fig and pear pizza with a rosemary and blue cheese emulsion

September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

While I realize some of you might be of the opinion that it is in poor taste to write two blog posts in a row on pizza, I like pizza.  And besides, YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

This recipe, derived from one at allrecipes (the original can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/blue-cheese-walnut-and-pear-pizza/) is interesting not only for its flavor combination (yum), but also because it makes use of an emulsion* as a base, which has me thinking all sorts of thoughts about potential recipe tweaks and inventions (a basil emulsion on a margarita pizza? a vinaigrette and goat cheese emulsion on…good lord…everything?).

i will also note for all of you stinky cheese haters that the flavor of the blue cheese in this recipe is balanced out nicely by the rosemary.  to wit, trusty sidekick, who pushes any cheeses with a vaguely blue or greenish hue to the far end of his plate and then tucks the offending hunks underneath leaves of lettuce, seemed pleasantly surprised  and opined that he might have been happier still had i not been quite so candid about the pizza’s ingredients.

the stuff:

pizza crust (again, DIY or store-bought, at your election)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1T dijon mustard
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. crumbled blue cheese
s&p, to taste.

1/4 c. crumbled blue cheese
1/3 c. mozzarella (the original recipe calls for shredded, but I (1) strongly dislike shredding a boule of mozz and (2) strongly dislike “mozzarella” of the more easily shredded variety, so i just made thin slices.  besides, it’s pretty)

toasted walnuts (i think this would also be pretty rad with these candied bad boys: https://wecookanddrinktogether.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/spicy-candied-walnuts-or-pecans-if-you-prefer/– though if you opted for those, i would add sprinkle them on the pizza after removing it from the oven so they don’t melt and drip sugar everywhere)

fruit.  the original recipe calls for 2 pears (peeled, cored and sliced) but i opted for the following instead, as we, the folks over at wecookanddrinktogether are apparently on something of a fig kick this month (though i note that some of us have an entire tree full of figs for the taking, WHILE OTHERS ARE FORCED TO SPEND $14.99/LB ON THEM AT LUNDS.  ahem):
1 red anjou pear, sliced very thin (or whatever else is looking ripe and fresh in the market– you could use apples, too)
5 figs, sliced all pretty-like (i would use a serrated knife to avoid squishing the little guys).
next time i would also throw some arugula on the top after pulling it from the oven for a little added crunch.

the how-to:

preheat to 425 and bake the crust, naked**, for approximately 5 minutes (presumably so that your emulsion does not go into total meltdown on the raw dough).  while your crust is pre-baking, mix the garlic, dijon, rosemary and vinegar in a blender (or in a bowl using your immersion blender).  slowly add in the olive oil until the mix thickens, and add in the first 1/4 c. of blue cheese.  remove the pre-baked crust from the oven, spread the emulsion over the crust, leaving approximately 1 1/2 in. on all sides.  still respecting the 1 1/2 in. on all sides rule, sprinkle remaining 1/4 c. of blue cheese evenly across the crust, spread mozz evenly across the crust, layer pear slices and fig slices in some formation that you find attractive, sprinkle with walnuts and bake until the crust is lightly browned and the cheese is all melty-like, 7-10 minutes.

remove from oven and sprinkle with some arugula, if you’re into that sort of thing.  give it a minute to cool and “set up,” slice and enjoy.

*an emulsion is just a combination of two liquids that are normally disinclined to mix– oil and vinegar, as here.

**that’s the crust, not you.  (though i certainly encourage you to do whatever helps you to cook.  just watch the hot pan).

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Carmelized Onion and Shiitake SuperPizza

September 6, 2012 § 4 Comments

you GUYS. guess what i did tonight? i made a SuperPizza.

yes, that’s right. a SuperPizza. no messing around, i swear. this is good.

*surprisingly* good. super duper pizza good.

look. i’m a pretty good cook. and because i’m a pretty good cook, most of the things that i make turn out pretty delicious.  still, as trusty sidekick and i were taking first bites, we were talking over one another (and with our mouths full, no less) to extol the virtues of this pizza.  it was… a SuperPizza.

but i’d be remiss if I took all of the credit.  it was, after all, trusty sidekick who suggested the honey.  naturally, the suggestion was fresh on the heels of a few minutes of bragging about having honey made by not ONE but TWO of my dearest friends: mikey (whose honey made the long journey from NC) and marina (whose bees are local, but fresh off a red-ribbon win at the minnesota state fair).

anyway, i’m fairly confident that SuperPizza will be the best thing that has ever happened to you.  not only will it cure that pesky hunger problem, but it will also make you more attractive, more likeable and more intelligent, as SuperPizza is just a pinch shy of being made of actual magic.

the stuff:
5 oz shiitake mushrooms
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
arugula (several large handfuls– 1/2 bag)
1 yellow onion
1/2 shallot
1 apple
small log of goat cheese (chevre)
1 ball pizza dough (grab one from the store or do it this way: https://wecookanddrinktogether.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/pizza-margherita/)
appx. 1T honey

the how-to:

1. prep your dough.  regardless of whether you’re DIY or grabbing dough pre-made at the market, this probably involves pulling it out to rise, so planning ahead is good).
2. chop onion, shallot and apple. sautee in olive oil until onions have carmelized (approximately 12 minutes).
3. chop 2 large sprigs of rosemary. sautee rosemary and largely chopped mushrooms until mushrooms shrink to approximately half their size (note: this will cook for about half the time as the onions, so feel free to begin prepping after starting the onions).
4. when onions are caramelized and mushrooms reduced, press with paper towels or a kitchen towel to reduce moisture.
5. quickly sautee arugula until just bright and wilted (approximately 1 1/2 minutes)
6. layer onions, arugula and mushrooms evenly across dough, leaving 1 1/2 inch dough to frame.
7. sprinkle evenly with goat cheese.
8. bake pursuant to the dough’s instruction.
9. remove from oven and drizzle with honey.

10. devour.

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