As the rainy, wintry days of February and March have rolled by, I've tried to continue cooking and reading, and occasionally spending time with B, but the writing, as you can see by the date of my last post, has fallen by the proverbial wayside. A friend who started, but later abandoned, a blog warned me about the guilt I would feel were I not to update my blog regularly. It's true! I could be planning our April vacation or picking out wedding photos or experimenting in the kitchen, but instead, a sense of responsibility has led me here.
1. To my anonymous readership: I apologize for my delinquency. Read on for a lovely recipe.
2. To our wedding photographer: I'm updating my blog right now instead of picking the final layout for the album. Yes, I do know that we're approaching our two-year anniversary. Also, if you were wondering, it makes me feel like a bad bride when you send me e-mails with the subject line "Wedding album, anyone?"
3. To Tivo: Thank you. There's nothing quite like snuggling up on the couch post-call to catch up on "The Daily Show." Your ability to ignore commercials contributes to my efficiency, and I love the beeps your remote control makes.
During these busier months, my cooking time is compressed, and the need for easy-to-transport leftovers is paramount. The cafeteria at San Francisco General, while free for residents, is monotonous and sort of depressing. Bringing my own dinner and plenty of snacks from Trader Joe's while I'm on call certainly makes me happier, and probably makes me healthier as well. The other day, I brought a few slices of potato pizza.
The herbed potatoes and the caramelized onions and the pizza crust complement each other to make each bite salty and sweet and substantial. Potato pizza is heavy on the carbohydrates, and I'm certain it would violate all sorts of principles of the Atkins diet. (But really, what kind of diet won't let you eat fruit? Nature's candy and all that.) For the MB diet, on the other hand, potato pizza is perfect. I grew up with the family nickname of the "carbo kid." I LOVED pasta and bread and potatoes, though, unlike a late-twenty-something friend of a friend, I was not pathologically tied to white food alone. Interestingly, despite my obsession with other carbohydrates, I didn't have a taste for pizza as a child (which, coupled with my dislike of watermelon, created difficulties at my elementary school classmates' birthday parties).
I've already mentioned my love of the Cheese Board cookbook, but I have two pizza-making revelations to share from my experimentation with their recipes. First, putting half the cheese directly onto the dough (then putting the topping on, followed by the rest of the cheese) makes bite after bite very cohesive and cheesy. Second, brushing the hot crust of the pizza right when it comes out of the oven with an olive oil and garlic/herb mixture releases an irresistible aroma and brightens up all the flavors. The recipe below calls for garlic oil, but feel free to use chopped fresh rosemary or another aromatic or a mixture. Whether your next pizza is potato or some other sort, please, please try these two techniques.
I always make my own pizza dough, and am including a very basic recipe that you can easily modify by substituting half whole-wheat flour, but you can also buy fresh pizza dough at most grocery stores. The pizza keeps well, covered, for 2 days, but the crust will always be the crunchiest and best the day you make it. Enjoy!
Adapted from The Cheese Board Collective Works
Makes: three 12-inch pizzas
Time: 45 min. active, 2 hours total
For the dough:
1 c. warm water
1/2 packet rapid-rise yeast
1 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
2-3 c. flour
For the pizza:
2 Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/8 in.)
1 t. red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 T. dried herbs, such as thyme, basil, oregano, or herbes de provence
5 T. olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion, finely sliced
1-2 T. cornmeal, for sprinkling
8 oz. mozzarella, grated
3/4 c. mixed Gruyere and Parmesan, grated
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 T. Italian parsley, finely chopped (optional)
First, make the pizza dough. Mix the water and yeast in a medium sized bowl and let sit for 5 minutes until slightly foamy. Add the salt, olive oil, and 1 cup of the flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Continue to add flour, 1/2 c. at a time, until you have a workable dough. Turn dough onto a board and knead, with extra flour as needed, for 5 min until smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled bowl, covered and in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.
Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sliced potatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, herbs, and salt to taste; then drizzle 2 T. olive oil evenly over potatoes. Bake for 20-25 min, until softened and beginning to brown. After the potatoes are done, turn the oven up to 450 degrees and pre-heat pizza stone if using.
While the potatoes are baking, prepare the caramelized onions. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions, and cook for 10 to 15 min, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown.
After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into two halves. Place one half on a lightly-floured board and use a rolling pin to shape into a 12-in round. Place the round on a baking sheet or the hot pizza stone that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Repeat with other half of dough. If making both pizzas at once, sprinkle each with one-quarter of the total mozzarella. Then divide the caramelized onions evenly between each pizza. Arrange the potato slices, slightly overlapping, on each pizza. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella as well as Parmesan/Gruyere blend. Bake at 450 for 15-18 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and crust is brown at the edges.
While the pizza is baking, make garlic oil with remaining 2 T. olive oil and smashed garlic clove. Brush hot pizza with garlic oil. Sprinkle with parsley, if using.