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Pizza Archives - Kohler Created

Kitchen WOH! A case for reading recipes…

By | Food, Funny, Pizza | 4 Comments

Has this ever happened to you? Yesterday, while Neil was out running errands, I decided to make dinner. I’d been wanting to make Annie’s Eat’s Pizza Bites forever, so I made a batch of our favorite dough, and chopped up some pepperoni and grated some fresh mozzarella. Since we’ve made so much pizza to date, I figured it would be easy, and decided to skip reading the recipe and just wing it.

For reference, here are what Annie’s Pizza Bites are supposed to look like. And mine…

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Neil came home right after I’d put them in the oven, and when my first timer went off, peered inside and nearly fell on the floor laughing. I looked in from behind him and saw a pizza mountain erupting from the dish. Where had I gone wrong!?

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In reading the recipe, I quickly realized my bites were more like several bites, and I’d made them far too big. I’d also slathered the top with the leftover cheese, which had fused them together in a giant pizza glob. Finally, I should have flattened my dough more, or not have allowed it to rise nearly so much.

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My kitchen humility is now firmly in check. Nonetheless, my Pizza Mountain Globs (as they are now lovingly referred to), tasted pretty darn awesome, and were a hit with Neil. Next time though, I’ll read the recipe. Lesson learned!

Pizza Caprese with Spinach?

By | Food, Main Courses, Pizza, Recipes | No Comments

Caprese Pizza

As of late, I feel like our meals are really reflecting our priorities. While good food and fun meals are still important, our desire to squeeze every last minute out of this summer has us making much simpler meals than we typically do. The fourth of July holiday always marks the midpoint of summer in my mind. When I used to work in retail, it was the time the back-to-school stuff slowly started appearing on shelves, fall clothes started arriving and summer stuff goes on 30% markdown. If you’ve been to your local craft store, you might have already noticed that Halloween deco is in full effect. It’s a little sad to think that in a month I’ll be heading back to school, thankfully for my last semester of grad school. It’s all going so fast, so for the time being, meals are quick and easy, and possibly a little redundant (sorry!), but nonetheless delicious. That being said, I have another wonderful pizza to share with you.

This one was totally inspired by a photo I saw on (Never Home)maker. It was a gorgeous photo of a caprese salad, something I’ve been wanting to make for ages. I had all the ingredients, but we were starving and I knew a salad was NOT going to cut it. Pizza-obsessed as always, I threw together a double batch of our favorite thin crust dough and popped half in the freezer and rolled the other out for a fresh herb, mozz, tomato and balsalmic pie.

Ingredients:

For the pizza:1 lb. of dough (we used our thin crust recipe, which will make 2 lbs/2 pizzas)
Flour
white cornmeal
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or 2 small tomatoes, sliced)
15-20 slices of spinach, or a combination of spinach and whole basil leaves.
1 cup mozzarella, sliced into thin pieces Red pepper flakes and/or parmesan cheese
Feta cheese crumbles, if desired

For the sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Caprese Pizza

Caprese Pizza

Directions

  1. Place oven rack in the lower middle position and place pizza stone/baking sheet on the rack and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. For the dough: Follow the preparation/assembly directions for our Perfect Thin and Crispy Pizza Crust. You can opt to freeze or not depending on your time constraints and preferences.
  3. To make the sauce: Mix olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, basil and salt and pepper (if desired) and stir to combine.
  4. Once dough has finished it’s pre-bake (see directions in step 2), spread sauce on dough and top with spinach/basil and mozzarella and tomato slices.
  5. Bake again for 10-12 minutes and cool for 2-3 minutes before slicing. Top with red pepper flakes and or Feta cheese crumbles if desired.

We decided to put a question mark on the end of the recipe title purely because of the spinach. Typically Caprese Salad is made with basil leaves, tomato and freshly sliced mozarella. Traditionally it’s made with a buffalo mozzarella, but we’re in the midwest, and just getting fresh mozz is challenge enough it seems. We toyed with the idea of using basil leaves as a topping, but the thought of a pizza with that much whole basil seemed a little over the top, so we relegated it to the oil-based “sauce” and used fresh spinach as a topping. It still has all the great flavor of basil and the spinach contributed the texture of a leafy green to balance and complement the creamy mozarella and fresh tomatoes. I’d like to say that someday we might get tired of pizza, but I know better. It is without a doubt our desert-island food.

