People often ask if I ever make a TJOC recipe twice (it's a good question!). Yep, some of the previous recipes are in heavy rotation in our household. A couple of favorites pop immediately to mind. Hash browns! Curry mayonnaise! Chicken stock! Potato, green beans, and smoked meat! Stracotto! Blue cheese dressing (absolutely amazing)! I've made all of these more than once and make some of them frequently (especially stock--I make that about once every two weeks). Curry mayo or blue cheese dressing only take about ten minutes and it's so worth it!
Even though I had surgery on the 23rd, I really wanted to knock out a couple more TJOC recipes while my mom was in town. Obviously, they had to be fast because I didn't last long on my feet. Inspiration hit earlier in the week when I stumbled upon fresh pizza dough at Whole Foods. Pizza seemed like a really good idea sincethere are 17 pizza recipes in TJOC and I hadn't made a single one. The pizzas from Whole Foods are really good so I figured that the dough (which was just in a plastic container, like a piece of cake as shown below) would be tasty.
My theory on TJOC's pizza is that the main point is the combination of flavors--not the actual making of the dough and sauce (well, making it from TJOC). In fact, the recipes mention using packaged pizza dough. Mom had made a big vat of her delicious sauce, so I used that, rather than TJOC's inferior tomato sauce.
The beginning of all the pizza recipes were the same. Dust the pizza pan with cornmeal (I used a light hand--I don't like too much cornmeal on my crust).
Then I (or rather mom) stretched the pizza dough onto the pans and brushed it with olive oil (I did that part!).
I made myself the most simple pizza, Pepperoni pizza (p. 191). The pizza was simple--a layer of sauce, a layer of pepperoni, and mozzerella cheese.
I wasn't that excited--it looked pretty boring. And I don't typically put cheese on homemade pizza. When it came out of the oven, however, it was beautiful!
And delicious! Nice, stretchy cheese, great flavor. Way better than ordering a pizza in--and Josh and I have a terrific local pizza place we like to order from (so it's a real compliment). I will definitely make this recipe again!
Josh chose a more exotic choice--White pizza with spicy shrimp and roasted red peppers (p. 192). Although it sounds complex it was really easy.
First step--roast the red peppers. I've shown TJOC's pepper roasting technique before. Easy enough, roast them up, and slice them into thin strips.
The recipe calls for coarsely chopped cooked shrimp. I only had raw shrimp but no problem, I just quickly pan-fried them.
Assembling the pizza--(no sauce or cheese, because it's a white pizza) shrimp, roasted red pepper, and red pepper flakes, as well as a little thyme.
Josh wasn't sure about the pizza's lack of sauce or cheese but was immediately won over. He pointed out that the pizza was VERY spicy but very flavorful and he liked it a lot. I figure that it would be a terrific pizza for someone on a diet.
Mom's choice was White pizza with caramelized onions, black olives, and rosemary (p. 192). The first step was to make the caramelized onions (p. 287)
Caramelized onions are easy and impressive. I think it would be particularly cool to have them as an hamburger or steak topping option at a BBQ or party. I don't like onions, so they didn't excite me, but mom was interested.
The recipe is simple. Slice several pounds of onions and saute them in butter and olive oil with some salt.
They need to be stirred, constantly, for the first fifteen minutes. The onions need to be watched closely at this point, otherwise they will burn. TJOC's not kidding around about the burning--the go from perfect to burned quickly.
And then they are cooked for about an hour (less if you aren't at high altitude). A little bit of water is added. At this point the onions are soft and browned.
Back to the pizza. This was another white pizza, so no sauce or cheese. The caramelized onions, pitted kalamata olives, and rosemary were layered on the top, and the pizza was cooked.
Mom loved it! She said it was a great flavor combination and she particularly loved the onions. They were soft and sweet and delicious (I'm taking her word for it).
I'm much more excited about the rest of the TJOC pizza recipes now that I've had a good experience. Anyone else have any exotic pizza toppings that they like?