Will and I didn’t ask for a whole lot of stuff for our wedding, but we did request a small amount of kitchen supplies I have fantasized about for the last year. One of my favorite presents is a pizza stone that our good friend Kyle’s mom generously bought for us. I’ve been using the heck out of it this summer and can’t believe a) how airy and crispy it makes my pizza crust and b) how hot my oven gets from it! When we don’t know what to make for dinner, we just throw whatever vegetables, cheese, and/or meat looks good onto a pizza!

This week, asparagus looked very good. We added some prosciutto, some parmesan shavings, a drizzle of olive oil, and cracked black pepper.

I recognize that there is nothing revolutionary about what I made here, but  in the summer, I crave food that requires little effort and tastes really fresh. Winter is for elaborate baking projects. Summer is for pizza!

More on pizza here

An NY Times articles on Spanish Roses, which blew my mind in Barca

PROSCUITTO AND ASPARAGUS FLATBREAD

Serves 2

I kept the asparagus intact for reasons mainly of function. The first time I made this pizza, I chopped the asparagus into pieces, and it was difficult to grab a hold of. The asparagus would fall out from under the prosciutto (DANGER DANGER). By keeping the asparagus whole, you can get a good grip on them while biting down.

When you slice the pizza, make long, rectangular cuts in between pieces of asparagus. This also will help keep your pizza intact.

Ingredients

8-10 oz pizza dough (about half a blob from the store)

Cornmeal

1 bunch thick asparagus

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt & freshly cracked black pepper

4-6 very thin slices of prosciutto (enough to cover your pizza)

Shaved parmesan cheese (again, enough to spread across your pizza… I used about 1 oz)

Recipe

2 hours before baking, take your pizza dough out of the fridge (if that’s where it is) and allow it to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven as to 500, putting a pizza stone inside if you have one.

Sprinkle parchment paper with cornmeal, to prevent pizza from sticking.

Roll or stretch out your pizza dough into a big rectangle. Place onto the parchment paper.

Rinse, dry, and chop fibrous ends off asparagus. Rub them with some olive oil.

Line the asparagus up across the pizza dough. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Place the asparagus-lined dough into the oven. Toss in some ice cubes every few minutes to keep the air moist. This will help yield a crispy crust. When the flatbread is browned it is done.

Remove the browned flatbread from the oven. Delicately drape your slices of prosciutto perpendicularly over the asparagus. Spread as much or as little shaved parmesan as you’d like across the flatbread. Finish with a little more black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

I’ve made it a personal goal to get as much of my food as possible at the farmer’s market this year. Admittedly, this is less for reasons of morality and more for reasons of taste. And laziness on my part. Because the better my product, the less I have to do to it. (Case in point: last post’s epic roast chicken).

So I threw together this little diddy from my leftovers from the week. It’s a pizza crust, baked until crispy. Soft goat cheese is mushed up with lemon juice and zest and is spread over the crust. Then, a mound of arugula, lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, is piled on top.  A sprinkle of salt, a crack of black pepper, and this, my friends, is spring on a plate.

And this, my friends, is spring on a hike.

Happy spring!

ARUGULA AND GOAT CHEESE PIZZA (by me)

My friend Sara recommended some sliced beets on top. I’m thinking of adding a poached egg. What are your ideas?

My dressing is very tart. If you prefer a less lemon-y dressing, use 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb pizza dough (brought to room temperature an hour or two before baking)

Oil (for greasing baking sheet)

4 oz goat cheese (room temperature)

1 tbsp & 1 tbsp lemon juice, separated

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Salt & pepper

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 cups arugula

Recipe

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Use a bit of oil to grease baking sheet. Stretch or roll pizza dough on to baking sheet. Place in oven. Toss a few ice cubes in the oven every 3 or 4 minutes to keep the oven air humid and the crust crispy. Bake until crust is browned.

While crust bakes, place goat cheese in a bowl. Pour 1 tbsp lemon juice and zest over goat cheese, grind in cracked black pepper to taste, and smoosh it all together with a fork. Spread mixture over baked crust.

In another bowl, whisk remaining 1 tbsp lemon juice with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Pour it over arugula and toss it together in a bowl. Place the dressed arugula on top of the goat cheese-y pizza crust. Top with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!


Egg and Asparagus Pizza

March 23, 2011


I am dying to tell you all about our long weekend in Las Vegas, but I am waiting for my friends Nelie and Sarah to send me some of the ridiculous pictures they took. Look out for my stories/embarrassing photos later in the week. Here’s something to tide you over until then.

Last post, I mentioned I am training for a half marathon with my friend Reed, and craving a lot of carbohydrates after our long runs. Behold, my most favorite of all carbohydrates: EGG AND ASPARAGUS PIZZA.

Crispy crust. Tender asparagus. Gooey mozzerella. Rich egg yolk. NOM.

