So I went to my first yoga class Tuesday night. It was kind of a big step for me. An act of courage, of internal bravery. OK I’ll be honest; I was freaking nervous as all get-out. I had done a weeee bit of yoga at home before but doing this “omg I have to stretch my leg how?” thing in a room full of complete strangers and the thought of it induced a near-meltdown inside me. I knew going in that in the midst of a group of people, I couldn’t just give up if it seemed too hard, if a half hour was enough, like I would have done and have done at home where turning off the dvd is an option.
And you know what? I got through it. I teased on Instagram that night that I didn’t puke or didn’t pull any muscles (indicating success for me) but I was really proud of myself. You know why? Because half an hour into the class, I foolishly looked at the clock and mentally patted myself on the back for making it to the halfway point.
Then another half hour passed and the “oh my ever-loving gawd [don’t forget, I am from New York], this class is an hour and a half long, not just an hour” reality set in. Sweaty chubby-girl-in-yoga-pants (hi! that’s me) panic proceeded where clear thoughts and deep breathing should have been. But dammit if I wasn’t making it through that whole class. I powered on, albeit sheepishly weak and slightly wobbly by that point, and finished.
This class, just like this roasted vegetable pizza was a step in the right direction in the middle of a meatless January for me. Put simply, we loooved these mini-pizzas. Made with leftover tortillas, some of my favorite Italian cheeses, and a heaping mound of roasted vegetables, we devoured this meal twice in the course of a week. They are a cinch to through together, especially if you’ve got leftover roasted vegetables hanging around, and could be served as dinner with soup or a salad or as a light lunch on their own. I’m adding this meal to our regular rotation and will be adding regular yoga classes to my workout schedule. My muscles will eventually forgive me for Tuesday night. I hope.
Roasted Vegetable Pizzas source: Smells Like Home
Feel free to use whatever kinds of vegetables are your favorites to roast; ours are Brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions and red peppers. I suggest using cooking spray in this recipe to keep it light and a Misto filled with olive oil works great. If you don’t have spray olive oil, a very light coating on the baking sheet and on the tortillas will be fine – the oil will prevent the tortillas from sticking to the pan.
3 cups roughly chopped vegetables, for roasting (see note above)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (6- to 8-inch) tortillas
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, divided
2 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the vegetables with olive oil and some salt and pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up). Spread the vegetables out in a single layer. Roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through with a spatula, until they are nicely browned. Remove the pan from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 400.
While the vegetables roast, lightly spray a second baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the tortillas on the baking sheet and lightly spray the tops of the tortillas. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning evenly over the two tortillas. Spread 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese out over each tortilla.
After the vegetables have finished roasting, divide them evenly between the pizzas. Dollop 2 additional tablespoons of ricotta cheese randomly over the vegetables, repeating with the second pizza. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella over each pizza (as in, each pizza gets 1 oz of cheese).
Bake for 5-7 minutes until the cheese starts to melt then turn the broiler on so the cheese gets all melty and starts to brown in spots. Keep a close eye so the pizzas don’t burn. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the pizzas cool for just 1-2 minutes on the sheets. Cut each one into quarters with a pizza cutter or long, sharp knife and serve hot.
Sometimes deciding on what to make with the overwhelming number of tomatoes that we have is the easiest thing in the world. And by overwhelming, I mean: so many tomatoes that they are practically yanking the tomato cages out of the ground as the plants lean with the weight of the tomatoes. So we plucked a few San Marzanos, diced and hand-crushed them and then made a pizza. A simple homemade pizza of crushed tomatoes as the “sauce”, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. Dinner seriously does not get any better than this one! Who’s with me when I say that I’m going to desperately miss summer vegetables when they are gone?
Margherita Pizza source: Smells Like Home original
3-4 fresh San Marzano or Roma tomatoes or canned whole tomatoes (if you’re desperate), halved, seeded, diced, and hand-crushed
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, patted dry and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup fresh basil, loosely packed, torn or thinly sliced (if desired)
Preheat oven with a pizza stone inside to 500 degrees F for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the pizza dough to a 14-inch circle on a well-floured surface. Transfer the dough to either a large piece of parchment paper or a cornmeal-sprinkled pizza peel. Drizzle a little olive oil over the dough and spread the crushed tomatoes out on top. Layer the mozzarella in a single layer on top of the tomatoes. Transfer the pizza to the hot stone. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the mozzarella is bubbly and most of the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle the fresh basil over the pizza as it’s cooling and serve hot.
