pizza party!! (BP#32)

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recipe: Pizza Sauce made with Fresh Tomatoes

Blog Party (BP) #32
Spinach Pizza and Pomegranate Juice

(click on image for larger view)

spinach pizza If ever there was a good reason for a party (as if one needs a good reason for a party), pizza is it.

Oh yes and happy 1st day of Spring!! (Ha… at least it’s above freezing.)

We love pizza! And on Monday morning, T announced that Monday is Pizza Day. Who am I to argue? I just went to the kitchen and made dough – the kind that can be spun in the air. If you want to take the risk, that is. (Frankly, I don’t. I’m ascared… I don’t really like the idea of washing the kitchen floor JUST before dinner.)

And then we headed out on our bikes to get toppings. Yes!! Our bikes!! The snow is finally disappearing from the roads.

The spinach at our vegetable store has been stellar lately. And there is nothing so wonderful as spinach on pizza. But it can’t be watery! Oh my no.

To prevent that from happening, we use a method of preparing spinach that I saw in SAVEUR magazine some years ago. In fact, this method of preparation is one of the reasons that I now have a subscription to SAVEUR magazine.

It’s simple. It doesn’t require pre-cooking. All you do is wash the spinach well – include decent looking stems too. Put the washed spinach in a colander and sprinkle it well with salt. The salt will do the cooking.

I’m guessing that I use around a tablespoon of salt for a big bunch of spinach leaves. Toss the leaves to spread the salt around and then allow the spinach to rest and drain for about 30 minutes- more or less. When you return to the spinach, you’ll see that it’s quite limp. Squeeze it out. Hard. Rinse, taste for salt and squeeze again. Hard.

You’ll be left with the most wonderful emerald green spinach balls. Chop these coarsely to put on the pizza as you assemble it. The green stays wonderfully green and the spinach taste is lovely and fresh. No over-stewed flavour.

Our pizza also has tomato sauce, ham, mushrooms, capers, mozzarella cheese and oil cured black olives – basically “the works” with spinach instead of oven-dried tomatoes and roasted peppers. Oh yes, and the tomato sauce is home made from fresh tomatoes. Even the sorriest whitest hot-house plum tomatoes work well to make great pizza sauce.

Here’s what T does to make our tomato sauce:

T’s Pizza Sauce
As with so many of T’s recipes, there are no measurements. You’ll just have to use your own judgement.

  • good shot of olive oil
  • chili flakes
  • dried oregano
  • onion, chopped
  • garlic, chopped (optional)
  • plum tomatoes, chopped
  • seasalt (or chicken stock powder)
  • splash of red wine

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add chili flakes and oregano and cook for half a minute. Add onion and garlic, if using (very occasionally we do not include the garlic). Sauté until the onion is soft and the garlic is just starting to colour.
  2. Add salt, red wine and tomatoes (don’t bother peeling or seeding). Turn the heat down to medium low and allow to bubble uncovered til the tomatoes disintegrate. The wine and the salt will help a lot with this process.

Use as a spread on pizza dough with crushed dried basil before adding other toppings.

This sauce really is fantastic. Much better than the commercially prepared “just any old tomato sauce” that we used to use.

Yup. There’s nothing like homemade pizza!!

Pomegranate juice And to drink? Well, with pizza, we like red wine. Something dry but fruity like a Sangiovese or a Chilean cabernet sauvignon.

But pizza is salty and makes a person thirsty. Apparently we’re not supposed to have more than a couple of glasses of wine. (Sheesh, those health fiends are always spoiling things, aren’t they?) So I add a tiny bit of pomegranate juice to water – just plain old tap water. It’s delicious!

barbecue Here’s another reason to celebrate. At last the precipitation has changed to rain (I’m just going to pretend that those weren’t flurries I saw this morning). Maybe we’ll be able to barbecue this year after all!

Blog Party (BP) #32

Stephanie (Dispensing Happiness) holds a blog party every month. And this month, it’s a Pizza Party! Here is what she has asked people to bring:

Anytime between now & Thursday, 20 March [2008], prepare at least one pizza-ish bite and some kind of corresponding beverage. Yes, it’s a ‘cocktail’ party, but that doesn’t mean non-drinkers have to be left out. Heck, I don’t drink alcohol, but coming up with interesting drinks is one of my favorite parts!

The deadline for BP#32 is Thursday 20 March 2008. For complete details on how to participate in Blog Party, please see:

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A pizza party! What a great idea.

When I was around 13, one of my friends had a birthday party. All of the girls in our class were invited to her house for the party. When we arrived, we were ushered into the kitchen and given big tea towels to wrap around our waists as aprons. Because my friend’s mother had prepared several cookie trays of already shaped pizza dough and bowls of various toppings.

She then invited us to make pizzas. I have to say it was one of the most fun birthday parties I ever attended. We laughed and argued about what toppings would go well together and eventually our pizzas were baked – each cookie tray divided into about three with different toppings on the various parts. And once the pizzas were cooked, we feasted. Cutting the pizzas so that everyone could try all the different toppings. Laughing and arguing about which topping was best.

We never did concur. But we finished all the pizzas. They sure were good.

 

edit 28 March 2008: Stephanie has posted the Blog Party #32 roundup.
 

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  • Love your pizza! I make pizza a lot in late summer when I can use fresh sliced tomatoes instead of sauce. But this spinach sounds like something I need to make now – just to try out your method of ‘cooking’ it.
    Besides, it’s March – spinach is in season!

    Spinach is in season in March? Not here… I think I neeeeed to move.
     
    Oooh, I never thought of using fresh sliced tomatoes instead of sauce! We’ll have to try that when we can get some decent fresh tomatoes in August or September. We think this method for ‘cooking’ spinach is fantastic. I hope you like it too. -Elizabeth

  • Hi Elizabeth, i made my first pizza dough over the weekend. Indeed it’s a breeze to make! I also attempted scones the next day as well… next up I hope to make my first loave of bread. you’re right hand kneading does the work perfectly well!

    So glad to hear that it worked well for you. Congratulations! Isn’t it great to know that you never have to get take-out again? -ejm