Category Archives: Pizzas

Tomato Tuesday: Grilled Caprese Flatbread Pizza

This week, I’m joining a call to action:  Food Bloggers for Slave Free Tomatoes.  First, I’ll fill you in on what this is all about.  Once you’ve read all about this great initiative (and perhaps even taken a moment to sign the letter requesting that your supermarkets carry slave-free tomatoes), your reward will be a simple and delicious recipe for Grilled Caprese Flatbread, using slave-free farmer’s market tomatoes from a Michigan farm.

A big thanks to Nicole from The Giving Table for pulling all of us food bloggers together to effect social change!  Head on over to her FABULOUS blog to check out her own slave-free tomato recipe and all of the many other wonderful recipes and thoughts on food philanthropy she so beautifully offers to her readers.

Food philanthropy never tasted so good

On Tuesday, July 24th, “Tomato Tuesday”, bloggers from around the country are donating their posts to the fight for slave-free tomatoes.

About Recipe for Change

This summer, International Justice Mission has partnered with The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and The Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC) to create Recipe for Change, a campaign to raise awareness about injustices in U.S. tomato fields and ask the CEOs of major supermarket chains Publix, Ahold (owners of Stop & Shop, Giant and Martin’s) and Kroger to endorse the Fair Food Program, ensuring the tomatoes you buy are slave-free.

Where to Purchase Slave-Free Tomatoes

Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, your local Farmer’s Market, or your CSA box.

The Problem

Slavery is not just happening overseas. Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy once called Florida’s tomato fields “ground zero” for modern-day slavery in the United States. In the past 15 years, over 1,000 people have been freed from slavery in U.S. tomato fields.

The Solution

Recipe for Change–a campaign led by International Justice Mission in partnership with the Fair Food Standards Council and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers–is targeting three major supermarket chains this summer (Ahold, Publix and Kroger’s), and asking its CEOs to support the Fair Food Program. Corporations that join agree to pay a small price increase for fairly harvested tomatoes (1.5 cents more per pound), and promise to shift purchases to the Florida tomato growers who abide by these higher standards–and away from those who won’t.

Major fast food companies, like McDonalds and Subway, have already endorsed the Fair Food Program, but the largest U.S. supermarket chains have yet to support this collaborative effort to eradicate modern-day slavery.

Call to Action

Supermarkets can help eliminate slavery and other serious abuses from the tomato supply chain when they join the Fair Food Program. But in order to change its policies, CEOs need pressure from consumers.  Take 30 seconds, raise your voice, and sign your name to help ensure that supermarket tomatoes are slave-free!

And NOW…your reward!

Grilled Caprese Flatbread Pizza

  • One 3/4-1 lb ball of prepared dough, either from local bakery or homemade (for homemade no-knead dough recipe click here)
  • Big handful of arugula
  • 2 slave-free tomatoes (heirloom if you can find them!), sliced
  • 3 oz of goat cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons of homemade pesto
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • cracked pepper

Prepare your grill to a piping hot temp (charcoal is best–no gas taste–blech!).  Arrange coals so they are evenly distributed around the grill.  Lightly flour your dough and roll it out.  Don’t worry about the shape–slightly misshapen actually looks best for flatbread pizzas.  Once your grill is hot, clean off the grate with a wire brush.  Oil a piece of paper towel and using tongs, rub the oiled towel on the grill grate.  Toss the dough directly onto the grill.  After about 1 minute, take your tongs and gently lift the dough to check the bottom.  Depending on the heat of your grill, the flatbread should cook about 1-3 minutes on each side.  Some light charring is nice but don’t burn it!  Once the flatbread is browned and lightly charred in spots on both sides, remove from the grill and top.  Spread pesto on flatbread.  Arrange arugula, goat cheese, and tomatoes on the top.  Generously drizzle good quality olive oil on top.  Sprinkle some sea salt flakes and freshly cracked pepper on top.  Enjoy your amazingly simple grilled caprese flatbread.  Mmmmmmmm.

Cast Iron Pizza With Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts, and Caramelized Onion

By now you must know how much I love cast iron pizzas.  I think this is my third post about them and I’m sure those of you who know me “in person” have heard me talk about my quick and easy cast iron pizza dinners.  And the secret is out.  I don’t always make my own dough, even though I have found and tried some very easy no-knead dough recipes (and they turned out just fine, thank you very much).  Sometimes when you want pizza spur-of-the-moment it is just necessary to start with pre-made dough.  And the Nantucket Baking Company has great dough and is only a few blocks away.  It’s a no-brainer.

Tonight I made another fine variation:  goat cheese, caramelized onion, pine nuts, and fresh basil.  Really hit the spot.  Really easy.  Really worth sharing with a friend because it is just so much better the night-of than as leftovers.  My pal Jessie and I finished off this beauty tonight with some roasted asparagus, finished with a almond-coconut no-bake cookie.  The weather was beautiful and breezy.  We got caught up on all the latest…business trips…fun trip to Atlanta…gossip…clothes…truly a great evening!

