Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rocket Pesto, Sausage, Apple, & Radish Pizza

So, radishes. People have STRONG opinions about them. Like really, really, really strong opinions. I'm one of them. For the most part, I avoid them. There's story there. It involves me sitting on a swing at my grandparents' forcing down a honking big white radish that had been "polished" clean on my grandfather's work jeans. Why was eating said root vegetable if I didn't like it? Well ... my grandfather already had opinions about my pickiness where vegetables were concerned so I wanted to prove that I wasn't THAT picky about veggies and could eat a radish like an apple, flecks of dirt and all. It should be noted that I didn't eat the whole radish.

I was SCARRED and thus avoided the radish for the next almost twenty years or so. When I make up my mind that I don't like something, I tend to stick to my guns. Until the day that I don't. Which, if you hadn't guessed, is exactly what happened with radishes ... but only so in far as putting them on pizza is concerned. I still don't think I could eat them raw. *shudders*

So, radishes on pizza - it's a thing, and it is GLORIOUS. There's something that occurs in the oven to a paper-thin slice of radish that increases it's spiciness and creates this delicate flash of not-quite-pepperiness when one takes a bite of it. Pair that with the sweetness of the apple, the not-so-delicate (and completely different) fresh pepperiness of the rocket pesto (arugula isn't nearly as fun to say as rocket), the heat from the sausage, and the nuttiness from the shaved parmesan and you have one beautiful flavor party going on.

I can hear you, by the way, raging at me that radish (and possibly apples) don't belong on a pizza. To that I say: expand your mind and your palate. TRUST.

Note: to make rocket pesto place one cup tightly packed rocket into a food processor with 2 TBSP olive oil, 1 minced clove of garlic, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Pulse until smooth.

Rocket Pesto, Sausage, Apple, & Radish Pizza


2 Trader Joe's Spicy Italian Vino & Formaggio Chicken Sausage; cooked and crumbled
1/2 pink lady apple; sliced paper-thin
2 -3 red radishes; sliced paper-thin
1 recipe rocket pesto (see above)
1 ball fresh mozzarella
shaved parmesan


Preheat oven to 400º (if you use a pizza stone make sure it's in there).

Make sure there's corn meal on the hot pizza stone, then you'll PAR-BAKE the pizza dough with a thin layer of rocket pesto on it for 5-7 minutes ('cause weepy pizza crusts are gross).

Remove from oven, add another thin layer of pesto sauce, and then start assembling your pizza! I put the apple slices down first, next up: sausage crumbles, then I tucked the radish slices in and around everything else, finally top with fresh mozzarella slices (I use a "flower" pattern, on in the center and the four to five - depending on the size of the pizza - around the outside as petals).

Bake for 20 minutes or so. The crust should be nice and golden and the mozzarella might have a few glorious brown spots as well.

Top with shaved parmesan, slice and serve.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Beer & Ground Oat Pizza Dough

Pizza dough. I've made it. I've bought it. I usually curse it at least once while making a pizza (and if you don't, you obviously have magic powers and aren't telling people bout them). Making pizza dough is really rather easy, incredibly so when you use a bread machine and let it do all the heavy lifting for you.

There's not much to say about this pizza dough other than, make it and make it now. It has great texture and great flavor (you can add seasoning if you want, but I like a "plain" dough ... though I have though about toasting the oats for a more nutty flavor).

Let's talk beer: I've made this dough with a German wheat beer and a plain old lager ... both have turned out wonderfully. I think you could probably use any type of beer that struck your fancy - though a stout might be a bit strong, but that's up to you and your tastes.

Note: if you don't have flat beer hanging about you can whisk the hell out of it to make it flat. I've seen people suggest putting salt in beer to flatten it out, but for the sake of this recipe I wouldn't (extra salt might not be too good for the over all chemical reaction going on with the yeast).

If not using the dough the day you make it, simply flatten it a bit, place into a Ziploc bag and pop in the freezer (make sure they're laying flat). When the day comes thaw the down and follow normal rolling out procedures for pizza dough.

Beer & Ground Oat Pizza Dough
Modified from FritzFamily


1 cup water
1/3 cup flat beer
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp honey
1 1⁄4 tsps salt
2 TBSP ground oats
3 1⁄2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast


Add ingredients to bread machine in the order listed, select "dough" setting and let her run.

One the dough cycle has completed plop the dough in a greased bowl and let rise for 20-30 minutes. 

After the dough has raised, separate dough into two balls (I usually use a food scale to get the balls as close to each other in size).

Roll out pizza dough on a floured / corn sealed / ground out surface until the size you need is reached.

Put a thin layer of the sauce you're using (or olive oil) onto the pizza dough and par-bake on a pizza stone for 5-7 minutes (this will ensure that your dough / crust isn't weepy and soggy) in a 400º oven.

Top pizza how you like and bake for an additional 20 minutes or so (depends on the thickness of  your pizza).