Monday, July 25, 2011

Create Your Own Pizza

Tomatoes are finally reaching the peak of their season. So, this week on Christi’s Chirps the special ingredient in each dish will be tomatoes. Sounds good, right?

Sunday MD, Benjamin and I went to the Ozark Slow Food Tomato Tasting held at the Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville, Ark. The event featured a variety of more than 60 tomatoes to taste. We had a great time filling up our bellies with so many delicious Arkansas grown tomatoes. Even Benjamin got in on the fun. As we were leaving, I wondered if they should have charged Ben the admission fee.

Here are just a few of the tomatoes we sampled:

Arkansas Traveler

Italian Cream

Green Zebra


Let’s start off the week with something easy and fun—Create Your Own Pizza!

This is an especially fun idea when you’re having guests over. You can set out an assortment of toppings and dough for each guest. When they arrive and you’re ready to get started, everyone can create their own pizza the way they want it. It’s fun to see and taste all the different varieties everyone comes up with.

Here’s how MD and I did it:

First begin with one pizza dough per person. Flatten it out with your hands. (You shouldn’t have to use a rolling pin.) Drizzle about a tablespoon or two of olive oil on each size of the dough. Sprinkle corn meal on both sides and brush to spread it around evenly.

Top one side of the dough with your choice of spices. I mixed together dried oregano, garlic powder pepper and crushed red peppers.

Place dough on a pizza stone or baking sheet and bake for five minutes. Take it out of the oven and begin layering with your choice of toppings.

I used diced TOMATOES, freshly grated mozzarella cheese, onions, mushrooms, garden fresh basil and topped with freshly grated Parmesan. I sprinkled more of the spices around the crust of the pizza. MD did about the same but substituted fresh basil for fresh spinach leaves and added goat cheese.

Once you’ve got your pizza just how you like it, drizzle with a little more olive oil and place in the oven for about 15 minutes. Depending on your oven, it may be a few minutes less or more. Just keep an eye on it and take out when it golden brown. You want to be sure to not take it out too soon, or the bottom of the crust won’t get crispy.

Let it cool for about five minutes. Slice and serve.

1 can of Pillsbury pizza dough – thin or thick (We used thin crust.)
2 tablespoons cornmeal 
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil Spice mixture – 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
Any variety of toppings. We used: 
Diced tomatoes 
Diced onions 
Fresh basil leaves 
Fresh spinach leaves 
Fresh mushrooms 
Freshly grated Parmesan

Stay tuned for Wednesday's post. I'll be cooking with tomatoes in another way!



Taste and Tell said...

Those tomatoes all look amazing, and so does that pizza!!

Christi's Chirps said...

Hi there! Tomatoes are finally getting so tasty! Love this time of year! Happy Thursday to you!