Posts tagged ‘apple’

November 9, 2012

Sweet Potato, Apple and Bacon Pizza

We’re rolling fast into tradition time, people! Everyone has different ways of celebrating the holidays – doing these things make us feel all warm and fuzzy with nostalgia and comfort.

I’m not going to lie, the past three Christmases (and two Thanksgivings!) on the opposite side of the world and hemisphere have been an adjustment. It’s hard to actually feel like it’s Christmas when you don’t have the usual people, weather, events and traditions.

Sometimes you have to make new ones to feel like you’re making something special for yourself in a new place. Theme party Thanksgiving (with costumes!) anyone? Cricket on the tv all the time? Meh. Piles of chilled peel and eat shrimp with dipping sauces on Christmas day? Yes please!

Ok, I didn’t actually create any of these, but I’ve adopted them.

One of my favorite non-holiday traditions from waaaay back in the day is Friday pizza night. For the majority of my childhood, my grandparents (Gam & Pop) would have me stay over their house on Friday night and we’d order pizza. I’d eat it sitting on the floor at the coffee table in front of the tv, dismantling my slice layer by layer (I’d eat the pepperoni, then the cheese, then the base – all separately. I know, I was a weird kid.)

I like the idea of continuing this tradition today (without the unusual eating method.) Pizza on Friday is a fun and easy way to celebrate the start of the weekend. Pizza Party!

This pizza isn’t quite as easy as getting delivery, but it’s totally worth it.

Feel free to use a pre-prepared pizza dough or base – I know how it is. Dough is intimidating, time-consuming and sometimes faulty. BUT if you’re curious about making your own dough – try this recipe.

That said, some notes about the pizza dough recipe below:

1. It’s awesome. I’ve made my own dough before,  with lack-luster and frustrating results. This dough will not produce either of those. There is no serious kneading and very little hands-on time, in general. It’s very forgiving, stretches out perfectly, and bakes up crispy and a little bubbly.

2. Don’t be afraid if it tears in places when you’re stretching it out, just pinch it back together.

3. I used more yeast than the original Jim Lahey recipe called for, which shaved off some time from the lengthy resting period. You do need to allow this dough to rest so the yeast and gluten can do its thing. This is what cuts out the kneading part. So if you want pizza on a Friday night, I would suggest making the dough Friday morning or the night before.

4. I used a combo of all-purpose flour and whole wheat. I’ve also used spelt and all-purpose. Both worked well, but if you’re keeping it simple you can just use 3 3/4 cups of all-purpose or bread flour.

5. Freeze the leftover dough if you’re only making one pizza. Next Friday, all you need to do is thaw it in the fridge.

SWEET POTATO & APPLE PIZZA

  • 1 pizza base (see dough recipe below)
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1-2 rashers of bacon, chopped into small pieces.
  • 1/4-1/3 cup caramelized onions
  • 1 small apple (I used a pink lady) sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • salt & pepper

For caramelized onion: heat oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Place a medium to large red onion, thinly sliced in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until jammy, stirring occasionally. (Add a little water a teaspoon at a time, if pan looks dry at any point.)

Heat oven to 425 F/220 C. Place sweet potatoes on an oiled baking sheet and season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes in the oven until softened but not mushy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large plan over a medium high heat.  Cook bacon in the pan for 2-3 minutes until just cooked through and a little browned.

Heat oven to 500F/260 C. Oil a baking sheet well and spread the pizza dough out on it. Patch it up where needed.

Sprinkle half of the provolone and Parmesan cheeses on the base. Arrange sweet potatoes, apple, bacon, onion and rosemary on the base and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes (watch your pizza and toppings – cook time really depends on your oven.)

Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.

Makes about 8 square pieces when spread out on a rectangular baking tray.

NO KNEAD PIZZA DOUGH
Based on Jim Lahey’s recipe via Tracy Shutterbean, makes 2 pizza bases.

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water
  • olive oil for the baking sheet

Combine yeast, salt, and flours in a large bowl and stir to distribute the yeast evenly.

Pour  in water and stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until combined and you have a raggy dough. Cover with a tea towel and allow to stand at room temp for at least 2 hours. (I let mine sit around for about 5.)

When you’re ready to use the dough, heat the oven to 500 F/260 C. Oil a baking tray well. Place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface and push down into a round disc and divide in half. Mold the halves into rounds. (You can freeze the other half if you’re not using it that day.)

Stretch the dough into the shape of your baking tray. Place on the well oiled baking tray stretching it out with your hands and patching it up in places where needed.

Arrange toppings and bake 15-20 minutes.

About these ads
January 18, 2012

Crunchy, Savory and Sweet Spinach Salad

Truth: I eat a lot of salads.
Falsehood: All salads are delicious.
Truth: Honey mustard is a wonderful invention.
Falsehood: I eat salads just because they’re good for me.
Truth: Salads can be downright awesome with the perfect combination of textures, sweetness and salt.
Falsehood: Crispy apples, crunchy toasted walnuts, mellow chickpeas and caramelized shallots drizzled with honey mustard just don’t work together. (SO FALSE.)
Truth: I love tawdry historical fiction dramas with a strong female protagonist. …which is totally besides the point, I’m sorry. (Not sorry.)

I also love everything about this salad – the combination of the apple, raisins and honey mustard almost make it a dessert, while the spinach, walnuts and chickpeas bring it back to lunchtime. And the caramelized shallots – they’re just there for a dash of sex appeal.

The Ultimate Spinach Salad
(makes 2 meal-sized servings)

- A few large handfuls of spinach (Baby spinach works well. I had English spinach so I cut the leaves into small ribbons.)
– 1 cup of cooked chickpeas, rinsed well
– 1 apple, sliced thin (I used a gala apple)
– 2 tablespoons of raisins
– 2 tablespoons of toasted walnuts
– 1 shallot, sliced thin
– 2-3 tablespoons of honey mustard dressing (see below)
– salt&pepper, to taste

To toast walnuts: place nuts in a dry skillet over a medium heat, tossing occasionally until slightly browned and fragrant (3-5 minutes).

To caramelize shallots: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Add the shallot slices and a dash off salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. They should become dark brown in color without burning.

Place all your ingredients (besides the dressing) in a large bow. Add the dressing slowly, tossing as you go. Serve immediately.

Honey Mustard Dressing
– 2 tablespoons of honey
– 2 teaspoons of mustard (I used 1 teaspoon of wholegrain and 1 teaspoon of Dijon)
– 1 tablespoon of olive oil
– 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar

Place ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake well.

%d bloggers like this: