Hey guys! Sorry it’s been like, months since I’ve been here. After a brief website shut down (not a big deal, I fixed it), an October full of autumn festivities and adventures, a November featuring major events at my job, a contract birthday cake, and two Thanksgivings, a December just being its normal insane self, and a January long hours, cold-weather-crankiness, and holiday recuperation, it’s finally time: climbing around my kitchen with a camera and sharing tasty treats with you is finally back at the top of my list. No hard feelings, k? Or if you have them, can I fix them with pizza rolls?
The answer should be YES. I felt for years that pizza rolls were just one of those things that could only be purchased in the freezer section, compliments of food scientists and packaging specialists. But no! You can make your own, and I daresay they are even better than their freezer-burned counterparts. For one thing, you can know exactly what’s inside and make that choice yourself.
For this, my first foray into homemade pizza roll-dom, I stuck with the basics: pepperoni, zesty red pizza sauce, and the three cheeses I put on all my pizzas all the time always: mozzarella, parmesan, and asiago.
After a lengthy winter (for usually balmy Durham), the recent arrival of warm weather has caused a SURGE of greens in my garden. I was a bit over-zealous in March when I planted spring crops (er twelve Romaine plants and six spinach), and now, I can frequently be seen toting bags of freshly-picked lettuce to work and bequeathing it to friends willing to eat a lot of salad. Combined with the arrival of everything fresh at the farmers market, I have to exercise a lot of control to make sure I’m using up these greens before they go to waste. I tire of salads quickly, so I thought I’d try a different take.
In a move that surprised me, the staunch supporter of cheese pizza with as few toppings as possible, this flatbread pizza has almost nothing on it except vegetables. I coupled a large wad of my most recent harvest of spinach leaves with some young onions and green garlic, two ingredients I rarely work with but was curious to explore.
And because I couldn’t quite bring myself to omit cheese entirely, just a bit of asiago, which is ever the friend of garlic-y, onion-y things.
Brad and I sometimes grapple a bit when it comes to ordering pizza. Brad likes lots of toppings: meats, mushrooms, onions, veggies, goat cheese, herbs… and I actually like those, too. But if I ever have a choice, if I’m ever ordering pizza just for me, I get cheese. Beautiful, glorious, unadulterated cheese pizza.
But the shocking truth is that until last week, I’ve never made a cheese pizza at home. I know. I know. I can’t explain myself. I’ve been making pizza regularly now for a couple of years, but I’ve always dressed it up. It was high time I build my own perfect cheese pizza from scratch.
This pizza started with my go-to pizza crust recipe. I have another crust that I really love, but I only make it when I have excess whey from a batch of homemade mozzarella. This recipe, on the other hand, is super-easy to whip up when you need dinner in less than an hour. It’s a no-fuss crust that requires little resting time and rolls out easily.
I can’t really express in words how much I love pizza. The enormous quantities of free pizza I ate at college events (and, let’s be honest, continue to eat at college events) has never quelled my craving for crispy pizza crust topped with any manner of sauces, cheeses, meats, pineapple, spinach… gaaaah. I really love pizza.
And I really love that I can make it at home. No, I don’t have a 900°F pizza oven. And yes, I do have a pizza stone. But! I didn’t until only a couple years ago, and though I really love my pizza stone, I’m here to tell you that you can cook beautiful, crispy-bottomed, bubbly-topped pizza at home TONIGHT with no pizza stone.
I try to post recipes on this site that are seasonally appropriate for my locale. There are a few oddballs, but for the most part, strawberry dishes hit in the spring, tomatoes are featured in the summer, and pumpkin treats fill the fall.
You might be wondering, then, why I’m giving you this pizza that (at least to me) screams “Summer!!” as we leave the last vestiges of autumn behind and move full-steam into the winter holiday season.
In truth, I feel a bit seasonally confused. I spent the last week in Florida with my family visiting magical places, seeing magical sights, and enjoying 70-degree weather surrounded by palm trees while Christmas carols blared from speakers across the parks.
So in celebration of this confusion, I give you this! Barbecue, Bacon, and Toasted Corn Flatbread Pizza. It’s a shout out to the last summer produce, the last summer cookout, that many of us celebrated months ago. I used the tail end of the summer’s corn to make this pizza, but you can also easily use a can of corn that has been drained.
I frequently lament that I need another freezer. We have your standard apartment fridge-and-freezer combo, but our freezer is, shall I say, stuffed. Filled to the brim. There are many reasons for this. I have given up on buying chicken breast and now buy the whole dang bird, break it down, and separate the parts into meal-size portions. I capture strawberries at their peak ripeness, freeze them on cookie sheets, then bag them up to use in winter months when the only berries to be found are the imposters at the grocery store. Insanely, I recently made enough soup to open a deli and froze most of it because really, who wants soup in 95° weather?
Oh, and last summer, after foolishly planting seven basil plants that plotted to take over the world, it was all I could do to keep up with it by tossing it in the food processor with some nuts, garlic, parmesan, and a glug or two of olive oil before freezing it in my ice cube trays to make an army of pesto cubes. (Finding actual ice in our freezer is, coincidentally, impossible. Icy beverage lovers, beware.)
And then there are the pizza doughs. I made about twenty of them in the afterglow of my homemade mozzarella cheese experiment this spring with the leftover whey, and may have over-estimated the value of their convenience in relation to my precious freezer real estate.