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Entries in Top Your Pizza Cookbook (4)

Monday
Jan092012

Twelve for 2012!

The year 2012 is the Chinese Year of the Dragon. But here on John and Elana Talk About Food, it's the Year of the Pizza. In order to start this year off right, we are kicking it off with a giveaway! You like free stuff, yes?

Yes! And free stuff is what you shall have.

You also like pizza, yes? No? Then why are you here? Seriously, let's talk about this...

Of course you like pizza! So, it follows that you must like free pizza.

We are not giving away free pizza... I'm sorry. BUT! We are giving away free Top Your Pizza Cookbooks. Twelve of them, in fact, to mark the year 2012.

In our Top Your Pizza Cookbook you will learn to make the following pies:

You will also get our trusty and reliable dough recipe that comes with helpful photographs and tips on getting your dough just right:

We also wax poetical on things like:

The Magnificent Pizza Peel and other fine implements....like the unsung hero - TONGS! Oh yes.

Finally, you will also be subject to my food photography which gets you up-close-and-personal with a fried leaf of sage:

Shows off the delicate entanglement of onions and gooey cheese:

And pizza in its purest form:

So what do you have to do to win one of the 12 cookbooks? We want you to like us. Our egos been running on low these days. We need a pat on the back...a thumbs up... So, if you like us, let us know by liking us on Facebook! The first 12 NEW people to like us on Facebook will receive one of these Top Your Pizza Cookbooks.

So, head on over to The John and Elana Facebook page and click "Like."

If you do, you will have pizza recipes and our eternal gratitude. And John may tell you how his hair does that funny flippy-thing. Maybe...

This offer will run until those first 12 people click "like"!

 

 

Monday
Dec192011

John and Elana Benefit Dinner at Co. Restaurant for Just Food

If you've been paying attention, you probably know that we published our first cookbook. It's a pizza cookbook with 8 topping recipes, a dough recipe and additional tips and tools. It's fun stuff, if you like that whole pizza thing.

I wanted to donate the proceeds of this book to a deserving food charity, which I found in Just Food, a non-profit organization that connects communities and local farms with the resources and support they need to make fresh, locally grown food accessible to all New Yorkers.

A while back, Just Food announced their Harvest Dinners, an opportunity to bring friends and family together, raise awareness (and funds) for Just Food and eat some good grub.

I approached my favorite NYC pizzeria, Co. Restaurant with the idea of hosting a Harvest Dinner there on December 12th, and they obligingly agreed. I worked with the managers Anna-Lisa and Darren to put together a family style menu with wine pairings. This was our final menu:

Seventeen people signed on and took their place at the table as we began our feast with sparkling white wine and Pizza Bianca's.

One of my favorite things about a Co. pizza is the crust. With the Pizza Bianca, you really get to experience that crust in it's finest, fluffy-crispy form. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with just a touch of sea salt, it's the perfect starter for a meal.

We then moved on to the soup - a seasonal Squash Soup that was perfectly creamy with a hint of tanginess from pickled shiitake mushrooms and crunch from some walnuts.

At this point, the diners had moved on to the Roter Veltliner (2008  Leth  Wagram, Austria). With just a touch of sweetness, the Roter paired well with both following salads, the Endive and Radicchio....not to mention everyone's favorite – The MEATBALLS:

These little veal masterpieces are like candy, just small enough to pop in your mouth like a chocolate truffle, but soft and savory and swimming in a tomato sauce that you can (and should) eat with a spoon.

Next up: PIZZA! We enjoyed four with a Bardolino (2009  Le Fraghe  Veneto, Italy).

Pictured above is the shaved Brussel Sprout pizza accented with lardons, pecorino and gruyere cheeses, and a little kick from crushed black pepper. This pizza was a huge hit with the crowd.

We also enjoyed the Stracciatella. I've spoken about this pie before - the magic of this pie is in the cheese. Stracciatella is the ooey-gooey center of Burrata mozzarella. So creamy and smooth and salty, it's an event in itself, but paired with tomato, arugula and Co.'s fine crust, you have the KING of PIES. Really.

But no dinner at Co. would be complete without experiencing their classic Margherita:

Or the Popeye, with it's softly charred spinach atop softly melted gruyere cheese...

But we're not done yet! Co. really out-did themselves with their desserts. They offered us two: the Chocolate Tart, and the Toffee Pudding (which was brought out of retirement for the evening). The toffee bread pudding had a dollop of toffee-caramel glaze. Moist and sweet and topped with a tangy apricot and crunchy pistachios, it was the perfect sponge to soak up the Lambrusco that we finished the meal with.

We all had a fabulous dinner, and a wonderful time stealing meatballs from each other's plates and arguing for the last piece of Stracciatella.

I would first and foremost like to thank Co. Restaurant, Anna-Lisa and Darren (and Jim Lahey!) for allowing us to host this dinner at Co. and for going above and beyond in terms of hospitality and generosity. You truly made my night.

I would also like to thank everyone that came out for the event...some of you travelled across the country (not specifically for this, but still). Members of my Full Throttle triathlon team mingled with family members, old friends, new ones, and my boss Alysha, who has been incredibly supportive of my extra curricular activities.

So thanks to ALL!

And let's not forget that Co. was one of our Bathroom of the Month winners....

 

Wednesday
Nov232011

Make Pizza with Thanksgiving Leftovers!

I have come to the conclusion that there are an infinite number of pleasing pizza toppings and combinations. I'm not saying that everything you throw on a pizza is going to taste good, but I will say that your Thanksgiving leftovers will. Taste good on a pizza. And how.