Cooking an egg on a pizza is tricky. Sometimes, it’s cooked once the pizza is doughy. Othertimes, it’s raw when the pizza is browned. It’s a very difficult balance. When I’m making this pizza for just Will and me, I try to cook the egg directly on the pizza, if only to eventually master this skill. I make sure I have a little nest of asparagus to keep it in place, so it won’t run over the sides. I plop it on right as a few pieces of cheese start to get brown (when the pizza has cooked about 6 minutes). I let it cook until it just forms a very thin skin on top, like so.

If I am making this pizza for company, I simply cook an over easy egg in a pan and plop it on top of the cooked pizza. I have not had enough consistency in my results to say that my 6-minutes into cooking method is correct. Either way, it will be delicious.

Other great ways to enjoy a runny egg here.

EGG AND ASPARAGUS PIZZA (by me)

Serves 4

If you use really thin asparagus, you can skip the step where you saute the asparagus. Just cut it into thirds and place it directly on the pizza.

Ingredients

1 lb pizza dough (store bought or use this recipe doubled)

Olive oil

Cornmeal

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed

1 teaspoon butter

Salt & Pepper

16-24 oz fresh mozzarella (depending on how cheesy you like your pizza)

Ice

4 eggs

Recipe

If your dough is refrigerated, take dough out of the fridge 1-2 hours before you want to start cooking and let it get to room temperature (it’s much easier to work with and to thin out this way).

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place rack on bottom rung of oven. This is where you will cook the pizza.

Oil a baking sheet and sprinkle cornmeal generously over it. Work your pizza dough into rectangles or rounds that are as a thin as you can get them.

Cut asparagus into thirds. Place a frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the butter and then add asparagus. Season with salt and pepper, and saute until they just start to get tender (about 5 minutes). Arrange asparagus on pizza, keeping in mind that you will want to make a little asparagus boarder in the middle of each pizza to fence in the egg. (if you don’t do this, the egg may run all over).

Pat mozzarella slices dry with a paper towel, sprinkle with salt, tear into pieces and arrange over the pizza. Season with pepper and place in the oven.

Toss an ice cube or two into the oven every few minutes. The added humidity will help the crust crisp up.

Crack eggs into a bowl and have them ready.

If you are cooking the egg directly atop the pizza, take pizzas out of oven when the cheese and crust just start to brown (about 5 minutes). Gently put eggs on top. Watch the pizzas very closely now, checking on them every 2 or 3 minutes. The pizza is done when the eggs have a very thin, white skin over their top (in my oven, this takes about 4 or 5 more minutes).

If you are cooking the eggs over-easy and then adding them to the top, finish cooking the pizza. It’s done when its nicely browned and crispy (about 10-12 minutes). Take out a medium skillet and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add your butter. Add the eggs and cover immediately with a lid. Turn heat up to medium high. They should be done within 2-4 minutes. Just keep checking on them periodically. I like them when they are a little bit white on top (about 3 1/2 minutes). Add eggs to top of pizza. Enjoy.

Cherry Tomato Pizza

October 7, 2010

Goodbye cherry tomatoes! Oh how I will miss you while you’re gone.

I wanted to give the last of these beauties a show-stopping final sendoff.

This is a great pizza. But truthfully, I don’t love this pizza as much as I love my Roasted Cherry Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart. Which, I should mention, is my most popular post to date by a landslide. It is not hard to see why. (If you’re interested, second place is Killing and Preparing a Lobster for the Grill).

But this pizza is simple and delicious. Roll or stretch out pizza dough. Roast garlic. Scatter cheese and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Bake. Cover with basil.

Bon voyage cherry tomatoes. Bon voyage summer. And what a great summer it was.

Will and I got engaged.

We went to a rodeo with Will’s aunt, Ann. (I am still waiting to go to another so I can say, “Well, it’s not my first rodeo.”)

And we hiked in lots of beautiful places with lots of wonderful friends.

Goodbye cherry tomatoes. Goodbye summer. It’s been fun.

CHERRY TOMATO PIZZA

I prefer roasted rather than raw garlic on this pizza because of the sweet and mellow flavor.

Serves 5-6 people

Ingredients

Pizza dough, about 1lb (homemade or store-bought. Click here for how to make your own, and if you do double the dough recipe)

Olive oil

1/4 cup cornmeal

Roasted garlic (click for recipe)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

8oz fresh mozzarella

2.5 pints cherry tomatoes (the more colors the better!)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup julienned basil

Recipe

One to two hours before making, take pizza dough out of fridge and allow it to come to room temperature (it makes it easier to work with). Make roasted garlic.  Preheat oven to 475

Spread a thin layer of olive oil on cookie sheet or pizza sheet. Sprinkle cornmeal over olive oil. Roll or stretch pizza dough to fit sheet.

Lay mozzarella slices on paper towels to absorb moisture, then sprinkle lightly with salt.

