Pizza poll

October 22, 2009

pizzaconeWe have all been asked to ponder that philosophical question: if a tree falls in the woods and no is there to hear it, does it make a sound? I say, unless it was a fruit tree and I can score some free apples or pears without having to risk my neck on a ladder, who really cares?

No, I’m more concerned about things that really matter such as: is a pizza still pizza if it isn’t flat?

Consider the Calzone, the Cone (pictured here) and the much advertised microwavable Pizza Pocket… true iterations of pizza or pretenders? Discuss.

In other pizza related news: check out this modernized new pizza box made from recycled paper.

What would you eat for a month straight?

August 6, 2009

bakedsandwichesBLOGWhat food could I eat three meals a day for a month? This article about Matt McClellan, a Florida pizza restaurant owner, encouraged me to ponder this question.

You see, McClellan is pulling a publicity stunt where he will eat nothing but pizza for a month. His intention is to bring not only attention to his own pizzeria but to prove that he can improve his health by switching to pizza and cutting out his other menu staples: Taco Bell and Burger King.

Criticizing McClellan’s plan would be so easy, but that’s not what this post is about. No, it’s about what food do you like that is flexible enough in its execution to actually be palatable for a month?

While pasta, soup, stir-fry and risotto seem to offer as much flexibility as a pizza, I think I’d opt for sandwiches since they really do have limitless variations.

What about you? Is there a food category that you could enjoy for 90 meals in a row?

Daring Bakers: Pizza Party

October 29, 2008

This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was chosen by Rosa, who writes one of the blogs I visit on almost a daily basis.

The recipe for October was for a two-day pizza dough.  Although I love my own pizza dough recipe that takes only about 30 minutes to create from assembling the ingredients to popping the pizza in the oven, I accepted this challenge with enthusiasm.  After all, that’s what being a Daring Baker is all about, right?

My pizza was topped with my own homemade pizza sauce (you can get the recipe on Charmian Christie’s Blog) and Oliver’s favourite topping combo: golden pineapple and bacon.

The resulting pizza made a good Sunday afternoon lunch but to be honest, I won’t use this crust recipe again. My own faster-to-make dough is  more delicious (or maybe just more familiar and therefore more accepted by my little family?).

What I will do is participate in next month’s Daring Bakers challenge and I will check out what all my fellow Daring Bakers from around the world thought of this recipe by visiting this website. I hope you will, too!

Dana’s Big Gardening Adventure continues: plant a pizza garden

June 6, 2008

Photo credit:

If you’re looking for a way to teach kids (or adults) about how food goes from farm to fork, planting a pizza garden may be an ideal summer project.

At it’s most authentic, a pizza garden is a place where all the elements of a pizza are grown and transformed into a pizza pie. Places like the Pizza Farm in California and ‘R’ Pizza Farm and Restaurant in Dow, Illonois, epitomize the concept. At ‘R’ Pizza Farm and Restaurant, a 2-acre pizza shaped plot is used to grow organic produce and livestock (chickens, pigs, herbs, tomatoes, peppers). Each wedge of land is large enough to grow a single crop or to pasture a goat, a cow or another animal that can be milked to make cheese or raised and processed to make meat-based pizza toppings such as bacon and pepperoni. The on-site restaurant at ‘R’ sells pizzas made only from the grain, vegetables cheese and meat raised on the property. It’s a wonderful place where people can see where the food on their plates comes from. ‘R’ Pizza Farm attracts about 4,500 visitors each summer.

Although I don’t recommend raising goats in the backyard (unless you hate your neighbours and enjoy visits from by-law officers), you can still plant a pizza garden at home. Simply make a round shaped bed, divide it into sixths or eighths and plant your favorite sauce and vegetable topping ingredients.

Use the following info to help you create a plant list and to get the most out of your pizza garden as the season progresses:

Basil: If you pinch the stems frequently, your sweet basil will grow bushy and full.

Eggplant: When harvesting, cut each eggplant off the vine leaving about an inch (2.5 cm) of stem remaining on the fruit.

Garlic: Plant garlic in the fall. Where winter is mild, plant cloves 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep, root side down; where winter is severe, put them 2 to 4 inches (5 to 8 cm) deep and mulch lightly.

Onions: Spacing the plants widely apart will maximize air movement and help reduce the time that leaves are wet, resulting in less risk of disease.

Oregano: Don’t begin to harvest the leaves and stem tips until the plants are 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 cm) high.

Parsley: Try soaking the parsley seeds for 24 hours in room temperature water before planting to accelerate germination. For large parsley plants, thin sprouts to about a hand-span apart.

Roma tomatoes: Commercial tomato growers in California are now planting four tomato seedlings in the same hole since trial has shown that the stress caused by the four plants competing for the same amount of moisture, fertilizer and space causes them to bear more heavily.

Rosemary: As the seedlings become established, pinch the tips to prevent the rosemary from becoming leggy. Once plants are well established, begin to take cuttings; however, never harvest more than 20 percent of the plant at one time.

Sweet and hot peppers: Peppers of all kinds like hot sunshine, warm nights and moist soil. Stakes can prevent branch breakage when the fruit is heavy.

Zucchini: since water on the leaves can lead to powdery mildew, water these plants at the roots. Zucchini dehydrates quickly so mulch the soil heavily but leave some room around the main stem to prevent rotting.

Onions offer layers of possibility

January 28, 2008

pizza.jpgEven when the pantry is empty, there are usually onions in most kitchens. And believe it or not, the humble onion — when caramelized — can come to dinner’s rescue.

Caramelized onions are incredibly versatile. I always have a container ready and waiting for me in the freezer and the ingredients to make more are always on my shopping list. Saucy, soft slow-cooked onions can be added to mashed potatoes for a chef-style twist or used as a topper for a steak or a baked potato.

One of my favourite uses for caramelized onions is as a topper for pizza (I make the one pictured above often). Likewise, pork chops sautéed with apples also love caramelized onions and adding them to a juicy grilled burger is blissful, indeed!

The basic steps required to caramelize onions are simple:
-Toss sliced onions with melted butter in a heavy skillet set over medium-low heat.
-Add a clove of minced garlic and a little dried or fresh thyme leaves.
-Partially cover the pan and cook, stirring often, for about 20 minutes.
-When the onions are very soft, remove the lid and increase the heat to medium. Brown slightly.
-Sprinkle the onions with a little granulated sugar and sauté, stirring constantly, until well-browned and very soft.
-Deglaze the pan (loosen the cooked-on brown bits) with a few tablespoons of dry sherry or chicken broth.
-Stir in a splash of cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Check out my recipe for Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Lasagna at

How do you use caramelized onions?