Monthly Archives: May 2012

supper tonight – 5.28.12 – grilled goodies with my dad

One of my fondest childhood memories?

Grilling out with my dad.

When my brother Dave and I were little, we’d play on the swingset or scamper through the sprinkler or clumsily fling frisbees under our backyard pine trees while Dad worked magic on the grill. A meaty, smoky haze surrounded him as he cooked. Beef patties, flawlessly formed in my dad’s hands earlier in the day, would sear on the grill’s metal grates to charcoal-fired perfection. Bite after juicy bite, those burgers brought joy to our taste buds, our bellies, our hearts.

During our teen years, we spent many summer weekends with Dad, tromping through forested mountain trails at campsites in the wilds of North Carolina or Tennessee.

These camp-ins were big events for Volkswagen enthusiasts, who would pilot their Beetles and Buses up the winding mountain roads to compare pop-up campers, show off restored Karmann Ghias, troubleshoot engine problems….and (mostly) sit around campfires roasting marshmallows, drinking beer (or sometimes moonshine), strumming guitars, and beating bongos. My dad doesn’t really go to these events anymore, but now he’s made a career out of working on his favorite cars, so I think it’s worked out okay for him. 🙂

These summer weekends always included a feast of grilled foods: burgers and hot dogs, chicken and steaks, summer squash and corn on the cob. Even breakfast, because there were always cast-iron skillets around, just right for crisping up bacon or scrambling eggs over a fire.

When we weren’t camping with the VW hippies, we soaked up sunshine on the red-clay shores of Lake Hartwell, where the scents of sweat and sunscreen mingled with the delicious, smoky smell of whatever Dad had decided to grill that day.

Now that Dave and I are grown and Dad lives alone, he doesn’t fire up the charcoal as often as he used to.

But, just like riding a bicycle, grilling sticks with you.

On Memorial Day, Micah and I wrapped up a lovely long weekend with friends in Asheville by stopping at Dad’s for dinner.

And what a dinner it was.

Kebabs of shrimp, barbecue-marinated steak, and fresh mushrooms were cooked to moist, tender perfection on Dad’s new grill, while the skewered bell peppers retained just a bit of juicy crunch. A package of sweet Hawaiian rolls warmed nicely on the top grill rack, and our meal was rounded out by a rainbow of cool, crisp fresh veggies with dip.

pretty AND delicious!

Another childhood favorite–Drumstick sundae cones–made for a fittingly nostalgic dessert.

Not all dads cook, but I sure am glad mine does.

Of course, as much as we enjoyed the food Monday night, the company was infinitely better. 🙂

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supper tonight – 5.24.12 – stewed andouille

When we got the andouille links out of the freezer a few days ago to thaw, we thought we might grill them last night with…well, something. We didn’t really have a plan (when do we ever?), but we were sure we could come up with some wonderful meal using those smoky, savory Cajun sausages.

We considered defrosting a pound of shrimp to make a jambalaya, but Micah didn’t really feel like beheading and shelling and deveining a bunch of shellfish last night.

We always get our shrimp with the heads on them so we can freeze the shells and noggins for stock. When we’re really lucky (as we were a couple of weeks ago), we’re able to get fresh Georgia shrimp from Athens Locally Grown or Fook’s Foods for just $5-6 a pound. It’s pretty amazing stuff!

What we ended up making was still pretty similar to traditional jambalaya in the veggies and seasonings–just a little different in the technique, since we winged it instead of following a nice, straightforward recipe like the one I linked above. 🙂

In any case, the resulting dinner was rich, spicy, and full of flavor, with the added bonus of leftovers for lunch today!

not only did the fresh veggies make this taste extra good, but the
green and yellow peppers looked lovely with those bright red tomatoes!

What’s in it:

  • olive oil for the pan
  • 3/4 pound andouille sausage links (or another smoky, spicy sausage of your choice)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, diced (or you could used canned)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste

Step-by-step:

  • Heat a little bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the sausage links and cook for about 6-8 minutes per side, turning frequently to keep them from burning.
  • Remove the cooked links to a cutting board to rest.
  • Pour a tad more oil into your skillet if you need to. Add the garlic, onion, and peppers, and saute for about 5-6 minutes or until they’re starting to soften and brown.
  • Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until incorporated.
  • Pour in the white wine, scraping with your spoon or spatula to get all the stuck bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the chicken stock and smoked paprika.
  • While the contents of your skillet heat back up, cut your sausage links lengthwise and then slice into half-moons. Or, you can slice the whole link thinly on the bias. Add the cut-up sausage to your skillet.
  • Let this simmer on the stove for a while. (I had a meeting last night and was gone for almost two hours, so we just let ours cook on the absolute lowest heat we could while I was gone!)
  • When your vegetables are super tender and the liquid has thickened into a rich sauce, it’s ready to eat. Season with salt and pepper to your liking, and feel free to sprinkle in some cayenne for an extra kick.

We spooned this over bowls of steamed white rice (long-grain basmati, specifically, because that’s what we had in the pantry), but Micah suggested it would be fantastic over grits or polenta, and I’d also bet it would be tasty with mashed potatoes or pasta. So, in the spirit of winging it (like we always seem to), serve this with your carb of choice.

And don’t forget to finish the rest of that bottle of white wine while you’re at it.

And enjoy!

We definitely did. 🙂

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muffins for….uh, Thursday – 5.24.12 – Lilly’s strawberry nectarine

Who’s Lilly, you ask?

My smart, silly, beautiful six-year-old niece!

Lilly and I have a lot in common. We both love to read. We both love school. We’re both, well, not super coordinated. And we both like to cook!

So when my brother Dave asked if Lilly could hang out with me this morning for a couple of hours, of course that was fine by me.

For most of Lilly’s visit, I was a pretty boring hostess. I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. I washed, dried, and folded two loads of clothes. I scooped out the litter box.

Lilly had more fun. She decorated a bookmark with scented markers (which I didn’t even know I had!), and she read a few chapters of Charlotte’s Web (one of my very favorite children’s books), and she snuck up on me a few times while I was working and yelled, “Boo!” This was funny while I was folding clothes. Less funny when I was hand-washing our three sharpest knives–but I didn’t get cut, so I guess it’s okay. 🙂

Anyway, the other thing I needed to get done today involved nectarines. Three pretty little nectarines from Daily Grocery that I saw the other day and couldn’t pass up. Three not-as-pretty little nectarines once they sat in the fridge for a week. (Yes, they got a little mushy, just like my bananas and pears seem to do most of the time.)

I showed Lilly the wrinkly nectarines. “These aren’t really good for snacking on anymore, but they’ll be great if we smoosh them up and put them in some muffins. Wanna help?”

Of course she did!

Once I cut the mushy fruit away from the pits, it was Lilly’s job to press the button on the food processor to whir those faded beauties (peel and all) into a red-flecked golden puree. Standing on a step-stool, of course.

“Can we have strawberries, too?” she asked.

So I cut up some strawberries while Lilly cracked two eggs into the fruit, then stirred it all up with some Greek yogurt.

While Lilly worked the wet ingredients (singing “Muffins, muffins, muffins” the whole time), I measured most of the dry stuff. Lilly did the salt, baking soda, and baking powder. (Her Granny, my mom, has taught her well–she knows to scoop with the measuring spoon, then level it off before adding it to the bowl.)

One of Lilly’s charming quirks is that she wants to taste everything, even stuff you wouldn’t think a kid would like. I’ve seen her grind fresh black pepper into her palm and lick it up, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon directly onto her tongue, eat a piece of raw lemon (including the rind), and now–lick baking powder straight from a measuring spoon.

“It tastes salty,” she informed me.

“I’ll bet!” I said.

