DDD Ep. #15 – Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat Special Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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DDD Ep. #15 is up! It is my Vegan Big Mac Pizza! Plus, some pop art & pop culture references for you! And the boobs in this episode are not mine.

Click the link for the video (or watch it here) & please subscribe!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvKWQ4FPKQg&feature=youtu.be

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Ever since I was a child – I have been obsessed – addicted even – to McDonald’s.  McDonald’s – specifically.  No other fast food tempted me in the least.  Not Burger King or Taco Bell or any of the other burger chains.  Sure – I would sometimes eat a Fatburger – which inevitably – made me agonizingly ill and an occasional burger from the Tommy’s on Beverly at Rampart – mainly because that Tommy’s was so old school & cool.  But if there had been a McDonald’s next door – I probably would have gone there.  I have always been to insanely addicted to Big Macs that as a kid – I could eat 2.  And McDonald’s fries are the best on Earth.

Then I gave up meat, in the late eighties.  Fuck.  That meant Filet-O-Fish sandwiches for me – which I put up with for a while until I was struck my supreme inspiration.  I bought a Big Mac AND a Filet-O-Fish.  I took the patties out of the Big Mac & fed them to the dogs & put the fish patty in there, instead.  I dipped fries in the tartar sauce on the Filet-O-Fish bun & shoved that fishy Big Mac into my pie hole like I hadn’t eaten for days.  I began doing this regularly.  So many times – I would go spinning & then go the the McD’s drive-thru – still actively sweating from class & get this combo & pull over to a random curb & make my custom sandwich – like a junky cooking dope.  I even included this process in my novel – Bathing & the Single Girl.  Here is the excerpt:

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I decided to make a trip to McDonald’s to take the edge off my panic and maybe finally end my waning hangover. There is nothing like McD’s. It is the only fast food chain I patronize. I’ve been a fish-eating vegetarian for over twenty years but McDonald’s remains my own personal crack. I have to pretend I do not know that there is beef tallow in the French fries and block out the fact that McD’s are a great supporter of the factory farming that spurred my vegetarianism to begin with, but when I am hung over, McDonald’s is my best friend.
I ordered a #1 Big Mac value meal with fries, a diet Coke (gotta save calories somewhere) and a Filet-O-Fish. Once out of the drive thru, I pulled over on a side street like a drug addict jonesing for a fix. I took several big gulps of the best fucking diet Coke I had ever tasted while throwing furtive glances around to make sure I was not being watched. I opened the fish sandwich and scooped all that tartar sauce up on the top bun. This would serve as a bowl and dip for the fries. I grabbed the golden goodness of the square fish stick looking back at me and threw the bottom bun of the fish sandwich in the bag. I took the top off of the Big Mac and threw it in the bag. I removed the burgers and put them aside for my dogs. I placed the fish patty on the middle bun piece and flipped it over onto the bottom bun and its remaining ingredients. Special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a filet of fish on what was once a sesame seed bun. I rammed it into my mouth and nearly fainted with pleasure. Every cell in my body reacted negatively to the toxicity and I felt zits popping out on my face as I chewed. I didn’t give a fuck. I dipped a handful of fries in the fatty tartar sauce and forced them into my mouth before I swallowed my first bite of sandwich. I was disgusting. I felt the shame of a tweeker turning her first trick for drugs. My eyes flashed a scan of the horizon searching for the PETA police. My pants felt a size tighter. I finished that food in less than two minutes, literally drinking the last bit of fries from the cardboard container. It was glorious.
Slouched in the car, high from whatever it is in McDonald’s food that made Morgan Spurlock’s liver begin to shut down in Supersize Me, the plan to dine with The Albino seemed like it might actually be a fun adventure.

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So – maybe now you understand the extent of my problem.  That problem got even worse when I gave up eating fish, too, a couple of years ago.  Now – there is no excuse to go into a McDonald’s – because the fries really do have beef tallow in them – so there is literally nothing in there for me to eat – especially as I am inching my way to veganism.

Still – my Big Mac addiction festers without relief.   The smell of McDonald’s still makes my hands want to turn into those drive-thrus – but I can’t.  I won’t.  I shan’t!  And – yeah – I guess I could make a faux Big Mac with a veggie burger (Beyond Meat makes GREAT ones) – but the shitty bun is part of the charm & the special sauce isn’t just Thousand Island – no matter what detractors try to tell you.  It is more magical than that.  My fake Big Mac would be off just enough to leave me feeling cheated.

