Peach & Tomato Caprese Pizza with Mozarella, Basil & Balsamic Reduction

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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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That photo above has nothing to do with this recipe.  But – I bought figs at the farmer’s market the other day & they photograph so gorgeously – I could not resist snapping this pic of them & that lush hunk of Saint Andre.  Dairy is something I am increasingly cutting out of my diet but – holy mother of God – that that cheese on some crusty bread & topped with a fig?  Criminy! I am desperate for vegan cheese to do what vegan meats (especially Beyond Meat) have done – namely – evolve into a really great vegan alternative to cruelty-based foods.

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So – my boss gave me a perfectly ripe peach the other day.  I let it sit, in all its aromatic glory, on my desk all day as I pondered what to do with it.  I then remembered that I had homemade pizza dough in the fridge & from that fact alone – this pizza was born.  At the end of the work day, I sauntered out, proudly declaring that a peach pizza was about to happen – and happen it did.

I wasn’t sure if I would like hot peach pizza so I decided to hedge my bet a bit & made this a twofer.  I did not have Gorgonzola or goat cheese – cheeses that might cut the sweet of the peach so I decided to drizzle it with a balsamic reduction.  I am happy to announce that the peach side was even more delicious than the traditional side.  I did not cook the peach at all first but you could grill yours first if you want to maybe give the pizza that extra layer of flavor. It is completely unnecessary, though.

BALSAMIC REDUCTION

Simply boil a nice balsamic until it reduces by about 30-75% and has a thick syrupy texture.  It really does reduce a LOT so – if it reduces to too little for your pizza – just boil down some more.  Be careful not to burn it! I used about a tablespoon of the reduction on this pizza.

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Peach & Tomato Caprese Pizza with Mozarella, Basil & Balsamic Reduction

Serves as many as you like – depending on how much dough & ingredients you have

INGREDIENTS

(the amount of each is up to your personal taste)

Pizza dough (I used this one)

Peaches – pitted & sliced 1/4 inch thick

Tomato sauce (I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)

Fresh mozzarella (or vegan alternative) – sliced

Fresh Basil

Cherry or grape tomatoes – quartered (optional)

Balsamic reduction (recipe above in bold)

Parchment paper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 500 degrees & be sure it reaches temperature before putting your pizza in there.

Make the balsamic reduction.  Set aside.

Cover a cooking sheet with parchment paper.  And old metal pan.  Pizza stones suck.  PARCHMENT PAPER is magic.  Or – grease a cooking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.

Roll the dough out & put it on the pan.  Spread sauce on one half of the pizza & arrange the peach slices on the other.  Top with cheese.  Cook until it is the way you like it – typically 10-15 minutes.  Top with basil & cherry tomatoes & drizzle the peach side (or both sides) with the balsamic.

Voila!

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Grilled & Baked Eggplant Pizza Towers with Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Chiffonade – A CONTEST! – and Downtown Los Angeles!

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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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Uh-oh!  Wouldya look at that!  The AMAZING make-up company, Too Faced, has selected my book to give away in the summer essentials giveaway!  All you gotta do is go on Instagram, follow me at @christineelisemccarthy and then navigate to @TooFaced on Instagram, find this image on their wall & follow the rules to enter.  DO NOT enter on MY Instagram page.  Only entries on the Too Faced page will be considered.  A signed copy of my book, a bikini & Too Faced’s ENTIRE summer line!  CRAZY!  And the contest ends tomorrow (June 23, 2015), winner announced June 24, 2015 – so enter NOW!  And remember – go follow me on Instagram, then go follow Too Faced there & enter through their page.  Good luck!

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So – I had jury duty today.  That is the hallway at the court.  Everyone dreads jury duty but I work freelance & literally cannot afford to miss a day of work – let alone a week.  So – I had to miss work today to go down & asked to be rescheduled – which just means that, if I am working in December – I lose at least another day’s pay.  Such a fucked system.  But, anyway – they let me out at noon so I decided to make the best of being downtown & met my friend Rose for lunch at Grand Central Market.  Here is what that LA wonder looks like:

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Pizza was SUPER thin & delightful but it was so friggin’ hot out – neither Rose nor I could eat more than half of the tiny 8″ pizzas.  So – I have some for later!  🙂

Across the street to the west from Grand Central Market is another LA landmark – Angel’s Flight.  It is not currently in service, however.

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Even more interesting – across the street to the east is the Bradbury Building – most famous as a location in Bladerunner.  Look how incredibly gorgeous it is!

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6-22-15 (67)  CLICK THIS PANORAMIC ONE TO BLOW IT UP.