Lilly mixed all of the dry ingredients, dumped them into the bowl of wet ingredients, added the strawberries, then stirred it all together. (I helped with this because the batter was pretty thick.)

I started to let Lilly spoon the batter into the muffin tin, but since it was almost time for her dad to pick her up, I asked her if she would mind my doing it instead. (“That way, they’ll be ready before you leave!”) She agreed that this would be the best course of action. 🙂

The finished muffins were too hot for Lilly to eat one before she left, but I did send a few home with her so she could have one after it cooled.

I ate one just a few minutes ago, and it was fabulous.

of course I couldn’t resist brightening up the picture with a few of
the fresh strawberries (from a little farm stand near Anderson, SC)

What’s in it:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 ounces raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-3 nectarines, pureed (with the peel is fine)
  • 3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • about 3/4 cup diced fresh strawberries

Step-by-step:

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F and get a 12-cup muffin pan ready. (“Now you’ve got to use the non-stick spray,” Lilly told me. I showed her my rubbery red silicone muffin pan and told her it didn’t need any. “What if it was made of tin?” she asked. “Well,” I said, “then I guess I’d need some non-stick spray.”)
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Let your niece lick the measuring spoon if she really wants to. 🙂
  • In a larger bowl, stir together the pureed nectarines, yogurt, and eggs.
  • Add the dry ingredients and strawberries to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Don’t forget to take turns!
  • Scoop the batter into the muffin cups, then bake for about 20 minutes. Visit the oven every few minutes to peek through the window and see how your muffins are doing. Comment on how good they smell!
  • Remove the muffins to a rack to cool.
  • Make sure you share these sweet treats with someone you really love. ♥

 

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quick lunch (for one) – 5.22.12 – zucchini frittata

What to do when your husband’s out to lunch and you need a quick meal at home?

Make a frittata.

I say this authoritatively, like I do it all the time. But in reality, today was the first time I’ve ever made a frittata, and it’s pretty rare that I’m cooking lunch for one. 

As I had never cooked this Italian omelet-like dish before, I kind of winged it based on my best guess (and what I’ve seen folks do on the Food Network). I knew I needed eggs, plus some kind of vegetable and/or cheese filling, and I knew I needed my skillet o’ stuff to start on the stove and end in the oven.

Apparently, that’s all you really need to know.

you say frit-TAY-ta, I say frit-TAH-ta?

What’s in it:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a large zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • a sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten with a little more salt and pepper
  • 1 ounce feta, crumbled

Step-by-step:

  • Heat the olive oil in a 6″ oven-proof skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to brown.
  • Add the zucchini, marjoram, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and starting to become translucent.
  • Pour in the beaten eggs. Let them cook, without stirring, for 3-5 minutes or until they are starting to set on the bottom.
  • Sprinkle on the feta.
  • Transfer your skillet to the oven and broil for about 5 minutes or until the frittata is golden brown and puffy (it’ll deflate when you take it out of the oven) and the egg is cooked through.
  • Use a heat-resistant silicone spatula to loosen the frittata from the skillet and slide it onto a plate.
  • Enjoy with fresh fruit, a green salad, and/or a slice of crusty bread.

Yum! Now that I know how to cook a frittata, and now that so many beautiful summer veggies are coming in, and now that I’m on vacation from school…I have a feeling I’ll be making more of these soon.

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supper tonight – 5.21.12 – hoppin’ john griddle cakes

Before you read on, I must tell you that this recipe lacks two main hoppin’ john ingredients: rice and salt pork. So it’s not quite exactly hoppin’ john.

Confused about who John is and why he’s doing all that hoppin’, anyway?

For all y’all non-Southerners, here’s some background:

Hoppin’ John is a classic soul food dish of field peas (or black-eyed peas) and rice, traditionally served on January 1st, often with a side of collard greens and some iron skillet cornbread.

