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Entries in pizza (32)

Monday
Jul292013

Birthday Pizza on the Grill for The Box

I make people pizza. It's what I do. If you have an oven, or better yet a grill, and some people, I'll come over and make pizza for you. Really. Sometimes my family even gets lucky, and I'll come over and make pizza for them.

Two weekends ago it was The Box's birthday. So I hurried home like a dutiful daughter for the celebrations (which also occurred in tandem with Aunt Emily's 99th birthday. Yes, 99.)

A party just isn't a party unless it's a pizza party. Therefore, I set to work over a hot grill making fresh pies for The Box, Marmo, John and even Toby.

This isn't going to be your usual exhaustive instructional on how to make pizza. This will be a handy list and basic how to on how to GRILL pizza. In order to successfully grill pizza, you need a few things:

1. A reckless disregard for eyebrow singe.

2. Quick hands.

3. An assistant (one who will preferably keep pouring you good wine).

4. Pizza dough. You can use our basic recipe here, or our whole wheat recipe here.

5. Mise en place. This is a French term meaning everything should be in its place. This means your toppings. Slice the cheese, put seasonings in bowls, have that olive oil bottle handy, along with a brush to apply it. Get the cutting board ready for the finished pie, etc. That grill gets HOT and you don't have much time to get everything in its place ON the pie, so everything should be in its place BEFOREHAND. This minimizes disaster.

6. Oven mitt and tongs are useful in hot situations (not always grill related).

7. Oil your dough beforehand (use aforementioned pastry brush). 

8. Stretch the dough out.

9. Place it on the grill. Close the lid. Bake for 2 minutes.

10. Flip the dough.

11. Put the toppings on. Close the lid. Bake for 2 minutes.

12. Remove the pizza. Eat.

13. Repeat.

14. Where is that assistant with the wine???

For The Box, I made two pizzas: Cherry Tomato, Salami, Goat Cheese and Arugula Pizza and Apple, Smoked Gouda, Onion Jam and Arugula Pizza. You can see how it all played out here:

Here are the finished results:

and

Sometimes, the grill gets a little crazy and the flipping and placing of the dough gets a little wonky:

Pizzas are not always round. And the irregular shapes are good for grabbing. This was not the result of too much wine. 

You may be wondering how to make onion jam. Check out Martha Stewart's super easy recipe. Mess around with it and see how it turns out for you. 

Everyone was very pleased with the results.

Except for John who looks moderately skeptical.

And just downright angry. It could've been the golf. Or the hair. Or perhaps he didn't like the wine. But you can't blame the pizza. Not if I'm making it, anyway.

Even Toby got some.

And see how happy he was?

Friday
May102013

May Slice of the Month - Artichoke Mini Pizzas

 Here we are in May! May means artichokes, did you know? Now you do.

Artichokes are an art. That's why there's an "art" in them. They take some care and attention, but they are oh-so-worth it. In this recipe, I'll show you how to prune down those 'chokes and poach 'em up all proper and simple for Poached Artichoke and Ricotta Mini Pizzas. Mini pizzas are fantastic for parties and occassions like Memorial Day (which is fast approaching).

If you'd like to download a super-fancy version of this pizza recipe as a pdf, you can head on over to Colavita's Facebook page, like them, and violá! you will have it. It's that simple...just like the 'chokes. Now let's get started.

What You Need:

What To Do:

Heat the oven to 500 degrees. If using a pizza stone, allow the stone to heat up along with the oven for a half hour before baking on it. 

Prepare the artichokes according to the recipe below.

Stretch out your dough on a cornmeal-dusted peel into mini pizza sizes: about  4-5” in diameter, and brush the tops with olive oil.

Spread the ricotta cheese over the top of the dough in a thin, even layer.

Place two of the artichoke quarters on top of the cheese, per mini pizza.

Drizzle some Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with a little sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.

Slide your mini pizzas onto the stone in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and garnish with more freshly chopped mint and parsley. 

Instructions for the Artichokes:

Trim the artichokes. Using a sharp knife, cut off the tough outer leaves, removing about two inches of leaves from the artichoke. Also trim one inch from the tops of all the artichokes. Cut the trimmed artichokes into quarters, scraping out the fuzzy heart and stem area.

Rub the artichoke quarters with lemon, and add the all the trimmed artichokes to a bowl filled with cold water and the juice from 1 lemon.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil in saucepan on your stove top over medium-low heat. Add the crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, mint, parsley and lemon slices and allow to simmer softly for about 3 minutes.

