Category Archives: pizza

cookbook holiday home Italian pizza summer

Hi. Hi.

Yesterday, I ignored my phone, email, and all forms of social media for several hours. It felt good and liberating. I also ignored this blog for about a month. You already know that, I suppose. But I wondered if you might be beginning to worry? If so, please accept my apologies. I assure you they are heartfelt. I can’t really begin to explain all the reasons for the break. It just sort of happened. Summer is so seductive with its sunshine and buzzing public spaces. I found myself out and about a lot with the wee one. There were barbecues and little parties. There were play dates and more play dates. Trips to the park. Trips to the San Juans. More play dates. And some reinvention. I’ll explain more about that last bit later this month.

For now, we are home and cooking lots again. I made you this pizza to make up for the time lost. I think it’s worth it. It is the perfect summer pizza. It’s bright, fresh, and tangy with cilantro, zucchini, lime, and fresh cilantro. I love this crust more than any other home pizza crust. I really want you to try it, but I’m concerned you might fret when you glance at the recipe. It looks time-consuming, I know. It’s not really that much of a time commitment. There is a bit of shuffling you’ll have to do with the pizzas in the oven. Oof! Take a moment and breathe deeply. It isn’t as bad as it looks. Use a timer. Be nearby. It will be worth every moment spent when you bite down on the most perfect home-baked pizza crust you’ve ever had.

This pizza is truly something to behold and we find ourselves eating it often. A good deal of the reason for this is related to a small redheaded child who routinely spins about this house with boundless energy. This child, the one with the adventurous palate about which I used to brag so often, is on a strike of sorts. Her whims and desires change with the wind. Thank goodness for pizza. Pizza is always a favorite. And, thank goodness for long summer nights, highchairs on the patio, and lovely readers who indulge my short or long sanity blogging breaks.

Happy August, dear friends.

 

Corn Zucchini Pizza with Lime & Cilantro

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 recipe for yeasted pizza dough (see below)

Coarse yellow cornmeal for dusting

¾ cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear of corn)

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced

3 small zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 and ½ cups)

½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

2 limes, quartered

Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and olive oil. Set aside.

To shape the pizzas, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 pieces. Gently form each piece into a loose round and cover with a floured kitchen towel. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Pour a small amount of the remaining olive oil over the inverted baking sheets. Scatter cornmeal over the top of the oil. Shape each round into a 10 inch disk and place it on the sheet.

In a small bowl, toss the corn kernels with the black pepper.  Line up the 3 pizzas for assembly.  Scatter half of the Mozzarella over the pizzas, leaving a ½ inch rim.  Place the onion over the cheese and spread the zucchini over the onion.  Scatter the remaining mozzarella over the onion and zucchini.  Sprinkle with feta and corn.

Place a baking sheet with a pizza on the lower rack and bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the pizza to the upper rack, place the second pizza in the oven on the lower rack, and continue baking for 8 minutes. Then, finish baking the first pizza by sliding it off the pan directly onto the lower oven rack. Rotate the second pizza to the upper rack. Bake the pizza on the lower rack for 5 minutes to crisp the bottom until well browned. Finish baking the second and third pizzas in the same manner. Immediately after removing each pizza from the oven, brush the garlic oil onto the rim. Garnish with cilantro. Sprinkle lime juice over the top.

Yeasted Pizza Dough (Makes three 10 inch pizzas)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 and 1/2 cup warm water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 and 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk the yeast into the warm water until dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes.

If using stand mixer, add all the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour to the bowl. Using the paddle attachment on low speed, mix for 5 minutes to form a wet dough. Add 1 and 1/2 cups more flour, and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour by the tablespoonful as needed to form a soft dough with a nice sheen; it should be a little sticky, but not too wet.

If making by hand, add the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of flour to the bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix for at least 5 minutes to form a wet dough. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups flour onto a work surface, place the dough on top of it, and knead it for about 8 minutes to form a soft dough with a nice sheen; it should be sticky but not too wet. If the dough sticks to the work surface, rub a little olive oil on it. if the dough is impossibly sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour by the tablespoon as needed.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a large well oiled bowl. Turn the dough over to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Or, put the dough in the fridge and let rise overnight. The next day let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours before proceeding with recipe.

Adapted from The Cheese Board Cookbook

baking personal picnic pizza toddler food travel

Tomato, Feta, + Lemon Pizza | Reconnecting with Friends

Neither of us can remember exactly how it happened, but it was through the magic of the internet that we reconnected. And, the coolest part? We were not searching for other, but just found ourselves in the same group of people on twitter one day. It was all very cool and possibly cosmic.

Life can really surprise and delight sometimes.

Lisa and I grew up together just one house apart in the Sunset District of San Francisco. We are the same age. We played together as children and went to the same high school. But we lost contact, which so often happens when you are thrust into adulthood at 18 years of age. We landed in different colleges in different states. And, apart from the occasional conversations of our polite parents who remain neighbors, I didn’t hear much about Lisa over the years.  Now, here were are many many years later with our little kids and our growing families. We both love clothes and pretty things. We both love our mid century homes, our husbands, and our wee ones. And, most delightfully, we both love to eat.

