We recently went on a short weekend getaway to Santa Barbara, and on the way home we decided to stop by the Mario Batali pizzeria in Los Angeles called “Mozza.” We shared a Fried squash blossoms with ricotta pizza which was excellent, but did lack a little bit of oomph. It was bland I guess, but good. We were sitting at the bar, watching the chefs prepare the dough, and learned a new technique to keep the bubbles in the edge. So we thought we would give it a try, and make a similar pizza in style, but with much more taste in it.
On the scene reporting from Portland, Jamaica at the Frenchman’s cove: Juici Patty with coco bread.
In Jamaica, patties are made from a sort of think filo-dough with various fillings: Chicken (spicy), beef, lobster, shrimp, vegetable or soy. They are sold from a chains of stores spread over the island, each of which are as hunger inducing as staring at cardboard. However, don’t let their boring interior put you off.
Essentially two major chains are vying for the hearts of the locals: Tastee, the original chain, and Juici Patty, the copy-chain. Having tried both, I have to join the revolution and vote for Juici Patty. Their patties are more crunchy, and with better filling. On warning though, if you click on the link, your computer will start playing some pretty awful music without warning. Such is the power of marketing and sales in Jamaica…
For the purposes of this review, I chose a chicken patty, with coco bread. I realize this is odd, taking a patty which is already baked in dough, and then wrapping it in even more bread. But, this is the way of the local, and who am I to argue with cultural traditions. The coco bread also justifies the review, since anything wrapped in bread is a sandwich in our book.
I love it when I can turn Anders on to new and/or previously unloved foods. Much of our experience of food comes from our earliest introduction as children and it seems that taste memory is the longest memory. He must have had a bad introduction to anchovy as a child and hated it because he just cannot abide the stuff. Well he couldn’t until he had this pizza. Still, I can see how a child would be unenthusiastic about anchovies – salty, oily, and fishy. Lucky for me I wasn’t introduced to this taste trilogy until I was in college. A Bulgarian friend gave me a slice of fresh bread with butter and anchovies sprinkled with lemon juice. It was a delight and I have loved it ever since.
This pizza made an equal convert out of Anders: anchovies, with lemon slices, mozzarella, goat cheese and caramelized onions. The look on his face when I mentioned it – consternation. The look after his first bite – rhapsody!
As one of our guests said when I won the weekly pizz-off pizza dinner with this pizza: “It’s not fair, no one can loose with seared tuna!” To be fair I have to concede the point I suppose, as even breakfast cereal with seared tuna would probably be awesome (someone try and let us know). The dough was new for us as our friends at Rossi Pasta sent us a few samples to cook with (Thanks guys). Probably one of our best tasting pizza’s ever.
Reason number 1099 why I love living in Southern California: fig season! We don’t have our own fig tree – a gardening oversight that we plan on remedying soon. We have the perfect spot picked out and Wendie has done her research to determine which variety to grow. More on that later. Between the local farmers markets and generous friends we’ve eaten more figs this season than in our entire lives. We love eating them fresh from the tree and have also experimented with making preserves, jams, sandwiches and this latest use – on pizzas. This little configuration was served as dessert in a recent pizza party: fig and goat cheese pizza with caramelized figs and onions.
A great tasting pizza for every occasion. This is fairly simple to make except for the dough, but places like Trader Joe’s now sell pizza dough which should make this super easy. We made this pizza as part of a giant birthday party involving 8 other pizzas which you can find elsewhere on amazing sandwiches.
Caramelized onions are such a treat but requires good quality sweet and savory onions to really bring out the best taste of the food. They go extremely well with mild blue cheese, such as the Roquefort we used here. The first time we really discovered the joy of caramelized onions was at a visit to the farmers market in Temecula, Ca. The ‘strawberry lady’ had brought some gigantic onions that she was raving about. She told us to go home and slow-cook them (caramelize), and basically just eat onion for dinner. We did almost that, but added a steak too (man must eat). However, since then we regularly enjoy this often overlooked treat in our cooking. Most people probably don’t realize how easy it is to make amazing food with something as cheap and simple as onions, so hopefully this can server as inspiration.
