Showing posts with label pizza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pizza. Show all posts

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Before She Was Found" by Heather Gudenkauf, Served with a Recipe for Cheese Pizza (with Pesto, Artichoke Hearts & Black Olives)

One more day until Friday! I am excited for the weekend and excited to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for Before She Was Found, a new mystery/thriller by Heather Gudenkauf. Accompanying my review is a recipe for an easy Cheese Pizza. While the dish is inspired by my reading, I changed up to experiment with a keto-friendly egg and cheese crust and topped it with pesto, artichoke hearts, black olives and plenty of cheese.


Publisher's Blurb:

A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town.

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.
 
Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora—and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted—not even those closest to Cora.
 
Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe—even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.

Hardcover: 368 Pages
Publisher: Park Row; Original edition (April 16, 2019)



My Review:

Before She Was Found is my first Heather Gudenkauf book and one reason I jumped on this tour as I have been meaning to give her a try. The other thing that drew me in was the similarity of the plot description to the Slender Man case from a few years ago in which two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin, lured another friend to the woods and stabbed her in order to impress a creepy Internet urban legend. Gudenkauf notes in the afterword that this is where the inspiration from the book came from, although there are differences in characters, settings and plot lines. I won't go into much detail in this review as I don't want to spoil it.

The story is told from different points of view and methods--a therapist's notes, Cora's journal, texts between friends, etc., and goes back in forth from the night Cora is found on the train tracks of the abandoned rail yard having been attacked to the time before she was found. Gudenkauf does a skillful job in weaving the different perspectives together and building the suspense, with several twists and turns. There are a lot of characters--the three friends, Cora, Violet and Jordyn, their families, the doctors and police involved, other friends and a somewhat creepy teacher, which kept me interested and guessing as to what happened and who was involved. The down side is that it also made it hard to get to know or bond with any one character and I wanted to understand some of the different motives more than I did. Still, overall I enjoyed Before She Was Found; the story engaged me, the pages flew by, and I would definitely read more from this author. 

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Author Notes: Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound.  Heather lives in Iowa with her family.

Connect with her on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.






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Food Inspiration:

The food in Before She Was Found was a bit limited, but there were mentions like gingerbread and pitchie moloko ("birds milk cake" from Russia), ice cream, green rivers (a classic soda shop/diner drink of 7-Up and lime syrup), pizza, a turtle sundae, hot chocolate and fries, oatmeal, chocolate or strawberry milkshakes, peanut butter sandwich, butterscotch candy, bagels, donuts and orange juice, cupcakes, toast with butter and peach jam, pasta and wine, and a bunch of drinks and cocktails as one of the characters grandfather ran a bar and remembered people's drinks rather than their names.
 
For my bookish dish, I chose cheese pizza as when Cora and Violet first become friends, one of the things Cora notes they have in common is a love of cheese pizza.


Why not a regular cheese pizza like the ones the girls enjoyed in the book? well, I have been wanting to experiment with a gluten-free crust and wanted something very easy for a weeknight dinner. my friend has been experimenting with a keto lifestyle lately and suggested I try this one from DietDoctor.com. I like the simplicity of it--just eggs and cheese in the crust (plus a little pepper I added). I prefer non-tomato sauces and have been craving pesto and I thought that the brine of the artichoke hearts and olives to cut some of the rich cheesy-ness.
 

Keto Cheese Pizza (with Pesto, Artichoke Hearts & Black Olives)
Slightly Adapted from DietDoctor.com
(Makes 2 to 4 Servings)

Crust:
4 large eggs
6 oz shredded cheese--preferably mozzarella and/or Provolone
black pepper and oregano if desired

Toppings:
pesto or pizza sauce of choice
shredded cheese of choice (I used a mix of Parmesan, Romano, and cheddar)
canned or jarred artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
black olives 
dried basil or oregano if desired

Pre-heat over to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper or olive oil cooking spray.

Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and stir them with a fork until blended. Stir in the shredded cheese and mix together well.

Spread out thinly on your prepared pan, using a rubber spatula. (Note: I used two personal pizza pans and divided the mix between them.

Bake for about 15 minutes--until crust turns golden. Remove and let sit for a few minutes. (After it cools a little, I like to loosen the crust from a pan with my spatula before putting on the toppings.)

Turn oven to 450 degrees F. Spread pesto or sauce over pizza crust. Top with artichoke hearts, cheese and black olives--or toppings of choice. Sprinkle with a little dried oregano or basil if desired.

