilize the various fresh flours. The photos in the book, taken by Erin, are beautiful.

Because I have a big stash of dried chickpeas, I decided to try my hand at grinding chickpea flour in my blender. I was pretty skeptical about it working at first: chickpeas are so hard! After a minute or two the flour still looked like small rocks, but I played around with a few of the settings on my Blendtec and found that at #3, the chickpeas turned to a fine powder after another few minutes. Hooray!

I used my chickpea flour to make Erin’s recipe for Tomato Basil Socca Pizza. Socca is a flatbread that’s a specialty of Nice, France. I’ve never had socca but I know it has a reputation for being very tasty. I was happy for the inspiration to make it (I’d been meaning to try it ever since seeing this recipe on David Lebovitz’ blog ages ago).

Socca is so simple to make: all you need is the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt. You soak these together for an hour, then you cook the batter in a hot oiled skillet under a broiler.

I’ve purchased chickpea flour in the past and used it in gluten-free baking. It always had this odd, very bean-y flavor to me, which I didn’t love. I have to say that my fresh chickpea flour didn’t taste “off” at all: I really loved it in this base for an easy pizza. So while you can definitely use store-bought chickpea flour in this recipe, I recommend trying to make your own if you can because it’s fresher and really does have a different, milder flavor.

Many thanks to Erin for turning me on to making my own flours. I really look forward to seeing what I can do with ancient grains, legumes, nuts, etc. I cannot wait to try out more of the recipes in this book: there are so many incredibly creative and healthy savory and sweet recipes to choose from! And I have one extra copy of the book from the publisher to give away to one of my readers…the directions for entering the giveaway are below the recipe :)



Recipe for Tomato Basil Socca Pizza

Yield: 1 skillet-size pizza (4 slices)

This take on pizza has a soft-ish base and Erin recommends eating it with a knife and fork.

I used goat cheese because that's what I had on hand; next time, I will try this with fresh mozzarella.

This was really yummy with a fried egg on top (see photo below)!

Ingredients:

*1 cup (120 g) chickpea flour
*1 cup (235 ml) water
*1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
*1 clove garlic, minced
*1/4 teaspoon sea salt
*1 large (220g) tomato, sliced 1/4 inch (6mm) thick
*1 1/2 cups (3 ounces) shredded mozzarella (or try another cheese: I used goat cheese and Erin suggested playing with Fontina and Gouda, too)
*3 or 4 basil leaves, julienned

Directions:

1. In a bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, water, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil, the garlic, and salt. Let sit for 1 hour.

2. Turn on the broiler with a rack positioned 8 inches (20 cm) from the heat and place a 10-inch (25.5 cm) ovenproof skillet in the oven to preheat. Once the skillet is hot, carefully remove from the oven and add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil. Swirl around to cover the bottom. Pour in the chickpea batter and return the skillet to the broiler. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the socca is set and the edges are browning. Remove from oven, turn off broiler, and turn to oven to 425 degrees F. (220 degrees C. or gas mark 7).

3. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil on top of the socca. Layer the tomato slices around the socca. Sprinkle the cheese on top and return the skillet to the oven. (I actually put the cheese under and around the tomatoes...it doesn't really matter how you layer them.) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is browning and the socca is crisp. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the basil on top. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

To enter the giveaway for a copy of The Homemade Flour Cookbook:

Mandatory entry: Leave a comment on this post from now through Monday June 16th, 2014 at midnight (I won’t accept entries after that time).

Optional: For an extra entry, join my community on Facebook and then leave me a comment telling me you did so. If you’re already a fan on Facebook, let me know in the comments section.

Optional: For a third entry, you can sign up for my blog’s email updates (you’ll find the sign up box in the top right sidebar of my blog). Once you are signed up, just leave a comment letting me know.

So that’s it! There are up to three entries for each person and I’ll choose a winner via random.com next Tuesday morning. I will notify the winner by email so make sure I have a valid email address for you. US readers only, please. Good luck!

More posts about (and recipes from) The Homemade Flour Cookbook:

Chocolate Espresso Donuts (Edible Perspective)
Grilled Polenta with Zucchini Salsa (Love and Lemons)
Rhubarb Blueberry Apple Pie (The Vanilla Bean Blog)