Legend has it that this magical plate of food will bestow the eater with wealth and good fortune in the new year–and considering this meal’s easy-on-the-wallet ingredients and its hearty, homey flavors, I’d say it succeeds on both counts.

Anyway, rice and salt pork aside, our dinner last night did include the obligatory beans, greens, and cornbread, and it was certainly a fortunate experiment.

PBR not required, but highly recommended for maximum satisfaction 🙂

What you can see: savory cornmeal pancakes topped with a mess o’ collard greens.

What you can’t see: all the sweet, spicy, tangy potlikker those griddle cakes absorbed, plus a hearty layer of black-eyed pea hummus smeared between them.

Man, oh man.

What’s in it (the collard greens):

  • 1 tablespoon butter (or bacon/sausage grease for some yummy, porky flavor)
  • yield from 1 pound of collard greens, stems removed, washed, and chopped
  • 1 cup broth/stock (we used chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (we used habanero hot sauce from TaylOrganic, a local purveyor of excellent canned goods)
  • 1 tablespoon sorghum syrup (you can sub molasses or brown sugar)

Step-by-step:

  • Heat the fat of your choice in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Toss the collard greens into the fat and stir them around for about 10 minutes or until they start to wilt.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10-15 minutes or until the collard greens are tender.

(Most collard green recipes call for the leaves to be boiled in large quantities of liquid for an hour or more, but we thought these turned out perfectly tender in very little liquid and less than half the time. Maybe the 10 minutes of sauteing helps…?)

What’s in it (the cornmeal pancakes–heavily adapted from this recipe):

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

Step-by-step:

  • Heat a skillet or electric griddle on medium to medium-high heat (about 350-375°F)–you’ll know it’s ready if a drop of water will skitter around on the surface.
  • Mix together the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Pour the water over the dry ingredients and mix to form a thick paste.
  • Stir in the melted butter, then the eggs, then the Greek yogurt.
  • Use a ladle or measuring cup to spoon about 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. (I got 8 pancakes doing it this way.)
  • Cook the pancakes for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they’re nice and golden brown.

(My pancakes omit the sugar from the original recipe because true Southern cornbread isn’t sweet, and I also left out the flour to really play up the cornmeal-y taste. I also subbed Greek yogurt for the buttermilk, just because I could. 🙂 Finally, I skipped and combined some steps at the beginning. Blame my friend Lazy for that one.)

If you follow all these steps, you’ll have four servings, with two pancakes per person. But, of course, if you’re really hungry or just don’t want leftovers, you could easily make two massive servings instead. (We were tempted to do this, but decided we didn’t want to have to roll ourselves away from the table!)

To put it all together, start each plate with one cornmeal pancake. Top it with a generous dollop of black-eyed pea hummus, then another pancake, then a towering pile of collard greens. Finish by spooning a good-sized ladle of potlikker over the top of the whole thing. Enjoy with beer, or an ice-cold glass of sweet tea.

I promise–you’ll feel quite lucky indeed.

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muffins for Monday – 5.12.12 – carrot zucchini

He moved too quickly. I couldn’t warn him. By the time I realized what he was doing, it was too late.

His teeth sank into the warm muffin.

I waited.

He didn’t gag, didn’t choke, didn’t make a face, didn’t spit it out.

In fact, he gobbled up the whole thing and washed it down with a glass of milk.

Who? My stepdad, Chuck, whose favorite foods include steak, ice cream, Mountain Dew, and Oreo O’s cereal.

What? A whole-wheat muffin packed full of oats, nuts, and…da da DUM!–vegetables.

If you knew Chuck, you would realize how much this doesn’t make sense. At all. At least 47 different laws of nature were defied when that fresh breakfast bread entered his digestive system without being rejected and hastily ejected.

Granted, when Chuck snatched that fresh-from-the-oven muffin from my cooling rack last Saturday morning, he didn’t know at first what he was eating. He was hungry, needed breakfast, saw a muffin. It was only on closer inspection that he noticed this particular muffin “had, like, sticks and twigs in it.”