What’s your desert-island food?

Kimchi Prosciutto Pizza

By | Food, Main Courses, Pizza, Recipes | 9 Comments

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Kimchi has been on our “to try” list for just about a year now. Every time we’re in the grocery store, we roll past it and say, “we really need to think of a way to use kimchi,” before wussing out and rolling right on past it again. We’ve always been intimidated by it because people seem to have a love/hate relationship with it, and who wants to buy a jar of something that after one bite you completely hate?

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with kimchi, I’ll give you a little background. Kimchi (also called gimchi and kimchee) is a traditional Korean vegetable side dish made of fermented seasoned cabbage (usually Napa) and sometimes other vegetables. It is usually fermented in brine with garlic, scallions and ground pepper, but there are other variations that typically vary by seasonal availability.

Anyway, we bit the bullet last week and picked up a jar. In the store, we were feeling confident, assured that kimchi would soon be our new favorite staple and that we would love it with and on everything. Our new-found confidence was quickly deflated when we pulled into the checkout line.

Lady Killjoy: “Ugh – is that kimchi?”

Us: “Yes! We’re trying it for the first time! Squee!”

Laddy Killjoy: “I just got back from Korea, I can’t look at the stuff for another second – it’s disgusting!”

Us: “Well… thanks.” :insert sound here:


Seriously?  Who does that!? I was so tempted to be like, “I see you have some Lean Cuisine in your cart, ever look at the sodium content? GROSS!”

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We’ve made two dishes with kimchi so far and have loved them both. It is an acquired taste, but if you pair your ingredients right, kimchi is the perfect complement to so many things. We included it first in a batch of beer-breaded fish tacos (recipe coming tomorrow!) and for the past two nights have made two thin crust pizzas, using it as a toppings.

The trick seems to be pairing it with something creamy, salty or spicy. In the case of our pizza, we paired with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella cheese with a spicy pseudo-Asian barbecue sauce.

Ingredients:

For the pizza:
1 lb. of dough (we used our fabulous thin crust recipe, which will make 2 lbs/2 pizzas)
Flour
white cornmeal
½-1 cup kimchi, squeezed of excess juice and chopped
6 very thin slices of prosciutto, sliced into strips
1 cup mozzarella, sliced into thin pieces or grated
Red pepper flakes and/or parmesan cheese

For the sauce: (adapted from No Recipes):
1 tablespoon kimchi juice
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Chings Schezwan Stir Fry Sauce
3 teaspoons sesame seeds

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Our dough. I’m so in love with this recipe, I’ve really never had one better outside of a restaurant crust, but they have the unfair advantage of a wood-burning oven.

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The sauce. It’s so good. It’s got a super warm, smoky flavor, but with the hint of sesame, it tastes like a lighter, asian spin on barbecue sauce. I’m also pretty sure Neil added a squirt of sriracha to it, as if it weren’t spicy enough on it’s own!

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Neil’s pizza topping prep “tray,” replete with prosciutto, mozzarella, and kimchi.

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Ready for the oven. Can you spot where I took a bite out of the mozzarella? I claimed my part of the pizza, the dirty, totally unsanitary way. Good thing I was only sharing with Neil.

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Fresh out of the oven. I just love the way fresh mozz melts. It smelled so good! I could have sliced the pizza more traditionally, but Neil and I both like our pizza squared. Is that weird?

Directions:

  1. Place oven rack in the lower middle position and place pizza stone/baking sheet on the rack and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. For the dough: Follow the preparation/assembly directions for our Perfect Thin and Crispy Pizza Crust. You can opt to freeze or not depending on your time constraints and preferences.
  3. To make the sauce: Mix the Chings Schezwan Stir Fry Sauce with the kimchi juice, stir, and add the sesame oil, garlic and sesame seeds and stir again to combine.
  4. Once dough has finished it’s pre-bake (see directions in step 2), spread sauce on dough and top with chopped kimchi, proscuitto, and mozzarella.
  5. Bake again for 10-12 minutes and cool for 2-3 minutes before slicing. Top with red pepper flakes or parmesan cheese if desired.

Yum! It’s like spicy Asian barbecue pizza. Nice and light, super crunchy and full of amazing flavor. The kimchi is a perfect compliment to the cheese and prosciutto, and the spicy smoky flavor of the sauce really brings everything together. If you’re new to kimchi, and a little “eh” to the idea of fermented cabbage, this is the perfect introductory recipe. Enjoy!

The Perfect Thin and Crispy Pizza Crust

By | Main Courses, Pizza, Recipes | 27 Comments

Crispy Crunchy Crust

So we did it! After our last trial, we received some helpful comments and suggestions that led us to believe we weren’t going as full-force with our technique as we could go. We apparently needed to be more hardcore, and maybe a little dangerous?

Crispy Crunchy Crust

Because the government shutdown was averted at the 11th hour, my dad didn’t get to come to town. We decided to freeze the dough to preserve it in the meantime, and ended up pulling it out Sunday afternoon because we were already jonesing for bread and cheese.

Crispy Crunchy Crust

We immediately noticed a benefit to freezing the dough. After leaving it on the counter for 30-45 minutes, we started rolling it out, and were able to get it much thinner than previous trial versions. Being cold gave it a comparative texture/consistency to play dough. It was firm and not as easily torn as room-temperature dough.

Crispy Crunchy Crust

We also made a change in the way of our oven configuration. We set the rack as close as we could to the oven coils, placed our pizza stone, and cranked the temperature as high as it would go, slowly heating it, and getting it much hotter than we were having the rack higher just two rungs higher. The disadvantage is that the rack was literally right over the coil and created precarious situation in trying to remove the stone to place our pizza. Luckily our stone came with it’s own rack with handles. Without it, I would use extreme caution in trying this out. We still managed to scorch one of our oven mitts.

Crispy Crunchy Crust

We did the pre-bake (around 4-5 minutes). We saw some bubbles forming in the dough and Neil easily popped them with a fork. The crust was lightly golden after the pre-bake, but as you can see from the photo above, a completely different composition and texture than our previous crusts. Instead of being dense, it’s light and almost transparent. The dough was beginning to separate into layers, and had a really good airy center. We layered our toppings and popped it back in the oven for around 10 minutes.

Crispy Crunchy Crust

I believe Charlie Sheen said it best,… “WINNING!”

Crispy Crunchy Crust

Not perfectly round, but that’s a challenge for another day. Besides, when are restaurant pizzas ever perfectly round? Either way, we have our winner. I’d still like to do a side-by-side comparison of our flatbread crust done in this method and this recipe. For now, here is the full recipe for this crust, all you need are your toppings:

Ingredients:

(makes crust for 2 pizzas):
1 package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Additional toppings according to preference. (Need some ideas? How about this? or this? or maybe now that it’s grilling season you’d like this!)

Directions:

To Prepare Dough:
1. In a mixer/mixing bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, water and shortening to form a paste.
2. Add the flour and salt and mix while stirring (either by hand or mixer). If you are using a mixer, mix for 1-2 minutes before switching to the dough hook and mixing for an additional 3 minutes (adding more water if dry). If mixing by hand, mix in bowl to combine before turning out onto a floured surface (using 1-2 tablespoons) and kneading for an additional 6-8 minutes.
3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside to rise in the warmest part of the kitchen for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, cut the risen dough into 2 equal pieces (or 1 big one!) and knead each portion into a round. Cover again and let rise for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Place dough in a freezer safe bag or container and freeze for 2-3 days. Note: There is no tested science in the timing. I’m sure you can freeze it for less or more time as needed, this is purely what worked beautifully for us.

To Assemble Pizza:
1.Remove dough from freezer and allow to thaw for 45 minutes-1 hour before using. The dough still being somewhat cool allowed it hold shape  and be rolled/shaped thinly — this is key.
2. Preheat the oven to 450-475 degrees F. Place oven rack on the lowest possible rung and place pizza stone on it. Once the oven is preheated, carefully remove the stone using oven mitts and place on a safe surface. It will be VERY hot.
3. Sprinkle pizza stone with cornmeal. Roll and stretch dough into a round or long strip (1 large, or 2 smaller) and transfer to sheet/stone. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil with pressed garlic and brush garlic oil over the dough.
4. Place in oven and pre-bake empty crust for 4-5 minutes.
5. Layer your toppings and return pizza to oven.
6. Bake pizza until lightly browned, around 10-12 minutes. Cool for 2-3 minutes before cutting pizza into pieces and serving.

Note: Typically I’d include the use of other pizza pans or baking sheets in the directions. We have not been able to duplicate our success on other bakeware, therefore we can only advocate the use of a pizza stone at this time. To be honest, a pizza stone really is the best if you can’t use a grill or real-deal fancy brick oven.
Like many, I took up cooking to take my life less seriously. In all the “real-life” tornado of career, freelance, grad school, certifications and where to go next and how to build our smallish-time empire, it’s nice to have something you can sort of mockingly take seriously. My obsession with pizza crust as of late may seem silly, but having little things to get excited or feel accomplished about is so important to balance out the more serious and long-term adult goals. Since I’ve been working full-time AND going t0 school at least full- or part-time since High School, I feel like I haven’t yet had the opportunity (read: time) to develop or foster any real hobbies or “me” stuff. I hope to change that once this degree is done!

Thin & Crispy Crust Trial #3: Black Forest Ham and Pineapple Relish Pizza

By | Food, Kitchen, Main Courses, Meat, organic, Pizza, Recipes, Weather | 4 Comments

Black Forest Ham and Pineapple Relish on Crispy

As I mentioned in our St. Patrick’s Day Pizza post, we’re on the march toward perfecting the perfect crispy pizza crust “a la Kohler.” We’re bordering on obsessive now. It has to be done! I have no shame in saying that we’ll be eating pizza like it’s our job until we figure this out. I think we’re getting close, and our next formulation –er, pizza (which happens to be be our Easter edition holiday pizza) might be THE one.

The difficulty in achieving the perfect thin and crispy crust is, that to get the crust as crispy as the restaurant-style varieties, you need a HOT oven, one that reaches temperatures beyond those capable with a typical consumer-grade oven. We started using a pizza stone last year, and it has yielded us better results thus far (both in quality and taste), but now we’re essentially to the point where the recipe must be refined in order to get the texture and signature crunch we crave. Like I said, we’re a little obsessed.

The topping ideas were inspired by an episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. In his travels to Hawaii, he visits a tiny restaurant called Puka Dog. Small loaves of bread are prepared as the bun and pierced with a machine. Fruit and spicy relishes are poured inside before a polish sausage is added to complete the Puka Dog. The fruit relishes looked colorful and sweet and we thought they’d be perfect with some organic black forest ham we’d picked up on one of our shopping trips. Have you figured out that ham and pineapple is the one ingredient combination we can agree on?

Ingredients:

For the crust (makes crust for 2 pizzas):
1 package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Toppings:
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Black Forest ham slices
Pineapple Relish (recipe below)
2 cups freshly grated mozzarella
1 cup tomato sauce (or 2 cups fresh tomatoes)
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

Pineapple Relish:
1 tablespoon oil
1 1/2 cups (or 234g) canned or fresh crushed pineapple with juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Black Forest Ham and Pineapple Relish on Crispy

Black Forest Ham and Pineapple Relish on Crispy

Black Forest Ham and Pineapple Relish on Crispy

Directions:
1. In a mixer/mixing bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, water and shortening to form a paste.
2. Add the flour and salt and mix while stirring (either by hand or mixer). If you are using a mixer, mix for 1-2 minutes before switching to the dough hook and mixing for an additional 3 minutes (adding more water if dry). If mixing by hand, mix in bowl to combine before turning out onto a floured surface and kneading for an additional 6-8 minutes. Do this until you have a smooth, firm dough.
3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside to rise in the warmest part of the kitchen for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, cut the risen dough into 2 equal pieces (or 1 big one!) and knead each portion into a round. Cover again and let rise for 15 to 20 minutes. The dough is now ready to be used.

To Prepare Pineapple Relish:
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil, pineapple, salt and the pepper. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, until the liquid reduces, about 30 minutes.
2. Deglaze the saucepan with the vinegar and add the lemon zest, mustard garlic and ginger. Cook uncovered over low heat until the liquid is reduced again (about 20 minutes more) Transfer to a bowl, let cool then refrigerate covered until ready to use. Stir before using.