Bake for 7 -10 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!


Notes/Results: Like a cross between pizza and frittata, but chewy and good and enough to solve my  pizza craving, I liked this pizza. It is rich though and I topped one of my two crusts and found myself only eating half of it. (The other half became today's breakfast and I saved the other crust to make another time.) If you don't want to bother with making crust, or frozen crust or pulverizing cauliflower rice if you want to go gluten-free, it is a good way to go and very easy. I will make  it again.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "Before She Was Gone" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Tomato & Garlic (aka Pizza Margherita) Soup with Pizza Toasts for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays + Three More Pizza-Inspired Recipes

I decided to go a bit out of the box for this month's Monthly Dish/Ingredient Challenge at I Heart Cooking Clubs. Featuring pizza or pizza-flavored recipes. I decided to take Mark Bittman's Tomato and Garlic Soup from Kitchen Matrix and make it into a fun and tasty Pizza Margherita Soup.


Since Pizza Margherita is basically tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, garlic and olive oil, Mark Bittman's recipe just needed a few additions and something pizza-like to dunk into it. I made Pizza Toasts with ciabatta bread, garlic butter, Parmesan, mozzarella, black olives, and chopped basil. 


Pizza Margherita Soup
Adapted from Tomato and Garlic Soup from Mark Bittman''s Kitchen Matrix Cookbook
(Serves 4)

Sauté 1 chopped medium onion, 1 chopped carrot, and two tablespoons minced garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes. Add one teaspoon each of dried basil and dried oregano, 1 large pinch of chili pepper flakes, one jar pizza sauce, and two cans chopped tomatoes (I used fire-roasted) and 3 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until veggies are soft. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.

Serve sup hot, in warmed bowls and topped with fresh mozzarella cubes or small balls, shaved Parmesan cheese, black pepper and torn basil leaves. Serve with bread, garlic bread, or pizza toasts. Enjoy!

For the pizza toasts: I divided a ciabatta roll into four pieces and spread it with olive oil heated and mixed with roasted garlic powder, and a pinch each of dried basil, oregano and chili pepper. I baked it in my toaster over at 400 degrees F. for about 5 minutes, then pulled it out and topped with shaved Parmesan, black olives, mozzarella slices and chopped basil and baked it again for about 5 minutes, then turned on the broiler and toasted it for about 1 minutes. Serve hot.


Notes/Results: Thick, rich, flavorful and fun with a definite pizza flavor. I really liked dipping the cheesy toasts into the tomato soup and scooping up the melting mozzarella balls. Just cheesy pizza goodness. If you eat meat, adding sausage or pepperoni and/or any of your favorite pizza toppings would also be delicious. Quick to make and tasty, I would happily make it again.


Here are three of my favorite pizza-inspired recipes from our IHCC chefs:

I still make a version of Jacques Pépin's tasty and easy Smoked Salmon Pizza on Naan Bread.

Giada's Pizza Popcorn is pretty addictive.


Finally, ages ago (back when I still ate meat) ;-) I made Ina Garten's Grilled California Pizzas. My favorite was the one where I topped it with avocado, bacon, and ranch among other things. Excuse the bad picture--early blogging days.


Linking up these pizza treats to I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is our Monthly Dish/Ingredient Challenge. This month it's "Pizza" My Heart--recipes from any of our IHCC chefs for pizza or pizza-flavored dishes. 

 

And for Souper Sunday...

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).


Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jacques Pépin's Fast and Easy Smoked Salmon Pizza on Naan Bread


It's April's Mystery Box Madness Challenge week at I Heart Cooking Clubs where we make a dish from Jacques Pépin or any former IHCC chef that must include at least three mystery ingredients out of a list of ten. 

April's Mystery Box Madness Ingredients:

Scallops
*Tarragon
*Sour Cream
Walnuts
*Capers
Asparagus
White Beans
Gruyere
Yeast
Rice

I did want to cook with Chef Jacques this time and found several recipes with two of the ingredients, and a scallop recipe with three of the MBM ingredients at Saveur (here you go for anyone looking for a scallop dish). But I just wasn't feeling the scallops or the 'fuss.' What I was feeling however, was the Smoked Salmon Pizza from More Fast Food My Way which had two of the MBM ingredients: sour cream and capers. Normally my MBM challenge recipes have had three or more of the ingredients without any substitutions but in this case, Chef Jacques used cilantro to top his pizza and I decided to swap it out for fresh tarragon. A choice I would likely have made even without the need for a third MBM ingredient (not that I don't love cilantro but tarragon or even dill appealed to me more with the smoked salmon and capers). A little bit of a MBM challenge 'cheat' this month but the heart wants what the heart wants and mine REALLY wanted this pizza for dinner.


Jacques says, "I love to make pizza with my own dough, as well as with lavash, tortillas, pita bread, and naan, a wonderful Indian flatbread now available in most markets. I crisp the flatbreads in the oven or in a skillet on top of the stove, then top them with smoked salmon, which is available in different styles from Scotland, Ireland, and Canada at the deli counter. This smoked salmon pizza is great cut into bite-size pieces for hors d'oeuvres."

Smoked Salmon Pizza
Adapted from More Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pépin
(Makes 4-6 First Course Servings)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 naan flatbreads or other style of flatbread you prefer (I used garlic naan)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp bottled horseradish, drained (I used 3 tsps)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (I did a quick pickle of my red onions--see note below)
8 oz sliced smoked salmon
2 Tbsp drained capers
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (I subbed in coarsely chopped fresh tarragon)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush baking sheet or grill pan with oil and turn the naan in the oil to lightly coat both sides. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the bread is crusty and brown, or crisp in the pan 3-4 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Let cool to lukewarm. 

Mix the sour cream and horseradish in a small bowl. Spread on the bread and sprinkle half of the onion over the sour cream mixture. Arrange the smoked salmon slices on top. Sprinkle the capers over the salmon and add the remaining onion and some freshly ground black pepper. Finally sprinkle with the cilantro (tarragon) leaves. Cut the pizza into wedges or slices and serve.

Quick Pickled Red Onions: This recipe had a lot of red onion in it and I was concerned that if left raw, they would overpower the other flavors. I did a quick pickle with about 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt shaken together in a jar with a very thinly sliced red onion. I left it to sit about 45 minutes before using on the pizza. I also drained the onions for the pizza and patted them dry with paper towels. It took the bite out perfectly. Since I had plenty of leftover onion, I added some to my salad and used a bit of the pickling liquid, mixed with an equal amount of olive oil as dressing.


Notes/Results: This was the perfect busy night dinner with a lightly-dressed "use it up" green salad with (all local) romaine, shaved fennel, and baby tomatoes, topped with some of the onions I pickled for the pizza and shaved Gruyere cheese (a fourth MBM ingredient on the plate). ;-) Such great flavor--if you are a fan of bagels with lox, you will love it. The horseradish I had in the fridge said cream on the bottle and was fairly mild, so I added an extra teaspoon for a little more kick. Pickling the onions is something I would recommend unless you are a fan of them raw. Finally, I really liked the substitution of the tarragon instead of cilantro. It has that nice bittersweet anise flavor that complemented the other ingredients. Quick, simple and so very delicious, I will definitely make it again. 




You can see what mystery ingredients, recipes and chefs other participants chose for April's Mystery Box Madness Challenge by checking out the picture links on the post at the IHCC website.

 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Precious One" by Marisa de los Santos, Served with Giada's (Very Addictive) Pizza Popcorn

Today's TLC Book Tour stop is The Precious One: A Novel by Marisa de los Santos. It's a sweet read about relationships and the bonds between those we love--our family and our friends. At times moving, at times funny, it is a story that is easy to get caught up and lose track of time while reading. I have partnered it with a recipe for Pizza Popcorn, inspired by a scene in the book. Fitting, because it is a dish that is easy to get caught up in (some might call it addicting) and lose track of how just much popcorn you have consumed. 


Publisher's Blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Belong to Me, Love Walked In, and Falling Together comes a captivating novel about friendship, family, second chances, and the redemptive power of love.

In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary—professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk: her father.

Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter, Willow, only once.

Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister—a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?

Told in alternating voices—Taisy’s strong, unsparing observations and Willow’s naive, heartbreakingly earnest yearnings—The Precious One is an unforgettable novel of family secrets, lost love, and dangerous obsession, a captivating tale with the deep characterization, piercing emotional resonance, and heartfelt insight that are the hallmarks of Marisa de los Santos’s beloved works.

