Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fiery Focaccia

The name of this bread made me think it might be too hot to handle, but it had just the right amount of heat and was absolutely worth every bit of the time and effort it took.  I started by mixing up my basic focaccia bread dough in the breadmaker, but varied it by adding 1/4 cup of tomato paste.  When the dough was ready it was very loose and sticky, so I ended up adding 2 to 3 cups more flour than the recipe called for until it had it the consistency of normal dough.  I rolled out the dough and sprinkled on 6 cherry peppers that been chopped, 2 roasted bell peppers that had been chopped, 2 1/2 ounces of cubed emmental and 3 1/2 ounces of chopped chorizo. All the ingredients were gently kneaded into the dough.  The dough was then divided between two 8-inch cake pans and allowed to rise for an additional 30 minutes before I carefully drizzled on some pizza oil and ground some sea salt over the top.  The foccacia was then placed in a pre-heated 400 degree oven and baked for 25 minutes.  I have never knowingly tried chorizo before and I was expecting it to be spicy, but it wasn't spicy at  all.
Both the cherry peppers and the red bell peppers were from a jar, and I thought perhaps the cherry peppers would be spicy, but they were not.  The pizza oil was the only thing that really added any heat to this bread.  The recipe does suggest using salame piccante instead of chorizo, provolone piccante instead of emmental , and Peppadews rather than cherry peppers;  you might consider using those if you want to kick it up a notch.  This bread received rave reviews from my dear hubby, but the fact that we didn't eat until 8:30 that night and were both very hungry might have had something to do with that.  Your family will always appreciate your cooking if they're about starved by the time you feed them!  Seriously, this was delicious, and the recipe said it even freezes very well.  I was intending to do just that with one of the loaves I made, but as I said, we were both VERY hungry!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stuffed Focaccia Mini-Muffins

It has become our family tradition that on Christmas Eve I make an abundance of appetizer-type party food.  In years past we've thrown a birthday party for Jesus complete with balloons and streamers and cake and punch.  Since our children have moved away, it has morphed into a film festival of classic holiday films such as It's a Wonderful Life ,The Grinch, and The Nativity Story.  I tell you all this to explain that the first time I made these muffins it was part of this past year's Fountain Family Christmas celebration.  Since I had not started blogging at that time, I decided to revisit this recipe.  Perhaps it was the Christmas advertising starting WAY too soon that put me in a holiday mood!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ricotta and Prosciutto Focaccia

This is another recipe that turned out to be very much like a quiche.  I think it had trouble deciding if it wanted to be Italian or French! Then I really confused it  by adding cilantro and giving it a Southwestern United States flare.  Boy, no wonder this dish has an identity crisis!  My sweet hubby was starting the focaccia dough, and I had mentioned to him that it used quite a bit more oil than our normal pizza dough.  He had that on his mind when he was putting the ingredients into the breadmaker and accidentally added a full cup of oil! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Egg and Spinach Pizza Pies

I had been noticing the picture of these pizzas in my cook book for quite a while.  They just looked too cute and I have been anxious to try them!  Mine didn't turn out looking as pretty as the ones in the book, but I was pleased with the outcome.  I imagined these little pizzas might end up being similar to a quiche, and I was right.  They actually would be excellent for a fancy brunch. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Goat Cheese and Pesto Pizzette

This was an opportunity to try yet another cheese that was somewhat unfamiliar to me. 
Goat cheese, or chevre (from the French for goat), is cheese made out of the milk of goats.  Goat's milk cheese has a characteristic tart, and I thought a bit gamey, flavor. Although the West has popularized the cow, goat milk and goat cheese are preferred dairy products in much of the rest of the world. Because goat cheese is often made in areas where refrigeration is limited, aged goat cheeses are often heavily treated with salt to prevent decay. As a result, salt has become associated with the flavor of goat cheese.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Provencal Pizza

This pizza highlights Emmental, one of the other unique and hard-to-find cheeses I have been eager to try.  Emmental or Emmentaler is a cheese from Switzerland. It is sometimes known as Swiss cheese in the United States,Canada, Australia and New Zealand, although Swiss cheese does not always imply Emmentaler.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pear, Pecorino, and Taleggio Pizza-Part 2!

