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Entries in pizza (36)

Wednesday
Jan022013

January Slice of the Month


I have a new project! Yes, yes, I see that many of you are thinking to yourselves, "Edgas, woman. Chillax with the projects...Where in the sands of the Sahara are you going to find the time?" 

OK, maybe it was just John that said that. He can be a parade-pooper on my over-zealously packed schedule. But what even John realizes is there is always time for pizza. ALWAYS.

So let me explain this project. It's called "Slice of the Month" and I'm creating it for Colavita as a seasonal pizza recipe guide.

Seasonal pizza, you say? Yes, indeedy. Every slice will feature seasonal ingredients (to the East Coast, because that's where I call home). It will be a lesson in eating what's fresh and available and even healthy! Because this recipe is just that. It uses my (not-so) famous whole wheat dough recipe, and lots of veggies. Here's how it goes:

What You Need:

1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (here it is!)

1 bunch of Lacinato kale - stems removed and chopped
6 carrots, sliced thinly
6 parsnips, sliced thinly (optional)
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
juice from ½ lemon
fresh thyme, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Colavita olive oil


What to Do:
1. Place chopped and dried kale in a sealable plastic bag. Add 1 tablespoon Colavita olive oil, ¼ teaspoon sea salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Shake to distribute evenly. Set aside. You can prepare the kale up to 2 hours ahead of time.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Slice the carrots and parsnips (if using) and spread it out on the baking sheet. Drizzle them with Colavita olive oil and the juice from ½ a lemon. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper (to taste), and the chopped, fresh thyme. Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, then flip the slices and roast for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

5. Increase the heat of 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.

6. Stretch out your dough on a cornmeal-dusted peel to about 10-12” in diameter. Place a layer of the marinated kale on top of the dough. On top of that, add on the roasted carrot and parsnip slices. Dollop some ricotta cheese amongst the vegetables in teaspoon-sized amounts. Drizzle with a little more Colavita olive oil and sprinkle with more fresh thyme.

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

8. Remove from the oven and serve!

 

Monday
Nov122012

An Italian Thanksgiving? Have Some Apple "Pie".

I'd like to discuss an oxymoron: Italian Thanksgiving.

As you know, Thanksgiving is an American Holiday. Italians have similar feast days of thanks, called Le Feste di Ringraziamento, but these are usually religious holidays, held at various times of the year.

Thanksgiving comes but once a year. And "thanks" be for that...there is only so much gin on the planet to appease Aunt Emily's tolerance for turkey. And speaking of turkeys, you most likely wouldn't find one on a table in Italy, as they are pretty hard to come by in that country.

Which brings me to my point: What we have here is an Italian-American Thanksgiving, and as such, it presents a challenge to John and myself. You see, our passion for Italian food extends to protecting the authenticity of its traditions....when and where is limoncello served? Why are rice dishes more popular in the North of Italy? And etcetera.

So where Thanksgiving is concerned, we really only have our Italian-American family traditions. However, many of these (except for serving Aunt Emily copious amounts of gin) are derived from actual Italian food and holiday traditions. And with Thanksgiving on the horizon, this is what we would like to focus on:

How to incorporate traditional Italian foods into your feast, giving your holiday some Italian flair.

And in true John and Elana fashion, I will begin with pizza.

I can't think of a dessert more American than apple pie, or more appropriate to Thanksgiving. Except when the "pie" in question is, in fact, a pizza pie. I think this is the beauty of pizza – its versatility. A traditional Southern Italian food, pizza has been adopted by American culture wholeheartedly (admittedly not always in the healthiest ways).

This particular "pie" is a true collision of Italian and American cultures. It combines an earthy whole wheat crust with farm fresh apples, thinly sliced gouda cheese, plump cranberries, fried sage and a smattering of honey.

This pie works as an appetizer, a wonderful addition to an antipasto plate, or as a sweet and savory dessert, to be served along side a selection of other cheeses and fruit.

Here's how you do it:

What You Need:

1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (found here). This recipe makes 4-5 personal sized pizzas. You can also purchase uncooked pizza dough from your grocery store or local pizzeria.

3 apples, thinly sliced. Use what your local orchard is dishing out. I like Honey Crisp, but I also threw in some Golden Delicious and a tart Granny Smith.

1/4 Gouda cheese. You want something semi-soft.

1/4 cup dried cranberries

6-8 sage leaves, fried in olive oil and crumbled

honey - as much as you like

salt to taste

What To Do:

Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven and heat to 500 degrees for at least a half hour prior to using it.

In the meantime, thinly slice the apples. I sliced mine to an 1/8" thickness. 

Next, slice the cheese.

You can also prepare the fried sage by heating tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, place in the sage leaves. They won't take long to fry, about 30 seconds or so. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to absorb the oil (like bacon!). You can crumble them with your hands, and once the pizza pops out of the oven, sprinkle them on top.

Sprinkle some semolina flour or cornmeal on a pizza peel and stretch out a pizza dough round to about 10-12" in diameter.

Place some of the apple slices down on the dough. Don't overload it with slices at this point, just about 8 should do it. 