To Assemble Pizza:
1. Preheat the oven to 450-475 degrees F.
2. Sprinkle a rimless baking sheet or pizza stone with cornmeal. Roll and stretch dough into a long strip (1 large, or 2 smaller) and transfer to sheet/stone. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil with pressed garlic and brush garlic oil over the dough.
3. Place in oven and pre-bake empty crust for 4-5 minutes.
4. Brush tomato sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the crust. Spread a thin layer of cheese evenly over the pizza. Scatter Black Forest ham over pizza, then dollop and spread pineapple relish over the ham. Lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
5. Bake pizza until lightly browned, around 10-12 minutes. Cool for 2-3 minutes before cutting pizza into pieces and serving.

DSC_0468Black Forest Ham and Pineapple Relish on Crispy

Black Forest Ham and Pineapple Relish on Crispy

Even if we didn’t achieve the perfect crunch, this was the most flavorful dough we’ve tried yet. It must have been the combination of the shortening in the dough and the sweetness of the relish, but the whole pie had almost a sweet and creamy texture and taste. Definitely like nothing we’ve created thus far. I topped my slices with some fresh chives from the garden for color, and we split a new spiked lemonade by Jeremiah Weed that we impulsively picked up on an already impulsive trip to the grocery store. It’s definitely feeling Spring-ish over here!

With the looming government shut-down, my dad might be coming home for a visit. I’m thinking we’ll test one of our dough experiments on his taste buds and see what he thinks. Hear that Dad, you’re an experiment! What are your plans this weekend?

St. Patrick’s Day Pizza: Asparagus and Potato Pizza with Pesto and Carmelized Onions

By | Breadmaking, Healthy, Holidays, Pizza, Recipes | 5 Comments

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So if you’ve been following us a bit, you know we started a little tradition last Thanksgiving of making pizza themed around every holiday (evidence here and here). Nothing really that deep, just good pizza with ingredients or colors we feel are representative of the upcoming holiday.

Well for St. Patrick’s Day we went a little overboard at the grocery store and bought enough toppings for TWO pizzas, so this is the first, and we’ll be making the second one tonight. We have a lot of fun with these, and it’s a great motivator to try new and sometimes strange ingredients or combinations of things we might otherwise not have considered for our weekly pizza night.

Asparagus, Red Potato and Carmelized Onion Pizza

For our first pizza we chose fresh sliced asparagus spears and sliced red potatoes with carmelized onions and pesto. Lots of green and fresh spring vegetables. Ironic because it literally snowed all day yesterday. Regardless, a super fresh, green and veggie-filled pizza on a flatbread crust. This is our first time making a flatbread crust, so we gave the much-recommended Mario Batali Flatbread a try.

Ingredients:

For the flatbread crust (Recipe from Mario Batali):
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil + more for garlic spread and asparagus spears
3 cups all-purpose flour

For the toppings:
2 red potatoes
1 bunch or 8 ounces asparagus spears, trimmed, each spear cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2- to 3-inch pieces (you may have some leftover)
1 1/3 cups grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces), shredded
1 small red onion sliced in rings or diced into pieces
1/2 cup pesto
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Asparagus, Red Potato and Carmelized Onion Pizza

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Directions:

To Make Crust:
Combine the wine, water, and yeast in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Add the honey, salt, and the olive oil and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt. Slowly pour in the wine mixture into the flour while stirring (either by hand or mixer). If you are using a mixer, mix for 1-2 minutes before switching to the dough hook and mixing for an additional 3 minutes (adding more water or wine if too dry). If mixing by hand, mix in bowl to combine before turning out onto a floured surface and kneading for an additional 6-8 minutes. Do this until you have a smooth, firm dough.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside to rise in the warmest part of the kitchen for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, cut the risen dough into 2 equal pieces (or 1 big one!) and knead each portion into a round. Cover again and let rise for 15 minutes. The dough is now ready to be used.

To Prepare Toppings:

Asparagus Spears:Trim ends and cut each spear in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Red Potatoes: Place potatoes in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover and add an extra inch of water. Sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Cut into thin slices.
Red Onion: Cut onions into crescent-shaped slices. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the fat shimmers, stir in the onions until coated with oil. Add a pinch of salt, then stir periodically, allowing the onions to darken. Remove from heat and set aside.

