Product: Zemas Madhouse Foods Gluten-Free Rosemary-Millet Focaccia & Pizza Crust Mix – $7.95+
It’s time for another rewind as I work my way through my pantry these days. Hard to believe that I’m just now polishing off the very last of the first Cuisine Cube I ever received. But…it’s true. I am. I tend to overlook mixes when I get them because…well…I get distracted by using up the fresh produce that I receive in my CSA bin. And, sometimes…mixes and my pantry become BFFs for awhile. Until, one day, I’m looking for something and see a mix and go…”Oh…I forgot I had that.”
For the past couple of weeks, I have had every intention of using up the last product from the May 2014 (the Cuisine Cube that started it all!) cube. Really. I even took it to a weekend getaway with me, having every intention of baking it up with my friend. But, we had other menu plans and this returned home with me. I kept telling my roomie…”I need to use this mix…this weekend…” And it never happened. I had originally thought to turn it into a pizza crust, but that was going to involve yeast and time that I didn’t have…so I decided to just bake up the recipe on the back of the bag…for the Zema’s Gluten Free Tomato Herb Focaccia.
So…first let me give you a recap of Cuisine Cube and the services that they offer. Cuisine Cube is this great subscription service that will deliver, right to your door, a cube of happiness and goodness, each month. Subscriptions are affordable and definitely worth it. In fact, depending on the service you choose, a subscription to Cuisine Cube can run you as little as $29.99 a month. What a deal, eh? And, for this low rate, you will receive 5-6 products from small and lesser-known artisan companies that offer gluten-free products. It is a great way to cut out the highly processed gluten-free stuff you can find in nearly every grocery store this time. You receive a product that will cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, dessert…and sometimes…a bonus! Seriously…it is fantastic. And I love trying out brands and products I never would have known about before…or even thought about taking a chance and trying, should it be available in my area. And most of these items…are not.
So…yesterday…it was the magic day. I was already cooking up a vegan (yes…you read that right!) shrimp and grits for dinner and as I was about to get started on that, I remembered…”OH…I still have that focaccia bread mix!” To which my roommate said, “Well, make it up and we’ll have some with dinner.” Smart lady, my roommate. So…as I knew that a pizza version and some other recipes (which they have online) involved yeast and rise time…I opted to do the package recipe. And this product was none other than Zemas Gluten-Free Rosemary-Millet Focaccia & Pizza Crust Mix.
Zemas Madhouse Foods is committed to manufacturing gluten-free, ancient grain baking mixes that help support a clean eating lifestyle through the use of minimally processed ingredients that can be safely incorporated into diets that are limited, allergy-free and diabetic. They are committed to keeping their products free of dairy, soy, rice, yeast, tree nuts, peanuts, sulfites, additives, trans fats, preservatives, and refined sugar. I loved what I was reading already. So, the challenge was going to come with the baking and the tasting. Would it live up to the hype?
The recipe was easy and I had all the ingredients necessary to prepare it. Save for a rimmed cookie sheet. So, instead I baked mine into a pie pan. I figured, if anything, it might just require a bit more cooking time. So, I first combined the wet ingredients: egg whites, water, agave nectar, and apple cider vinegar. After that was all mixed together, I poured in the mix and whisked it together some more. Then, it all went into my round cake pan, which I lined with parchment paper. I topped it off with slices of grape tomatoes and then some dried basil, oregano, and garlic powder. Then, just a hit of Himalayan salt. Drizzled it with olive oil and…into my oven it went for about 45 minutes. And…the entire time it was baking it smelled AMAZING! When baking time was up, I tested it to make sure it baked through (I was using a smaller baking vessel, so it would be thicker than if I had baked it on a cookie sheet (Note to self: Purchase rimmed cookie sheet!)…and it was. So, it sat to cool slightly while I made the rest of dinner. Once dinner was prepared, I sliced a wedge of the Zemas Gluten-Free Tomato Herb Focaccia…and sat down to a hearty dinner.
As I mentioned above…making focaccia bread with Zema’s Gluten-Free Rosemary-Millet Focaccia & Pizza Crust Mix really made my apartment smell fantastic. My roommate even said, “If that tastes half as good as it smells…” So, I dished up her vegan shrimp and grits first and gave her a side of the Tomato Herb Focaccia and as I went to prepare my plate, I heard her say, “The bread is good…but a little dry.” Focaccia isn’t supposed to be dry…rather have a great outer crust and a chewy inside. So, as I settled down to eat my own dinner, I went for the bread first.
Zemas Madhouse Foods baked up a really great looking loaf of focaccia bread. No kidding. It had that golden outer layer, and when I sliced into it…it was a bit softer. However, unlike most focaccia’s that get it’s chewy inside from little pockets of air that get there from kneading and/or beating, this definitely had a more cake-like texture to it. Much denser. No air pockets. I took a bite…and my roomie was right, the Zemas Gluten Free Tomato Herb Focaccia, baked form the Zemas Madhouse Foods Gluten-Free Rosemary-Millet Focaccia & Pizza Crust Mix definitely did taste a little dry. Maybe not dry…but heavy and dense. Which was a bit of a letdown. That being said, the flavor…OH MY GOD…the flavor was amazing. When I eat a slice tonight with dinner, I’m going to serve it with some olive oil and herbs de Provence. I think having something like that or a marinara to accompany the bread will only enhance the flavor and maybe take away from the dense nature of the inside breading. I loved the mix, however, especially with the herbs baked right on top. Just fantastic eating. I just wish it had baked up differently. And, perhaps, it was baking it in a cake pan that messed with the end product…but it wasn’t enough for me to ditch the entire loaf and cut my losses. Not at all. Amazing flavor can make up for a multitude of sins, for sure.
So, let’s talk about what ingredients go into the Zemas Madhouse Foods Gluten-Free Rosemary-Millet Focaccia & Pizza Mix. This mix is composed of sorghum flour, millet flour, organic flax seed meal, potato starch, tapioca starch, hemp seeds, and contains less than 2% of the following: aluminum free baking powder, organic quinoa, chia seeds, organic rosemary, xanthan gum, and sea salt. This mix is free of trans fats, cholesterol, sugar, and saturated fat.
As for the nutritional information, for the mix itself (not made up into a focaccia bread of pizza dough), the facts are that a serving is about 1-2/3 tablespoon of the dry mix (or about 13 grams). This serving will give you 45 calories and only 1 gram of fat. From this serving, you will be taking in 55 mg sodium and 0 sugars. You will also be consuming only 1 gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein. If you were to make the Gluten-Free Tomato Herb Focaccia as I did, with the ingredients I listed above, your nutritional information alters slightly. I made it so that the bread would make 16 servings (16 small wedges), which would provide 78 calories per serving and only 3 grams of fat. A wedge would also give you 134 mg sodium and only 1 gram of sugar (from the tomatoes!). And, finally, one serving provides 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein, meaning it’s not a very filling serving, but you won’t be starving either. Definitely pair this with a meal.
I love the idea and mission that Zemas Madhouse Foods has set into place for their business and their foods. And while I was underwhelmed by the texture of the focaccia I baked up from the Zemas Gluten-Free Rosemary-Millet Focaccia & Pizza Crust Mix…it really hit a high note when it came to flavor. I loved the different spices and seasonings and how I could taste all of them. I think I even have another product (that I found when I was out of town) that is part of Zemas product lineup, so I am eager to try it and see how it comes out.
If you’re looking for a healthier way to eat, despite your dietary restrictions, I definitely recommend not only Cuisine Cube, but also products from Zemas Madhouse Foods. I think the texture was more in part of how I baked it and now want to try to do it the way it was intended. That being said, I can’t wait to see how more of Zemas products fair in my kitchen. Thank you Cuisine Cube…for introducing me to this amazing, and forward-thinking gluten-free company that is trying to help us live a healthier and more nutritious life.