And then it came to me!  Big Mac PIZZA!  That way – the differences would be more forgivable – because it wasn’t a lame Big Mac – it was a glorious Big Mac pizza!!!!!  And so – I did it.  I did it last night.  After taking two heated spinning classes in 14 hours – I undid all that good – all that blood, sweat & those tears.  Undid it and gave zero fucks.  This fucking pizza is the best Goddamn thing on Earth.  It will be difficult not to eat these every night this week – after all – I have like an infinity of my copycat special sauce.  I can’t wash that gold down the drain – when my gullet is right here craving it – wanting to drink it – inhale it.  So – sure – I have a birthday coming up & it might be nice to NOT be at my absolute FATTEST on that day – but shit happens.  Sometimes things are out of your hands.  Sometimes life presents tough choices.  But – enough about that.  Let me present – my Big Mac pizza!

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Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat McDonald’s Special Sauce

INGREDIENTS

for the special sauce

3/4 cup vegan mayo

2 TBS sweet relish

2 TBS yellow mustard

2 TBS French dressing

1 tsp (or more) each: onion powder, garlic powder, paprika

Water

for the Big Mac Pizza

Pizza dough (I used this HERE)

Vegan ground beef (I used Beyond Meat beefy crumbles)

Shredded lettuce

Vegan cheese (I used some Parmela Creamery sharp cheddar, Chao original & some of my own homemade mozzarella)

Sandwich pickle slices

Onion – diced

Sesame seeds

Jalapeno – sliced (not in a real Big Mac but fuck it)

Semolina flour (optional) for rolling out the dough

Parchment paper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

for the special sauce

Whisk the ingredients together & add a bit of water to thin it.  Taste it & adjust at will.  I added 2 more tsp of onion powder to mine.

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for the Big Mac Pizza

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Roll out the dough (I do this in semolina flour because I find it adds to the crispiness of the crust – but regular flour is fine).  Put the dough on a greased cooking sheet (I just use parchment paper – and I recommend it highly).

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Top with cheeses & ground beef.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until your crust is done.  I added grated mozzarella at this point & cooked it another minute but only because the pizza looked a bit barren.  You can just dump the meat & cheese on there – cheese under & over the beef.

Once the crust is done – top with the remaining toppings & get your fucking eat on!

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Roasted Fennel & Mushroom Pizza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Ah, pizza!  This is not really a recipe – in that the quantities you use of each ingredient is up to you – as is the sauce you use & the dough you use.  I roasted the mushrooms – seen above (that recipe is HERE) and the fennel – but you could slice them very thin & use them raw.  I used real mozzarella here but your favorite vegan cheese will do.  It is pizza and pizza loves you no matter what.

Roasted Fennel & Mushroom Pizza

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough ( I use this No-Rise thin crust recipe, lately)

Sauce (I always use Rao’s Arrabbiata)

Cheese

Roasted (or raw) sliced mushrooms

1 large fennel bulb – sliced very thin

Olive oil

Salt

Chopped basil as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Roast the mushrooms as outlined HERE – of just use them raw.

To roast the fennel – heat the oven to 400.  Toss the fennel slices with a little olive oil & a bit of salt.  Roast for 10-20 minutes – or until the fennel is soft & just turning color.

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Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

I love parchment paper as nothing sticks to it so I recommend it highly.  If you don’t have any – lightly grease your cooking sheet.

Roll out the dough & put it on the sheet.  Top with sauce, fennel, mushrooms & cheese.  Cook for about 12 minutes or until the crust is golden & the cheese is melted.  Add the basil & get busy getting your eat on!

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Sweet Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella & Watercress

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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See that mozzarella above?  It is vegan and I posted my attempt at The Artisan Vegan Life’s recipe for it HERE.  My only problem with the result was that the cheese had a bit of a sour tang to it because it was made with vegan yogurt.  While I found that unpleasant when eating the cheese naked (because it seemed like real cheese that had gone bad) – I still had high hopes for what it would be like on pizza. I felt that – if this cheese had other flavors competing with it – the mild sour flavor might disappear.  I was also curious about its melting abilities.