One of the aspects of this pizza hobby of mine that I never anticipated was the exploration of a vast variety of unusual cheeses. Some time back my darling husband did some research on the Internet and discovered that there is a cheese shop at selected Kroger stores called Murray's Cheese Shop.  They have many of the more exotic cheeses that are difficult to find; and they will even ship if there is not one close to you!  We happened to be in Atlanta last week end visiting with our daughter and discovered a Kroger store near her neighborhood that has a Murray's Cheese Shop.    I purchased some emmental and some taleggio and decided to revisit the pear, pecorino, and taleggio pizza I made several weeks ago and  see what it would be like with real taleggio rather than substituting fontina. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tuscan Chicken on Foccacia

I friend of mine posted a recipe for Slow-Cooked Tuscan Sandwiches on her Facebook page. It looked absolutely delicious, and I thought it would be even better made on freshly baked foccacia bread.  I made the chicken in the slow cooker following the recipe.  It was basically chicken thighs, garlic, and sliced roasted red bell peppers (from a jar) that I had going in the crock pot all day. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Palermo Pizza

For some time Mike has been wanting to me to do a pizza with a thicker crust, and this was definitely the pizza!  I could not find durum wheat or semolina flour to make sicilian pizza dough, so I once again used the breadmaker and my stand-by basic pizza dough. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Greek-Inspired Stromboli

I saw a recipe for stromboli in the pizza cookbook, but it called for fiery-red pesto which I was definitely not going to do again!  (See my post on "Pizza con Pancetta") The recipe gave me inspiration, though, to try and create my own stromboli.  My first question was, what is the difference between stromboli and calzone? 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Potato and Mozzarella Calzone

I am running out of pizza recipes in Maxine Clark's book, so we are moving on to calzones.  This was a very interesting recipe; I would never have thought of putting potatoes in a calzone.  I started by making my basic pizza dough in the breadmaker.  While it was rising, I heated the pizza stone at 425 for about 30 minutes.  I also sliced a Yukon Gold potato very thin with my mandolin.  I don't know what it is about Yukon Golds, but we think they are absolutely delicious.  It may be partially psychological; the yellow color of the potato makes my mind think " Yummm, buttery and rich!" 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Little Tuscan Pizzas-Part 2

Our daughter was visiting us and so for a treat I thought we would revisit the individual little Tuscan pizzas that Mike and I had made a few weeks ago.  While the dough was rising I set out capers, anchovies, kalamata olives, sliced red onions, sliced tomatoes, some delicious smoked mozzarella, some regular mozzarella, Parmesan and fresh basil.  I divided the dough into four balls,  then rolled out each as thin as possible onto parchment paper that had been sprayed with olive oil spray and dusted with corn meal. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Nutella and Mascarpone Calzone

This is another dessert pizza inspired by David Rocca.  I had never tasted Nutella before and now am feeling very deprived to think I was eating peanut butter sandwiches as a child while other children were enjoying such a decadent spread on their bread!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Crispy Olive Pizza

This pizza could more legitamately be called a flatbread. It had the added bonus of an olive relish to serve with it and both were absolutely delicious.  For the relish I used sundried tomatoes.  If you use the ones packed in oil, heat a bit of the oil in a saucepan and then add some chopped onion and garlic, cooking until tender.  I couldn't find the sundried tomatoes in oil, so I used olive oil.  The next time I prepare this, I will  try Vidalia onions.  I used red onions, but they were pretty strong even after they had been cooked.  I also added about a teaspoon of sugar to the relish because it seemed to need a touch of sweetness.  The Vidalia onion would be mild while at the same time adding the sweetness that was lacking. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

California Club Pizza

This was a great pizza for a hot South Georgia summer evening.  It was almost like having a BLT on a pizza crust and we thoroughly enjoyed every bite.  I prepared my basic pizza dough in the breadmaker.  The recipe called for whole wheat pizza dough, but since Mike's favorite saying is "Fiber makes me sad," I caved in and used the basic dough recipe.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pizza with Grapes and Pine Nuts

This pizza was inspired by David Rocca, whom I happened to catch on the Cooking Channel one afternoon.  He did a whole episode of pizzas and I was curious to see the way he did them.   There was no confusion on this particular pizza as to whether it is a dessert pizza. . .it most definitely is!  I started this pizza with a basic pizza dough that I had made in the breadmaker and then prebaked for 7 minutes.  While the crust was prebaking I put some pine nuts in the oven with it so they could be toasting.  Watch them carefully!  They burn extremely fast, which I unfortunately learned while ruining my first batch! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pear, Pecorino, and Taleggio Pizza

First of all, I must make a disclaimer.  The pizza I made did not have taleggio, a cheese I had never heard of before much less tasted.  I was looking forward to experiencing this new taste treat, but was unable to find it here in Valdosta.  After doing some research on the internet, I decided that fontina would be a suitable substitute.  The pizza I made also did not have pecorino romano.  I have tried pecorino before and didn't really care for it; I thought it had an aftertaste that was somewhat disagreeable.  Parmesan is more to my liking and is quite a bit cheaper. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Calzone alla Parmigiana