To Assemble Pizza:
1. Preheat the oven to 360 to 365 degrees F.
2. Sprinkle a rimless baking sheet or pizza stone with cornmeal. Roll and stretch dough into a long strip (1 large, or 2 smaller) and transfer to sheet/stone. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil with pressed garlic and brush garlic oil over the dough.
3. Place in oven and pre-bake empty crust for 4 minutes.
4. Brush pesto over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the crust. Spread carmelized red onions and potato slices evenly over the pizza. Add a thin layer of cheese and drizzle more pesto over the cheese. Scatter asparagus over pizza, top with parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
5. Bake pizza until lightly browned and asparagus is tender, around 10-12 minutes. Cool for 2-3 minutes before cutting pizza into pieces and serving.

Neil was really skeptical when I suggested we try asparagus and potatoes on pizza, but he loved it, especially with the addition of a little balsamic vinegar drizzled over. The crust was really good, though not as thin and flat as we had hoped. We’re going to try a different tactic tonight, we’ll let you know how it goes. It took us months to perfect our last crust, so I have a feeling this is the only the beginning in Kohler’s vs. Flatbread.

Every try a unique pizza topping that was a surprise hit?

Happy Valentine’s Day! Pig and Pineapple Pizza on Beet Crust

By | Food, Pizza, Recipes | No Comments

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

After the success of Thanksgiving Pizza, Neil and I knew it was something to make habit for all the little holidays throughout they year that we often don’t pay much attention to. We’ve been looking forward to our Valentine’s edition pizza ever since. It’s not that we ignore Valentine’s but typically we’re always a little busy and the stress of making dinner reservations or making a big deal of it really isn’t our style. Besides, ever since we started cooking at home, I find it far more romantic than going out. Remember our Valentine’s sushi date last year? Romantic AND frugal, plus we weren’t competing with everyone else for tables and service. Can’t beat it. Also, (mom stop reading now!) one can’t help but consider the convenient proximity to the bedroom.

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

In retrospect we probably didn’t scheme the toppings as much as we could have. We could have gone all out with something overly red and pink, but we both love Canadian bacon and pineapple, and as many of you in relationships know, agreeing on pizza toppings is sometimes like negotiating a peace settlement in a war-torn country. Additionally If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you might remember me falling in love with this pig and pineapple pizza a year or so back. We had to make it, and last night was the night.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
1 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
1/2 cup canned or fresh beets puree
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used an herbed variety)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour (I used ½ bread flour, ½ whole wheat flour)
½ cup white or yellow cornmeal

Our toppings (you can obviously do whatever you like):
2 cups shredded cheese (we used Monty Jack)
¾ cup tomato sauce
¾ cup chopped pineapple
12 large slices of Sopressata (or any thinly sliced sausage)
Kosher salt
Pepper
Basil
Oregano
Garlic Powder
Cinnamon (for the Sopressata, it tastes amazing as it cooks)

Directions:

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

1. To make beet puree: Wash beets and place in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 15-20 minutes or until forkable. Remove from heat and drain into a colander. Skins should peel off, and then beets can be cut into 1-inch pieces. Puree in a food processor for 1-2 minutes or until large pieces have been obliterated. My advice: Save yourself the horrendous mess and just use canned beets.

2. Pour warm water into a medium bowl and slowly whisk in yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes, then add honey, olive oil and mashed sweet potato. Whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Note: if you used canned beets in water, feel free to use the very red water in place of new tap water. It will add more color to your dough.

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

3. In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt. Slowly stir in wet ingredients and continue to mix until it becomes impossible. If you are using a mixer, this would be the time to switch to the dough hook attachment, otherwise use your hands to continue mixing and slowly kneading your dough, adding more flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking.

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

4. Once you’ve created your nice dough ball, add olive oil to the bottom of a bowl and roll the dough ball in the oil until it is coated. Cover with saran wrap or damp towel and store in a dry place (I use my microwave) for one hour.

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

5. Around the last 15 minute mark, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Flour your hands and roll dough onto a pizza stone or pizza dish. Fold over edge to create a raised outer edge around the crust. Brush crust lightly with olive oil and place in heated oven, baking for 5-8 minutes alone (without toppings).

6. Remove and cover crust with a layer of tomato sauce and the rest of your toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for an additional 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool, then slice and enjoy!

Yes, we cut the Sopressata into heart shapes to be festive. We had fun with this, and as nervous as I was wondering how beets would taste in the crust, I was surprised at how sweet it ended up being. I’d even venture to say it was sweeter than the Sweet Potato Garlic Knots we made last fall. It definitely got less pink with rising and baking (as you can see in the photos above), but it was still very colorful and fun.