Lately, I feel like my brain has been working in overdrive. Since moving, I’ve been working on changing a few things around here. Where dishes used to sit in the sink for a day (or two…ok, I’m being generous here), a little extra conscientiousness and some rubber gloves go a long way. Laundry gets folded within 2 days of being washed. My commute is an extra 10 minutes in the morning now and I’m busting my butt every morning to get to my new job on time. I’m chronically late for just about everything in my life and frankly, I’m tired of feeling like I’m always stopping to catch my breath, literally and figuratively.
I hate my shortcomings. I know I’m not a fabulous “housewife” but I know I’m able to make lots of other contributions to our little family aside from just my paycheck. Like this pizza. Thinly sliced flank steak, shaved asparagus, crumbled Gorgonzola, and a béchamel sauce base. It’s pretty much the best [non-breakfast] pizza we’ve eaten in ages. And it really came about because in my typical frazzled manner one morning a few weeks ago, I forgot to take the pork chops out of the freezer for dinner. I called Kyle at home to take them out (he was off from work that day) and I came home that afternoon to find thawed flank steak. Silly boy.
So out of my stewing about the flank steak not being pork chops, I wrapped my brain around the idea of this pizza. And since I’m not one to toot my own horn [too often], I’ll just say that you’ll thank me after making this. Set atop your favorite pizza dough (this is ours – I really need to blog this recipe), you’ll love how the ingredients all come together almost as if it’s a dinner at a pricey steakhouse. The flank steak is tender, the fresh asparagus adds a little bitterness, the Gorgonzola (and some mozzarella) melts all over just like a decadent Gorgonzola sauce over filet mignon, and the béchamel sauce base is rich and silky. Basically, it’s perfection.
8 - 10 oz flank steak, cooked medium and sliced thin across the grain
6 asparagus stalks, shaved lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
3 oz crumbled Gorgonzola
6 oz mozzarella, shredded
Preheat oven to 500° F with a clean pizza stone on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes.
To make the bechamel sauce: Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Toss in the garlic and bring the milk to a simmer, stirring frequently until it begins to bubble and coats the back of a spoon, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the garlic and off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
To assemble and bake the pizza: Once the stone is properly heated, roll the pizza dough out to a 14-inch circle on a well-floured surface. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a pizza peel or wood cutting board and transfer the dough round to the peel or board. Spread the sauce out over the pizza and sprinkle on half of the mozzarella cheese. Lay the steak on the cheese in one layer, spread the shaved asparagus out over the steak, sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella, and add the Gorgonzola.
Remove the stone from the oven and sprinkle some cornmeal on the stone; carefully transfer the pizza to the stone. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Allow the pizza to cool on the stone for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
In 1988, my parents bought a boat. Overall, the boat served us well (in spite of all the money they sunk into it, no pun intended – you know how having a boat goes) and we spent many a weekend for the better part of 10 or 12 summers crammed into my parents’ 25-footer at our favorite little beach on Fire Island. Like camping, feeding a family on a small boat requires a good bit of planning; refrigeration is limited (think dorm-size fridge) or sometimes non-existent except for ice in coolers and if the beach/marina you’re staying at even has water available, your hook-up is done through a garden-like marine hose plugged into the side of the boat. Our showers were made possible by a sun shower that we’d let heat up on the dock all day then hang up on a nail in one of the stalls of the public bathroom to wash away the sand, salt, and sunscreen.
In a semi-distant but totally comforting way, this bacon, egg, and cheese pizza reminds me of Sunday mornings at the beach. For the most part, my mom packed food for breakfast – our electric griddle was king – but on a rare Sunday, after giving in to our pleading and whiny voices (dad included), she would allow my dad (as we were always on a budget) to hit up the snack bar for freshly made-to-order egg sandwiches. He practically floated down the dock on the smell of cooking bacon and sausage wafting over the marina like a cartoon character drawn to his favorite food. Those sandwiches were rare, special, and so satisfying.
This breakfast pizza, being all of those sentiments, admittedly was Kyle’s idea. He gets me. He knows that I find it virtually impossible to find a decent freshly made egg sandwich sandwich (i.e., not microwaved – gross) anywhere near our home. This pizza idea is the brainchild of observing my frustrations all these years and it encompasses all that I [we] love in an excellent egg sandwich. Plus? It’s pizza. So yeah, two of my favorite foods wrapped up in one little package. Like I said, he gets me.
