Last month Mr S and I were in Buenos Aires. I knew Argentina was originally a Spanish colony but never realized how Italian immigrants influenced the makeup of food until we visited. For sure, regional dishes can be found (parrilla) but surprisingly, day-to-day eating is dominated by la dolce vita. I read that 40% of the population are descendants of Italy and estimates at 1.4 million speak Italian. Who knew? So, here we were in a Spanish-speaking country where you’re just as likely to hear Italian. Oh, and the Argentines LOVE their pizza! Continue Reading →
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Flatbreads have been consumed by the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. The humble pizza/pie (an expanded version of a flatbread), became popular in the USA in the mid-1900s when the Neapolitans came over for factory jobs. According to history.com, the first documented pizzeria was Lombardi’s in Manhattan, licensed to sell pizza in 1905 and is still in operation. Loads of people love pizza but making your own can be tricky. The dough is key and can make it a wonderful or just so-so eating experience. Continue Reading →
Summer allows us to use our barbeque nearly every day. It also saves me from using the oven or stove top especially when it’s hot outside. One staple I like to have on hand is pita bread. This ancient flatbread has been around since 2500 BC and its uses are numerous. I love it in a fattoush salad, stuffed with meat, crisped up to use in a dip or simply grill and then splash olive oil over it and sprinkle with dukkah. But my all-time favourite is making a pizza with pita bread. Continue Reading →
If I were to take a poll to find out what toppings people like to see on their pizza, I’ll bet tomato sauce, cheese, and some sort of meat would be at the top of the list. Pizza is a centuries old snack although 2,000 years ago it looked more like a flatbread with olive oil and cheese. Hard to believe, though, that tomatoes introduced to Europe from the Americas in the 1600’s were considered poisonous by the locals. It wasn’t until the 1700’s when the Napolese added tomatoes to their flatbread; the birthplace of pizza. Continue Reading →
Pizza can be an easy midweek meal to make and it’s one where you can get the family involved. Make individual pizzas to cater for the fussy eaters in your family or have them build their own. I like making my own pizza dough but sometimes, to save time, it’s just as easy to buy the dough from the grocery store. Puff pastry is so versatile and is another alternative I like to use as a pizza base. It’s so airy and light. Continue Reading →
What to do with overly ripe pears? A few things come to mind: fruit leather, smoothie, crumble, juice. But it’s Friday night and I’m looking to make pizza so why not incorporate pear and blue cheese. I’m into the culinary balancing act of sweet and salty and pear is magical with blue cheese. Continue Reading →
For such a small city (slightly under 400,000), we are blessed to have attracted a slew of quality restauranteurs where the owners and chefs happily promote locally grown produce. Many highlight Nova Scotian wineries which have garnered international acclaim. There seems to be a mini explosion of late with new restaurants popping up all over the city. Last month I was invited by Laura Oakley to attend a blogger and media VIP open house hosted by Scanway Catering & Café. Continue Reading →
I had pizza on the brain the other day but wasn’t in the mood to make the dough and prep the toppings. While I was at the grocery store trying to figure out how I could satisfy my pizza craving without doing too much work, I spotted a lovely display of zucchinis. And there was the answer! It occurred to me that I could use the zucchini as a base. Inspiration for cooking comes from the most interesting or the least expected places. What inspires you? These zucchini tomato pizzas are a cinch to make. I ended up making these as an appetizer followed by grilled veggies and a quinoa salad. Zucchini is part of the summer squash family and is full of nutrients and vitamins. It helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and is anti-inflammatory.
zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
oven roasted cherry or plum tomatoes
dried basil or oregano
Preheat oven to 375f (190c).
Arrange zucchini slices on a greased baking tray. Lightly sprinkle dried basil over the slices.
Add a pinch of Parmesan to each zucchini round and top with roasted tomato.
Bake in the oven 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Allow the zucchini pizzas to cool slightly before serving. Use sliced fresh cherry tomatoes if you don’t have roasted and for added flavor, try a small sprinkling of truffle sea salt on top of the tomato. Enjoy!
Food trucks have been around since the mid 1800’s although back then they were called chuckwagons. Food trucks of today have evolved and now offer gourmet food at take-away prices. These mobile kitchens are growing in numbers and the ones that really entice me to stop by and sample are those using a variety of fresh and local ingredients. The Cookery’s DoughNation is a hand-crafted mobile pizza oven where it sits on top of a trailer. I was at Dobbs Ferry last Friday and watched them set up.
It was a hot and humid morning.
Food prep started shortly after I arrived. The sound of wood crackling in the oven meant it was building up heat and soon the local peppers were popped into the oven. The oven heat ranges from 800 degrees to 900 degrees…a hot job.
DoughNation offers five pizzas and one market pizza. I couldn’t decide on the fresh lemon or shaved broccoli. I asked Mike and he said if this is your first time, try the fresh lemon.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: This has to be the best pizza I have ever eaten! The dough was light and airy and I loved the combo of smoked mozzarella, lemon, basil and garlic. Amazing flavors! The back of their menu shows where 2% of their profits will go for the month of July – Robbie’s Bone Marrow Fund Raiser.
Tandoori Naan bread is one of my favorite go-to flatbreads. Not only is it perfect for mopping up the sauce from an Indian dish it’s just the right size for personal pizzas. This pistachio purée has a buttery, rich flavor and might seem odd to spread on a as a pizza base, but let me tell you, it was delicious! Pistachios have been around for centuries and pistachio trees were said to have been in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (700BC). Pistachios are nutritionally beneficial and should be included in your diet. They’re good for heart health, eye health, immune system, and skin health. For more details, click here. The best part of this dish – dinner in 20 minutes!
Serves 4 to 6 people
pistachio purée adapted from Saveur
Tandoori naan bread
basil leaves, torn
button mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
olive oil, for drizzling
Pistachio Purée –
1½ cups shelled pistachios
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
½ cup olive oil, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt, to taste
Purée pistachios, Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, salt, and ¼ cup water in a food processor until smooth. Spread the purée on the naan bread, followed by mushroom slices, basil leaves and topped with fresh mozzarella. Drizzle olive oil over cheese and broil in the oven until cheese has melted.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Pulse the pistachios first in the food processor before adding the rest of the ingredients. You may need to add more juice or water depending on the consistency you desire. Enjoy!
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