Did I mention pizza? Yes, we love it. Sure, that might not be entirely uncommon, but it’s enough for me. Lisa introduced me to a brilliant cookbook and a revelatory pizza recipe. I’m simply not letting go of this girl again.

Last month during our stay in San Francisco, Lisa and her husband had us over for dinner one night. It turned out to be a perfect night with the sky clearing just in time for a lovely sunset and a fun meal. The kids played well. The boys chatted. And we all ate a lot. I mean that. I probably ate more pizza that night than I did during all my middle school slumber parties combined. Yes, it was gluttonous. Yes, it was worth it.

This pizza I speak of is bright. It’s lemony and fresh. The cilantro marries so perfectly with the tart tomatoes, lemon juice, and zest. It’s a combination, which would never occur to me. I’m not that creative. However, I am so thankful that there are people in this universe who are pizza geniuses. I’m also thankful that those very geniuses created a wonderful cookbook, which I bought within hours of this dinner party.

Thank you, Lisa, for everything. Next time, we will feast in Seattle. I can’t promise it will blow your mind like this pizza. I can, however, promise to cook with tons of love for you guys.

Yeasted Pizza Dough (Makes three 10 inch pizzas)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 and 1/2 cup warm water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 and 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk the yeast into the warm water until dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes.

If using stand mixer, add all the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour to the bowl. Using the paddle attachment on low speed, mix for 5 minutes to form a wet dough. Add 1 and 1/2 cups more flour, and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour by the tablespoonful as needed to form a soft dough with a nice sheen; it should be a little sticky, but not too wet.

If making by hand, add the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of flour to the bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix for at least 5 minutes to form a wet dough. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups flour onto a work surface, place the dough on top of it, and knead it for about 8 minutes to form a soft dough with a nice sheen; it should be sticky but not too wet. If the dough sticks to the work surface, rub a little olive oil on it. if the dough is impossibly sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour by the tablespoon as needed.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a large well oiled bowl. Turn the dough over to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Or, put the dough in the fridge and let rise overnight. The next day let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours before proceeding with recipe.

Tomato, Feta, and Lemon Zest Pizza

1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 recipe (above) yeasted pizza dough
Fine yellow cornmeal or flour for sprinkling
4 cups (1 pound) shredded Mozerella cheese
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 ounces sheep’s milk Feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon

Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If using a baking stone, place it on the floor of the oven and preheat the oven for 45 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and olive oil. Set aside.

To shape the pizzas, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 pieces. Gently form each piece into a loose round and cover with a floured kitchen towel. Let rest for 20 minutes. Scatter cornmeal over 3 inverted baking sheets. Shape each round into a 10 inch disk.

Divide the Mozzarella into 2 piles, one about two thirds the total amount and the other one-third. Line up the 3 pizzas for assembly. Scatter the larger amount of cheese of the 3 pizzas, leaving a 1/2 inch rim. Layer the onion on top of the cheese and place the sliced tomatoes over the onion leaving a bit of space between each slice. Distribute the remaining Mozzarella on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the Feta.

Place a baking sheet with a pizza on the lower rack and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pizza to the upper rack, place the second pizza in the oven on the lower rack, and continue baking for 10 minutes. Then, finish baking the first pizza by sliding it off the pan directly onto the lower oven rack. Rotate the second pizza to the upper rack. Bake the pizza on the lower rack for 4-8 minutes to crisp the bottom until well browned. Finish baking the second and third pizzas in the same manner. Immediately after removing each pizza from the oven, brush the garlic oil onto the rim. Garnish with lemon zest and cilantro. Sprinkle lemon juice sparingly over the top.

Source: The Cheeseboard Collective Works

basil easy Italian pizza

Caramelized Fennel Pizza | Good Ideas


caramelized fennel pizza with salami

Some things seem like a good idea at the time, but later turn out to be bad or poorly timed ideas. Take white towels, for example. You admire them in Dwell magazine and scurry off to the store where you purchase a set of four. They are so fluffy and perfect they nearly gleam.  You hang them carefully in your bathroom taking care to make perfect folds. The room is instantly transformed and so are you.  You leave the room and glance back over your shoulder. Gorgeous. You pat yourself on the back. You are sophisticated and chic.

Two weeks later, it’s a different story. The beautiful white towels are nearly gray. Your resolve to avoid using your towels as a quick method to remove your eye makeup lasted only a few days. Those towels are headed to the rag bin. You curse. It seemed like a good idea but, clearly, it wasn’t.

I could go on here for a bit. Accent walls. Precious house plants. White tiled surfaces.

Sound familiar?

