The customization of pizza crust has undoubtedly been one of the biggest innovations in the (pizza) industry. The crust you choose to make helps to dictate taste, texture, thickness and your selection of toppings.
Pizza has taken on many different forms since its original inception — especially when it comes to the crust. For example:
Thin Crust is characterized by its light, slightly crispy texture. This is the perfect crust for those who want an authentic Italian pizza.
Thick Crust is characterized by its buttery, pan fried taste and texture on the outside, with a soft chewy center.
Flatbread Crust – health conscious people feel less guilty about eating this pizza because it isn’t as filling as other crust types.
Focaccia is a thick, ‘bready’ dough infused with herbs and brushed with olive oil before baking, then covered with cheeses, herbs and spices and minimal toppings.
Wood Fired Crust – it’s characteristics are defined by their deep, smoky taste derived from using real wood to heat the baking oven.
There are endless ways you can create a custom crust for your pizza. Such as using pita bread, English muffins, rice cakes, tortillas, potato slices or chips. I experimented with making a yeast crust with mashed potatoes and sour cream in it. Without trying to sound boastful, it was probably the best pizza crust I had ever made to date. I think I nailed it!
Potato Crusted Asiago Sausage Pizza
Potato Pizza Crust
Prepare mashed potato. In a dish, combine yeast with lukewarm water; whisk until yeast is dissolved. Let stand about 3 minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, combine butter, salt, sour cream & mashed potato; mix well. Add yeast mixture & stir again.
Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time. When dough is completely blended, turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough about 10 minutes, until smooth & elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel & allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Dijon Mustard Sauce
In a small saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender but not brown. Stir in flour, mustard & crushed thyme. Season with salt & pepper; add broth & cook, stirring until thick & bubbly. Continue to cook 1 more minute the remove from heat & set aside to cool.
In a skillet, saute red pepper & onion until soft; remove to a dish. In the same skillet, scramble fry sausage meat until cooked; drain on paper towel, set aside. Drain, sliced olives & grate cheese.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove risen dough from bowl turning onto a large sheet of parchment paper. Press or roll dough into a 16-inch circle. Using some of the grated cheese, make a ring around the outer edge, & fold over to make a 'stuffed crust'.
Carefully spread mustard sauce over bottom of pizza, then sprinkle with another portion of grated cheese mixture. Layer with red peppers, onions, sausage meat & olives. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven & slice.
Today, March 21st, our family is honoring the memory of our wonderful father’s birth date. Although it has been 14 years since his passing, he lives on in our hearts. It never ceases to amaze me how many things your parents do that are imprinted on you at childhood. As I grow older, I see and hear my Dad living on through me.
It seems, we never fully appreciate our parents until they are gone. I’m told, ‘its a kid thing’, which doesn’t really seem to make it any better. I think my Dad would have enjoyed this meal I’m preparing today. It has an earthiness about it.
Root Vegetables, the unsung heroes of winter, sometimes have a reputation for being boring but they are anything but that. The perfect combination of hearty, satisfying and comforting, when roasted, the flavors become more complex.
Stuffing for some of us is the main event. I love to stuff anything –meat, vegetables, desserts, breads etc., etc. My goal is to push the boundaries on what filling consists of, so it changes it enough to be unique, but still reminds you of the original.
This roasted root vegetable stuffing is everything you love about stuffing with the added bonus of sweet roasted vegetables. The cracked mustard sauce drizzled over the stuffed pork tenderloin brings it all together.
Roasted Root Vegetable Stuffed Tenderloin
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a bowl combine onion, potato & carrots with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt & a dash of pepper. Toss to coat well & place on baking pan. Roast for about 35 minutes or until tender & golden. Remove from oven; set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in the parsley, onion powder, garlic powder & 1/4 tsp pepper. Add bread crumbs, Romano cheese & chicken broth. Gently stir in roasted vegetables.
To butterfly pork tenderloin, trim any fat & the 'silverskin' from meat. Using a sharp knife, make a lengthwise cut down the center of the pork roast, cutting almost to, but not through, the other side of the meat. Spread the tenderloin flat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound meat lightly with the flat side of meat mallet to make a rectangle. Remove plastic wrap.
Spoon the stuffing over the tenderloin to within 1-inch of the sides. Roll up in a spiral, beginning with the short side. If necessary, tie meat with string ; place seam side down on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush with 2 Tbsp olive oil or melted butter.
Adjust oven heat to 375 F. Roast, uncovered for 45 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160 F. Prepare Cracked Mustard Sauce; slice tenderloin & spoon sauce over meat. Serve.
Cracked Mustard Sauce
In a small saucepan, cook garlic in butter until tender, but not brown. Stir in flour, mustard & dried thyme. Season with salt & pepper; add vegetable broth & light cream. Cook & stir until thickened & bubbly. Cook & stir for 1 minute more.
It seems, we humans have a unique way of coming away from an experience or adventure, forgetting the things we want to and remembering others.
After visiting Morocco in 2014, I have many very interesting memories from our trip. One thing travel does well, is it teaches us so much more than can be learned any other way. On that trip we were travelling with the Trafalgar company so our experience was made exceptional.
Many cultures have influenced Moroccan cooking. For some reason, some of these flavors have resonated with me and I seem to find a way to use them no matter what kind of meat I’m cooking.
This dish celebrates the sweetly spiced seasonings of Morocco which pair so beautifully with fruit and couscous. I hope you will try the recipe and enjoy it as much as we did.
Fruited Pork Tenderloin with Moroccan Spices
A beautiful presentation with exceptional flavor pairings.
Heat oil in small saucepan. Add chopped green onion, cumin & ginger; saute until onion is tender. Stir in honey & add broth; bring to a boil. Remove from heat & add couscous, margarine, salt & pepper. Let stand 5 minutes then fluff with fork adding a little more margarine if necessary.
Chop dates & apricots. Shred apple. In a small bowl combine all filling ingredients adding 1/2 cup prepared couscous.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Trim pork tenderloin & remove 'silver skin', then butterfly. Place a piece of plastic wrap over meat & flatten to even thickness. Sprinkle meat generously with salt & pepper. Line the inside of the tenderloin with fresh spinach leaves. Spread filling mixture evenly on top of spinach leaves. Roll up in 'jelly roll' fashion; place on lightly oiled foil paper on top of oven broiler pan. Rub Fig Balsamic dressing on outside of tenderloin.
Place stuffed tenderloin in oven & bake for 20-25 minutes or until they have reached an internal temperature of 155 F. (68 C), then remove from oven. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. During this time the internal temperature will rise to 160 F (71 C).