So you know what comes after Valentines Day right? St. Patrick’s Day! The perfect green crust is already in the works…

How are you going to celebrate Valentine’s this year? Low-key? Fancy? What’s your favorite Valentine’s candy/treat?

Thanksgiving Pizza

By | Condiments, Food, Homemade Ingredients, Main Courses, Recipes, Thanksgiving | 7 Comments

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I decided to end this week with a recipe that requires a little sense of humor. It does. The mere idea of a Thanksgiving pizza requires a little sense of humor, though if you like unique pizza, this one’s definitely right up your alley. At the end of our post detailing our Ham and Pineapple on our newly minted Sweet Potato Crust, I mentioned that we had made an extra batch and were looking for ideas on toppings. While no one really commented in the post, Twitter was definitely a buzz with ideas. Several people asked us to make a Thanksgiving-themed pizza. Always the nerds up for anything weird, Neil and I decided to make a go of it.

I based the design off our very favorite stuffing recipe. I didn’t use every ingredient, as I felt it would be overwhelming, but I picked the ingredients I felt would complement each other best. So here we go:

INGREDIENTS:

For the Pizza:
1 batch of sweet potato pizza crust dough (directions here)
12 large slices of Sopressata (or any thinly sliced sausage)
1 golden delicious apple, cored and sliced thinly
1 cup dried cranberries
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Pepper
Basil
Oregano
Garlic Powder

Pomegranate Reduction (optional but worth it):
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
corn starch to thicken if needed (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

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For the pizza:
1. Prepare dough according to directions. Roll out and brush with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, basil, oregano and garlic powder to taste.
2. Layer first the sopressata, then a thin layer of cheese, then apple slices and a final layer of cheese. Sprinkle with dried cranberries, and season with additional herbs if desired.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until crust and cheese turns golden.

To make the pomegranate reduction:
1. Bring ingredients to a boil, then lower to a simmer, and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, adding corn starch to thicken as necessary.
The pomegranate reduction, drizzled over the pizza, gave it the perfect sweet to salt ratio.

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I still can’t get over how good this crust is, and how soft and chewy it gets in the oven. As much as I love my dad’s mountain-high leftover turkey and fixings sandwiches, this might be a new favorite!

Edited to add: Suffice to say, you can substitute any of your leftovers in any combination you choose. We use sausage in our stuffing, but you can substitute your leftover shredded turkey, mushrooms, olives… anything!

Ham and Pineapple Pizza on a Sweet Potato Crust

By | Food, Main Courses, Recipes | 3 Comments

Pineapple and Ham Pizza on a Sweet Potato Crust

Last week, after I made Sweet Potato Garlic Knots, Neil was chomping at the bit to try the same dough out in a pizza crust. So on Sunday, after spending nearly the entire weekend in the kitchen working on our Pom Wonderful Dinner Party (post coming tomorrow!), we decided to drag ourselves in there one last time to make this awesome Ham and Pineapple pizza on our newly minted Sweet Potato Crust. Sure the pizza itself is nothing groundbreaking, but we couldn’t help but try out a new crust, something we’ve been meaning to do for-e-VER.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
1 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
1/2 cup sweet potato puree (canned or fresh)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used an herbed variety)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour (I used ½ bread flour, ½ whole wheat flour)

Our toppings (you can obviously do whatever you like):
2 cups shredded cheese (we used Monty Jack)
¾ cup tomato sauce
¾ cup chopped pineapple
¾ cup ham, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
Pepper
Basil
Oregano
Garlic Powder

Directions:

Pineapple and Ham Pizza on a Sweet Potato Crust

Pineapple and Ham Pizza on a Sweet Potato Crust

Pineapple and Ham Pizza on a Sweet Potato Crust

Pineapple and Ham Pizza on a Sweet Potato Crust

1. To make sweet potato puree: Wash and peel sweet potato and cut into 1-inch squares. Place in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and drain into a colander and return to pot. Mash and allow them to sit while you prepare your other ingredients.
2. Pour warm water into a medium bowl and slowly whisk in yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes, then add honey, olive oil and mashed sweet potato. Whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt. Slowly stir in wet ingredients and continue to stir until it becomes impossible. Then use your hands to continue mixing and slowly start kneading your dough, adding more flour to your hands to keep it from sticking.
4. Once you’ve created your nice dough ball, add olive oil to the bottom of your bowl and roll the dough ball in it until it is coated. Cover with saran wrap or damp towel and store in a dry place (I use my microwave) for one hour.
5. Around the last 15 minute mark, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Flour your hands and roll dough onto a pizza stone or pizza dish. Fold over edge to create a raised outer edge around the crust. Brush crust lightly with olive oil and place in heated oven, baking for 5-8 minutes alone (without toppings).
6. Remove and cover crust with a layer of tomato sauce and the rest of your toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for an additional 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool, then slice and enjoy!

Pineapple and Ham Pizza on a Sweet Potato Crust

Verdict? The dough makes an AWESOME pizza crust. Lightly sweet and soft, it made an awesome pizza. We were apparently so confident before even tasting it that we went ahead and made two batches, meaning later this week we’ll make another type of pizza.

Any topping suggestions or requests?

Grilling in the Fall: BBQ Chicken Pizza

By | BBQ, Cats, Food, Kitchen, Main Courses, Recipes | 5 Comments

BBQ Chicken Pizza

As you may have heard, we did not make it to Challenge #5 of Project Food Blog. We had a lot of fun, but we were kind of relieved to get out when we did. Our life is insanely busy enough, and the race to get a contest-worthy post done on the weekend was leaving us with very little weekend leftover and time to relax. We did however get a nifty little cooler out of the deal though, so at least we did something right–right?

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Kind of dorky, but it does have a bottle opener, so at least that’s added function right? For now it has been claimed as Felix’s new bed. I swear that cat has more beds than the Queen of England.

All in all we really did have a great time participating in the contest. We met lots of new people, tried a lot of new recipes, and if the contest comes around again next year, hopefully we’ll have a revamped site and more time. Okay maybe just a revamped site.

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Our murdered out $30 cheapo grill

By the time we found out we hadn’t made it to the next round, we had already planned out our entry for Challenge #5, which was to put our own spin on pizza. I had an elaborate steak and pesto recipe worked up (Neil has been craving steak since he never gets it), but when we found out we didn’t make it, I decided to use some of our frozen organic chicken for a simple Fall BBQ Chicken Pizza on the grill, something we’ve been meaning to try forever!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
Two batches of our dough from La Pizza Margherita Kohler

For the Pizza:
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup spicy barbecue sauce, divided
1/2 cup slivered red onion
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (we added a little leftover Colby Jack)

Directions:

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1. First, we grilled the chicken. Cook 3-5 min each side, or to 160 degrees with a meat thermometer.

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2. We then sliced the chicken into thin strips.

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We grabbed our favorite sauce…YUM!

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Artistic shot. Look how it glistens in the setting sun…

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3. Drizzle some of the sauce over the chicken and stir to coat. You’ll need the remainder of the sauce for a thin layer on your crust.

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Meanwhile you can shred your cheese and slice your red onion. Check out our leaning tower of cheese!

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This dough is ready to roll!

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4. Punch and roll out your dough and create a dipped edge to hold your toppings. We chose to use a pizza stone, but you can also grill the dough right on the grill grate. Here’s a great tutorial via

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5. Grilled the crust plain for five minutes, then start with your toppings. We started with a thin layer of BBQ sauce:

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then we added a layer of red onion…

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…then a thin layer of cheese…

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then our BBQ chicken and a little more cheese.

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6. Grill pizza for 10 minutes. Depending on the temperature of the grill this may vary, so it’s best to keep an eye on it. When it’s finished, carefully remove from grill by transferring it to another surface/dish. Do NOT attempt to remove it on the stone, it will be very HOT.

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7. Allow the pizza to cool for several minutes. Add additional seasonings of your choice and slice and eat!

We’d been meaning to try pizza on the grill all summer, and I’m happy we finally got around to it, as it’s just another cool thing for us to eat, albeit when the temperatures are warm enough and we have enough time to grill. I know for most it’s not groundbreaking, but it’s new to us, and now that we’ve tried it we of course have tons of ideas of toppings and crust flavors to try. So many of these techniques used to be so intimidating, but the possibilities really are endless and with each one you master, the floodgates seem to open up with even more things to try. Our time spent in the kitchen is starting to become like episodes of Mythbusters. Can these newbs grill pizza? YES! Will the new flavor of spring rolls we try tonight be delicious? Find out tomorrow!