Everyone grew up with pizza, right? Sleepovers, elementary school pizza parties, Book-its (remember those?)… pizza took up some sort of memory in American households in the 80s and 90s. After all, our parents were workaholics, and not everyone could have been blessed with home-cooked meals every single living day of their lives. It was always that special treat we got as kids, like soda and ice cream, if and when dinner turned to disaster or the amount of effort required to feed a pool party exceeded the time and patience available in the kitchen. Birthday parties and movie nights were filled with pizzas in my childhood.
After spending last weekend in New York, and the week prior in Louisiana and Mississippi, I was on a veggie detox. Never have I eaten such vast amounts of unhealthy food and drink. I’ve done my fair share of attempting to visit New York without having a slice of pizza, but it just doesn’t work. Ever. I don’t know what it is, but that city’s reputation for pizza aligned with my absolute love for all foods orgasmic Italian will probably contribute to the end of me, in 80 years, insha’allah. We stumbled across Rocky’s pizzeria in Manhattan, and I had “Grandma’s pizza,” loaded with fresh, minced roasted garlic and some sort of pureed bruschetta-like sauce. My inquiry regarding the types of tomatoes or any other ingredients was respectfully denied, and replaced with a plate of chocolate mousse. To diefor. I’ll dream about that pizza until I figure out how to clone its recipe. And then I won’t tell anyone, simply requiring your presence to witness how amazing it really is. I don’t know exactly when or how I fell in love with food and hosting dinners, but as you can see via this blog, this lustful romance has taken over my life.
A number of friends are in Washington this weekend, en route from cities all over the world. Naturally, my town house looks like a tornado swept through, dropping off traveling goods from India, Bolivia, and other American cities that my friends have been through — I really am lucky to have friends all over the world. I am, after all, visiting one in Bogota this summer.
Will I take my pizza recipes to South America? It honestly depends on how much time I spend salsa dancing. I’d rather be salsa dancing than anything else — that’s one of the downsides of living in Washington. The salsa dancing scene sucks. I guess I do miss one thing from Los Angeles — Third Street Promenade street salsa Sunday evenings. If Washington had something similar, my life would feel slightly more complete.
Anyway, I made two different types of white pizza for my visitors, who have, consequently, been eating non-stop for the past 48 hours: broccoli-feta-mozzarella, and a zucchini/goat cheese and lemon pizza. They make a really easy and impressive quick fix for having more than enough guests to enjoy a balcony brunch on a breezy, beautiful Saturday morning.
WHAT YOU NEED:
for the zucchini pizza:
Pizza dough. For the sake of time, I used Trader Joe’s ready-made, one dollar pizza dough.
1 fresh zucchini
Lots of goat cheese
1 lemon, or 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
Fresh, cracked pepper
Olive oil, for working with the pizza dough
for the broccoli pizza:
(More) pizza dough
2 to 3 cups fresh broccoli, tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper
1 cup feta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
WHAT TO DO:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Making pizza is pretty self-explanatory, and I’m positive that you understand the idea. I like to keep my pizza crusts thin and even: no one likes biting into a doughy crust that could have used another five minutes in the oven. So play it safe, and spread the crust to be extra thin (but don’t puncture it).
I don’t use sauces on my white pizzas, although, alfredo or some other white cheese sauce would be to die for. Or even pesto — yes, I often use pesto on my pizzas instead of tomato sauce. For the zucchini pizza, I used my fingers to spread a soft goat cheese evenly on the crust, and then used a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini. I like having the zucchini extra thin on pizzas because it bakes to a crisp and just looks beautiful. After dressing the pizza with the zucchini, use a pepper mill to grind fresh pepper to your liking, and squeeze some fresh lemon juice all over the pizza, to get a nice tangy flavor in each slice of zucchini.
The broccoli pizza is easy — simply toss the broccoli, feta, and mozzarella together in a bowl, and evenly spread the toppings over your crust. Sometimes I like to add a little basil or marjoram to the mix. For both pizzas, bake for 12 to 17 minutes. To roast the vegetables, I turned the heat of the oven up to about 400 degrees for the last few minutes.