One of the pizzas from Wendie’s surprise birthday party, this one has some grilled chicken (with a very nice spice blend including smoked paprika), two cheeses, olives, tomatoes, green peppers and onions. The dough is a pizza dough with honey I sort-of invented (based loosely on our Lavash crackers recipe), and the tomato sauce has a wide range of spices, most noticeably a hint of fennel. We had 13 guests and I made a total of 9 pizzas and I was stunned that there were almost no leftovers. I really had expects to fill the freezer too, but at least everyone had a great time. Next time I’ll make more!
Recently we discovered the joy of smoked salmon on pizzas, and decided to try another one. This is our second pizza from Wendie’s surprise birthday party (of nine total), and also a very popular one amongst our friends. It’s simple in its ingredients, with very subtle tastes. The Sautéed mushroom worked great on the pizza (We used it a few times that night), and on this the avocado brings a coolness to the hot pizza that almost melts with the salmon.
Pizza Dough With Honey Recipe
Total time: 2 hours (including rising).
Will make enough dough for 4 pizzas. The remaining dough can be frozen until your next pizza craving demands satisfaction. This is a variation of the basic pizza dough in that we have added honey and a little more yeast and salt. This makes the dough just a little sweet, and more tasty, which can be a fun variation when making homemade pizzas. Continue reading Pizza Dough With Honey
After a night of excess featuring Alton Brown’s “Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?” ribs, we were lucky enough to have a few leftover. Neither myself nor Wendie have ever has a rib-pizza, so we thought we would give it a try. We cleaned the meat of the ribs, and basically used it as one of the ingredients. This pizza was one of 9 we made for Wendie’s 39 years birthday (Surprise!!). That was the last big cooking day in the old kitchen (notice the brown tiles – all gone now), and one day we can’t wait to reconstruct in the new kitchen when it’s ready in a few weeks. For now we will struggle on without a kitchen, dust all over, and a hole in the floor where the drain will connect our island to the ‘mainland.’ Sigh, life’s hard with no kitchen.
The Little Pizza That Could!
This is a pizza made from leftovers in all aspects. The dough is actually from our lavash crackers, so it’s a little bit sweet from the Jamaican honey. The Italian Salsa Verde is from a tasting we did with a caterer for our upcoming wedding. The ham is the last of our Jamaican pineapple Christmas ham. Basically we got one of those inexplicable pizza-cravings while making lavash crackers and quickly improvised the little pizza that could.
If there is one thing we can’t figure out when it comes to pizza, it’s how to make them round. Tossing them in the air is a mystery which has resulted in much swearing. We’ve finally given up, and simply roll them out. This dough pizza we wanted to make extra thin crust, but the middle of the dough got stuck while rolling. After a recovery operation, folding the dough over itself and rolling again, we ended up with this half-moon shape. Looks don’t matter, taste does (or so we tell ourselves, over and over).
Pizza Dough Recipe
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes (including rising).
Will make enough dough for 4 pizzas, of which we will just make one below. The remaining dough can be frozen until your next pizza craving demands satisfaction. Continue reading Easy Pizza Dough in 2 hours
“Pizza!” you may be saying with increduility as you wonder at the seeming incongruity of providing pizza recipes on a sandwich blog. Well, please bear with us while we provide this rather plausible and very convincing rationale.
In Scandinavia, there is a long tradition of open-faced sandwiches (or smørrebrød as they are called in Denmark). Open-faced sandwiches are essentially bread, with layered toppings. So it’s not much of a stretch to call a pizza, a sandwich. After all, it is just that: bread with layered toppings. For the pizza purists among the readers, this might seem like too much of a stretch, but we say that pizza by any other name is still an open faced sandwich. Convinced yet?