Posts Tagged ‘pizza’

We Is Like Peas And Carrots

Mine

For Meatless Monday, I thought it would be fun to try meatless pizzas for a dinner that would be vegetarian without feeling spartan or limiting.

When the Everyman and I used to live at our old house, we did pizza nights all the time because we had a grocery store in the bottom of our building with hot and cold running toppings at our fingertips.  We still occasionally make homemade pizza, but prepping dough tends to require advance planning, so it’s generally not as often as either of us would like to.  Yet every time we do, I kick myself for not thinking to do it more often because aside from dough time it’s a quick, easy dinner that’s adaptable to any variety of tastes and styles.

Yesterday I was on the ball (both literally and figuratively) and mixed up a batch of dough before leaving for work, so by the time we got home all that was required was to warm the dough to room temperature, preheat the pizza stones and determine what would make for a tasty veggie combo.  After discussing just that on the drive home, it sounded like a more prudent idea would be to make 2 individual pizzas suited to our unique tastes rather than trying to compromise on 1 larger veggie pizza.  While the Everyman ran out for some last minute extra cheese, I assembled a toppings bar for us to build our ideal pizzas.

My pizza (above) is like me; complex, off-beat and unique.  It begins with a blend of pesto and blue cheese forming a tangy green base, then it’s scattered with asparagus tips, smushed figs and bocconcini.  A shower of mozzarella shreds, cracked pepper and oregano finish it off.  It wasn’t until after the pizza was done that I realized I’d accidentally left off the shiitake mushrooms I re-hydrated.  No matter.  This pizza was a thin crust marvel, and though non-traditional, it struck just the right balance between savoury and sweet for me.

His

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Shrinking Violets Need Not Apply

Stinkin' Pizza

On the drive to work the other day, I was catching up on my feed reading with my iPhone (as passengers are wont to do) and came across a post on Mark Bittman’s new slog (that’s salon/blog to the newbs) about a dare he threw down to Ed Schneider to make a ramp pizza.

At the precise moment I was reading it, the Everyman happened to ask me what I was reading about, but when I told him he seemed non-plussed (though I was extremely intrigued) so I knew I’d have to file this one away for some future solo supper.  Of course, ramp season only lasts for so long, so I knew it would have to be sooner rather than later.

Several days later an opportunity presented itself, so the morning of I mixed up a batch of plain pizza dough using my handy dandy Bittman app.  That night, I started by following Ed’s general instructions by separating ramp leaves from the bulbs and sautéing them individually in a little beurre noisette.  I had rummaged around in our fridge and freezer for other things to put on the pizza and came across some errant artichoke pesto cubes, so once the ramps were cooked I melted the pesto into them too.  To finish the stinky, vegetal sauce I thwacked in a dollop of creme fraiche, then set to work trying to spread the mess onto half a ball of pizza dough.  Once it was mostly dressed, I showered it profusely with shredded mozzarella and tried to artfully snap the pie off my pizza peel with a flick of the wrist.  Let’s just say that part’s a work in progress.

A good while later the dough had reached my desired degree of doneness in the meekness of a 500* oven, and the ramp greens had acquired occasional spots of char as I had hoped for, so I fished it out and set to work cutting and munching it.

It would certainly have been better if I’d had a blazing hot pizza oven that could cook a proper pie in closer to 2 minutes than the 20 or so this one took, but otherwise, the flavours worked astonishingly well together.  Make no mistake though, this is not a pie for people who are on the fence about ramps, because even with the pesto and creme fraiche to temper them this is clearly a dish where their funky, pungent flavour is the primary star.

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Bella Bianca

Baked

Truthfully, I’m not usually one for compromise.

I want what I want, and I want it my way, so woe betide those who might get between me and whatever I’m after.

One of the things I enjoy about Sundays is the opportunity for solitude that comes from quietly baking.  However, the Everyman and I had to go out to the KW yesterday afternoon, so any bread I intended to bake needed to be a little easier or more low maintenance.  After last week’s recipe perusal, I had a list of close to a half dozen breads I wanted to play around with in the near future, so from that I selected the one bread that didn’t require any sort of starter or biga; the pizza bianca.

Pizza bianca is pizza in it’s most elemental form.  The dough is similar to focaccia, except it’s not quite as airy.  For a bianca, it is nothing more than dough baked in a blazing hot oven sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt, but to fancy it up a little, you can turn it into pizza rosso, where it becomes a tomato sauce-based pizza.

Back when I first started making focaccia, the Everyman commented that they were similar to the ones he used to buy in Italy as a snack, but mine came with more in the way of herb topping.  After awhile it occurred to me that perhaps what the Everyman had been reminiscing about was a pizza bianca.  I always meant to get around to making him one, but with so many tempting options in Local Breads to sample, who could blame me for neglecting the bianca a wee bit?

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Market Meals June

New This Week

I’m a fairly industrious person by nature.

Yesterday morning for instance, I baked a loaf of banana bread and prepped a batch of pizza dough before I’d even left for work at 7:30.  That was in addition to the usual girliness of getting ready, packing lunch and tending to the animals (plus rousing the Everyman) that I normally do every day.

Since it was Tuesday I knew there’d be a farmer’s market opportunity when I got home, and for whatever reason I had grilled pizza on my mind.  This article from last week probably has something to do with it, plus the days are (slowly) getting warmer and that always makes me want to crack open the open air grill.  So, I whipped up a batch of dough before departing, figuring I’d work out the fine details whilst at the market and be ready to go once I returned.

When I got to the market (which now comes equipped with it’s own website) it turned out the universe had slightly different plans.  No doubt I’m usually one of the last people there since I’m coming from Mississauga during rush hour, but there was still half an hour until the market was supposed to close, but no veggies were in sight.  In fact, a few of the vendors were already gone, and others were in the process of packing up to go.  Just like that, visions of grilled asparagus pizza that had danced through my head went foop!  I wandered around the remaining stalls somewhat dejectedly, now unsure of what to make for dinner.  Then I came across the Millbank Creamery stand with it’s stacks of cheese and local Amish butter.  I grabbed a pound of butter and a chunk of mozzarella cheese and decided not to abandon the pizza plan just yet.  I stopped to see friendly Seth at Forbes to see if I could rustle up anything pizza-worthy, but all that was left were jars of preserves and dried nuts, seeds and berries, so I picked up a bottle of Labrador tea vinegar and carried on.  Seth says Labrador tea is beguilingly spicy, so I figure this vinegar might be the salad sprinkle of choice come summer.  As I headed down the path to leave, I passed The Local Cafe stand that foils me every time (since the market opened I’ve been trying to scrounge a yummy quick bread that the Everyman loves, but by the time I get there they’re always long gone).  Today was no different so I kept moving, but out of the corner of my eye I spied something on the Evelyn’s Crackers table; a lone bag of red fife wheat.  Eyes darting quickly around to ensure no one else had noticed it, I hied my way to the table and handed over the dough.  What a wonderful and unexpected prize.  I was almost upset that I’d already made pizza dough because I love red fife (really all hard flours; our standard is a hard unbleached wheat that comes flecked with it’s bran by the giant sack from Bob).  With that I began the short jaunt to home and started pondering what would make a good pizza.

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When The Food Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie, That’s Amore!

Perfection

Last summer the Everyman and I fell madly in love with Pizzeria Uno’s Chicago deep dish.  It’s a near perfect melding of flavors, textures and layers that is utterly obscene in it’s decadence.

While the crusty pie is not without it’s faults, in the intervening months since our visit, I’ve been working hard to improve this classic to suit our palates.  At dinner earlier this week I think I finally found our little slice of heaven.

Firstly, one must start with a careful, homemade pizza dough.  The key characteristic we observed at Uno’s was a buttery taste and a cornmeal component.  The recipe listed below should give you a decent baseline to work from.  Both the Everyman and I agreed that there was a bit too much dough in Chicago deep dish pizza, thus the recipe has been scaled back slightly to make enough dough for a thick crust version only (or a really small deep dish).

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