Virgin's Guide to Burning Man

A Virgin's Guide to Burning Man can be found here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Food Experiment of the Week

With summer fast approaching, my creative food juices are kicking into high gear. I've decided to try a little project where I will experiment with one new recipe a week and post the results here. By experiment, I mean I tend to adapt recipes to suit my tastes and needs, so usually these recipes will be something I've never tried making before, but have altered in some way or created an amalgam of multiple recipes. I can't guarantee it'll be the same day every week, but I will try to do it in advance of the weekend in case anyone likes what they see and wants to use it over the weekend. I will post the recipe, my thoughts on it and its social uses (in keeping with the theme of my blog), and my rating, according to the system below.

Rating System:
♥♥♥♥♥ "Omigod this is awesome, I could eat it every night!"
♥♥♥♥ "Wow this is amazing for a special meal!"
♥♥♥ "Great choice for a dinner party!"
♥♥ "Hey, that was pretty good. We should have it again sometime."
♥ "Eh. S'all right...."
♠ "Ugh, no! That was so bad I just had to share the failure that was this meal."

Food Experiment of the Week
Feta and Roasted Garlic Pizza

I've never made a pizza entirely from scratch before. I've tried using pre-made dough, but was less than satisfied. But this week I was feeling confident, mature, self-composed, adventurous... :) So I thought I would give it a shot.

For the dough
Makes one 10-12 inch round pizza base
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rapid-rise dried yeast
1/2-3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir in the yeast. Make a well in the center; pour in the water and oil. Mix to a soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave until doubled in size - about an hour. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface, knead gently for 2-3 minutes and roll out to desired pizza size and shape.

For the pizza
1 whole garlic bulb, with cloves peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and quartered
2 plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups feta, crumbled
12 oz. artichoke hearts
pinch of black pepper
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

1. Preheat oven to 425. Toss garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cut artichoke hearts in half and use a little of the garlic and olive oil mixture to lightly saute.

2. Broil peppers skin-side up, turning them until skins are evenly charred. Place in a covered bowl for 10 minutes, then peel off the skins. Cut the flesh into strips.

3. Make a slash in the skin of each tomato, then put them in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds, then plunge into cold water. Peel, seed and coarsely chop the flesh.

4. Spread pizza dough into pan and push up the dough edges to form a thin rim. Brush with olive oil and scatter with the chopped tomatoes. Top with the peppers, crumbled feta cheese, artichoke hearts and garlic cloves. Drizzle on any remaining oil and season to taste with pepper. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden. Garnish with chopped oregano and serve immediately.

My Thoughts

I served it up with a strawberry-balsamic vinegar salad, and finished the meal with a shot of limoncello. Bellissimo! I really enjoyed this pizza and pretty much talked about it the rest of the evening. It was a little time-consuming but on the whole, rather easy to make. I must say homemade dough is SO worth the effort. This pizza was so much fresher and less oily than anything I've eaten in restaurants (let alone frozen or by delivery). Because it does take time, I couldn't do it regularly, but it is a nice option for special occasions. This would be a great option for a romantic dinner at home. Or, alternatively, instead of one big pizza, one could easily cut the dough into smaller circles and have mini-pizzas which might be fun for party appetizers to share with friends.
My one mini-complaint was that it was a tiny bit on the dry side. Not bad, but I think the next time I try this, I will either add more tomatoes or perhaps brush on some pesto sauce before layering the veggies et al, to give it something to tie it all together. My husband suggested marinara sauce, which I think could work, but I would be afraid it might be too overpowering. Perhaps plain tomato sauce would do the trick. The flavors are so light, fresh and delicious, I wouldn't want to risk them getting lost under something heavy.

My rating? ♥♥♥• Three and a half hearts. Buon appetito!


  1. Trader Joe's has uncooked pizza dough in the refrigerator section for $0.99. It's really good and they even have a wheat one. It's best to use a real honest to goodness pizza pan with the holes in the bottom so the crust isn't chewy in the middle.

  2. Thanks for the tip! I'll have to try that out. Definitely helpful for the days I don't have time to make it from scratch! I just remember the one--I think you and I tried once--from Ralph's or Albertson's or whatever...It was so thick and rubbery and pretty much without flavor.

    Though talking about this reminds me of midnight runs for cinnamon pizza from Woodstock's. Remember those? YUM.


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