And so it was that a veggie-filled whole-wheat muffin worked a miracle. Chuck ate something healthy. And liked it.

(And I’ll bet you’ll like it, too!)

the muffin that made the miracle

What’s in it:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 ounces finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup grated zucchini

Step-by-step:

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F and get a 12-cup muffin pan ready.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and nuts.
  • In a large bowl, beat the two eggs. Add the yogurt and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, then fold in the carrots and zucchini until just combined. (The batter will be pretty thick–this is okay. The veggies will release more moisture as they cook.)
  • Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

Based on a recipe from Marcus Samuelson’s website, these veggie-flecked miracle muffins were warm, moist, and delicious.

My mom loved them, too, by the way–but this was much less of a surprise as she’s always been a pretty healthy eater. 🙂

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lazy brunch – 5.12.12 – tea-spiced oatmeal

Y’all know I love me some oatmeal.

Well, my mom and I were chatting the other day when I had a revelation: wouldn’t tea make an amazing cooking liquid for some oatmeal?

Yes. Yes, it would.

so close, you can almost taste it…

What’s in it:

  • 1 cup unsweetened tea (I used one bag of decaf Constant Comment)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Step-by-step:

  • Combine all the ingredients except the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are tender and your oatmeal is nice and thick.
  • Stir in the butter. (This will make it extra creamy!)
  • Divide the finished oatmeal into two bowls and enjoy. (And I promise, you will.)

This stuff smelled amazing. The tea had warm spices and orange peel in it anyway, which made my additions of cardamom and orange zest a lovely complement. The coconut added to the exotic feel, while honey and cranberries gave it just the right amount of sweetness. What a simple, delicious breakfast for a rainy Saturday….

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party snacks – 5.18.12 – black-eyed pea hummus

Growing up in rural Georgia, I didn’t learn much about food culture as a kid.

My mom’s part German, part Italian, so I did eat her homemade meatballs, and I watched her mom (my Mammaw) top hot dogs with sauerkraut (which I was pretty much disgusted by until I was an adult). And, of course, Hartwell has its small-town, Americanized versions of Mexican and Chinese food, so I snacked on plenty of quesadillas and egg rolls, enchiladas and moo goo gai pan.

I was never squeamish about eating foods that the Hartwell folk considered weird, but there just weren’t many opportunities to try anything exotic. I tasted sushi for the first time as a teen one evening before a concert in Atlanta. Fancy cheeses like brie and Roquefort weren’t even on my radar until I studied abroad in France my freshman summer in college. And at some point during my college years, the word hummus became part of my vocabulary.

I can’t tell you the first time I tried this tasty chickpea dip. It was probably at some party with a group of my more cultured college friends (the ones who grew up in the Atlanta burbs), and I probably smeared it on some pita points or raw veggies. There was no revelation, no magical, memorable moment when this amazing stuff brought me to tears. But sometime in my early twenties, I realized I loved hummus, and that was (conveniently enough) around the time when it became pretty easy to find in the deli section of most grocery stores.

When Micah and I got married at Farm 255 here in Athens back in 2009, one of the foods we chose to have on the buffet was the Farm’s homemade hummus, which is pretty awesome. Some of the Hartwell folk weren’t so sure about it, but we gobbled the stuff down.

Varieties of hummus abound, many made with the traditional garbanzo beans, others more outside the box, like Frugal Feeding’s butterbean hummus and Hugh Acheson’s boiled peanut hummus.

My newest incarnation of this now-ubiquitous party snack showcases the deliciousness of a humble home-style favorite: the black-eyed pea.

