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I realized this week that I love to cook.  I knew it before, but I realized that cooking is the one activity that I don’t feel pressure over.  And somehow it always turns out how I want it to.  I’m not saying that I’m a perfect cook, but usually if things don’t turn out as I expected I am still happy.  I love food and I love to eat good food, so I am rarely disappointed with what I create.

Do you have an activity that always brings you joy and not pressure?  These are quite a blessing, aren’t they?

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This pizza has been a lot of fun to come up with.  I’ve made it three times now and varied it a little each time.  Once I added dates, which was AMAZING.  The espresso vinegar adds a malty sweetness, so a little goes a long way.  I am not a fan of traditional balsamic vinegar, but I am looking forward to discovering other flavors of balsamic vinegar.

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Pizza was my go-to meal in college, though ironically I actually made the pizza dough from scratch.  At the time I had a food processor and I discovered that home-made pizza dough was easy with the correct tools.

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Caramelized Onions

Ingredients (halve recipe if desired)

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 Tbs organic expeller pressed canoloa oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cane sugar
  • dash of salt

Directions

  • I use this recipe to understand the basics.  Prepare the sliced onions.  Heat the oil over medium high heat until it begins to shine and flows freely.  Add the onion slices and turn the onions to fully coat with the oil.  Continue stirring for about 10 minutes until the onions start to get tender.  If the onions begin to burn, reduce the heat to medium.  Incorporate the sugar and salt and reduce the heat to low.  Cook the onions until the desired tenderness and color is reached.  I like my onions to retain some tenderness and bite with the natural sweetness enhanced.

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Pizza

Ingredients

  • prepared caramilized onions
  • Premade pizza dough, I prefer Whole Foods whole wheat dough
  • 1 Portabella mushroom, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 3 Tbs + olive oil
  • 3-4 stalks of rainbow swiss card, chopped with stalks set aside
  • 2-3 stalks of kale, chopped with stalks set aside
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 shallot
  • handful of italian parsely, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 Tbs espresso balsamic vinegar
  • 4 ounces goat cheese

Directions

Sauteing is more an art than a science.  I’ve created my own technique through careful observation and preference.  Find a technique that works for you and be observant; using all your senses.  I am watching Master Chef and Gordan Ramsey always asks, “did you taste the food?”  I usually start by sauteing the garlic and then add everything else, in layers depending on how long it will take to cook.  I add the herbs at the very end so that they add flavor but retain their texture.

  • Remove the pizza dough from the oven and bring the dough to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.  If using a pizza stone, preheat the stone in the heated oven.
  • Mince the garlic and shallot or process in a food processor.  Heat the oil in a large metal pan over medium high heat until the oil begins to shine.  Add the garlic and shallot and stir into the oil, until you can smell the garlic; this usually takes less than two minutes.  Add the portabella mushroom and fold into the oil until all the oil is absorbed.  Add more oil as needed to prevent the mushroom from sticking and to equally saute the mushrooms.  
  • Fold in the swiss chard and kale stalks and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add the remaining chopped swiss chard and kale, laying them on top of the mushrooms.  Leave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Incorporate the greens and then reduce the heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.  Moisture will be removed from the greens and help them to cook.  Be sure to retain the water while cooking.
  • When the greens have reached your desired tenderness and absorbed the water, fold in the balsamic vinegar, herbs and saute for about 3o seconds.  Set aside.

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  • Remove the heated pizza stone from the oven and place it on a hot pad.  Sprinkle flour or cornmeal over the entire stone.  Roll out the pizza dough or stretch it out by hand.  The key is not to handle the pizza dough more than necessary.  Spread out the sauteed greens over the prepared dough.
  • With your fingers, break the goat cheese into chunks and spread throughout.  Add the caramelized onions as desired.
  • Bake the pizza for 10-12 minutes, until the sides are browned and the crust is hard to touch.

Enjoy!  Do you have any tips on making the best pizza?  What are your favorite toppings?

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