As with any pizza or egg sandwich, feel free to add whatever toppings you want. We went for bacon, Monterey Jack, sautéed onions and peppers, and a whole bunch of fresh herbs. The key to this pizza is to make sure you push the pizza dough up the sides of a baking sheet so that the beaten eggs have a place to stay. It’s almost like making a quiche in that you don’t want the eggs leaking under the crust, else they will make it soft and difficult to remove from the baking sheet. Use a well-seasoned baking sheet if you have one and sprinkle on a little cornmeal before you put the dough down – don’t skip this step. The end result is a something magical: fluffy eggs, salty bacon, tons of freshness from the herbs, crispy pizza crust. It’s pretty much the perfect breakfast pizza and because we made a whole sheet pan of it, we had plenty of leftovers for breakfasts later in the week. I can see this being a great Mother’s Day breakfast project with a kitchen full of kids or even a quick through-together breakfast-for-dinner kind of meal during the week. Either way, this breakfast pizza is a big winner here: it evokes great memories for me and fills our bellies at the same time.
Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Pizza source: Smells Like Home original recipe
8 strips bacon, cooked crisp and broken into 1-inch pieces
1/2 large onion and 1/2 bell pepper, sliced and sauteed in olive oil until soften, about 8 minutes
2 green onions/scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Sprinkle a little cornmeal on the bottom of a 12″ x 18″ baking sheet. Roll or stretch the dough out to an approximately 14 x 18 inch rectangle (the dough will be thin so take care not to rip it). Drape the dough into the pan, stretching it out to and up the sides of the pan. Using a fork, prick the dough 10 or 12 times to reduce bubbling when baking.
Carefully pour the eggs over the dough (don’t let the eggs overflow), scatter half of the cheese, then the bacon, peppers and onions, and the remaining cheese. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Sprinkle the herbs over the hot pizza before slicing and serving.
It’s no surprise to me that, when faced with a new pizza recipe, we wouldn’t be all over it. It’s also no surprise that my friend Annie has dreamed up another fabulous pizza recipe being that I know one of her favorite foods, like my own, is pizza. Annie’s Spinoccoli pizza lends a silly name to a drop dead amazing pizza, combining fresh baby spinach and itty pieces of broccoli with a luscious white sauce. All baked together, the pizza reminds me of a vegetable lasagna and that’s probably why I love it so much. I’ve actually got an unforgettable spinach lasagna recipe to share with you soon but in the meantime, you must try this pizza. The greatest thing about this spinach broccoli pizza, aside from how it tastes of course, is that you can use up all those leftover bits of vegetables in your fridge. I know I’m not the only one who chronically has half a bag of baby spinach in my fridge with nothing to do with it except to throw it in a salad – so bust it out for this pizza! The white sauce takes all of 10 minutes to make while you’re waiting for the oven to preheat and in 30 minutes (if you go with premade dough rather than homemade), Friday pizza night is done. It’s the perfect way to end the week, don’t ya think?
So just a little aside about the funky photo I took above…have you heard of Instagr.am? It’s a cool little [FREE!] app for iPhone used to snap photos, add some flair to them with different filters, and it gives you the ability to instantly upload them to Twitter, flickr, and even Facebook. It’s a ton of fun and after I picked this broccoli from our garden one morning earlier this week, I took a quick shot. You can also link your mobile Instagr.am app to Web.stagram where you can easily connect with friends and view and comment on all of their photos (and yours too) in a running feed. It’s not so much of “another social media thing to handle” as it is a digital photo book – check it out if you have a minute. And if you’re wondering about the broccoli…I’m insanely excited that this fresh bundle is going on my Spinoccoli pizza tonight!
3/4 cup milk (any kind), heavy cream, or half-and-half (I use skim milk)
1 clove garlic, smashed
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the pizza:
Olive oil, for brushing
1/2 cup packed baby spinach leaves, torn
1 cup very small broccoli florets
2 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz shredded cheddar cheese
To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling and light golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk/heavy cream/heavy cream and garlic, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated Parmesan until completely melted and smooth. Discard the garlic clove. (Note: This will make a bit more sauce than you need for the pizza, but with a little extra cheese it makes a great dipping sauce for crust.)
