Posts Tagged "pizza"

Vanilla Pear Jam, Apple, and Roquefort Cheese Pizza

I swear, I do eat “normal” American-style pizza. You know, the cheesy kind topped with black olives, hot peppers and pineapple (ok, ok, so maybe my taste isn’t completely normal). But more often than not, I like unusual pizzas, or at least unusual in comparison to the greasy, cheese and pepperoni topped pizza that has conquered most chain pizza joints across the United States. I’m drawn to the ones topped with ricotta cheese or roasted vegetables or fig jam, prosciutto, and gorgonzola (amazing combination, by the way). So when I bought one of my favorite seasonal jams from the market (Vanilla Pear from Sweet Thing Gourmet Jams), and the owner recommended pairing it with gorgonzola cheese, I knew it was time, once again, to make pizza.

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I made a similar pizza late last winter using apples, caramelized onions, and gorgonzola (which is a delicious combination), but this jam, combined with the spiciness of the pepper flakes, gives this pizza an extra punch. I used roquefort cheese instead of gorgonzola, just for something different, but the taste is so similar that you could easily use either one. And of course, I don’t expect everyone to have access to such a unique jam, but I’m sure many other jams would work as well.

So to begin (and I apologize for the lighting in some of these photos. Dark kitchen.). You will notice in the below photos I’m using a pizza pan. It was my first time using one. Usually I use a pizza stone, but I found that the pizza pan works quite nicely as well.

Shape your pizza dough. Spread a thin layer of the vanilla pear jam onto the dough (a little goes a long way). Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, fresh garlic (about one small clove), and oregano or other Italian herbs. 

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Next add slices of apple and slices of banana peppers or another pepper of your choice.

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Between the peppers and apples, drop small chunks of roquefort or gorgonzola cheese. It spreads when it melts, so you don’t need much.

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Sprinkle the top of the pizza with a combination of asiago cheese and pecorino (or one or the other). Add a tiny pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

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Bake at 475 for about 8-10 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Remove from oven and drizzle balsamic vinegar on top. (I used a specialty vinegar I received as a gift: Vanilla Fig. Plain vinegar will do, as well. Just make sure it’s a thick, high quality vinegar).

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It’s sweet. It’s spicy. It’s creamy and crunchy. It’s delicious. Enjoy!

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Spinach, Arugula, and Ricotta Pizza

Another favorite spring vegetable: Arugula. It’s so peppery and adds a wonderful touch to salads, sandwiches, and pizza.

Local Produce Used:

Spinach from 2 Crows Farm

Arugula from Northridge Organic.

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Recipe (which is enough for three small pizzas):

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix:

1 small container of ricotta cheese

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

red pepper flakes, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

Spread this mixture on top of the pizza dough (make sure you leave enough for each pizza). Top with spinach leaves. Sprinkle the top of the pizza with oregano and parmesan or Romano cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

When the pizza comes out of the oven, top it with the fresh arugula. The heat from the pizza will hit the arugula and give off the most amazing peppery smell. Give the pizza a few minutes to cool (if you can) and enjoy!

Photo before the arugula:

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Photo after the arugula:

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Another variation:

Add sliced mushrooms and gouda cheese on top before baking. (Photo taken before the pizza went into the oven):

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Caramelized Onion, Apple, Gorgonzola Pizza

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I love making pizza. Summer is my favorite time to make it, when the tomatoes and herbs are fresh, but that doesn’t stop me from making it during the cold months, too. This was, by far, my favorite pizza that I made this past winter. Warning: it’s not your typical pizza.

Begin by caramelizing onions. This is a slow process that takes time. Heat olive oil over medium low heat and slowly sauté one large yellow onion, sliced (for a small pizza) or two large yellow onions, sliced (for a large pizza or multiple pizzas). You don’t want the onions to brown, so keep the heat low. After about 45 minutes to an hour, they should be soft and have a nice caramel color.

Meanwhile, roast some garlic. To do this, break off the cloves (the entire head) but keep the peels on. Place the cloves in foil, drizzle with oil, and fold the foil over the garlic to form a sack. Stick it in a 375 degree oven for at least 30 minutes. Keep checking them, because the time will vary depending on how big the cloves are. Once they’re nice and soft, remove the peels and place the garlic in a food processor and pulse while adding some olive oil. Add just enough olive oil so that you can easily spread the garlic “sauce” over the dough.

Turn the oven up to 475 degrees.

Once the onions are done, it’s time to build the pizza. The layers:

  • Spread the roasted garlic/olive oil mixture over the dough. 
  • Top with the caramelized onions.
  • Next add sliced apples. I used Gold Rush, for they are in abundance in Ohio during the winter. Any winter apple will do.
  • Top with small chunks of gorgonzola cheese. Remember that it’s a strong cheese and that when it melts, it spreads, so you really don’t need that much.
  • Drizzle the top with balsamic vinegar. I used a special Vanilla Fig Balsamic Vinegar that I had one hand. If you can find it, use it!

Put the pizza in the oven, turn the heat down to 460 degrees and bake for about 10-12 minutes (or however long it takes for the dough to brown).

Enjoy!

 

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