Smoosh roasted garlic cloves with your fingers, placing it all over the pizza. Grate parmesan cheese over pizza. Arrange mozzarella slices and cherry tomatoes over pizza. Sprinkle pizza with black pepper and salt.

Bake it for about 8-14 minutes, tossing an ice cube into the oven about every 3 minutes to crisp and brown the crust. Pizza is done when crust is light to medium brown and kitchen smells unbearably delicious. Take pizza out of oven.

Sprinkle with basil. Serve and enjoy.

Basic Pizza Dough

July 19, 2010

I am a woman of my word. I told you I would conquer my most recent Achilles heel–pizza dough–and conquer it I did. I realized that I might as well use a recipe from smittenkitchen, as Deb has never, ever led me astray. It was great, easy to make, and I doubt I’ll ever get the store bought stuff again.

I topped this beauty with my Grandma Rose’s pasta sauce, a bit of parmesan, mozzarella, fresh basil, and fresh cracked pepper and salt. Will and I ate it while watching Arrested Development. Speaking of which, why did it take me so long to start watching that show? It is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

So, should I have homemade pizza for the third time this week. Well, as Gob has said, “My gut is telling me no… but my gut is also very hungry…”

BASIC PIZZA DOUGH (adapted in the slightest way from Really Simple Homemade Pizza by Deb at smittenkitchen)

I err on the side of using less flour rather than more, due to living in a dry climate. If you live at sea level, use the full 1 1/2 cups flour.

Ingredients

1 1/4-1 1/2 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Recipe

Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.

Knead for 1-2 minutes. Lightly oil a bowl. Dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size.

Dump it back on the floured counter, and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under the plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to its top temperature. Roll out the pizza, toss on whatever topping and seasonings you like.

Bake it for about 10 minutes, tossing an ice cube into the oven about every 3 minutes to crisp and brown the crust.

Meal planning, it turns out, is crucial when you join a CSA. Joining a CSA means that you will have a) spectacular amounts of vegetables to use up in one week, and b) unfamiliar ingredients. This, of course, is a large part of the fun. You will have to adopt new techniques and try out new recipes in order to use up all the vegetables. Will and I have had a great time trying new things, but we have one no fail strategy in our back pocket that we use at least once a week: When in doubt, throw it on a pizza.

Which is just what we did this week with our mustard and turnip greens. We received some beautiful, small turnips in our bag this week, and our farmer, Peter told us to be sure to try the greens (do I remind you of Ina Garten??). I googled some recipes for mustard and turnip greens when I went home, wondering how to use them. Mustard and turnip greens are a staple of Southern cooking, so of course most of the recipes instructed adding bacon fat to the ingredients. I figured that I could skimp on the bacon if I just added some cheese instead. Both greens seemed to have similar prepartion suggestions, so I rightly assumed they had a similar flavor profile. I sauteed them on in a pan with some olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and then took them off the stove and finished them off with a bit of lemon juice.

When I tasted the greens, they reminded me very strongly of broccoli rabe. My absolute favorite pizza of all time is topped with broccoli rabe, garlic, and Parmesan and ricotta cheeses, so I figured the greens would sub in nicely. I was right. This pizza was absolutely delicious and I am crossing my fingers for some more mustard and turnip greens this week!

And now, a dirty little secret: pizza dough is my Achilles heel. I don’t know what it is, but my pizza dough has turned out terrible every time I’ve made it. Too dry, too sticky, hasn’t risen… you name it, I’ve messed it up. I know, I know, its supposed to be easy to make. And I promise that I will conquer it someday. But for now, I have to tell you that I mostly just buy my dough from Whole Foods. Oh well, no one’s perfect.

MUSTARD GREEN & TURNIP GREEN PIZZA (by me)

Serves 4

I always throw an ice cube in the oven every few minutes when I cook pizza. This is a trick I learned from my mom. The ice cube melts and adds humidity to the oven, which crisps up the crust. Give it a shot and you won’t be sorry!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons EVOO + a little more for greasing the pan

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)

1.5-3 cups mustard greens and/or turnip greens

Juice of 1/4 lemon

1/2 lb pizza dough (enough for one round, thin crust pizza)

Cornmeal (for sprinkling the pan)

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1/3 cup whole milk ricotta

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Recipe

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat a medium sized frying pan on medium-high heat. Add olive oil and get it hot. Add chopped garlic and cook until garlic is lightly browned. Add red pepper flakes then the greens. Cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Put greens on a plate, and squeeze 1/4 lemon over green.

Lightly coat pizza pan with EVOO, sprinkle cornmeal generously on top. Roll out a 12-14 inch disk of pizza and place on pizza pan. Place greens on pizza, then parmesan, then place dollops of ricotta across pizza. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and throw an ice cube on the oven floor. Every 3 or 4 minutes, throw another ice cube into the oven. Bake 8-12 minutes until crust is nice and brown.