To make the pizza, preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round. Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of the white sauce over the crust, leaving a border clear around the edge for the crust. Sprinkle the torn spinach leaves over the white sauce. Evenly distribute the broccoli florets over the dough. Layer evenly with the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Finish with additional grated Parmesan, if desired.
Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
Remember the days when you were convinced you didn’t like a certain food…and then by some unknown miracle, you found out that you actually loved that food? Most of us have a food like that. For me, it’s buffalo sauce. When my girlfriends were putting down 10¢ happy hour wings in college, I was studying. Or working. And when Domino’s showed up at the dorm in the wee hours of the night with a butt-load of extra hot wings after a long night at the bars, I usually was no where to be found (Read: already showered and in bed). I couldn’t be bothered with anything having to do with buffalo.
But in my post-post college years, something awakened inside me. Now 10 years after college, my college girlfriends and I still meet up a few times a year and it should be no surprise that we meet for wings. It was a few years ago that something told me that I needed to partake in this wing obsession that my girlfriends still harbored So I gave these much beloved buffalo wings a shot and through the sweaty red face and fingertips full of hot sauce and ranch dressing, I fell in love. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing all those years ago! So I pitched the idea of getting wings one night to Kyle and got a thumbs down. Another non-believer! Boooo!
But there was a way around this. A way to get my way and get some of that winged goodness in my house without Kyle turning it down…I’d put it on a pizza. And let’s just say that he loves this pizza just as much as I do. It’s spicy. It’s sweet. The flavors almost caramelize together and make it impossible to resist going back for seconds. You won’t see a pizza dough recipe below but I’ll tell you that I’ve tried 3 or 4 different dough recipes for this pizza in the past and I wholeheartedly recommend Annie’s favorite recipe (also linked below since I haven’t blogged about it yet). Don’t wait like I did to try out a pizza like this one; I know you’ll love it as much as we do!
Still not ready for buffalo chicken pizza? Here are some other recipes to try out:
Buffalo Chicken Pizza source: Smells Like Home original
1/2 batch of homemade or store-bought fresh pizza dough 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil 12 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces 3 tbsp hot sauce (Recommended: Frank’s Hot Sauce) 2 tbsp unsalted butter 1/2 – 3/4 cup ranch dressing 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled (Recommended: St. Agur, available at Whole Foods or your favorite mild English or French blue cheese) 4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese Cornmeal, for transferring and cooking pizza
Place a pizza stone in a clean oven and heat for 20-25 minutes at 500 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for 3-5 minutes until almost cooked through. It will finish cooking in the oven. Add hot sauce and butter to the pan, heat through, and toss the chicken in the [now] buffalo sauce to coat. Remove from the heat and set aside.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness, but not larger than the size of your stone. Sprinkle a small handful of cornmeal onto a pizza peel (highly recommended if you love making pizza!), large wooden cutting board, or backside of a large sheet pan. Transfer the dough to the cornmealed surface. Spread ranch dressing out evenly on the dough, leaving a 1″ border around the outside edge of the dough. Top with 3/4 of the blue cheese. Add the chicken and some of the sauce from the pan. Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese and the remaining blue cheese. You can add some extra sauce from the pan or shake on some hot sauce from the bottle if you want some extra heat.
Carefully remove the stone from the oven and place on top of the stove top. Sprinkle with another small handful of cornmeal and evenly distribute on the stone with a spatula if needed – don’t worry if it smokes a little. Transfer the pizza onto the stone by sliding a spatula around the edges of the dough to loosen it from its surface and then shimmy the pizza off its surface. Bake at 500 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Remove the stone from the oven, place it on top of the stove top and allow the pizza to sit for a couple of minutes before cutting. Serve hot.