This was my first time ever making calzone (pronounced "cal-zone-ay"; I had to look it up!)  In all honesty, I must admit I don't recall ever having eaten a calzone before. . .huge mistake!!  Preparation of calzone is a bit more involved than pizza, but it wasn't difficult and was well worth the effort. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Potato Pizza

This is a recipe that is popular in southern Italy and would be great if you have someone in your family that is on a gluten-free diet.  It basically consists of using mashed potatoes as a base for the pizza rather than traditional crust.

Chicken Taco Pizza

Years ago our church published a cookbook with recipes submitted by different members of the church.  In my experience, those are the most valuable cookbooks because the recipes are family favorites that taste good without using exotic ingredients and complicated techniques. Does anyone still use the Oscoda Baptist Cookbook? If you do, I'd love to know which are your favorite recipes!  One of ours was a grilled taco chicken that was submitted by my friend, Marion Tripp.  
Mike and I got to thinking about that chicken and, of course,began to wonder if perhaps it might be delicious on a pizza. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Patriotic Pizza

A few weeks ago Mike suggested we do a special pizza for Independence Day.  I racked my brain to think of red, white and blue toppings that could be used on a traditional-type pizza.  Red and white wouldn't have been too difficult, (tomatoes, mozzarella, red bell peppers, feta cheese, etc.) but I could think of absolutely nothing that was blue!  The only blue I could think of were blueberries, and so we created a dessert pizza with blueberries and strawberries that was absolutely yummo. (Okay, maybe I have been watching a little too much of Rachel Ray!)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Little Tuscan Pizzas

Little Tuscan pizzas, also known as schiacciate, are little individual,rustic-style pizzas with crusts rolled as thin as you can possibly get them.  This was an amazing pizza break-through for us. . .I had never before baked a pizza in quite this way and we absolutely loved it!  This would be a great pizza to make with your family or a group of friends because everyone can get involved and make their own pizza according to their own personal taste . . . and have a blast doing it!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mediterranean Pizza

This is one of my FAVORITE pizzas, one I have made many times.  We prepared two pizzas that evening, one Mediterranean and one plain cheese for the younger, pickier set.  This was the first time I had made two pizzas at once, and I wasn't completely happy with the way it turned out.  It took much longer to bake with two pizzas in the oven, and it seemed the edges of the pizza were about to burn while the bottom of the crust never really crisped up the way I like.  I did switch the positions of the pizzas half way through the baking time which helped them bake at the same rate; I think next time I will bump the oven temperature up to 425 degrees and see if that gives better results.  If anyone has any other ideas, I sure am open to suggestions!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sicilian Shrimp and Tomato Pizza

If you thought a topping of artichokes on pizza was strange, this pizza really goes over the top with an even more exotic topping-shrimp! 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pizza With Artichokes and Mozzarella

I get the impression that artichokes are one of those things that people either love or hate; it would be interesting to hear YOUR response to that supposition!  In any case, Mike and I are artichoke lovers and they are one of our favorite things to have on a pizza.  I normally buy the canned artichokes packed in water, but for this pizza I splurged on artichokes that had been marinated in oil.  I cut the artichokes in quarters and tossed them with 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and about 2 tablespoons of the oil from the jar of artichokes. The recipe called for using olive oil, but I saw no reason not to use the oil they had been packed in!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Brat Pizza-Part 2

A few weeks ago Mike and I brainstormed on what a Bratwurst Pizza might look like.  Our first attempt with a mustard sauce, onions, peppers, bratwurst, and Swiss cheese proved to be a disappointment.  It was bland, definitely not what we were hoping for.  Since that time I have been thinking on how I might improve the recipe.  We gave it another try. . .with much better results! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pizza con Pancetta

With one glaring exception, this was a very simple pizza.  The exception (also known affectionately as "the Nightmare") was the Fiery Red Pesto sauce that is the base for this pizza.    The only reason we had Fiery Red Pesto on this pizza was because I had some in the freezer from my attempt to make it a few weeks ago.    WARNING: Do not attempt to make Fiery Red Pesto unless you have a good sized food processor!  The recipe calls for roasting a red bell pepper until it is blackened and you are able to peel off the skin.  You then process it with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, tomatoes, chili powder, Parmesan cheese and olive oil.  I tried to process it in my little mini chopper and ended with breaking the machine.  From that point my memory is a blur, much like any traumatic event.

