One of the best memories I have about growing up in Southern California definitely has to do with the summers–being able to cook with homegrown vegetables (poolside, of course) had me convinced that I would never leave. So much for that.
It’s not that you can’t grow vegetables out here… I’ll just have to wait six months to do so. But for now, I can live with southern hemisphere imports and greenhouse organics. For the most part, the weather has been fairly cracked-out. Every time I’m convinced that it’s actually winter, the heavens open up and a clear sixty degree day falls upon us, much like last weekend.
And today, it rained. Womp wooomp. Sadly, it’s December and I think the warmth may be gone for good. Outside the boundaries of my kitchen, anyway.
The roommates generally blast the furnace, thus turning my centrally-located bedroom into a kiln. In turn, I blast the oven and the dishwasher, and fog up windows all over the house. It’s hot, and always smells good–the perfect escape from the heinous rain. In the meantime, this is a little slice of a homegrown Los Angeles summer.
WHAT YOU NEED:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active yeast
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 package Trader Joe’s pizza crust
(let’s be realistic… whoever condemns pre-made or boxed mixes obviously doesn’t spend enough time at their day job)
1/2 cup pesto sauce (unlike dough… homemade pesto is a kitchen staple. Recipe to come soon!)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 zucchini, VERY thinly sliced
2-3 tomatoes, also very thinly sliced
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon basil flakes
Salt and Pepper
WHAT TO DO:
I’m going to assume you are buying ready-made pizza dough, because that’s what I do. It’s way easier, and it’s cheap. So if you need to know what to do from scratch, check Epicurious.
First, pour olive oil on a pizza pan or a baking sheet, and spread evenly using your fingers or a brush. Then, spread the dough as thin as you can, covering the entire sheet. The yeast makes it hard to do–I like to pick it up from one edge and let gravity stretch it down, while rotating the edge you are pulling from. That usually does the trick.
Use a fine cheese grater to grate the garlic clove evenly over the dough, and sprinkle the olive oil over it as well. Then, top the pizza with the feta and mozzarella, tomatoes, and vegetables. Sprinkle the basil flakes over the top, and add salt and pepper as you deem necessary.
I prefer to slice the zucchini and tomatoes as paper thin as possible, for visual aesthetics, mostly. But the zucchini will definitely cook nicely if it’s cut into thin slices… we used a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini tonight, and it came out perfectly. I highly recommend keeping one of those around.
Once you’ve decorated your pizza, slide into the oven and let it bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the zucchini looks crisp and the crust is golden.