~~~Never in a million years would I have thought that I would find myself in the midst of Project Food Blog Challenge #5. I was thrilled to make it to Challenge #2 and it seems my disbelief continues to grow each week as I move ahead with each challenge. As expected, they are getting progressively more difficult, but this wouldn’t be a blogging challenge if it didn’t get more difficult. I have YOU to thank for helping me get here. Thank you to each and every one of you for your extraordinary support and encouragement each week! I hope I will do this next challenge justice!~~~
When I saw the prompt for Challenge #5, asking contestants “to put your own spin on Pizza“, my heart soared. I heard birds singing. Unlike doing a photo tutorial, this challenge was right up my alley. See, I adore pizza. It’s one of the two foods I could eat every day. It’s one of the 3 things I would take with me if I ever got stranded on a deserted island (the other two being bagels and my cat, Wilma). Pizza is in my blood. It was, without fail, my standard meal for every Friday night dinner growing up. It was my first real job. It’s what I even tweeted about last week. And for the record, I still don’t know how people in CT will wait 40 minutes for a pizza on a Thursday night. In NY, if you hear 40 minutes, you laugh, hang up the phone, and dial your next favorite place on a list of 25 pizza places in the 3 mile radius of your house. Maybe it’s the inherent lack of patience NYers seem to possess but I think it’s more that they know they shouldn’t have to wait so long for such a staple food. And for the record, a 40 minute wait never happens anyway.
All this said, I didn’t think this challenge would be easy. Making a pizza seems easy on the surface but when you’re pinned up against 72 other fantastic bloggers all looking for the next 60 spots, the stakes are a little higher. Just a little. Hundreds (thousands??) of possibilities abound for how to make a pizza. But when Kyle and I sat down Friday afternoon to discuss what to do, we came to an almost immediate agreement. 3 courses: appetizer, main course, and dessert. Here is our menu (all recipes are listed below):
Appetizer Margarita Pizza Grilled mini tomato, basil, mozzarella pizzas
Main Course Clams Casino Pizza Stone-baked white pizza with fresh clams and bacon over a ricotta cheese sauce Dessert S’mores Pizza Stone-baked graham crust with chocolate ganache sauce topped with toasted marshmallows
The appetizer was a no-brainer for us since we love this combination in so many forms. Classic tomato, basil, mozzarella. Even after summer tomatoes are well-passed, it’s still one that works great on a pizza since the tomatoes break down a little with the heat. We decided to grill these mini pizzas. Grilled pizza is a favorite around here and it’s so much easier to do with little pizzas rather than full-size ones. And the slight bit of char on the dough really helps to bring out the dough’s flavor. Grilled pizza is always a winner!
For the main course, I’ll admit that this is kind of out there for most people. But clam pizza is a local favorite here in CT and most pizza places have it on their menus. It’s not a topping, however, that a NYer would be used to seeing, though you would think that clams would be a natural choice for this Long Island girl (Suffolk, south shore) since clams in all forms are almost as much of a staple as pizza is. But in fact, the thought of a white clam pizza made my stomach turn for years even though it’s one of the most popular pizzas sold at one of the most famous pizza places in the country, Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, right around the corner from my first apartment. Kyle has asked me time after time for a clam pizza and I resolutely responded no every time. Until about a month ago. Something piqued my interested and for this challenge, I was ready to make the leap to clams. And it turns out that I LOVE clam pizza! Could it be the addition of bacon (also foreign to NYers)? Or the salty contrast with the savory ricotta cheese sauce? Whatever it may be, I’m in love! And I know this pizza made Kyle happy so that really just sweetens the deal.
Dessert came without argument during our discussion. S’mores pizza sounded outstanding but we wanted it to be a pizza you could pick up with your hands and eat like…well a slice of pizza. It was Kyle’s idea to try making a yeast crust with graham crackers and I just happened to have graham flour in the pantry for graham crackers I’ve been wanting to make forever. We added a bit of each to a yeast pizza dough recipe and hoped it would work. The result was amazing! A graham cracker pizza crust topped with chocolate ganache sauce and toasted marshmallows was the ultimate ending to our 3 course pizza dinner. You couldn’t have had a better s’more from a campfire if you had tried!!
As simple as pizza sounds, the results of new combinations can be extraordinary. Everyone has their favorite but there are so many kinds out there to test out. So the next time you call to put your order in or think about your next homemade pie, try something different – you may just find your new favorite!
Grilled Margarita Pizza source: Smells Like Home original 3 oz pizza dough, store-bought or homemade Olive oil 3 plum tomatoes, sliced 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 2 tbsp basil, sliced into ribbons
1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
2. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Sprinkle work surface with flour and roll out dough into rounds. Prick rounds with a fork a few times.
3. Brush 1/2 tsp olive oil onto top side of each round. Grill olive oil side down for 3-4 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they don’t burn. When the bottoms have toasted, remove from the grill and brush the top, ungrilled sides, with 1/2 tsp olive oil, then return the rounds to the grill, ungrilled side down. Carefully sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese on each round then layer tomatoes. After 3 minutes, sprinkle with basil and allow pizzas to cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the bottom sides are toasted. Remove from grill, slice, and serve hot.
White Clams Casino Pizza source: Smells Like Home original
1/2 pizza dough recipe, store bought or homemade, rolled out to desired size and thickness 8 oz whole-milk or fresh ricotta cheese 3 oz clam juice 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated 1/2 tsp dried oregano, plus extra for sprinkling Pinch Kosher salt 1 1/2 dozen fresh littleneck clams, in their shells 6-8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese 4 cloves garlic, minced 4 strips bacon, cooked until almost crisp and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1. Combine ricotta, clam juice, Parmesan cheese, oregano, and salt in a bowl. If mixture is too thick to spread easily, add a little more clam juice. Set mixture aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, simmer in 1″ water and clams just until the shells begin to open. Drain clams and cut out clams from their shells, taking care to remove the foot attached to the shell and making sure you don’t cut the clams open.
3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone set inside. Allow the stone to heat for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle cornmeal on the hot stone and also on a pizza peel or large wooden cutting board and transfer the dough to the peel or board. Spread ricotta cheese sauce over the dough. Top with mozzarella cheese, garlic, bacon, clams, and sprinkle with a little oregano.
4. Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes until cheese and crust begin to brown. Remove stone from oven and allow the pizza to rest on the stone for a few minutes before cutting it. This will help to crisp up the crust without overcooking the pizza in the oven. Slice with a pizza cutter and serve hot.
S’mores Pizza source: Smells Like Home original, ganache adapted from The Pastry Queen For the graham cracker pizza dough: 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) dry active yeast 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F) 1 tsp honey 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling 1/3 cup finely ground graham crackers (about 5 squares) 2/3 cup graham flour 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
For the chocolate ganache sauce: 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 6 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped 2 tbsp unsalted butter 1/2 cup heavy cream 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 tbsp light corn syrup
For the marshmallows: 4 oz marshmallows, sliced
To make the dough 1. Stir together water, yeast, and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Allow yeast to bubble for 3-5 minutes. Add in all-purpose flour, graham cracker crumbs, graham flour, cinnamon, confectioner’s sugar, and salt. Mix on low speed until all ingredients are well-combined and then allow the mixer to knead the dough for about 8 minutes.
2. Remove the dough from the bowl and roll in an oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 30-45 minutes.
3. Sprinkle flour on a clean work surface and roll out dough to desired thickness. Prick dough all over with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up in the oven.
To make the chocolate ganache sauce 1. While the dough rises, set a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add all ingredients to the bowl and stir frequently until everything is melted together and the mixture is glossy. Remove the bowl from the pan, taking care not to allow any steam to hit the mixture. Chill for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping as the mixture cools. You want to be able to pour the ganache onto the pizza crust so don’t let it harden in the fridge.
To put the pizza together 1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone set inside. Allow the stone to heat for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle cornmeal on the hot stone and also on a pizza peel or large wooden cutting board and transfer the dough to the peel or board. Carefully move the dough to the stone and bake for 11 minutes.
2. Remove the dough from the oven and pour chocolate ganache sauce on top of dough to about 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the crust. Top with marshmallows. Turn the oven to broil and place the pizza back in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Watch the pizza carefully so as to not burn the marshmallows. Remove the pizza when the marshmallows are toasted to desired color. Slice with a knife (not a pizza cutter) and serve warm.
One of my favorite pizza toppings happens to be eggplant but it isn’t roasted. It’s fried just like it would be for eggplant parm. And it’s damn good on a pizza with some ooey gooey mozzarella. So I knew when I came across this recipe that it would be a winner. It helps that there’s some fontina here too. Mmm…fontina…
Nothing about this recipe disappointed us. And it won’t disappoint you either. I used up some homemade whole wheat pita (which you’ll get to see if I venture to make them again) and pulled out some homemade tomato sauce from the freezer. The pizzas were a cinch to throw together on a busy weeknight after having roasted the eggplant over the weekend. Top the pita, bake, and serve. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
The original recipe calls for the toppings to be baked on a halved pita but you could definitely use pizza dough. If you’re thinking, “Huh? Pizza on a pita? No thank you ma’am,” think again! These pita pizzas were some of the tastiest little pizzas we’ve had in ages. Heck, they beat out some of the pizza we get from local places here! And seriously, how could you go wrong with roasted eggplant and fontina? Together. On a pizza. You just can’t. You can bet we’ll be making this recipe again as the eggplant in our garden hits its stride in the next couple of weeks. What about you?
Roasted Eggplant and Fontina Pita Pizza source: adapted from Weight Watchers, 4 WW Points per pita half
1 medium eggplant, diced into 1/2″ pieces 3 tsp olive oil, divided 1 bulb garlic, sliced in half horizontally 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced 2 large whole wheat pita, sliced in half horizontally 1/2 cup tomato sauce 1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On a baking sheet, toss eggplant with 2 tsp olive oil. Place garlic halves on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with remaining teaspoon of olive oil and wrap the garlic up in the foil. Roast for 20 minutes and add the onions. Roast for an additional 20 minutes. Remove the eggplant and onions. Continue roasting the garlic for another 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven and reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F.
Mash the eggplant and onions together in a medium bowl and set aside. When garlic is finished roasting, squeeze it from it’s skin onto the pita halves and spread the garlic over the pita. Top with sauce, eggplant and onion mixture, and then fontina. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the pita begin to brown. Serve hot.
White Pizza with Arugula…Except mine was with fresh spinach. We don’t do arugula in my house (or goat cheese for that matter) so I modified the recipe slightly. Thankfully it was one that could be easily modified while remaining true to the original recipe and one that was easy to make on top of that! My hearty thanks goes out to Andrea of Nummy Kitchen for choosing pizza for this month’s second recipe – any kind of pizza gets me excited!!
As mentioned, I subbed spinach for the arugula and ricotta cheese for the goat cheese. I considered using Boursin instead of ricotta but thought it might be too different for the sometimes unadventurous palate of my husband. It was enough to ask him to eat uncooked spinach on top of his pizza in the first place. I also played around with the dough recipe after having the desire to make whole wheat pizza dough for probably close to a year. You’ll see my modifications below (which is half of the original recipe) as well as the link to the original recipe.
Overall, this pizza was good. I’ve had spinach pizza with lemon slices before and loved it so I assumed I would love the vinaigrette on top of the spinach here but it was just ok. I did have some leftover garlic oil which I drizzled over a piece or two and much preferred that over the vinaigrette. So, the pizza didn’t blow us away and we’ll probably stick to our usual toppings of chicken, sautéed onion, and garlic but the dough however, was AWESOME!! I couldn’t believe how much the dough puffed up while cooking – way more than any 100% all-purpose flour dough has done for me – and it made the pizza so much less filling even with 4 types of cheese on top. I will definitely use this dough recipe again in the future but will probably pass on the toppings. Sorry Ina!
It’s time for my usual plug for the Barefoot Bloggers…head on over and check out the ever-growing group – we’re up to 130+ members now!
source: adapted from Ina Garten, Back to Basics, page 82
For the dough:
3/4 cup plus warm (100 to 110) water
1 package dry yeast (I did not use instant)
1/2 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
1 1/4 cups 100% whole wheat flour
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (4 ounces)
3/4 cup grated fresh mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
6 ounces whole milk ricotta (part-skim will be too watery)
For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup good olive oil
juice of one lemon (about 2-3 tbsp)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces fresh baby spinach
Make the dough: Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until it is foamy. Mix in the honey and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the yeast is dissolved, add 1 cup of flour, then 1 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the additional 1/4 of flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
Knead by hand: When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.
Let it rise: Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes (or up to 60 if you plan to refrigerate later).
Make garlic oil: Place 1/4 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and preheat a pizza stone, if you have one. (Be sure your oven is clean!)
Portion the dough: Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 3 equal pieces or keep it as one large ball for a larger single pizza. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Alternatively, refrigerate the dough after the initial rise (of 30 – 60 minutes) for 4 to 8 hours and bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before you start the next step.
Stretch the dough: Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a pizza stone. (If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)
Top the dough: Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and dollop on the ricotta cheese (about the size of a tablespoon for each dollop). Drizzle pizza(s) with a little more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
Make the vinaigrette: Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Add the greens: When the pizza(s) are done, place the spinach on top of the pizza(s), cut the pizza(s) into slices, drizzle on the vinaigrette or the remaining garlic oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
TIP Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop.
TIP Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour.
TIP To make sure yeast is still “alive,” or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it’s active.