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And there you have it!  My downtown Los Angeles adventure today & a chance to win lots of make-up & a bikini & a signed copy of my book!

The recipe next.  It isn’t really a recipe.  It is an idea & I have been talking about it a lot lately & eating it even more frequently.  These eggplant pizza towers.  Not really pizza but born of my wanting a tortilla pizza but without tortillas.

I slice up & eat an entire small eggplant alone but quantities of everything really depends on how many you are feeding, how hungry they are & then personal taste as to the sauce-cheese ratio.  So – an informal recipe will follow.  Also – these would be nice served on top of pasta tossed with a red sauce.  I cannot recommend Rao’s highly enough.

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Grilled & Baked Eggplant Pizza Towers with Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Chiffonade 

INGREDIENTS

About 1 eggplant per person – sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick & lightly salted

Fresh mozzarella – enough to put a few slices on top of each slice of eggplant

Red sauce of your choice

Fresh basil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

I grilled the slices on my stove top grill first to char them a bit.  Just to get some grill marks on them & cook out some moisture.  I did it on the grill dry & it took about 5-7 minutes – flipping the slices occasionally.  You can do this on your burners on the stove or in a grill pan or on a real grill – with or without oiling the slices.

OR – you can opt to bake the slices naked for 15-20 minutes to get them less thick & mushy.

Whatever you do – cook out some moisture & try to grill a little flavor onto the slices.

Top with sauce & cheese – quantities up to you.

Bake at 350 on a cooking sheet topped with parchment paper (THE BEST – nothing sticks) or treated with cooking spray or olive oil.  Assemble each eggplant slice with sauce & cheese & cook them in a single layer – stacking them into towers when you put them on the plate.

Meanwhile – to make the basil chiffonade – simply stack several leaves of basil, roll them into a tube & slice the tube up.  Voila!

It should take 10-15 minutes for the cheese to melt & begin to turn golden but all ovens are different so eyeball it & take them out when they look good to you.

Stack your little eggplant pizzas & garnish with basil.  Yum!

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Vegan BBQ Pulled Chicken & Jackfruit Pizza

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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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So – I made a boatload of Vegan Pulled Chicken with Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce for the Slow Cooker – seen above.   I had to use it in ways other than just on bread.  So – I made Pasta with Pulled Vegan Chicken & Jackfruit with Blackberry Jam-Sriracha BBQ Sauce – seen below.

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And then I made a pizza.  I used the No-Rise Thin & Crispy Pizza Dough recipe from How Sweet It Is – but any dough will do.  I used my go-to jarred sauce – Rao’s Arrabbiata.

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And – I used real cheese but, if you are vegan, use vegan cheese.  I used corn, which I typically avoid because corn is so heavily GMO – but this was frozen organic corn from Trader Joe’s – so I rolled the dice.  I used red pepper strips – primarily because I had a red bell that needed using.   While I make my dough from regular, organic flour – rolling it out in semolina flour adds a bit of a crunch & gives the crust the golden flecks that make the crust look professional.  I won’t list quantities here because pizza is a very personal thing.  Some like lotsa cheese – some less.  Same with sauce & other toppings.  But – my best advice is to be sure your oven is fully at 500 degrees before putting the pizza in there.  This makes for the crispiest crust.

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Vegan or Vegetarian BBQ Pulled chicken & Jackfruit Pizza

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough

Sauce

BBQ pulled chicken

Corn

Sliced red bell peppers

Grated vegan cheese

Garnish – scallions, cilantro

Semolina flour for rolling the dough (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 500 degrees.

Roll the dough out on flour or semolina.

Put the dough on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper (the best thing ever) or treated with olive oil or cooking spray.

Top with sauce & other toppings.

Bake for 10-15 minutes – depending on your oven and/or how you like your pizza.

Garnish, slice & devour!

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3-Mushroom, Zucchini & Fried Sage Pizza with Blue Cheese and Fresh Mozzarella

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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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I must admit – some dishes are harder to make look pretty than others & my troubles are compounded by a full-time job that means I can only photograph things early, before work, or late – after work.  I am certainly not going to make a pizza at 8am & – honestly – the light at 8pm sucks.  So – many of my photos lately have been a tad underwhelming & I find that very depressing.  But – I do not have the luxury of a blog that earns me any money so – this is just a reality I am having to deal with – the fact that I am in a challenging food photography world for a while.