Follow up with some slices of cheese, and then another layer of apples.

Don't make your pizza too heavy – save some toppings for the other pies! 

Sprinkle with a little salt and a handful of cranberries.

Drizzle with honey. 

Shimmy the pizza into the oven and bake for about 8 minutes. 

Using the pizza peel, remove the pizza from the oven, drizzle with a little more honey and sprinkle with the crumbled, fried sage.

Buon Appetito!

What You Should Drink:

I politely begged Jameson Fink of Wine Without Worry to give me a pairing recommendation for this pizza. Here is what he suggested:

When Elana asked for my help picking a wine to pair with pizza, I said, “No problem.” Tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni? Have a Chianti. Boom. Done! Then I actually paid attention to what she told me: a pizza topped with apple, gouda, cranberries and fried sage. Gouda grief! I’d have to put on my thinking cap.

In honor of Elana’s family heritage, I’m sticking with my initial thought of an Italian wine. And in honor of my personal penchant, I’m selecting a rosé. Which gives me the opportunity to go on a mini-wine rant. You think rosé is just for summer sipping? Let me give you my best John McLaughlin: WRONG! My pick, the 2011 “Il Chiaretto” from producer Azienda Agricola San Giovanni, has year-round charm and appeal. It’s from the region of Lombardy, not far from the lovely shores of Lake Garda. A refreshingly unusual blend of four grapes (Groppello, Marzemino, Barbera, and Sangiovese), it is pizza-ready.

So let’s take a look at Elana’s culinary creation, starting with the cranberries. (Especially since Thanksgiving thoughts are turning in my head.) A dry rosé has a reminiscent tartness; a fine match whether cranberries are a side dish or atop a pizza. And rosés also have a savory, slightly herbaceous quality perfect with crispy fried sage. Plus the acidity in the Il Chiaretto will play nice with crisp apple, and cut through the rich gouda to get you ready for another dang slice.

Last but not least, it comes in a squat, stubby, attention-getting bottle. Turns out it’s a bottle with a purpose. I asked Birk O'Halloran, who is a manager for the company that imports the wine (A. I. Selections), about the bottle. Here’s what Birk had to say:

When I spoke with [owner/winemaker] Paolo, he told me that by his calculations about 70% of the total carbon footprint of wine comes from the glass. The bottles he uses are about 30-40 grams less than a conventional bottle. This has been one of many ways he tries to minimize the carbon footprint of his wine. If you look on the back label you can find amount of carbon produced by the production of the wine. Since he has started recording it he has lowered it every year.

I would also add that this design makes it less difficult to knock over on a table crowded with pizza and friends.

Monday
Oct292012

Pizza Moto – At Smorgasburg

 

I returned to the scene of the crime: Smorgasburg. Last time I visited Smorg, I ate too much. I mean, let's just call a spade a spade here, people. But the place encourages it, does it not? However, much to my chagrin, I did NOT sample the pizza last time. This was obviously a horrendous oversight.

This time, I made sure to sample Pizza Moto's hot-out-of-the-traveling-pizza-oven's goods. To see just how good they were.

First, a few words on Pizza Moto: mobile pizza oven.

That's a few, right? I'll elaborate, just a touch. There is no store. There is no "truck". There is just a pizza oven on a wagon. A fairly large wagon, I'll concede. This is not a radio flyer. It's an industrial-sized war horse of a conveyance whose sole purpose is to pump out piping-hot Neapolitan pizzas. I love it when things have a focus.

Especially when that focus is on pizza. 

And I will say that Pizza Motto has focused and focused well.

I didn't order the usual Margherita pie, but went after their special – The Boys of Summer, a magical assemblage of pesto, chunks of roasted eggplant, and fresh mozzarella. Take a look:

The wells of mozzarella were nestled snuggly between rivers of of pesto. The chunky rounds of eggplants drifed on top like ducks on a pond...

Let's have a close up:

Look at the bubbles on that crust! And now that we're talking about the crust, Pizza Moto's was outstanding. Expertly cooked with dots of char popping up around the outer crust. The inside, however, remained soft and chewy. Pockets of air created crevices of bready flavor - a chewable surface of the moon.

I was tickled by my Pizza Moto experience. I would say, it was the stand-out food event of the day. And I sampled some mighty tasty things, including (but not limited to):

At least two of these:

One of these:

A bite of this:

A forkful or two of this:

And this...for dessert (later):

Anyway, the pizza won. Sing with me now:

Won't you ride in my little red (pizza) wagon...I'll bet all the kids will be jealous when they see my playmate so sweet.. 

I believe ol' Hank was talking about the pizza.

Check out Pizza Moto here, and hire them for your next event. Then invite me. I promise not to sing the wagon song.

Tuesday
Oct092012

Pocket These Pizzas!

I'm starting a new job tomorrow. A brand new job. It's been a while since I've had a change in that department. I won't lie to you – this make me more than a little nervous.

I'm nervous about getting along with my new coworkers, about being productive enough, about remembering my pants....

...and about getting hungry. Because as readers of this blog, you know I get hungry frequently. At my previous job, I brought my lunches. But I don't know what the food scenario is at this new joint. Is there a fridge? A common cafeteria? Do I get drawers in which to stash my random baggies of trail mix, homemade energy bars, and bananas? 

So I'm freaking out. And when I freak out, I bake. It could be worse, people. This time I decided to bake something I could stash in my purse. Or my pockets...like tater tots.

These are mini Almond Butter and Jam Pizza Pockets. Make with whole wheat pizza dough and stuffed with Justin's Maple Almond Butter and Hero Blueberry Jam, these little guys are composed of the best ingredients.

They're great for taking with you to new work situations, on long bike rides, train rides, automobile rides...so bake up a batch. Your co-workers with thank you. And me. Mostly, they'll thank me.

What You Need:

1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (you can make it yourself or use a store bought variety. Recipe for home made follows)

Almond butter – your favorite kind

Jam – your favorite kind

1 egg yolk

Flour for dusting

 

What to Do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Roll out the pizza dough so that it is a less than ¼” thick. Using a cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut out small circles or squares from the dough.

Unlike cookie dough, pizza dough will bounce back when cut, so trim out a shape slightly larger than what you would like. I trimmed my dough into 3” rounds.

Place half of the rounds on the prepared cookie sheet. Place a small amount of almond butter and jam on top of the dough. Sandwich another dough round on top of the butter and jam.

Using a fork, press around the edges of the dough to close. Repeat this for all the dough squares.

Wisk the egg yolk and a tablespoon of cold water in a bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the pockets. This will make them nice and glossy, and keep them together.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the crust turns golden brown. Allow to cool, then throw them in your jersey pockets or bento box. You can store them covered in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Pizza Dough Recipe

What You Need:

1 envelope active dried yeast
1

½ cups warm water – 100 degrees F

2 cups flour (all purpose, bread, or 00 flour)

2 cups whole wheat flour

¾ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

What You Do:

In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the warm water. Stir in ½ cup of the all-purpose flour. Cover with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let stand for 30 minutes to let the mixture bubble and rise. After the 30 minutes are up, pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer. You can mix by hand as well in a large bowl. Add the remaining ½ cup of warm water, salt and the olive oil to the food processor. Slowly begin to add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time. The dough will start to hold together and form into a ball. When this happens, remove the dough from the bowl, and place on a floured counter top. Knead the dough until it is smooth. This may take about 10 minutes. Dust the dough lightly all over with flour and place in a large bowl, covered with a kitchen towel. Let it rise for 1 hour. After an hour, the dough will be doubled in size. Punch it down in the center and divide the dough into four or five equal parts. Form each part into a smooth ball and let them rise, covered, on a floured surface for 30 minutes.

At this point, you can roll out it out with a rolling pin, or stretch it out with your hands and cut out circles for the AB&J pockets!

Friday
Aug312012

Breakfast AND Dessert Pizza

Recently, a very exciting thing happened. I was featured in the October issue of Triathlete Magazine. They featured a recipe of mine for a breakfast pizza with Egg, Ricotta and Pesto. I love this recipe. It's healthy, packed with good things like protein, and you can even make it healthier-still with whole wheat crust and part-skim ricotta cheese (if you like, I'm not gonna twist your arm).

If you'd like to see the recipe, either pick up a copy of the October Triathlete Magazine, or check it out online here. The online version also features a BONUS recipe for Heirloom Tomato, Mango and Mint Pizza. Who doesn't like a bonus?

And speaking of bonuses, here's another: a dessert pizza.

Blackberry, Fontina Cheese and Mint Pizza

 
What I love most about this pizza is the flavor combination of tangy blackberries, sweet honey and the earthy Fontina cheese. It works very well for brunches but is also a fabulous addition to a cheese plate – that has extra Fontina, of course!

Ingredients:
1 cup blackberries, loosely chopped
1/2 cup Fontina Cheese, sliced into thin strips
Honey (as much as you like)
Fresh mint, chopped (as much as you like)

Process:
1. Slice up the blackberries and set aside.
2. Stretch out your pizza dough into a round and top with slices of Fontina cheese.
3. Place the blackberries on top of the cheese.
4. Drizzle with honey.
5. Bake in the oven at 500 degrees for about 10 minutes.
6. When it is finished cooking, remove the pizza from the oven and drizzle with a little bit more honey and sprinkle with mint.

And now for the dough recipes. I used whole wheat dough for each of these. Here's how to do it yourself:

What You Need
1 envelope dried yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cup all purpose flour or bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil

What You Do:
In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm water…stir in ½ cup of the flour.  Cover and let stand for about 30 minutes

Then add the other ½ cup of warm water salt and olive oil.  Slowly begin to add the remaining flour.  When all of the flour is incorporated knead the dough until it is smooth.  It may take about 10 minutes….

Then dust the dough lightly all over with flour and place in a bowl – covered with a cloth  to rise for about 1 hour.

When it has doubled in size, punch down the dough and divide into 4 parts.  Form each fourth into a smooth ball and let rise covered on a floured board for 30 minutes.  In the meantime heat the oven to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.

And if you're looking for more recipes from the "Triathlete Kitchen" - check THESE out.