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My first attempt with a pizza is above.  I used Rao’s Arrabbiata sauce because I love it & because I felt it would have enough flavor to make the sour yogurt element of the cheese go away.  I also made the pizza with half REAL mozzarella – so I could properly compare the melting.

On the top right of that image above, you can see how the real cheese melted – completely melted & released some fat & looks ooey-gooey delicious – and it was.  The rest of the image shows the vegan mozzarella.  While it never lost its shape – it did soften – a lot.  And more importantly – the sour flavor was undetectable!   Big victory!  Still – this cheese would never fool a real cheese whore – but I bet it would make a lot of vegans VERY happy – and really is a solid replacement for real cheese – whatever your reasons for wanting to avoid real cheese might be – beyond being vegan.  Also – melted – it has a texture very much like ricotta so – I imagine – this would be amazing in a vegan lasagna.

Encouraged by the success of the first pizza – I decided to make another – but one with more subtle flavors so I could see if the sour flavor was still mitigated.

I decided to make this Sweet Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella & Watercress – primarily because I had been baking sweet potatoes for my dogs & they smelled so fucking good – I had to use some.  I also, predictably, had some random produce that was on the verge of spoiling (asparagus & watercress, to be specific) – so this pizza was born.  If you can’t find watercress – arugula would be great, too.  It is a VERY mild pizza – so – in lieu of watercress and arugula – you could top this with some fried sage or fresh, chopped rosemary before baking it for an even more autumnal combination of flavors.

And – good news!  Despite the mild flavors – the cheese blended in beautifully & the sour flavor was imperceptible.  And – as you can see in the photos – it did actually melt & brown.  So – I recommend The Artisan Vegan Life’s vegan mozzarella very highly.

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Sweet Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella & Watercress

As with most of my pizzas – I suggest ingredients but not the quantity to be used because that is up to each person’s personal preference.

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I used this no-rise Easy Thin Crust Pizza dough)

Vegan sour cream

Slices of boiled or baked sweet potato (cut thinner than 1/4 inch)

Asparagus (tough ends removed like THIS)

Watercress or arugula

Vegan mozzarella

S&P

Cooking spray (I used an olive oil type)

Semolina flour (optional) or regular flour – for rolling your dough

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 500 – or as close as your oven gets to that.

Prepare your veggies.

Put a little semolina (or regular) flour on a flat surface & roll your dough out.  Place it on a greased cooking sheet (or – better yet – use parchment paper).  Put a thin layer of sour cream on top & then arrange the sweet potato slices & asparagus.  Top with slices of mozzarella & a good dose of S&P.

Cook for 10-12 minutes (more or less – depending on your oven & the density of your pizza).   About half way through – I sprayed olive oil on the mozzarella & I think that helped it brown, a bit.  When your crust is done to your liking & the cheese has softened (maybe even melted & browned a bit) – take it out & top with watercress or arugula.  Yummy!

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CHEF’D – White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.  I also posted about the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese HERE and the Tofu Parmigiana HERE.  They can be seen below, respectively.
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OK – so this is my third post about my box of three meals that I ordered from Chef’d in my second delivery from them.  It is their White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms and Arugula Salad with Lemon Mint Vinaigrette.  Arugula salad is my favorite thing ever & I am also a huge fan of lemon & mint – but – I had this box delivered Saturday & did not get to this recipe until Thursday.  As a result – through no fault of Chef’d – my arugula had passed its edible period.
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I considered using the wilted arugula on the pizza but it was too far gone.   Sad.  I love arugula!  But – I just didn’t get to it on time.  MY fault!
But everything else was still fresh.  The recipe called for (and provided) real milk.  While I am still not totally off cheese or butter (vegan butter is so far ahead of vegan cheese – so far) – I am trying really hard to be entirely off eggs & milk – so I just substituted almond milk & vegan butter.  Made no difference – as in – was just as good.  I did use the real cheese, though.
My experiences with the Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza & the Tofu Parmigiana were that I found that they probably were not enough to realistically feed two American adults – for dinner.  That was not the case with this pizza.  I had accidentally used one of the pizza dough balls provided by Chef’d for my two pizzas on a separate pizza altogether – so I used my own (peppered) homemade crust when I made this.  Also – I only made  half pizza (using half the ingredients) and I was STUFFED!  So – I think this pizza actually might satisfy two adults.  Here is the nutritional info:
white pizza
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At 2480 calories (including, I assume, the salad that I did not even make) – this is a hearty meal!  And it was DELICIOUS!  Again – I found the Chef’d recipe to be less labor intensive than other companies that I have tried – less labor intensive BY A LOT – and the result more satisfying.  I only ate half of the half recipe I made.  Rich & filling & yummy! And easy.  The white sauce came together quickly.
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Mushrooms & broccoli cooked up fast & easy & the pizza assembled without incident.  I did add crushed red pepper but I add that to almost all things not served in a glass.  That peppery crust you see is my own homemade crust.  But – the result was a pizza with lots of flavors & textures.  While I have found all of the dishes I have tried from Chef’d to be easy to make & really tasty to eat – this one is the current champion of full-blown decadence.  So – if one night – you eat this entire decadent meal – maybe the next night – you compensate with the far lighter tofu parmigiana?
Whether eating light is your concern or getting a rich & wintery meal into your pie hole is your goal – I think Chef’d has you covered.  And I don’t eat meat – so I can’t even get into sampling what those dishes offer.  But I recommend these Chef’d meals with complete enthusiasm.  Even for the most novice chef – and especially for novice vegetarians.  Lots of folks who want to cut more meat out of their diet fear only salads in their futures & Chef’d can quickly dispel those fears – and leave almost everybody feeling more empowered in the most important room in their homes – the kitchen!
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CHEF’D – Vegetarian Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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12-9-15 (21)

