Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pizza Two Ways: Peach, Tempeh Bacon, & Goat Cheese or Margarita

Two different pizzas united to defeat bland flavor
Certain foods are a part of me. As much as I try to change my eating habits, more vegetables, less cheese and bread, I am atomically drawn to pizza. Many of my eating habits come from the foods I loved growing up, and I don't think there was a week in our house where we didn't have pizza. Compared to many normal American households, we ate fairly healthy, but my mother is a fan of cheese and bread. And in turn, so am I. Vegetables and healthy food were staples as well, as Mom was a vegetarian most of my childhood.

 My poor mother had a the most stoubborn daughter (that's me) when it came to eating vegetables. If it wasn't fried, smothered in cheese, or involving barbecue sauce I refused to eat it. Even when forced to eat vegetables, I would often go to the bathroom after dinner and vomit them up. REEEEE. DICULOUS. Thank goodness I had other good qualities, because I have no clue how she put up with me all those years. I was a terror at the dinner table. Not until college and traveling did I open my culinary mouth to all the remarkable tastes out there. I remember my mother came to visit me in Holland, where I studied abroad for a semester, and was shocked to see me eat food without knowing what it was. A mother's patience finally rewarded.
Holy peaches this was a good pie.
Margarita (with needed to be used mushrooms)

All that being said, it still feels wrong to go a week without pizza. Im always working on making them healthier, but I still like cheese on my pizza. I see those vegan almost all vegetable pizzas out there; well done to those who can eat them and be satisfied, but a pizza without cheese is like summer without strawberries. Now making my own sauce and dough, and using all vegetarian toppings does makes it healthier, but it's still no salad on a tortilla. Yes, I saw a recipe for "pizza" that was literally a whole wheat tortilla with a tablespoon of sauce, mixed greens and like 5 different steamed vegetables. Call me fat, but that AINT pizza to me. Thats a salad with a tortilla bowl. 

Margarita pizza is the most classic type of pizza, showcasing what makes a pizza great. Good mozzarella, quality sauce and basil, its all you need. I added mushrooms because I had some about to be wasted, as always better to eat it then trash it. 

The second pizza was possibly one of the best pizzas I've ever had. For someone who's eaten pizza almost every week for 27 years, thats SAYING something. Peaches, goat cheese and tempeh bacon, my mouth is literally mouth dreaming about it right now. Healthy boyfriend was skeptical, in fact said "Peaches on pizza? Really?" To which I replied, "Really!" and the rest was delicious history. He hates pineapple on pizza ( I know who IS this guy?) but he loved this peach pizza creation. Combined with the goat cheese and tempeh bacon, yall I am telling you, you NEED to make this pizza. You're mouth and happy tummy will thank you. 
Never thought you would make your own pizza crust and sauce? Well neither did I! Honestly it was cheaper than buying the same pre-made items, and just took a little time and effort. Dough does have to rise for at least an hour, but it only takes 10 minutes to make, so you can let it rise while preparing the rest of your meal. Use bread flour if you can, it has the most protein of any other flour, which makes a difference in the oven. All purpose will work, just not as well. Nothing was difficult, just needed a little forethought. If you are one for potlucking or cooking with friends, making your own pizzas never fails. Everyone brings ingredients, you prepare the sauce and crust, and viola, fun times ahead!

Pizza Two Ways: Peach, Tempeh Bacon, & Goat Cheese or Margarita

The Goods: Makes two 10 inch pizzas
1 recipe homemade pizza dough (see below) or store bought

Quick Pizza Sauce:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2-3 small cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper (optional)

12 ozs of fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 large ripe peach, peeled and sliced 1/4
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
4 slices hickory smoked Tempeh Bacon
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade

The Deal: 
1. On medium heat, place olive oil in a large pot with garlic and crushed red pepper, if using. Saute until aromatic, about one minute. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer until sauce thickens about 20 minutes.
Sauteing onions

2. While you sauce is cooking, fry your bacon. Heat a dash of grapeseed oil in a medium saute pan on meduim high heat. When oil is shimmering, add bacon and fry until crispy, about 2 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool and then crumble. Begin to roll out your dough into two 10 inch round doughs. Be sure to make an inch border. Brush each dough with around a teaspoon of olive oil, being sure to get the edges. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and place your cookie sheets or pizza pan in oven to warm.

3. Once your sauce is ready, remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. To make margarita pizza, spread a thin layer of sauce over first dough, add mozzarella slices, mushrooms if using, and finish with parmesan. You will add the basil after the pizza is cooked. To make other pizza, spread sauce, then mozzarella, sprinkle peaches evenly, tempeh bacon, then finish with goat cheese.
Pizza One
Pizza Two
4. Place both your pizzas in the oven on pizza pans, or inverted cookie sheets. Cook for 12-16 minutes, rotating half way through to ensure even cooking. Remove from heat when crust and cheese are lightly golden brown. Sprinkle Margarita pizza with basil. Serve hot! But be careful of burning.

Simple Pizza Dough
The Goods: 
3 cups bread flour (all purpose will work), plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
2 tablespoon olive oil, plus one teaspoon
1-1 1/4 cups warm water
2 teaspoon coarse kosher sea salt

The Deal: 
1. Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in a food processor or standing mixer. Turn the machine on and add one cup of water and 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water a little at a time until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If dry, add water a little at at time.

2. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth round dough ball. Grease a bowl with remaining olive oil and place dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap or damp cloth and let rise in a warm, draft free spot until the dough doubles in size, 1-2 hours.

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