Pizza Night: Inspiration Strikes!
About a year or so ago, I began getting the magazine Vegetarian Times. I am alternately unimpressed and inspired by this magazine. Not sure if I just haven’t had the time for it, haven’t been interested in cooking, or if I’ve just become over saturated with cooking and recipes after a lifetime of reading Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, and my always growing cookbook collection. But this month was an inspriation month. I tried (sort of) a recipe from the pages of their latest copy, September 2008– Heirloom Tomato & Sweet Corn Pizzas.
Make that pizza, singular. The other dough I made into a regular cheese with red sauce for the children, wanting to hog all the tomatoes (from our garden) and corn (from our CSA) to myself (and my husband too, I do share–sometimes). Their recipe uses a store bought pizza dough (thank you Trader Joe’s), a garlic pistou and then a bit of cheese and veggies. Right off I knew I wouldn’t be following this one faithfully when I glanced over the instructions for the pistou and read “Wrap garlic in foil. Bake 40 minutes…” That wasn’t happening.
My kids were due home from soccer in 30 minutes and I needed to have dinner on the table shortly after that– I did not have 40 minutes + pizza baking time tonight. Knowing I was compromising the flavor, I decided to skip that step and use fresh garlic instead, but a little less of it.
Second bump came when I realized I’d forgotten to buy the cheese they called for (Cotija or feta)– did I mention I always end up going to the store more than once? I decided to ignore that too and use a bit of mozzarella I had in the freezer that I’d pulled out for the kids pizza already.
What resulted after these changes (and a couple more) was a delicious pizza, even more appreciated for it’s lack of resemblance to one of our 5 or 6 standard dinners. But the flavor did seem suscipsiously familiar… Then I remembered one of my favorite summertime salads from The Jimtown Store Cookbook: Cherry Tomato, mozzarella, & corn salad with basil. Sound familiar? It was as though this salad had been dumped on a pizza dough and warmed. What a wonderful thing!
Here is the pizza recipe (ammended) as well as an abbreviated version of the salad.
Heirloom Tomato & Sweet Corn Pizzas
ammended from Vegetarian Times
prepared garlic-herb pizza dough
garlic pistou my way:
4-10 heads of garlic (depending on size), minced or pressed
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 glugs olive oil
10 leaves fresh oregano
zest of half a lemon
3 handfuls of grated mozzarella (frozen straight from the freezer works fine)
fresh corn kernals from 1 ear of corn
assorted sliced tomatoes from your garden, csa, or nearest store–enough to fill your pizza
6 sliced/chopped basil leaves
other veggies you have on hand? I added sliced summer squash and sliced onion from our CSA
Preheat oven to 400 or possibly 450. Place pizza stone in, if you have one to heat. Whirl pistou ingredients in a small cuisinart or in a blender into a paste. Shape pizza crust to your liking, or to the best of your ability (mine is very poor, but always edible). Sprinkle cornmeal on a wooden cutting board if using a pizza stone, or on a pizza pan. place pizza dough on corn meal and adjust shape and crust. Spread pistou. Scatter corn kernals (and other veggies you want to cook– my squash and onions went on now) about. I also wanted some of the tomato cooked so I added about 6 slices now. Sprinkle with as much cheese as you deem appropriate. Slide onto hot pizza stone or place pizza pan in oven. Bake for 15- 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Top with the rest of the sliced tomatoes and then sprinkle basil on top. MMMMM!
Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, & Corn Salad with Basil
Adapted from The Jimtown Store Cookbook
8 oz marinated bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls) (the original recipe has you marinate them yourself, but I usually can find them already marninated in spices and oil and save myself that step for the extra 50 cents)
1 basket small cherry tomatoes (yellow, red or orange, pear shaped or round)
Corn kernals cut from 2 medium ears
About 12 basil leaves that have been chiffonaded
Mix it all together. Serve room temperature. You may want to add some pepper, salt and lemon juice or zest to taste. Perhaps even some pepper flakes.