(In all actuality, I can make so much fun, because I went through this very same laser-corrective eye surgery about 2 years ago - changes your life, just makes you seem a bit . . . 'off' for about a week . . .)
So, to be cruel, I made pizza. I could have done something easy - like soup. But no, roasted veggies, garlic, sundried tomatoes, on a foccacia-esque crust just sounded too tasty. Stelna, therefore had to struggle with fork and knife to scrape up every piece of goodness to make the perfect bites. I had to leave about ten minutes after we started eating for a waxing appointment (I also needed some hearty pizza sustenance for this! Another reason I made this meal), and I swear she had only gone through 1/16th of her pizza.
However, with pepperoni being the most popular topping in the USA, its no wonder the pizza has become the flag for obesity in that great country. Pizza hut, the first commercialized chain of fast food pizzarias, opened in the 1930s and the flat-bread in North America has gone downhill since then. Pizza is supposed to be a medley of flavors, or the enjoyment of the most basic ones - such as the famous margherita. It is not supposed to be about the cheese, or the fat, or the styrofoam-tasting-bready-thing-that-holds-it-all-together. It's about fresh flavors, enough cheese to act as a cement, but not enough to override the other toppings. They should all balance each other out, and the bread should almost be the crowning glory (in my opinion). Whether you like your crust crunchy or soft, it should have the flavor and texture of focaccia, the loveliest of breads (again, in my opinion). Ah pizza, let us return to your roots, and let us disdain from ever again going to Panago or Pizza Hut or Little Ceasars.
Thin Crust Fresh Pizza
thin pizza crust (see below)
1/2 c. marinara sauce (see below)
1 head of roasted garlic, minced
handful of fresh basil
handful of fresh spinach
1/3 c. sundried tomatoes, drained
1 fresh tomato, sliced
1 roasted eggplant, sliced
8 roasted mushrooms, sliced
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
6 artichoke hearts, sliced (optional)
50 g. prosciutto (optional)
1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 c. of mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 500F. Spread marinara sauce on the crust. Add the layers of toppings (I like to sprinkle a little cheese in between all the layers so my pizzas have more staying power - as you can tell, I like to pile them high). Sprinkle dried parsley and oregano over the top.
2. Place in oven and bake until cheese is brown and bubbly on top and the crust has a nice brown - about 8-12 minutes.
3. Pray. Eat - while looking at your friend struggling to mow down. Enjoy!
(Adapted from Recipe Pizza)
3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 roma tomatoes, peeled and minced
1 3 oz. can of tomato paste
1 tbs. dried oregano
1 tbs. dried basil
1/2 tbs. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)
1. Heat oil. Saute onion and garlic until brown and caramalized.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stirring on occasion, for about 5 minutes.
3. Let cool. Puree if you want, or leave chunky. When cool, spread over pizza crust or freeze for future use, up to 3 months.
Thin Pizza Crust*
(Adapted from Recipe Pizza)
*Note: I am the worst baker alive - I bake the way I cook. Handfuls of this, pinch of that, random cup (drinking cup mind you, not measuring cup) of something else - baking should be a science, unfortunately, in that regard, I fall short. Please do not make the same mistakes I do - these amounts should be good.
3/4 cup of lukewarm water
3 tbs. olive oil
1 3/4 cups of unbleached plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 envelope of dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
1. Add ingredients in order written to a bread machine. Put it on dough setting. Let it go for about 20 minutes, then remove the dough and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
2. Place on baking stone, or on lightly oiled baking sheet. Press out dough to form a slight lip. If your dough is spread quite thin, add your sauce and topping of choice and then bake all together. If it is a bit thicker and you like your pizza crust quite crisp, place it in preheated oven for about 5-8 minutes to pre-cook it before adding toppings.