Week 46: Underused Equipment – Heirloom Cherry Tomato & Spiralized Zucchini Pizza

No amount of salt on my keychain can make up for the shame I bring to Alton Brown fandom when I admit to having a spiralizer tucked neatly into my kitchen drawers. This week’s challenge has forced me to dust it off and transform the clunky contraption into a useful pizza-making tool. Here we go.

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Of all things worth spiralizing, zucchini seems a choice decision, if only for their general neutrality in both taste and texture. They’re also rarely found on the pizzasomm pizzas of 2016, which has deemed their spiralization a worthy task.

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For once, janky week-old zucchinis were able to escape refrigerator death by means of a glorious pizza bath.

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Not only did they escape eventual rot, but they looked good doing so. Just feast your eyes on those curls.

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Likewise, the sauce was concocted from dying fridge items, such as chive cream cheese, cottage cheese & homemade whipped garlic. A bit of basil and goat cheese were added for funsies. Cream, champagne vinegar and lemon olive oil brought in some pizzazz while also turning the goop into a more sauce-like consistency.

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The construction was simple and satisfying. More could be added for complexity if desired but the flavors were clean and fresh expressions of themselves.

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What a beaut. A scrumptious one, too.

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White Bordeaux offers the grassy, herbaceous quality needed to match that in the pizza while also letting the flavors of the pie speak for themselves.

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While the use of the spiralizer in my kitchen will likely not advance beyond the occasional vegetable massacre, the stage presence of the product is undeniable. Don’t be surprised to see more spirals appearing on future pizzas of mine, Alton Brown be damned.

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Week 16: Root to Stem – Shaved Asparagus & Ricotta Pizza with Stem-Infused Whole Wheat Crust

This week is a challenge that speaks directly to the most wasteful aspects of my cooking. While I do my best to make stocks out of bones and stems to feed my soup-making habits, my creativity stops there. The asparagus used to top this week’s pizza will find their cheesy ricotta home built above a crust interlaced with nutrients leached from their usually-discarded stems.

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The process was as simple as using a stock created from the stems to substitute for the water used in the crust.

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From here, regular pizza-making resumed. The yeast frolicked in the warm asparagus water that made up their new home and went about business as usual.

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With extra nutrients fortifying the dough, I decided to make a whole wheat flour to create as healthy a pizza package as I could stand without stripping away the essentials.

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Shaving the asparagus was both equal parts time-consuming and oddly-satisfying. There are core portions that could not be shaved down due to mechanics, thus they were chopped up for additional texture.

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The cheese was a simple mixture of ricotta, lemon olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.

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The lemon olive oil can really help make any citrus flavors pop. I used it as the base sauce for the rest of the flavors to play off of.

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At 550F, pizza doesn’t take much longer than 8-10 minutes in the oven.

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The crust was perfectly chewy with a light crisp to the bottom. To keep the texture more appealing, the shavings of asparagus were each swirled into a gusty little toppings, which were admittedly rather time-consuming to stage as well.

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The effect was worth the effort.

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With a dab of coarsely-ground black pepper on top and wine nearby, these puppies were ready for quick consumption.

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The wine was a Gruner Veltiner, chosen for the qualities it would mirror in the pizza, such as the waxy vegetal notes, peppery aromas and the overall clean style. Neither of the two survived the night.