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Archive for the ‘pizza’ Category

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Oh, I know I don’t need to tell you how much we love a good pizza…I’ve blogged about it so many times before (here and here and here and here).

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Pizza is our Friday night ritual. The biggest dinner decision we make on Fridays is whether we are going out for a pie (Speaking of going out, I’m so happy to report that we have finally found our “go to” pizza place after 9 months of searching! And, its about 4 minutes from our home! I promise to bring along David’s new iPhone next time we go so I can snap a few photos and then properly share with you it’s loveliness and simple style.) or whether we are staying in to make one. If we stay home, Jack gets to have his Friday pizza AND movie night, which has become a huge hit! He is completely enamored with the screen and is loving Toy Story and Thomas the Train the most, as of late. He has about an hour of screen time each week (mostly from incidental sports watching with us), so this is a BIG night for him and a fun way to kick off the weekend!

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I hope that our Friday night pizza tradition will be one of Jack’s family food memories when he gets all big and grown up. I love family rituals and routines that create memories, but, and I’m sure to no one’s surprise, I am particularly in love with memories shaped by food. It seems that a lot of people have memories of Saturday morning family breakfasts complete with delicious breakfast breads or waffles, eggs, and crispy bacon, but we are not quite at the stage of life when this routine makes sense for our family. Jack is not a lingerer nor is he particularly patient…he wants breakfast soon after waking up and as soon as he takes his last bite of the meal, he’s ready to get down and get busy playing. This makes that required time of prepping and cleaning that bookmark the yummy breakfast a time of frustration for all of us! The long, relaxing breakfast becomes something instead that hijacks our morning leaving us all more frustrated (and fuller) then before we started.

So, while we are a few years off from that food ritual, I wonder what food memories we’re creating now for our little. I’m hoping he will look back and remember our house always having fresh, seasonal, and plentiful produce and jars of homemade granola. I hope his palette is spoiled for life by my instance on homemade chocolate chip cookies and homemade ice cream rather than store bought varieties. I hope he will speak of our “Sunday morning out for breakfast ritual” with fond memories and knowledge that it allowed him to explore different restaurants, different tastes, and new parts of the city. And, I, of course, hope that Friday pizza nights will bring a smile to his face for years to come.

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Here’s our latest homemade pizza recipe. They’ve been quite tasty lately, I must say.

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1 package store bought pizza dough (we buy ours from Trader Joe’s and usually get the herb dough)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce (we don’t like ours too saucy, so one jar will make 2 weeks of pizzas for us plus leave a bit behind for another meal)
3 slices bacon
About 6 large mushrooms, sliced in quarters lengthwise
1/2 cup Kalamata olives,sliced in half
Few sprigs of fesh thyme

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface or counter and let sit for about 20 minutes. I always cook my pizza on a pizza stone, so I work directly on this.

While the dough is coming to room temperature, cook your bacon in a skillet until crispy. Drain and set aside. And, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil and press the dough down with your hands and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough from the centre out to the edges until you have the desired shape and thickness. Also use your fingertips to press and stretch the dough.

Par bake you dough to make the perfect pizza dough consistency by putting it in the oven for about 5 minutes.

Once dough is pre-cooked a bit, spread marinara sauce evenly over crust. Scatter sliced mushrooms and olives, crumble bacon slices, and sprinkle fresh thyme leaves evenly over dough. Cover with mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until dough starts to brown and cheese is bubbling.

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Before I jump into new posts with new photos and new recipes for 2012, I thought it’d be fun to look back through my food photos from 2011. I have to admit, I got better and better at shooting my food as the year went on. Perhaps I’m getting better with my camera. Or, maybe I’m more comfortable staging the shot. Or, perhaps the lighting is better in our Seattle home.
I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I do know I still have a lot to learn. I’m inspired every day by photos from other bloggers and I have my goals set high for 2012. I think I’m saying goodbye for good to the weekly menu…it’s way too time consuming and I think the pressure of a daily food post was robbing me of my creativity a bit. So, I plan to devote more time to the recipe development and, especially, more time to quality photos this year. I have big plans for my blog and hope you continue to join me on this fun, creative journey.

My favorite food photos from 2011, with a link to their recipe:

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Winter Farm-Fresh Stir Fry

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Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly

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Grilled Salmon with Fennel and Lemon

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Ruby Red Grapefruit Sour Cream Pancake

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Blueberry Ginger Mojito

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Blueberry Whole Grain Buttermilk Pancakes

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Grilled Naan Pizza

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Vegetable Ratatouille

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Watermelon and Mint Skewers

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Slow Cooked Pinto Beans

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Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Salad

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Pumpkin Muffins

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Slow Cooked Lentils

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Pea Pesto Pasta

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Blackened Catfish

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So, this is not exactly pizza. It’s more like a calzone, really, but I’m calling it rustic pizza because that’s what seems to suit it best. You can create your own twist on this recipe by throwing in whatever you have in your refrigerator- roasted vegetables (this would be a great place to tuck in some vegetable ratatouille), leftover meats, or greens. The only requirements, per se, are some sort of cheese and a yummy red sauce. Any pizza dough works for this, I adore the store bought from Trader Joes, but if you’re a homemade dough person, by all means…

Here is the recipe for our version of rustic pizzas. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

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Divide your dough into three or four portions (size depends on the person you are making it for; for us, we had a baby bear, mama bear, and papa bear size). Flatten out each piece of dough to about ¼ – ½ inch thick using your hands or a rolling pin and shape into a rough circle. In the center of each dough round add a couple of spoonfuls of sauce ( we used Trader Joe’s tomato basil marinara sauce), a few freshly cut rounds of mozzarella cheese, a few pieces of cooked sausage (spicy chicken sausage went into ours), and a couple of torn up pieces of basil.

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Brush a little bit of olive oil along the edge of the dough circle. Pull one side of the dough over the filling to reach the other side. Push to seal the edges and brush the top of each pizza with olive oil. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray or directly onto a pre-heated pizza stone.
Bake at 450 degrees until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

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Let cool slightly as the inside will remain very hot for quite awhile. We actually cut Jack’s way before meal time so it would be cool enough…he did not appreciate the wait! Serve with a handful of arugula and some warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

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Jet City pizza

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We ordered pizza this week from Jet City Pizza in Wedgwood. It is just a few blocks from our house, so delivery is really fast…helpful when you order out for a late dinner like we did.

We ordered a very simple pizza- spinach, black olives, and mushrooms on their beer batter crust and it was good, but it failed to make me audibly say “mmmmm”.

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The crust is yummy, but you have to really like dough since this pizza is very doughy. In fact, for a simple pizza, like the one we ordered, the dough overpowers the toppings.

This was our second time ordering from here. Our first experience was much better…we had the Brewery Combo, a pizza topped with pepperoni, salami, sausage, onions, jalepenos, and cashews. I know…it sounds meat heavy and maybe even gross to some of you, but its really a delicious meaty pizza with a spicy punch of jalapeños and a pleasantly surprising crunch of cashews. It is SO good. (Wish I had captured a picture of this pizza, but I completely forgot to!)

So, next time we order from here…yes, there will be a next time…I will stick to one of their combination specialty pizzas or get a pizza with toppings that pack more of a punch…perhaps one with spinach, feta, and garlic?

Have a wonderfully happy weekend! The Florida Gators have a BIG game tomorrow against Alabama…GOOOOO Gators!

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