November 21, 2012

    A while ago, Erich and I went to this little cafe called Ted & Honey in Brooklyn for brunch one weekend.  I ordered a sandwich with walnut pesto, butternut squash and home made mozzarella.  It was amazing!  Recently Erich and I recreated the sandwiches for dinner one evening, and then I got to thinking...this would be an interesting combo on top of pizza pie!


We started out with making a pepita pesto.

A dollop of creme fraiche?
Yes, please!


Roll. it. out.

Adding a little extra caramelization to the butternut squash.

Spread pesto.

Arrange toppings.

Fall perfection in each slice.

Butternut Squash Pie with Pepita Pesto

Pepita Pesto
1/4 c. sunflower seed butter (recipe found here)
2 Tbsp. spiced pepitas (see below)
1 bunch basil
2 garlic cloves
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbsp. creme fraiche
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

Pie Toppings
1/2 medium butternut squash
1/3 c. parmesean
1/4 c. pepitas
sea salt
olive oil

   First prepare the dough.  While you wait for the dough to rise, cut the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds, pierce with a fork and coat the top with a drizzle of olive oil and salt.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the flesh turns golden brown and is soft. Let it cool, then cut into cubes and scoop from the bottom.  You also could cut into cubes and then roast the squash. Next prepare the spiced pepitas.  Add to a heated pan 1 Tbsp olive oil, all of the pepita seeds.  Cook until seeds turn golden brown, then add a dash salt and cumin.  Remove from heat.  Next, prepare the pepita pesto.  Add fresh basil, garlic, sunflower seed butter, spiced pepitas, lemon juice, and 2 Tbsps olive oil.  This pesto is more creamy, and less oily than your average pesto, so add only a little olive oil.  Pulse.  Then add creme fraiche, and season to taste.  Once all of the ingredients are ready, spread the pesto on, and add the rest of the toppings except for the pepita seeds.  Bake at 500/550 (whatever temperature you're oven can handle) for 8 minutes.  Eat!

Hope you all have a wonderfully delicious Thanksgiving!


November 18, 2012

Meatily Meatless Umami Pesto Pie

Whenever Ashley and I get to planning out the toppings for our next pies, my knee jerk reaction always is to grab some cured meats, hearty cheeses, and potatoes (Yes, potatoes - thinly sliced, and crisped up on a pie, they are wonderful, but we'll explore that on a further post) and get down whipping up that stick to your ribs, punch of meaty pleasure type of pizza that I inevitably feel I need.
Ashley then proceeds to pump the brakes....

There are certain things that Ashley doesn't need on a pizza (meat), and certain things that I feel I just got to have (meatiness) in order to feel that satisfaction. The realization that meatiness on a pie doesn't have to equal meat on a pie brought about the creation of the following pizza delight. 

Enter the sensation of umami. Umami is the fifth taste, the taste of savory. A meaty, saliva inducing sense of deliciousness.  Tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, and parmesan cheese are all food items known for having high amounts of this flavor. After hearing about a burger joint called Umami burger where they top their signature burger with ingredients high in Umami flavor, I knew the same treatment could be done for a pizza to induce a sense of meatiness.

I chose to do a mushroom Umami pesto to spread out as the foundation of this pizza.  I took: 

1 cup oven-roasted shitake mushrooms
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons bonito flakes
1 tablespoon yellow miso
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil

All this excitement went into the food processor; pulsed it until it looked like pesto. Next, I spread it out on our par-baked crust (Ashley and I like to pre-bake the crust in order to keep them crispy), and topped with some fresh mozzarella. Then I topped with some diced sun-dried tomatoes (you could use regular tomatoes, but I figure the dried variety would have a more concentrated Umami flavor), shaves of parmesan cheese, some bonito flakes (bonito flakes are shavings of dried smoked jackfish, and are a japanese staple seasoning. The taste and smell a bit like smoked salmon. On their own, they taste fishy, but in dishes they  add a nice smoked savory note, and very little fishiness. Try em.), and a bit of garlic.

This pie delight came out of the oven smoky, salty, melty, and mighty meatily delicious!  While this pie did technically have meat on it, the bonito flakes, I would hardly call small smoky shavings of fish something that a carnivore would sit there salivating over, and thus I'd call this pie a victory for those looking for hearty meatless fare.  Plus, Ashley chomped down pretty hard on it too.  Although I will say that if eating something that use to be alive, or that is still moving gets you squeamish, I would advise not looking closely at this pizza until it's cooled down a bit...


November 7, 2012

We survived Sandy Special

    Fortunately for Erich and I, we were sheltered from Sandy as she hit the surrounding New York area full force.  We live in an apartment complex in Ditmas park, and though we have many windows they all face out to a large shaft.  Instead of peering out our window and witnessing heavy rains and gusts of wind removing hundred year old trees, we viewed the windows of our neighbors, who also peered out curiously to look for signs of destruction.  Nothing appeared too terrible.  We could only hear the howl of Sandy as she bounced off the outer walls of the building and the lights flickered every now and again, but the power remained strong and so we cooked on.

    Erich and I cooked a storm worth of food.  Butternut squash soup, bread, sunflower seed chocolate chip cookies, and pizza.  We made pizza before Sandy hit on Saturday night, and then again on Tuesday night, post storm.  The first round of pizzas were delicious, but we were in survival mode, and ate for our lives!  So Tuesday night we decided to recreate them for our new blog!

    I love fall.  It is the season of the year that I crave most.  I love the colors of the trees and the patterns they create on the sidewalk.  I love layering up in cozy sweaters and mulling cider.  And, I love perusing the farmer's market and seeing all of my favorite ingredients in their prime...apples, squash, kale, cauliflower, and last but not least, brussel sprouts!  It seems silly now looking back at my childhood and remembering when my mom used to make me eat brussel sprouts.  My nose would wrinkle in disgust as the little baby cabbages were spooned onto my plate.  She didn't really think I was going to eat those?!

Now I cannot get enough of them!!!

    This pizza came to life about a year ago, but its recipe has aged wonderfully.  I start off by making the dough in advance.  I use Deb's recipe over at smitten kitchen, and double the recipe.  Warning, you can store one of the doughs in the freezer for future use, but this is unlikely if you have two great ideas for pie at the present moment!  This is usually the case for us.  Erich and I will both have new pie recipes that we simply cannot wait to make, so we end up making and eating two pies.  Sometimes there are leftovers when we are being good.  Don't judge.  That is how good our pies are.  Just saying...

    While the dough is rising, I peel the brussel sprout leaves off, and saute the garlic, onion, and brussel sprout leaves in a pan for a few minutes with some olive oil and a dash of fish sauce, balsamic, or soy sauce.  This time, I used soy sauce.  Fish sauce gives a funkier, meatier taste.  Try it!

    Then I stretch out my dough, sprinkle some olive oil on top, and pre-cook it for a minute or two in the oven at as high of a temperature as possible.  Then I top it off with the rest of the ingredients except for the truffle oil, and bake it in the oven for around 6 minutes or until the egg white appears white.  I use two eggs for larger pies, and 1 egg for smaller pies.

   After it's pulled out of the oven, I drizzle white truffle oil on top and then smear the egg yolk and truffle oil over the entire surface of the pie.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Sandy Sprout Special

1/4 red onion diced
3-4 brussel sprouts
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. fish sauce, soy, or balsamic vinegar
1-2 eggs
1 tbsp. truffle oil

few slices of mozzarella
handful of grated parmesan or pecorino

salt and pepper as needed
olive oil

dough recipe found here!

Hope you all weathered the storm as well as we did.  Our thoughts go out to those who did not...