12-9-15 (35)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.
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That big orange Chef’d box is so exciting!!!  Digging out the ingredients feel like a little foodie Christmas.  Today, I am posting about Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese.  I am a bit of a pizza fanatic and – honestly – a bit of a pizza snob.  I have posted LOTS & LOTS of pizza recipes – which can be seen HERE.  At any rate – as you can see from the recipe cards (above) – I opted to try both of their vegetarian pizzas & the tofu Parmigiana.   Randomly, I selected the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese to try for dinner last night – probably because I had never heard of or seen dried figs.  Look at the – below.  Like tiny, hard & wrinkled little figs.  I was intrigued!
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I continue to be entertained by the teeny portion ingredients provided – as I am delighted when they send way more than you need of some things.
As it turns out, I had leftover pizza dough of my own in the fridge & had accidentally used one of the two dough balls provided by Chef’d for a pizza I had made the night before (so I will be using my own dough to make the second Chef’d pizza).  No biggy.  The Chef’d pizza dough is fantastic & very close to my own so it will not make a huge difference.
Anyway – last night I rolled out the Chef’d dough & prepared the pizza as suggested with only three changes: 1) I only caramelized one of the two onions provided (because – while I love caramelized onions – I think they can get overpowering) and 2) I added crushed red pepper to the pizza (because I add it to almost everything) and 3) I did not add the arugula until the pizza was done – rather than wilting it in the oven.  A change I would make if I made this pizza again – and I might, because it was delicious – is that I would not add the sliced figs until the pizza was done. Goat cheese needs a lot of heat to get melty & my oven (likely needing calibration) burned them a bit.
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Sorry about the shitty, blurry photo!
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So – overall – I give an enthusiastic two thumbs up to this pizza.  It was REALLY easy to make, came together fast & the flavors worked very well together – with the added benefit of being sort of exotic.  Dried figs?  Who knew?
Here is my one caveat – I was able to eat this entire pizza – meant for two – all by myself without a lot of effort.  It had a nice, dense crust & might fill a person not suffering from my level of seasonal self-pity & not also inclined to self-medicate with food – but I shoved this entire fucker into my pie hole, in short order.  Sure – I was very full after that.  Maybe even a tad uncomfortably full – but, I think, had there been a person there sharing it with me last night, keeping me honest & shaming my gluttony and insisting on their half – I would have finished dinner a tad unsatisfied.  So – I would say this is more of a lunch portion for two.  Or suggest that folks maybe serve it with a robust side salad at dinner.  I mean – I am 5″5′ and – yes, FINE – fatter than I want to be – but I can still get into a 6.  I imagine that if my dining partner were to be a hungry, large man – he would have bitten my hand off if I’d tried to even taste this pizza.
On the other hand, swallowing feelings is an ugly business when manifested by swallowing food – so – maybe a little portion control is in order around here?   Lord knows I need to lose  few LBs and the holidays have just begun.  Having a delicious but finite amount of food to eat could be a really good thing.  Or, maybe if I loaded this bad boy up with BOTH the onions & used the double portion of goat cheese that was provided (the recipe only suggested using half) – maybe that would ratchet this yummy pizza up into the “dinner for two” range.  I don’t know.  All I do know is that there is another Chef’d pizza in my future & I am already emotionally prepped to want to eat the whole Goddamn thing.
And – fuck the world.  I just might!  I will report back when I have the pertinent information.
Until then – next up?  Tofu Parmigiana!
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PS – Chef’d has two holiday dinner options that you can customize – to serve 4 or 8.  Smoked Goose & Prime Rib.

