Katie: The farmers market in Paderborn seems to have a different “it” item each week. While the stands were filled with white asparagus last week, strawberries seemed to outnumber them this week. They smelled so sweet, that I just couldn’t resist buying some, even though I already had some at home.
I decided to try a savory dish using strawberries. This recipe for Strawberry, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Pizza from Cooking Light caught my eye. I used my favorite pizza dough recipe. Instead of watercress, I decided to go with another spring item, green asparagus. I tried shredding it, like Matt did with his pizza. After rolling out the dough, I brushed it with a little olive oil and added the shredded asparagus, which I had mixed with olive oil, sea salt, and ground black pepper. I then baked the flatbreads for about 15 minutes at 475 degrees, removed them from the oven, and then added the remaining ingredients. I tried putting a couple of the flatbreads back in the oven for a couple of minutes and served the other ones without baking the other ingredients. Both variations worked well.
These were really good! The combination of strawberries, goat cheese, and pistachios worked really well together, and the asparagus added an interesting twist. I added asparagus sparingly, but next time I would probably add a little more. I toasted the pistachios in a frying pan before chopping them, which enhanced their flavor. This was a good spring meal!
Katie: After having success with my Smoked Salmon Rolls, I wanted to try something else with smoked salmon and thought that pizza might be interesting. I found a couple of recipes for pizza with smoked salmon, but I ended up using the ricotta and chive filling that I used for the rolls, again substituting blended cottage cheese for ricotta. I baked the plain pizza crusts for about 10 minutes, then spread the crusts with the cheese mixture, sprinkled sliced red onions and capers on top, and baked them for another 5-10 minutes. I then topped the pizza with thinly sliced smoked salmon and fresh dill. It turned out pretty good! Next time, I would stick with my favorite pizza crust recipe, since the new recipe I tried took longer and seemed to dry out too much. Roasted red peppers might also be a good additional topping, since they went so well with the salmon rolls. I served the pizza with Bean Salad with Artichokes from Cooking Light, which was pretty easy to make and went well with the pizza. I ate my serving on top of greens.
Katie: This post could also be titled “How we ended up eating dinner at 9pm” or “What to do with leftover whiskey”, but I think I’ll stick with “Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza”.
I felt like making pizza this weekend and wanted to try something new. The recipes I found varied from those using pre-baked crusts and bottled sauces to recipes with instructions for homemade cheese. While I didn’t adventure into cheese making this weekend, I did decide to make my own pizza dough and sauce. When I spotted this recipe for Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza, I couldn’t wait to try it. Flori couldn’t wait either, so although I had planned to make it a day later, after finding the ingredients I decided to make it that evening. A few hours later, my pizza was done. Although this was a time-intensive project (especially the sauce), the results were worth it. The sauce was very flavorful due to the long simmering time and had just the right amount of spiciness. The chicken was juicy and soaked up the barbecue flavor. Although the original recipe didn’t include mushrooms, I think they were the perfect addition. The only addition that might improve this pizza would be caramelized onions, but after a few mediocre attempts in the past, I’ll leave them to the experts (aka Mom). Since I made a few changes to the original recipe, I’ll post my version here:
Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza (adapted from Food People Want)
- Flatbread dough, doubled recipe (for 8 servings; reduce other pizza ingredients accordingly for fewer servings; I used 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 cups whole wheat flour)
- Smoky Barbecue Sauce (I only made a few minor substitutions for ingredients I couldn’t find)
- 350g boneless, skinless chicken breast (3/4 pound or about 1 ½ cups shredded chicken)
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 120g (4 oz.) brown mushrooms, sliced
- olive oil
- shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese (1 – 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)
The barbecue sauce takes awhile to prepare, but it can be made in advance. The chicken can also be prepared ahead of time.
- Prepare the barbecue sauce according to the directions. This can be made in advance or should be started a few hours before your planned serving time.
- Prepare the flatbread dough.
- While the dough is rising, cook the chicken. Place chicken and 1 ½ cups water in a nonstick pan. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and cook 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Drain well. Once cool, shred the chicken with your hands into smaller (about 1-inch) pieces. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 500° F.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms become slightly softened. Remove and set aside.
- Add another teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the sliced red onion until slightly softened but not browned or carmelized, about 5-7 mintues. Set aside.
- Combine shredded chicken and 1 cup of barbecue sauce. If the sauce or chicken are cool, warm in a saucepan on low heat.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal. Roll out prepared dough.
- Spoon a thin layer of the extra barbecue sauce onto the dough and carefully spread it to the edge of its borders. Top with a thin, even layer of mozzarella cheese followed by pieces of the warmed chicken, red onion, and mushrooms. Top with a bit more cheese.
- Bake until the crust is crisped and golden and the cheese is bubbling (8-15 minutes; watch closely). Remove from the oven, sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro leaves, and serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings
Katie: I’ve used butternut squash in soup before, but was interested in trying something different. After finding a butternut squash and fresh tomatoes at the farmers market, I decided to make pizza. I based it on this recipe for Pesto Pizza with Butternut Squash. I used this recipe for the pizza dough, which has worked well before. In addition to homemade pesto and roasted butternut squash, I decided to make oven-dried tomatoes, which seem to be popular at the moment! I topped the pizza with goat cheese and a little parmesan cheese. It turned out really good! The flavors of roasted squash, oven-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese went together well. It was an interesting meal for a fall day.
Katie: I spotted some more fresh figs this weekend, and decided to try making a fig pizza this time. Although I found a few recipes on other food blogs, I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. I ended up improvising, mostly using parts of this recipe and this one. Here’s how I did it:
- Prepare pizza dough (I used this recipe, with half whole wheat flour).
- Bake crusts for 5 minutes at 475 degrees.
- Brush crusts lightly with olive oil.
- Add toppings: caramelized onions, sliced fresh figs, sliced brown mushrooms sauteed with garlic, and crumbled goat cheese.
- Lightly drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar and honey over pizzas.
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary and basil, freshly ground black pepper, and sea salt.
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until crust is done and cheese starts to melt.
I found this easy recipe for pizza on the Smitten Kitchen website and thought it would be a good, quick dinner. I followed the pizza dough recipe here and used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. For the toppings, I substituted Asiago cheese for the Parmesan. Overall it was great! The crust didn’t rise very well (because of the whole wheat flour?) and therefore slightly resembled cardboard, but the toppings definitely made up for it. Since the asparagus is so thin, it cooks in no time. I’d definitely try this again and experiment with another crust recipe or leave the whole wheat flour out of the recipe I used.
Katie: Since Flori was at his parents’ house last week, I wanted to make something special to welcome him home. Pizza is always a good bet, but I didn’t want to make something I’d already made before. I felt like trying something with roasted peppers and found this recipe for Roasted Pepper Pesto-Tomato Pizza from Cooking Light. I used this recipe for Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, which makes 2 pizza crusts. I doubled the sauce recipe and topped the pizza with tomatoes, yellow and red bell pepper strips, and cheese. The pizza turned out great! I had never tried making pesto before, but the sauce was pretty easy to make and tasted delicious. I used our immersion blender to make it, and Flori didn’t even notice that it included 2 cups of basil leaves. I would definitely try this sauce again, maybe next time with a different crust or other toppings, such as shrimp.