Tag Archives: pizza

Acorn Squash (aka Happy Fall!)

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Miles & Mingus (Sorry it’s blurry… the car ride was bumpy!)

 

It’s that time of year again. Time to take the kittens in to the vet, (obligatory cat picture… check!) time to bust out the boots, time to get ready for fall cooking!

It’s been a busy summer around here and it’s finally drawing to a close. I can’t say I’m unhappy to be able to wear sweaters again, though I’m really celebrating too soon. I think we are expected to jump back into the 80s next week.

What REALLY made it seem like fall was getting a beautiful little acorn squash in our CSA this past weekend. Neither Bill nor I are very fond of squash. We have never cooked it at home and rarely order things with squash components at restaurants so this was really going to be a new challenge. Being the adventurous cooks we are, we decided to tackle this little guy first, and leave the peppers, greens, eggplants, and other CSA goodies we’re more familiar with for later in the week.

Side note: our CSA this year has been INCREDIBLE! There has been such an abundance of great and varied veggies (and some fruits–even though we’re only signed up for the veggie share.) If you’re in the Chicago area, we really recommend Montalbano Farms. Next year I think we’ll sign up for Spring through Fall, instead of just summer. I won’t say it’s the cheapest CSA on the books, but I think you get a lot for what you put into it.

Back to the squash. We decided to start with something familiar — pizza. But we also wanted the squash to be the star.

Karla et all… meet the Squah Pizza 2000…

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Cheese, squash, carmelized onions, pine nuts and a little balsamic reduction. We also put arugula on top, but you can see the pizza better without it in the picture. It really was a glorious pizza. But, it wouldn’t have been quite so amazing if we hadn’t used Smitten Kitchen’s awesome roasted acorn squash recipe.  I think that this way of preparing squash would be a great first step for adding bits of it to pizza or pasta, and it’s also pretty great just by itself. Now, this is a big deal because remember, we don’t eat squash!

Roasted Acorn Squash
from Smitten Kitchen’s “Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza

1 (1- pound) acorn squash
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (we used 1/2 tsp. and it had plenty of kick)
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into 1/2 to 3/4-inch wide half moons and place in a medium bowl. Toss the squash with the syrup, olive oil, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the squash until tender and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

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Oh! And also, don’t forget to pair this with your favorite pumpkin ale for the real taste of fall!

A few other things from around the web:

Oh my god have you seen this post on “How Sweet It Is?”

We also made mashed potato waffles this weekend. Slam Dunk! (Also the funniest recipe I’ve read in a while)

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Puffy Pizza Pies

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Last week, Bill and I tried a new pizza recipe! Instead of our usual cuisinart, thin-crust pizza, we tried this recipe for cast iron skillet pizza! There were two things that intrigued me: 1. The cast-iron skillet bit. I’m totally in love with mine! 2. Brussels sprouts on pizza!

The pizzas turned out pretty awesome, but I have to say, I’m probably going to stick to my thin-crust from now on. These babies were FILLING! We made two: one traditionally caprese and one with shaved brussels sprouts and sausage (above.) They were great leftovers, but they were also sort of messy. This is definitely fork and knife pizza.

This actually reminds me of some pizza I had at an amazing American pizza place in Tallinn, Estonia. It was the most authentic American experience I had in my 4 months in Russia/Eastern Europe, and it looked like this:

Pizza Americana, Tallinn, Estonia, November 2008.

Pizza Americana, Tallinn, Estonia, November 2008.

This definitely brought back memories. I loved my little weekend in Tallinn. I was there in the middle of my study abroad experience in St. Petersburg, Russia. One weekend it was looking super grim in Russia, so I decided to take a little vacation all by myself. It was amazing to have a free weekend to just do whatever I wanted! I had Estonian food, African food, American food, and Italian food. After three months of Russian food, I was in HEAVEN.

But back to this pizza… here’s the recipe!

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Cast Iron Skillet Brussels Sprouts Pizza
From How Sweet It Is

Note: We obviously changed up the ingredients, but her version also sounds pretty great! We just didn’t have any bacon around (shame on us!!)