Print Length: 368 pages  
Publisher: William Morrow (March 24, 2015)

I really loved Marisa de los Santos's first two novels; Love Walked In and the followup, Belong to Me. I wasn't quite as fond of Falling Together, her third novel that came out in 2012, feeling as though I didn't connect as much with the three characters in a friendship triangle. The Precious One may just be my favorite of all of the author's work. It is the story of family, centered around two half-sisters Taisy and Willow, who have spent the past sixteen years forming opinions and resentments about the other until they are thrust into each other's lives when their father 'summons' Taisy to come visit. The story is told from the viewpoint of both sisters. Taisy, at 35, has been estranged from her father since he cheated on her mother and started his new family with young wife Caro and daughter Willow. She has spent her life longing for some sign of affection and love from him. Willow, is 16 but not in any way a typical teenager, having been isolated (and in his mind protected) by her father. In many ways she is naive, in other ways much older than her years from the high expectations of her father and the need to take care of her distracted and somnambulist (sleepwalker) mother. Willow has no intention of sharing her place as daughter with Taisy. The author wrote both characters well, with clear and distinct voices and their relationship is the heart of the book, making the romance(s) secondary. 

Marisa de los Santos excels at writing about women and families (those we are born into and those we create) with humor, heart, and great affection. I did miss getting to know the supporting characters more--even Wilson, the father, who was a complete ass without much redemption in my opinion, even once his secrets were revealed. I especially wanted to spend more time with Caro--Willow's mother, and Marcus--Taisy's brother and Willow's half-brother, to understand and appreciate their stories. Hopefully this won't be the last we see of some of these characters. Here's to Marisa de los Santos revisiting them in a followup, like Belong to Me was for Love Walked In. If she does, sign me up please. The Precious One was a good escape that flew by and left me feeling happy at the end.

Author Notes: Marisa de los Santos has published three New York Times bestselling novels for adults, including Love Walked In and Belong to Me, while David Teague is the author of the picture books Franklin’s Big Dreams and Billy Hightower. Saving Lucas Biggs is their first joint venture. Married for over twenty years, Marisa and David live with their two children, Charles and Annabel, and their Yorkies, Finn and Huxley, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Connect with Marisa on Facebook and Twitter.


Marisa de los Santos's books usually have at least some elements of food in them and The Precious One certainly did. Dishes like as 'fancy' store-bought salads including one made of artichoke hearts, chickpeas, arugula and feta cheese, a coffee cake thick with apple chunks, espresso in tiny black cups and lemon ricotta cookies on square black plates, butternut soup with mushrooms from the neighborhood grocery, pizza and fries for sisterly bonding, a plethora of pies for an awkward Thanksgiving dinner, and some after-the-dance bacon pancakes were all appealing. I was leaning toward the salad or the apple cake but then I got inspired by one of my favorite parts of the book--when Taisy and Willow's mother Caro help her get ready for her first date and first school dance including watching the 80's classic Pretty in Pink while eating pizza and popcorn and drinking grapefruit soda.   

"But I stood firm, and they gave up after minimal hounding, probably because I submitted to the rest: hair, dress, nails, shoes, jewelry, makeup, the crash courses on popular music and how to pin a boutonniere (both taught by Taisy of course), and a pool house viewing of a film called Pretty in Pink during which popcorn, pizza, and fancy grapefruit soda (my first soda experience!) flowed like milk and honey." 
Willow, The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos.


So, popcorn and pizza on the mind, I started thinking about pizza-flavored popcorn. I had seen a couple of popcorn recipes from Giada de Laurentiis, made in a covered kettle and that featured cheese and herbs that I knew I could make pizza-ish. Then, I got smart and simply typed in Giada Pizza Popcorn and... she actually had a recipe for a version on Food Network. Love that! ;-) The recipe sounded good to me and I had everything I needed to make it--always a win. In addition to owning a copy of Pretty in Pink, I also happen to frequently stockpile LaCroix sparkling water in Pamplemousse (aka grapefruit), so the fancy grapefruit soda part of the scene was covered. 

I did change the quantity of many ingredients up a bit (noted in red below) and remembered my sun-dried tomatoes were in fact, oven-dried and not in oil which led to a 'chunkier' texture when coupled with using my mini-chopper to blend instead of dragging out my larger food processor and locating the small bowl insert that I almost never use. I hesitate to call it a 'failing' because I actually like the little pieces of sun-dried tomato mixed into the popcorn however, if you desire, you can get the paste smoother and bits smaller if you do it properly to Giada's suggestions. ;-)


Pizza Popcorn 
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis via FoodNetwork.com
(Makes 4 Servings)

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature (used salted Kerrygold Butter)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained well (used sun-dried not in oil-see notes below)
1 clove garlic, smashed (I used 2 cloves)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (used 3 Tbsp very finely-grated + extra to top)
3/4 tsp dried oregano (used 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp kosher salt (omitted as butter was salted)

In a food processor, puree the butter, tomatoes and garlic until it forms a smooth paste. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat and add the butter mixture. Heat the butter until melted down and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Keep warm.

Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Once hot, add the popcorn kernels and oil, and shake the pan to coat the kernels in the oil. Cover and continue to cook over high heat until the kernels begin to pop. Shake the pan once again and reduce the heat to medium-high. Continue to cook until the popping slows dramatically, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour the popped popcorn into a large bowl. While still warm, add the flavored butter, cheese, oregano and salt. Toss to coat, and then serve.


Notes/Results: This pizza popcorn is pretty delectable and is very well addicting. (Says the girl who grazed her way through at least three of the four servings while writing this review post.) I don't think it is really in my defense to say that it was my dinner. ;-) With the garlic, cheese, oregano and tomato, it does have a very pizza-ish taste. I am sure you could adapt it to include some pepperoni in that compound butter, or some crushed red pepper flakes if you are a fan. I am even going to play around with a vegan version using nutritional yeast and vegan 'butter.' It is quite easy to make popcorn in the covered kettle/Dutch oven, just make sure to shake it periodically so that it doesn't burn. I also have an air popper, or if you are really lazy, you could use a plain, microwave popcorn or put some unpopped kernels in a brown paper bag and pop your corn that way before mixing in the toppings. A bit messy to eat, but well worth it when you want to jazz up movie night. I will happily make this again. 


It's Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs--a chance to make any recipe from any of our previous IHCC chefs, so I am linking up Giada's Pizza Popcorn there. You can see what everyone else made for Potluck by checking out the picture links on the post.


Note: A review copy of "The Precious One" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

White Pizza with Arugula (& Potato & Mushroom)--Barefoot Bloggers

Our second Barefoot Bloggers recipe for August; Ina's White Pizza with Arugula was selected by the wonderful Andrea of Nummy Kitchen. I happen to love pizza bianca or white pizza, because I think not having tomato sauce really allows the flavors of the toppings to come out. Ina's pizza is covered in three kinds of cheese--fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese and then is topped with some lightly-dressed arugula salad. 


It sounded delicious but I wanted to cut down a bit on the amount of cheese (love it but don't need so much of the extra fat and calories), but substitute it with some veggie toppings to keep it satisfying. I had decided to add some oyster mushrooms from my CSA box and was trying to think of another veggie when I saw a comment on the BB page from Kate at Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails that said she put potato on her pizza. Bingo! I love thinly sliced potato on pizza. Thanks Kate! ;-) My other confession...I didn't make the pizza dough! (cue gasp of horror!). It's like this, I made the dough when we did grilled pizza last year so I know I can do it but I am having "a week", it was hot today and frankly I just didn't feel like messing with the extra steps. Solution? Whole Foods in their deli section has baggies of freshly-made whole wheat pizza dough that is really good, so I grabbed a bag and saved myself some time, effort and a couple of kernels of sanity. It's cheaper and better than most pre-made crusts and I like the fact I can work the whole wheat in there too. 

You can find the recipe for Ina's pizza in "The Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics" (pages 197-198) or on the Food Network site here.


White Pizzas with Arugula
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten
(Makes 6 Pizzas)

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degree) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the topping:
3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced

Mix the dough:
Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Make garlic oil:
Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!) Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)

Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.

Make the vinaigrette:
Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the greens.

When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and a slice of lemon and serve immediately.

Tips: Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop. Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour. To make sure yeast is still "alive," or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it's active.


Notes/Results: This is one good pizza! All of the flavors and textures came together perfectly in this recipe. The whole wheat crust was tender and good. The additions I made were to use my mandoline to cut paper thin slices of a baby Yukon gold potato and I cooked them in the pan with the garlic oil mixture. The mushrooms I softened slightly in a separate pan with a bit of olive oil. Before baking the pizza, I layered the potatoes on the crust, overlapping them slightly and put the mushrooms  on top, then added the cheese, using about 2 1/2 ounces for my pizza, which with the other toppings was plenty. My pizza baked about 11 minutes and was perfect. I would make this recipe again for sure. (I need to use up the rest of the pizza dough anyway!

Thanks to Andrea for a great and delicious choice! You can see who the other Barefoot Bloggers are and see what they thought of their pizzas by going to the BB site here.