Pour 3/4 cup each of wine and 1/2 cup water to the pan. Drain the artichokes from the bowl of water, and season them with a sprinkle of salt and some freshly ground pepper.  Add them to the saucepan and increase the heat to medium.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer, covered for about 20-25 minutes. The artichokes should be tender. Remove them from the heat and reserve for the pizza.

 

Friday
Apr262013

Highlights from a Gastronomic Tour of Brooklyn

I have a new job. It involves food: taking pictures of it and designing around it mostly. But I had a special request from the powers that be: Could I escort a bunch of out-of-town chefs to restaurants in Brooklyn for a day?

Do I get to dine with them? Yes.

Do I get a fancy car to take me around? Yes.

Do I get to have wine with lunch/dinner/dessert? Yes.

Do I have a problem with this? No.

What follows are a few highlights from some of the wonderful restaurants we visited, and would visit again. So should you. That's the whole point of this post.

1. The aforementioned fancy vehicle.

2. Pretty wrappings from Mast Brothers Chocolate where we picked up some samples and 4 boxed of truffles. You should check out their new expanded digs if you haven't already.

3. Potlikker: a new favorite of mine. Chef Stephanie prepared everything herself. HERSELF. It was a one woman band. I was only slightly disappointed she wasn't playing a harmonica while she prepared our food. But I guess you could say she was playing the spoons...

4. Kitchy, standing outdoor menu at Potlikker

5. The Gnocchi Semolina Cake with Taleggio Cheese and Fava Beans. Standing ovation, people. Standing.

6. Duck Confit Croquettes. These little gems sat upon a most delicate salad of greens and beats and were finished with a mustard dressing.

7. Dutch Apple Pancake with Fried Oysters and Goat Cheese. Appropriately gooey, fluffy, and crunchy. This giant beast hit all the textural and taste spots.

8. More pretty Mast Bros. packaging.

Next up was Talde. The staff could not have been more accomodating here. They brought us a plethora of tasty dishes...

1. Their fun Asian-patterned plates are plastic. I loved that.

2. Perilla Leaf with Toasted Shrimp and Bacon-Tamarind Caramel Peanuts. Seriously?? These were bite-sized leafy nuggets of taste explosion.

3. The Most Fabulous Kale Salad I've Ever Had. For serious. Fresh and crispy kale was mixed together with pickeled almonds, dried cherries and topped with a slightly creamy miso dressing. 

4. The Chow Fun. Oh, and it was fun alright. That circular shape in the middle are wrapped rice noodles. You break them up and mix it with the greens, pork and sauce...this could not be more fun.

5. Crispy Fluke with Cilantro. I wanted to eat the whole thing. There are two problems on a food tour like this: you are sharing, AND you can't eat the whole thing or you won't have room for the meals at the next place. But I would have eaten the whole thing: crispy, sweet and tangy, this fish was perfectly flaky and downright spectacular.

6. The Most Insanely Ridiculous Dessert. I'm still not sure what this was. But it was really good. Better than I thought, because the description of coconut milk, tapioca, grapefruit and Captain Crunch cereal had me skeptical at best. Another mixer (as you can see), it produced a muddle of interesting flavors and textures that had me poking my spoon back in the bowl.

At this point, things started to get fuzzy. And it was getting dark, so I couldn't take as many photos (I don't like using my flash in a restaurant). However, I'll highlight a few more:

1. Franny's Pizza Bianco with olive oil. This dough has it going on. It was the last stop on our tour and I kept reaching for more bread. They also provided us with a stand-out meat platter that included lardo (!!) and some of the best house made chocolate sorbet (smooth and almost creamy) and limoncello (not too sweet), I've tasted to date.

2. Cardamaro: Read about it here. We obtained this bottle and a few others at Buttermilk Channel. Another wonderful spot, where it was, alas, too dark for photos...

3. I did manage this one of their Ricotta and Leek Flat bread. Buttermilk's version of the pizza, the shining star of this dish is the home made ricotta that is so wonderfully creamy, it's almost like eating ice cream. With a hint of lemon, it manages to be refreshing as well.

As the weekend is upon us, I urge you to go check out these fine establishments and order up some (or all) of these dishes. If you need company, give me a shout. But I'm not sharing this time.

Wednesday
Apr102013

April Slice of the Month - Asparagus and Leek

April is here and so is Spring - finally! To usher in the new month and season, we once again bring you our Slice of the Month recommendation. This month, it's a Shaved Asparagus and Leek pizza on whole wheat crust. It's ridiculously good.

Squeezes of lemon brighten up the asparagus, and the leeks offer a mild onion-y tang. Combine all this with some soft and smooth mozzarella cheese (burrata if you can manage it), and you will have all the birds tweeting in spring time celebration.

Now, we would be remiss if we did not mention that this Slice of the Month is brought to you by Colavita Olive Oil. They post a fancy cookbook on their Facebook page once a month. I make this book! Yes, it's true. It has more photos and a beautiful layout (well, I like it anyway...). You can get them for free every month by liking Colavita. So, run on over and do that now.

And now, let's make some pizza.

What You Need:

1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough, salt, freshly ground black pepper and...

1 bunch of asparagus (feel free to mix green and white varieties)

2-3 leeks, sliced and rinsed well

mozzarella cheese (two medium balls of burrata, or a half pound of fresh, lightly salted)

1-2  lemons

fresh thyme (as much as you like)

Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What To Do:

Heat the oven to 500 degrees. If using a pizza stone, allow the stone to heat up along with the oven for a half hour before baking on it. 

Stretch out your dough on a cornmeal-dusted peel to about 10-12” in diameter, and brush the top with olive oil.

Peel the asparagus: Hold a single asparagus spear at the base and lay it flat on a cutting board. Using a
vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler works best...you could also try a mandoline, but be careful of your fingers),  run the peeler lengthwise down the asparagus, creating long shavings. Repeat with the remaining stalks. Your strips will be all different sizes, but don’t worry, it will just add to the texture (and fun!). Discard the tough ends. 

Place the asparagus peelings in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt,  pepper and freshly chopped thyme.

Clean the leeks thoroughly by rinsing with water. It’s easiest if you chop them first (you’ll only be using the white ends), so you can rinse all the nooks and crannies free of dirt.

Heat a skillet on the stove top over medium heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Place the chopped leeks in the skillet, and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the shaved asparagus, and sauté for about 3 minutes, allowing the flavors to combine.

Dollop the fresh mozzarella along the surface of the stretched out pizza dough. You can also grate some Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella.

Distribute the shaved asparagus and leek mixture over the top of the cheese. Sprinkle on a bit more fresh thyme as well.

Drizzle with Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper.

Slide your pizza onto the stone in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top of the pizza. 

Grilling Instructions:

Alternately, this pizza is fantastic on the grill. If you’d like to grill this pie, heat up your grill and oil the grate.

Before you begin, it’s handy to have a few things in place: Position all your topping in bowls alongside the grill. It may be necessary to pull up a small table next to the grill for this purpose. Make sure your cheese is sliced and waiting on a dish as is the leek and asparagus mixture. Have some extra olive oil handy, the chopped thyme, salt, pepper and lemon. It’s also a good idea to have some tongs and oven mitts at the ready (things get hot) and a platter or cutting board for your finished pizza.

Instead of dusting a peel with cornmeal, brush both sides of the stretched-out pizza dough with Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Place the stretched-out dough (without toppings!) directly onto the grill grate, and close the lid. Let it bake for about 2 minutes (this goes very quickly!). 

Open the lid and using the tongs, flip the crust to the other side. Starting with the cheese, place all the toppings on the pizza as neatly and quickly as possible. Don’t forget the seasonings! Close the lid and allow to bake for another 2-3 minutes.

Finally, remove the pizza from the grill (use those tongs again) and place it onto a serving platter. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top. Serve!

Monday
Mar112013

Top Your Pizza – Brought to you by Colavita

Around these parts, we are getting quite the reputation for being pizza aficionados. I honestly can't imagine how anyone got this idea, can you?

It's a thinker.

It appears that Colavita and Fine Cooking Magazine did not have to think too long about it. I created for them, an exclusive online Top Your Pizza Cookbook. You can flip through it above. But you can download a free copy, by heading over to Colavita and liking their page. Like the page, then you get to download the book.

No thinking there.

The new Top Your Pizza Book has 5 pizza recipes. Some of them are old favorites. Like the Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Pizza.

Others are brand-spanking new, like this one for Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Pizza.

It also comes with a few bonus recipes, including one for sautéed garlic broccoli rabe, and a gluten-free polenta pizza crust.

All the photography and design is mine. Marmo was a very helpful photo assistant (Hold that white board, like THIS!), The Box agreed to taste-test (When do I get to eat them??), and John offered some emotional support (You made a pizza book?).

Many, many thanks to Colavita for sponsoring this labor of love and to Fine Cooking for featuring it in their e-newsletter. So head on over to Colavita and get the latest Top Your Pizza book!