What’s in it:

  • 1-1/2 cups dry black-eyed peas + water to cook them in (shortcut: 3-1/2 to 4 cups canned peas)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Step-by-step:

  • I used a slow-cooker to get my dried beans done overnight. 8 hours on low heat did the trick. You could also cook them on the stove, or just buy them precooked and canned (in which case you will most likely need to reduce the salt in this recipe!).
  • Put all of the ingredients in your food processor, reserving some of the cooking liquid (or canning liquid) from the black-eyed peas.
  • Process until your hummus is thick and creamy, adding extra liquid if necessary to get the right consistency.
  • Enjoy with chips, crackers, veggies, or whatever you feel like dipping! (Next time, I might try making mini cornmeal pancakes and topping them with the hummus. Mmmm….)

This stuff is so deliciously addictive. I’ve made it for two parties in the last two weeks, and it has been a huge hit! The cider vinegar adds a terrific tang, reminiscent of homemade pickles or the potlikker from a mess o’ greens. And the smoked paprika lends an almost bacon-y flavor. It’s amazing!

got a few cracker crumbs on my bowl of dip…oops…

My Southern-inspired hummus hasn’t traveled home to the boonies with me yet. When it does, I might just call it black-eyed pea dip so as not to frighten the locals. Then maybe, just maybe, for at least one adventurous Hartwellian, it could serve as gateway grub to other excellent ethnic edibles. 🙂

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Micah’s kind of recipe….:)

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supper tonight – 5.10.12 – pizza margherita

a delicious mosaic of red, white, and green

So the story goes, Queen Margherita of Italy was journeying with her husband Umberto around her kingdom’s countryside around 1889 and observed the peasants enjoying tasty flatbreads that they called pizzas. She tried and loved this rustic food (much to the disdain of her peers in the nobility), and she commissioned a pizza chef named Rafaelle Esposito to make the humble delicacy for her. Chef Rafaelle not only made Queen Margherita the pizza she asked for, but he specially created a pie that incorporated the red, white, and green of the Italian flag using tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Thus, the traditional “pizza margherita” was born.

I first tried pizza margherita on a trip to Sicily my senior year of college. I’d grown up eating the Americanized pies peddled by chains like Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Papa Johns, and Dominoes, plus the fancy pizza offerings at the college-kid favorite around here, the Georgia-based Mellow Mushroom. But pizza in Italy was different. The crust was warm and doughy, like good bread. The sauce was minimal or nonexistent, and cheese was included, but not a greasy blanket of it. The toppings were simple–no pizzas with names like “super supreme” or “kitchen sink.” And my favorite was the simplest of all, the pizza margherita.

love pizza? you’ll love this!

So Thursday night, when we needed a quick dinner, and we just happened to have fresh tomatoes, some beautiful basil, and a little deli tub of mozzarella floating in salty brine, it was pretty easy to figure out our course of action.

Step-by-step:

  • Make your pizza crust. Micah liked the crust recipe we used last time, but this time he asked if we could make it thinner and crispier. So we did. We only mixed up half as much dough, but we spread the dough extra thin over the same big pizza pan. Then, we pre-baked it for about 8 minutes at 450°F to get it good and crispy before we added the toppings.
  • Once your crust is ready, spread on a very thin layer of pizza or pasta sauce (we just happened to get a jar of Cugino’s Classic Marinara in our wine club bag from Shiraz last week, which was perfect!). Top the sauce with thin slices of mozzarella and fresh tomato.
  • Bake at 450°F directly on the oven rack for about 10 minutes, or until your crust is extra crispy and your cheese is nice and melty.
  • While the pizza bakes, chop some fresh basil. (To make a pretty chiffonade/ribbon cut, take a stack of basil leaves, roll them up like a sleeping bag, and then slice the roll of leaves like a jellyroll. When you let go, you’ll have a big, pretty pile of basil streamers!)
  • Top the finished pizza with the basil, then sprinkle with a little salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  • Slice and enjoy! You’ll probably want to eat the whole thing, and that’s totally okay.

see how thin and crispy that is?

Thanks, Chef Rafaelle, for inventing this pizza! It is truly fit for a queen. Or a couple of hungry peasants like Micah and me. 🙂

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