Seriously, I've tried it. Now, I know you like diving into the fridge in the dead of night when you think no one is watching, quietly rolling back the foil on that picked over bird and pulling just a few more cold, roasted chucks from the turkey carcass.

I'm guilty, I do it too. And I may use leftover cranberry sauce for dipping.

But what if, just WHAT IF, you saved some of that turkey and put it on a pizza? For the pizza pictured above, I used pan fried mini potatoes, turkey sausage (but you can use your leftover bird), a slightly firm and nutty goat's milk cheese, lemon olive oil, cranberries and fresh herbs.

I also used a whole wheat crust, because let's face it, you just gorged yourself on a smorgasbord of tasty treats drenched in various amounts of butter. Some dietary fiber might be a good idea at this juncture. Just saying.

OK, so let's see how it all goes down. First the whole wheat pizza recipe:

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

Now for the assembly and toppings.

What You Need:
Makes 4 personal sized pizzas
1/4 lb goats milk cheese. I used "Midnight Moon" from Cypress Grove
Lemon olive oil (you can use this recipe)
4 turkey sausage links OR strips of leftover Thanksgiving turkey, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock
1 small bag of mini roasting potatoes cut into very thin slices
Fresh thyme and rosemary
1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
salt and pepper
olive oil

What You Do:
Place a pizza stone in your oven and heat it up to 500 degrees. You will want to make sure that pizza stone has been heating for at least a half an hour before you cook your pizza.

If using turkey sausage: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying pan. Add your turkey sausage, removed from the casings. As it cooks, break it up into small chunks with a wooden spoon. Add the 1/2 cup of chicken or turkey stock and let the sausage simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In another small pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the lemon oil (from this recipe). Add your sliced potatoes and some fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Fry 'em up until they are tender and also a little crispy and brown on the edges. Set aside.

Sprinkle some semolina flour on a pizza peel and stretch out your dough.

Drizzle some of the lemon oil on top of the stretched out dough and smooth it over the top.

Distribute the roasted potatoes over the surface of the dough.

Add small slices of the goats milk cheese on top of the potatoes.

Sprinkle the turkey sausage or the leftover turkey on top of the potatoes and cheese.

Drizzle a bit more lemon oil over the top and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Now would be an excellent time to add some more thyme and rosemary.

Place the 1/2 cup of cranberries in a microwave safe bowl. Add water to the bowl - enough to cover the berries. Place the cup of water and berries in the microwave and heat on high for about 45 seconds, just enough to pop the cranberries (you will actually hear them pop). Remove the cup from the microwave and drain the water out of the cup.

Place the popped cranberries along the top of the pizza. They will add a nice tang to the the smooth, lemony and salty pizza.

Slide your pizza onto the stone and into the oven. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven (using the pizza peel). You can add more fresh herbs or oil if you like.

Now, I know I'm slightly obsessed with pizza. I swear it's healthy... Regardless of the mental effects of this pizza preoccupation, I have started to compile quite a library of pizza recipes. The first of which are in our first cookbook, Top Your Pizza. You can see a preview of the book below. This book is available for purchase (click here), and in tune with the holiday season, most of the proceeds from the book sales go to the non-profit Just Food (which you can check out here). It's a win-win situation. Pizza for you, profits for a non-profit. Happiness all around.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

We wish you a healthy, festive, belt-loosening, gin-infused (ok, that might just be me) holiday.

Eat some turkey, watch some football, get into an immature name-calling argument with your siblings, and make sure to wear those safety goggles! We'll see you on Monday. With something .... um... cleansing.

Wednesday
Nov092011

I Left My Stomach in San Francisco!

Before I get into it, a note of thanks. To all of you.

I had a fantastic birthday. Off the charts. And many of you had something to do with it. So thank you.

And thank you, San Francisco. What a great city to celebrate in...i ate everything it offered. Well....almost. It was close, people, very close. I'm going to take you on a fun tour of what I ate in San Francisco over the next few days – the highlights.

The below image is a hotel room collage of some of the evidence:

Not everything in this photograph is edible. But Elana's Gastronomic Tour of San Francisco will cover such topics as:

Tartine Bakery – a line worth waiting on. Bring a large bag. Fill it with pastry. Get back on line. Repeat.

The Ferry Building Farmers Market – Thank goodness I do not live within walking distance of this place. They would have all my money. And I would leave with things like packages of dried heirloom tomatoes, farm fresh meats and mushmallows. Yeah, I said "mushmallow." More on that later.

Una Pizza Napoletana – The crust! Ye GODS, the crust!

California Wine – YES! I'm now especially fond of a Carignane from Donkey and Goat.

Bi-Rite – I have a gourmet food-related impulse purchase problem (*see also Ferry Building Farmers Market).

California Coffee – Four Barrel vs. Blue Bottle. I will take both early and often, please!

Socks – It was kind of chilly. So I bought some. Aided by a few Gin Bloody Marys at an extended brunch featuring a duck ragout.

And speaking of gin...Speakeasies! Sidle through the secret door, study the 40 page epic drink menu, and keep your voice down for crying out loud. This is an establishment of repute!

I will take you through all this. Slowly, and with patience. And then we will detox... just in time for Thanksgiving.

But we also have a winner!

I decided to give away one of my Top Your Pizza cookbooks plus a little San Fran treat. The treat is a fun package of caramels I picked up at the Ferry Building. And the winner? The winner is MADDIE! Maddie, I'll give you a shout via email. Thanks for commenting!