It’s possible I hit a nerve, but there is good news. Some ideas are pretty darn great at the inception and remain so to execution. A dinner of pizza is one of those wonderful ideas. Do we ever tire of a home-baked pizza? Around here, we do not.  It’s definitely in our regular rotation and there is good reason for this. After bad idea followed by bad idea in the form of complicated evening meals, I learned a thing or two. My daughter literally clings to my pant legs in the evenings, which makes ingredient-laden, multi-course meals quite a challenge. Pizza dough, however, is something I can throw together in the morning while she naps and have it rise quietly until I am ready to use it.

caramelized fennel pizza

It’s easy to put together and the ingredients for any decent pizza are so simple it’s nearly criminal to order pizza for delivery. The other great thing about pizza is its utility in using up leftovers. You can throw nearly anything on there and it will taste good. That half of an onion that is just about to turn in the crisper? Throw it on there. The selection of tiny cheese hunks? Use them all.  To quote one of my absolute favorite youtube videos, “Put it on the pizza.”

caramelized fennel pizza

For our Sunday meal, I did just this and, by happenstance, discovered the perfect combination of ingredients. It was simple, but the flavors were savory and delicious. Salty salami and earthy fennel marry perfectly on a thin and crispy crust to make an ideal bite. Top it off with slivers of fresh basil and you have a bright hint of summer in every mouthful.

I’m actually salivating thinking of it now. Is it too much to eat this everyday? Would that be a bad idea? I’m not positive of the answer, but I am quite sure I will be finding out shortly.

caramelized fennel pizza

Caramelized Fennel Pizza 

1/2 batch of pizza dough

1 tblsp. semolina flour

1 medium fennel bulb, sliced thinly

1 and 1/2 tblsp. olive oil

1 cup tomato puree

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly

3 ounces sliced salami

kosher salt, to taste

1 tablespoon fresh basil, slivered

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper by cutting the paper to fit in the sheet with 1/2 inch of overhang. Douse 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil on the parchment paper and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the semolina flour.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the fennel and cook over medium heat until it is very tender, about 15 minutes.

Take your pizza dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface until thin (1/4 inch) and nearly the size of the baking sheet.  Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Top the dough with the tomato puree by spooning the puree and spreading it evenly over the surface. Next, spread the cheese evenly over the surface.  Then, add the caramelized fennel and spread it evenly as well. Top with the salami taking care to distribute the slices equally over the top of the pizza.  Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the top.

Place the pizza in the middle of the oven. Cook until the edges are golden, about 10 minutes.  When the pizza is just about ready, turn on the broiler to high and cook for  just under 1 minute to brown the top of the pizza.

Remove the pizza from the oven and using the parchment paper, transfer it to a safe cutting surface. Top with slivered basil. Cut and serve hot.

asparagus pizza potato vegetarian

Potato & Asparagus Pizza | Early Spring Victory

asparagus

My house is a wreck. I’m seriously considering purchasing some sort of robot to help me keep up with it. I’ll tell you right now that I’m not talking about one of those silly mini vacuum things. I want the real deal. I want Vickie.

If you don’t recall, Vickie was the superstar of a fabulous 80s sitcom. Although she was exceptionally vapid and always wore the same tired pinafore, she could really hold her own with a feather duster. She was super fast and possessed cleaning skills like no other. She whipped the suburban home of her adopted family into shape in 2 shakes.

I miss Vickie a lot. I could really use her today. I am sure there will never be a replacement for her on T.V. nor a robot quite like her to help me with my sloppy house.

It seems clear I might have to tackle Spring cleaning on my own. I believe it’s that time again, anyway. Although I’m not quite ready to let go of my flannel sheets, things are in bloom just about everywhere around here.

potato pizza

I’m particularly pleased because the onset of Spring sparks the availability of one of my favorite vegetables. Yes, asparagus is now available at the markets! And, the most fabulous thing about this pretty vegetable is its inclusion in the pizza depicted above. Indeed, this year, Spring not only signifies a massive house makeover, but also the end of a long search for the perfect potato pizza recipe. I am victorious. The search, which began when The European Kitchen closed its doors in Seattle and spanned several years, ends in victory.

potato pizza

This pizza is absolutely the best. In fact, K and I loved it so much that we ate it 2 evenings in a row. That’s pretty unusual for us. You know this has to be good. Just salty enough. Just savory enough. The flavors come together perfectly. In fact, it might be just that. Perfect. And, I really hope you’re not afraid to try potato pizza. This starch fest puts those pepperoni pies to shame. Seriously.

Drop me a line and let me know what you think. Also, feel free to let me know if you can solve my Spring cleaning issues. I do believe a robot is in order, but I am always open to your suggestions.

Asparagus, Fingerling Potato, & Goat Cheese Pizza

5 ounces fingerling potatoes
Cornmeal (for sprinkling)
Pizza Dough (1/2 recipe)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, pressed
4 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
1 1/3 cups grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed, each spear cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2- to 3-inch pieces

Place potatoes in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Cool. Cut potatoes into thin slices.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle rimless baking sheet with cornmeal. Roll and stretch pizza dough to 16×11-inch oval. Transfer to baking sheet. Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in small bowl. Brush garlic oil over dough. Sprinkle 3/4 of green onions over, then mozzarella, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Top with potato slices and goat cheese. Toss asparagus and 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl. Scatter asparagus over pizza. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then lightly with salt and generously with pepper.

Bake pizza until crust is browned and asparagus is tender, about 18 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Sprinkle with remaining green onions. Cut into pieces.

Adapted from Bon Apetit

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