Ingredients:

crust (NOTE: this recipe makes TWO doughs for skillet pizza)
1 1/8 cups warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt

pizza (NOTE: these ingredients are for ONE pizza)
6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 ounces provolone cheese, freshly grated
4 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

crust
In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the additional 1/2 cup flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Sometimes I work in a few more sprinkles of flour if the dough is sticky. This amount of dough yielded 2 pizza crusts for my 12-inch cast iron skillet. If you’re using an 8-inch, you may get 3 doughs, but you also may just want to stick with 2 thicker doughs. Divide the dough evenly in half (or thirds). Place one dough on a well-floured pizza peel and roll into a round about the size of your skillet.

make the pizza + the cast iron skillet method
Heat a large skillet (preferably NOT the skillet you are going to cook your pizza in) over medium heat and add bacon. Fry until crispy and fat is rendered. Remove crispy bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shallot. Cook for 5 minutes until soft, then add garlic, sliced brussels, salt and pepper, stirring well to coat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

At this point, place an oven rack directly under your broiler and preheat your broiler to the highest setting. Additionally, place your cast iron skillet on the stovetop burner, turning the heat on high. You want to heat the skillet for 10 minutes. If it begins to smoke a lot, you can reduce the heat a bit. But you want it HOT.

While the skillet is heating, begin placing your toppings on your dough. Remember, the dough MUST be on a well-floured pizza peel (or surface) so you can simply slide the entire thing into the skillet. Add about 2-3 ounces of cheese to your dough, then cover with the brussels sprouts mixture and the bacon. Top with the remaining fontina, provolone and parmesan.

Place a potholder or thick towel on the handle of the skillet (it will be sooo hot). Carefully slide the pizza into the skillet, dough side down. Don’t worry if a few toppings or pieces of cheese slice onto the surface – it will be totally fine. After about 30 seconds, turn off the burner, grab the skillet and pop it in the oven, right under the broiler. Broil for 1 minute, the using the potholder, grab the handle and rotate 180 degrees, broiling for only 1 more minute. Remove immediately and place on the stovetop. Let cool slightly for about 5 minutes, then use a large spatula to remove the pizza. INDULGE!

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Butternut Squash Pizza

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Hi Lauren,

I know we’ve both been into making homemade pizzas lately for fall. Here’s one to add to the list!

Goat Cheese and Butternut Squash Pizza

Pizza dough (herbed is great too)

Olive oil

2 tbsp Butter

1 tbsp Flour

3/4- 1 cup Milk

Garlic cloves, roasted

Kale, spinach or arugula

Tomatoes

Butternut squash, roasted and cubed

Goat cheese

Bacon, fried until crispy

Thyme or herbs de provence

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange risen dough on a pizza stone (or baking pan with non-stick spray and flour) and brush olive oil on edges. Melt better in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, stirring one minute. Add milk and stir constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add roasted garlic and salt, crushing with a fork. pour sauce on top of dough and top with the rest of the ingredients, to taste. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until edges are crispy and brown.

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Eggplant Spread

Hi Karla!

I’m not sure how much you want to address this to each other, or what! I’lljust write this first one semi-impersonally. We’ll see how this goes. I decided to write about my eggplant spread earlier today because it was AWESOME and so easy.

Today I totally eggplanted-out.

When I went to Sunshine (our uber-cheap, uber-awesome latin grocerystore) I went in with no idea of what to make. After all, you can’t always trust Sunshine to have what you want when you get there with a recipe in hand, so I figured I’d improvise. Bill is away for the weekend, so I’m just cooking for me.

When I got to the produce section, I saw something unexpected: eggplant. Now, you don’t usually come across eggplant in latin food, and therefore Sunshine doesn’t usually have eggplant. I knew I had to take advantage of it!

So for lunch I made this absolutely lovely eggplant spread, and for dinner I made this eggplant and olive pizza. The pizza is awesome, but the spread totally blew me away, and it was so easy, I swear I’ll make it a lot more often from now on. It goes great with a lunch of garlic hummos and toasted pita bread!

Eggplant Spread
or “Eggplant Salad Toasts” from SmittenKitchen

1 medium eggplant cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Black Pepper
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1 slice of a large onion, or 1/4 of a small yellow onion, minced

Mix eggplant, olive oil, salt and a generous amount of pepper in a bowl until the eggplant is well coated. Roast on an oiled baking sheet in the oven at 425 for ~20 min. You’ll know when it’s done. Turn them once so they brown evenly. Then, while the eggplant is still hot, transfer it to a bowl and mix in the red wine vinegar, feta and onion. You can also use a shallot, which sounds great, but I just had normal onion. 

You’re done! Just put it on some crispy french bread or pita, or even chips! It was soooooo good. The black pepper really makes it pop. I ended up eating all of the eggplant spread, and not even touching my garlic hummos, which I usually looove.

Lauren

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