Caramelized Red Onion Pizza with Capers and Olives

This is one of the tastiest pizzas I've made yet!  It doesn't sound like much but it is absolutely delicious.  I started by thinly slicing a red onion. The recipe called for 2 1/4 lbs., and I'm sure my one onion wasn't that big.  After trying this pizza though, next time I would definitely use more onion.  I tossed the onions with some fresh squeezed lemon juice and let it set while I heated up some olive oil in a skillet.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pizza Bianca

Pizza Bianca
In Naples any pizza without tomatoes is "Pizza Bianca" or white pizza.  The focus of this pizza is the mozzarella, so it's worthwhile to get the best quality cheese you can.  This is a very simple pizza. . .just the mozzarella and some herbs.  The recipe called for fresh sage, but a few weeks ago I started growing some basil in a hanging pot on the back porch and thought it needed to be put to good use.  I have some tomatoes and peppers growing too. . .my mouth is watering when I think that in just a few weeks I'll be able to use my own fresh produce on a pizza or in a salad! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Brat Pizza

Several weeks ago my sweet hubby was brainstorming and suggested that we try to invent a pizza using brats (bratwurst sausage).  We decided it needed some type of mustard sauce as a base, sliced brats, and then some grilled onions and peppers.  The final touch would be some type of cheese, and I finally settled on shredded swiss cheese.  We thought we were being very original and creative until Mike googled "Bratwurst Pizza"; let's just say there is nothing new under the sun!  Anyway, during the planning stages I came across a recipe for German Deli pizza that had a german rye crust which I thought that would be perfect for our "Brat Pizza". I didn't realize how difficult it would be to find rye flour and ended up trying four different stores before I found it!  The dough called for 1 1/2 cups of bread flour and 1/2 cup of rye flour along with a teaspoon of caraway seeds so it had a german rye taste and texture.  It was a  perfect crust for this pizza although somewhat denser and thinner than our normal pizza crust. The sauce was the biggest challenge.  I tested the sauce in the German Deli Pizza recipe, but it was creamy and I wanted more of a mustard glaze. Plus I wanted something with a bit more of the mustard zing.  I experimented on my own and came up with the following recipe:

Rye crust spread with mustard glaze
 Mustard Sauce:
½ c. water
2 T. vinegar
2 T. white wine
2 t. ground mustard
1-2 T. sugar
¼ t. ground coriander

Bring to a boil and thicken with 1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1 T. water.
Unfortunately the sauce was a bit of a dissappointment, still not enough of the mustard tang.  I have NOT given up though.  I plan to do more experimentation and we'll try this pizza again before too long! The next step was to grill the bratwurst.  After the brats were grilled and sliced, Mike had the great idea of putting the brat slices on paper towels to soak up the grease.  
As he was manning the grill, I was in the kitchen sauteeing some peppers and onions, similar to what you would do for a fajita. 
We topped our creation with shredded swiss cheese.  Our first attempt at this pizza was a bit bland.  The crust was great, the sauce needs some work and we'd like to try a different cheese. . .Mike says something smokey, I'm thinking sharp cheddar.  We enjoyed this pizza while watching The Seven Year Itch, which was interesting as a venue for Marilyn Monroe but not as funny as I had expected it to be.  Stay tuned to see what happens when I try Brat Pizza-Part 2 in a couple of weeks!
Ready for the oven!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pizza Marinara

This is an extremely simple pizza, no cheese!  In fact it seemed so simple and basic that when I saw the recipe I wasn't even going to try it because it seemed like it would be b-o-r-i-n-g!  I was pleasantly surprized to find that I was mistaken.  Like the the Pizza Margherita, I started by spreading some pizzaiola sauce on the prebaked crust.  I had frozen some sauce that I had left over from making the Pizza Margherita, so I used the thawed sauce and then arranged some sliced Campari tomatoes and sliced garlic over the sauce.  I am learning the importance of using high quality ingredients, and since this pizza is basically a showcase for tasty fresh tomatoes and oregano, spending the extra money for the best tomatoes was well worth it. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pizza Margherita

The finished product
My first question when I noticed this pizza was, "Where did the name come from?"
Cooking down the tomatoes for the pizzaiola sauce
Apparently in 1189 King Umberto of Italy was making a visit to Naples; a Neapolitan baker named Raffaele Esposito made 3 different pizzas in honor of the king and his queen, Margherita.  The queen's favorite showcased the colors of the new flag of Italy: green (basil leaves), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes).