Saturday, March 31, 2012

Baked Potato Pizza

As if pizza weren't comfort food enough...

Baked Potato Pizza is the perfect rainy Saturday afternoon pizza, when you're ready for a lazy, heavy meal, a cold beer and quality time with your sofa cushions. You can bake the potatoes solely for the pizza, or use leftovers from another meal. Either way, don't plan to move anywhere for a few hours after dinner.

  • Wash 2-3 large russet potatoes (skin on!), wrap in tin foil and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. OR, shortcut version, puncture the potatoes a few times with a fork and microwave them (without tin foil!) on high for about 10 minutes or until soft inside. Either way, allow the potatoes to cool a bit, then chop them into small cubes and toss them with a mixture of Italian herbs (we like Mrs. Dash's salt-free version).
  • (Optional) Pre-cook 2 slices of bacon in a heavy skillet until they just start to get crispy.

TOPPINGS (layered in this order):
  1. Very Best Pizza Crust Ever, par-baked
  2. A few dollops of sour cream, spread very thinly over the crust
  3. The cooked potato cubes, tossed with Italian seasoning
  4. A handful or two of chopped chives
  5. (Optional) The bacon, chopped into small bits
  6. A healthy dose of grated mozzarella cheese (for gooeyness) mixed with a sharp cheddar cheese (for flavor)
Bake on a pizza stone at 450 degrees F for about 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust begins to brown. Sit back and put your feet up.

Friday, March 23, 2012

White Pizza with Roasted Cauliflower

For those of you who follow us regularly, it won't come as any surprise that we don't always make pizzas with red sauce. In fact, more often than not, we opt for some sort of alternative to a tomato-based spread. In spite of that adventuresome spirit, we haven't legitimately explored the White Pizza in all its glory.

Without scientific data to back up this claim, it seems like many white pizzas are topped with vegetables, while many red pizzas tend to involve meat. However, the density of high-fat dairy products on white pizzas (i.e. Alfredo sauce + too much cheese) probably makes them much less healthier than their crimson counterparts.

Enter Pizza Your Face.

We [pretend to] eat health-consciously and we eat a lot of pizza. So it stands to reason that we would look for a way to bring you a white pizza with a little bit nutritional value.

Enter the roasted cauliflower.


Lookie here at all these great nutrients. And then start munching because you'll feel totally indulgent when you taste the cauliflower.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F with the pizza stone in the oven. Cut apart a whole head of cauliflower (maybe 2?) into large florets and give them a good rinse. Cut the florets into 1/4-inch slices. Mix a pinch of salt into about 4 tablespoons of olive oil and toss the cauliflower with the oil. Roast them on the pizza stone for about 30 minutes total, turning every 10 minutes, until they are very brown and caramelized. They will shrink a lot. Cool them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

For the last 8-10 minutes, throw in 4 whole garlic cloves, also tossed in olive oil, and roast them until the outsides start to brown and the insides are soft.

Keep the cauliflower away from your significant other, because otherwise the entire batch will disappear in about 5 minutes... 

Melt 1.5 tablespoons of butter* in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow it to get bubbly and start to brown. Once the foaminess starts to die down, stir in 1.5 tablespoons of flour and heat for 1 minute. Slowly add 3/4 cup of milk (room temperature is better than cold), then a pinch of salt and a dash of cayenne powder, and whisk non-stop for 5-8 minutes until the mixture boils and thickens. Throw in the roasted garlic cloves and blend until smooth.

*Yes, use real butter. A minor amount of fat makes it all worthwhile.

TOPPINGS (layered in this order):
To avoid making the crust soggy, be sure you have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go up front.
  1. Whole wheat crust, par-baked
  2. Spread of the white sauce
  3. Grated mozzarella and Parmesan - just enough to help the toppings stick, but don't go gooey on this one
  4. Lots of roasted cauliflower
  5. Thinly sliced shallots
Pop it all back in the oven at 425 degrees F for about 8 minutes. Top with freshly ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little extra grated Parmesan.

I'm salivating again just thinking about it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wooden Pizza Cutter

Check out this cool gadget some friends gave us:

It's a wooden pizza cutter! Makes it possible for pizza-cutting-challenged individuals like myself to slice across the entire pizza in one straight line. Wild.

Reuben Pizza

A belated St. Paddy's Day to ya. Don't bother putting on your green T-shirt or testing your Irish brogue, but you might want to dig out that leftover corned beef from the back of your fridge. And turn the boiled cabbage into sauerkraut...

It appears there are conflicting accounts about the history of the Reuben sandwich. It was either created by a Lithuanian man living in Nebraska or by a German man living in New York, both, naturally, with Reuben as part of their name.

Reuben pizza also appears to be a well-established recipe, so we make no claims of ownership, other than that we did throw it together off the top of our heads and we have some ideas for how we'd improve it next time. On the "throw it together" side, it ended up being an unusually processed meal for us:

To "improve it next time" we would come up with a decent quick sauerkraut recipe and make our own Russian dressing. We also thought our pizza could have used more of almost all of the toppings. So be generous, while also keeping in mind that over-loaded pizzas are hard to maneuver and prone to sogginess.

Nonetheless it was tasty. Here's how it went:

TOPPINGS (layered in this order):
  1. Very Best Pizza Crust Ever - Before the par-baking step, stretch out the dough as usual and sprinkle a healthy dose of caraway seeds over the surface. We gently pressed them in with a rolling pin to keep them from running away. Then continue with the par-baking.
  2. Generous spread of Russian dressing
  3. Grated Swiss cheese of a nice sharp variety
  4. A handful of grated mozzarella for meltedness
  5. Dollops of sauerkraut
  6. Slices of corned beef
Bake at 450 degrees F for 7-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust edges start to brown.