Caramelized Fennel & Spinach Pizza with Goat Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Last night – in an effort to use random produce and – yes – cheese that I had in my fridge – I Googled a few ingredients and found this gorgeous pizza:

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It is Dang That’s Delicious’ Pizza with Caramelized Fennel, Spinach and Goat Cheese.  Their photos are prettier than mine – in part because I shot mine at night on my stove top with a clamp light & nothing else – never the prettiest way to go – and (I think) because they used a lotta cheese on theirs – more than I did on mine & their fennel strips remained pale green-white while mine browned – so my pizza is darker – also not always the prettiest thing.  I also used this super low end mozzarella that came in roll-up strips & browned more the way marshmallows do – rather than how cheese typically does.  No matter what the pictures say – or your preference for a lot or a little cheese – this pizza was DELICIOUS!   So – if you find yourself with this combo of things in your fridge – you cannot lose with this pizza!

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Caramelized Fennel & Spinach Pizza with Goat Cheese

(quantity of each is up to your personal preference)

1 pizza dough (your favorite – I used THIS)
Marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought – I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
1 fennel bulb, removed stalks and thinly sliced lengthwise (reserve the dill-like tips for garnish)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach – chopped
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
Crumbled goat cheese

(I added 1 TBS crushed red pepper)

A handful of semolina (my favorite) or other flour for rolling the dough out.

Delicate tops of the fennel – chopped – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 500F degrees.
2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Saute the fennel for 2 minutes on one side. Then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup (and crushed red pepper – if using) and continue cooking until the fennel is caramelized (about 7-10 minutes).

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3. Add the fresh spinach to the pan and cook until the spinach is just wilted.  Remove from heat.
4. Grease a cooking sheet (or – even better – use parchment paper) & place your rolled-dough on it. I like to roll my dough out on semolina flour – as it adds crunch to the crust. Top with sauce, greens & cheeses.

5.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until done to your liking.  Garnish with fennel fronds & devour!

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Spicy Jalapeno Pizza with Avocado & Cilantro

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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There are not many things in the world that are better than pizza.  It is infinitely customizable & can accommodate vegans, people with gluten intolerance, and veggie haters of all kinds.  I have posted MANY pizzas.  You can look HERE & scroll through them.

This is a very straight-forward pizza with nothing especially original going on but it really was delicious.  I used real fresh mozzarella & THIS No-Rise Thin & Crispy pizza dough recipe.  I like this dough because (despite the instructions) I just throw everything in my bread machine & once it is a formed dough – I get to rolling it out so that I can get to shoving pizza in my face as soon as possible.

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Spicy Jalapeno Pizza with Avocado & Cilantro

Serves one.  Who are we kidding?

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I used 1/3 of THIS recipe)

Pizza sauce (I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)

Fresh mozzarella (or vegan alternative) (I used about 10 ciliegine – the balls about the size of a big gumball)

2 jalapeno peppers – seeded & sliced thinly

1/2 avocado – cubed

Cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 500 degrees.  Make sure it has reached full temperature before baking your pizza or it will not come out as crispy.

Roll your dough out & place it on a lightly greased cooking sheet or – as I always do – place it on parchment paper on a cooking sheet.  Nothing sticks to parchment & it smells nice cooking & it looks pretty when it browns.

Top with sauce, cheese & jalapeno.

Bake about 12 minutes – give or take – or until it is done to your preference.  Ovens vary as much as personal tastes so this is not a science.

Top with avocado & cilantro.

Shove it in your face whilst making gluttonous sounds & occasionally growling at imagined pizza thieves.  Wash it all down with copious alcohol.  Go on Facebook and settle grudges.  Feel intense self-righteousness & personal gratification.  Promise to repeat the process tomorrow.

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