Cast-Iron Pizza With Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts, Caramelized Onion, and Basil; makes one 12-inch pizza

Ingredients:

  • One 4 oz log goat cheese
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 4 large basil leaves, shredded
  • 1 ball dough (about 3/4 lb)
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Brush a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 teaspoon oil. Press dough flat in the skillet, spreading to edge.  Let it rest for a bit if it doesn’t reach the edges of the skillet–after a while it will relax, allowing you to push it to the edges of the pan.
  3. Caramelize onions:  add sliced onions to pan with 1 tsp oil and cook over low heat until caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Sautee in 1 tsp oil:  garlic and 1/4 of the onion for a few minutes until browned.  Add tomatoes and brown sugar and cook until juices are evaporating somewhat, leaving a thicker tomato sauce.  Spread over dough.
  5. Cook pizza over medium-high heat until bottom is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to oven; bake 3 minutes. Add slices of goat cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nuts; continue baking until edge of crust is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Garnish shredded basil and serve to your gracious guest!

“No Work” Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Not too long ago I was raving about how I could waltz over to the bakery and buy a ball of pizza dough for $3 and make quick and cheap homemade pizza.  This week’s Food Matters Project recipe choice got me to take it a step further and make my own pizza dough.  The host this week for the Food Matters Project is Niki–check out her blog, Salt and Pepper to see what she did for this week’s recipe.  To see the other Food Matters Project participants’ recipes and ideas, head over here.

Growing up, I primarily had homemade pizza.  My mom would make the dough and press it into a couple of sheet pans, topping it with tomato sauce and cheese.  I can still remember the distinct taste of that pizza and remember hoping I didn’t get a corner–too much crust!  The real pizza treat when I was a kid was Pizza Hut.  In 5th and 6th grade our school participated in Book It!, a five month reading incentive program.  The deal was that you had to read five books each month.  For every month you successfully completed, the teacher would give you a sticker to put on your awesome Book It! pin.  I took Book It! very seriously–it was a BIG DEAL to me because we never had money to go out to eat.  With my pin filled out, I would go to Pizza Hut and get my free pan pizza.  I’m sure that one of the main objectives of the program was not just to get kids to read more but to get kids into the door to get their pan pizza and then have mom or dad pick up a pizza to bring home for dinner.  Not my family!  We would walk in and leave with my free pan pizza and I remember how excited I was about it all, smiling about what I earned while it warmed up my lap the whole way home.

Somewhere along the way, I figured out that wood fired pizzas and homemade pizzas were the real deal.  So I was excited about this week’s FMP recipe.  A chance to get back to my roots and make my own pizza dough!  Making the dough was easy-peasy-pumpkin-pie.  Just mix together a few ingredients and cover for 6-12 hours.

I made the pizza in my usual way, in cast iron skillets.  This dough recipe made enough for two thick-crust pizzas.  My only reservation was the stickiness of it.  Compared to the dough I get from the bakery, this was much more sticky and even stuck to one of the pans pretty badly.  I had to add extra oil to the other pan and that pizza released nicely.

I pulled together several toppings for the pizzas and had them ready to go.  Fresh mozzarella, a shredded Italian blend of cheeses, spinach, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts, prosciutto, and some homemade tomato sauce.

I topped one pizza with spinach, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onion, and pine nuts and the other with prosciutto, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella, and mushrooms.  The pizza took much longer to cook than when I normally make it–perhaps I had too much dough in each pan.  The result was crispier toppings but it all still turned out just fine.  The dough was very different.  I have had whole wheat dough before but this had a different, tangier taste to it due to the fermentation (hence the 6-12 hour rise time).  I would make this again, perhaps using a 2/3 white to wheat ratio instead to lighten things up a bit.

No-Work mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing
  1. Combine the flours, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups water.  The dough should be relatively sticky and wet, like biscuit batter.  If not, add a little more water.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and put it in a warm spot.  Let the dough sit for at least 6 or up to 12 hours.  (The longer it ferments, the more complex the flavor.)
  3. When you’re ready, heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Generously oil a baking sheet or large ovenproof skillet.  Dust your hands with a little white flour and fold the dough over in the bowl a few times.  It will be sticky, but resist the urge to use too much flour; dust your hands again only when absolutely necessary and use a light, gentle touch.  If you’re making small pizzas, divide the dough in half or quarters.  Gently press the dough into the skillet or onto the baking sheet; it’s not important that the pizzas be perfectly round, but you do want to be careful not to tear the dough.
  4. Brush or drizzle the top of the pizza or pizzas with 2 tablespoons of oil, cover, and let sit while you get the toppings together, but no more than 60 minutes or so.

NOTE:  Although Bittman cautions in his recipe to resist the urge to use much flour, I found that when I left the first pizza with as little flour as possible, it stuck to the pan and to my fingers, making it difficult to spread out in the skillet.  It also made it extremely difficult to remove from the pan and a chunk of the crust stayed in the pan.  With the second crust, I used flour until it was manageable and the crust slid out of the pan just fine and was easier to press into the pan.  I also used a bit more oil to oil the pan with the second pizza, which surely helped.

Pizza Pizza

One of the fastest and most delicious meals I make is homemade pizza.  My secret is going around the corner to the Nantucket Bakery and buying a ball of pizza dough for $3.  I’ve made several types of pizzas and it always just depends on what I have at home.  No marinara?  No problem.  Just put some olive oil and herbs on the crust, top with cheese and whatever toppings you have.  The pizza dough is also great to use as a flatbread, topped with any herbs and toppings you want.  Wherever you are, I bet your local bakery has dough that you can purchase.

The first few times I made homemade pizza, the outside was crispy and the center was done but too soft for my liking.  I discovered that baking the pizza on a lightly oiled cast iron griddle in the oven turns out the perfect crust every time.