Thursday, January 24, 2008

When the moon hits your eye...

So the other day, when two of my good vegetarian friends, Jennifer and Sarah, came over for dinner...I was puzzled by what to make. How do you have a dinner party without meat? Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the well loved pizza stone peeking out of the cabinet and it hit me...PIZZA!!!!!!

It is easy and yummy and fun to make with friends. So, I threw together a pizza dough recipe and left it to rise, as I ran to the store. Where I bought half the produce department thinking we would need plenty of options. When Jennifer and Sarah arrived, we blared some music to dance and sing to while we cooked. Before we knew it, we had created Pizza with Garlicky Eggplant and Balsamic Caramelized Onions. It was delicious!!! Not too overpowering with garlic and onion but just the right combination of flavors. I was very happy to have leftovers the next day.

(picture by Jennifer)

Pizza with Garlicky Eggplant and Balsamic Caramelized Onions

(recipe makes one 12 in pizza)

Pizza Dough

I use Tyler Florence’s recipe because the dough for a pizza is ready in about an hour. I only use ½ tablespoon of salt or I think it is sometimes way too salty. In addition, if you don’t have a mixer (I don’t), mix in the flour by hand and then knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elasticity.

If using yeast scares you or making bread is not quite at your skill level, Whole Foods, Trader Joes or other grocery stores make good ready made pizza dough.

Toppings

½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1 ½ cup Mozzarella

¼ cup Parmesan

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tomato sliced

Sautéed Garlicky Eggplant (see below)

Balsamic Caramelized Onions (see below)

  1. Preheat oven to 475º with the pizza stone in the oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll out the pizza dough on a flour surface so that it is about inch thick and in your desired shape.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and using your clean hands or a spoon spread the olive oil around the dough.
  4. Once the pizza stone has been heated, open the oven and put the dough on the pizza stone (be careful not to burn yourself- I burnt one finger this time!).
  5. Very quickly without burning yourself or making a huge mess, spread the basil and ½ cup of mozzarella over the pizza (place the basil under the cheese or it will burn)
  6. Then put on the vegetables (depending on the size of your pizza and personal preference you may have too many toppings so put on as much as you desire).
  7. Top the vegetables with the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust browned.
  9. Take out and enjoy! Yummy!!!!

Sautéed Garlicky Eggplant

1 small eggplant

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Peel the eggplant and chop into ½ inch cubes.
  2. Place the eggplant pieces in a colander and sprinkle heavily with salt. Place a bowl or other heavier object on the eggplant to weigh it down.
  3. Let sit for 30 minutes and then rinse all the salt off the eggplant.
  4. Using your hands squeeze the excess water out of the eggplant.
  5. Peel the garlic clove. Either chop it into very small pieces or crush it with a garlic press.
  6. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic until browned.
  7. Add the chopped eggplant and continue to sauté moving around the eggplant with the spatula.
  8. Once the eggplant has softened and browned, remove it from the heat.

Why salt the eggplant?
My great-grandmother used to say that you have to "sweat the bitterness out." According to the Joy of Cooking, one must salt the eggplant in order to prevent the highly absorbent vegetable from soaking up a large amount of oil as it cooks. It also gives it a creamier texture, which most people prefer. Jennifer, Sarah, and I were too hungry to salt the eggplant and our pizza was still yummy. However, in the future, I would salt it because it would improve the texture of the toppings.

Balsamic Caramelized Onions (Jennifer's recipe)

1 Vidalia Onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste.

  1. Peel the Onion and cut in half. Slice the onions into strips.
  2. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sautéed the onions moving the onions around with a spatula until they soften and brown.
  3. Drizzle the onions with the balsamic vinegar and mix with a spatula.
  4. Cover the pan and stir occasionally until the onions have caramelized. Season with salt and pepper.

P.S. Have some leftover garlicky eggplant and balsamic caramelized onions? Make some pasta, toss with the eggplant and onions, top with some Parmesan or goat cheese, serve as dinner the next night.


2 comments:

Kristen said...

What a great solution. Pizza is always a great go to!

Clara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.