It is especially disappointing when the dish is as outrageously delicious at this pizza was.  I like to go light on cheeses so this pizza looks sorta dark & not as pretty as others I have made but – if you like mushrooms – you are in for a treat.  As one of my three mushrooms – I used this jarred sauce here:

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I have to say – I am not a fan of jarred sauces (Rao’s Arrabbiata as a notable exception) but this stuff here is a revelation!   It is heavily saturated with the flavor of porcini mushrooms.  I recommend it highly.

My second mushroom element was a last minute drizzle of truffle oil – after the pizza came out of the oven.

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My third mushroom element was just a handful of sliced mushrooms sauted in olive oil with some thinly sliced zucchini.

I used a new recipe for the pizza dough.  It came from How Sweet It is – and is intended expressly for a very thin crust.  It is an easy no–rise dough & I found it wonderful.  The recipe is HERE.

I used two kinds of cheese simply because I had them.  If you don’t like blue cheese – skip it.

Fried sage rounded out the flavors & gave this pizza an autumnal flavor.  Sage is a perfect companion for mushrooms so – if you haven’t tried it – you must.

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3-Mushroom, Zucchini & Fried Sage Pizza with Blue Cheese and Fresh Mozzarella

(quantities of each are up to you – to suit your taste)

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough of your choice (I used THIS)

Mushroom pasta sauce

Truffle oil

Sliced mushrooms

Sliced zucchini

Fresh sage

Olive oil

Crumbled blue cheese

Fresh mozzarella – sliced

S&P

Crushed red pepper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 500 degrees.

Prepare the dough & roll out some to a pizza of shape & size that you determine.

With a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a pan – fry the sage a few minutes – being careful not to burn it.  Drain on a paper towel.

Add the mushrooms & zucchini to the pan with a few pinches of S&P.  Saute on high until soft.

Put your dough on a cooking sheet (covered with parchment paper – highly recommended – or greased).  Top with sauce, vegetables, sage and cheeses.

Cook for about 10-15 minutes – depending on your oven & how done you like your crust & cheese. When it looks read – take it out & drizzle with truffle oil.  Add some crushed red pepper – if you like – and eat the whole fucking thing alone.  I did!

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Rustic Pizza with Vegan Sausage, Broccolette (Broccolini), Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms, Farmers Cheese, Goat Cheese and Micro Arugula

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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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Pizza.  Everyone loves pizza.   So many ways to top them – and I have posted dozens.  Look HERE & scroll down for a recap.

This one I am posting today was quite a show stopper.  I used broccolette – which Wikipedia describes as “a cruciferous vegetable derived from a cross between broccoli and the Chinese kale called gai lan. Also known by the trade names broccolini and aspiration, broccolette has a milder, sweeter taste than broccoli and features thin, tender stalks that can be cooked whole without peeling.”

It looks like that there – next to my shaved Brussels sprouts.

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You could use regular broccoli – if you prefer.

I used Farmers Cheese because I had never seen it before & I was curious.  Look at it there.  Doesn’t it look delicious?

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Here is what Wikipedia said about this cheese: “In the United States, farmer cheese (also farmer’s cheese or farmers’ cheese) is pressed cottage cheese, an unripened cheese made by adding rennet and bacterial starter to coagulate and acidify milk. Farmer cheese may be made from the milk of cows, sheep or goats, with each giving its own texture and flavor.”

In fact, it is sorta like a denser cottage cheese & very mild in flavor.

I also used herbed goat cheese & one of these vegetarian sausages.

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I also used that micro arugula because I LOVE arugula, that micro shit is pretty & it has a really powerful flavor.  Regular arugula would be fine – just not as pretty to look at.

So – like with most of my pizzas – I only list ingredients here – because topping quantities are up to you.  I like thin crust – you might like thick.  I like light amounts of sauce & cheese – you might prefer to go deep dish.  So – I will just leave it up to you.

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Rustic Pizza with Vegan Sausage, Broccolette (Broccolini), Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms, Farmers Cheese, Goat Cheese and Micro Arugula

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I always make THIS)

Vegan sausage

Broccolini – chopped small

Brussels sprouts – shaved

Mushrooms – sliced

Tomato sauce (I used a really chunky homemade one I had left over – but you use your favorite one)

Goat cheese (or vegan alternative)

Farmers cheese (or vegan alternative)

olive oil

garlic – minced

S&P

Semolina flour (for rolling the dough) – VERY optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

In a large saute pan, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil & saute the sausage, broccolette, Brussels sprouts & mushrooms until soft.  Add the garlic & saute another minute. Add some S&P.

Roll out the dough in some semolina or other flour.  Semolina will give the crust the speckled look you see here & really seems to add some crunch.  Regular flour is fine, though.  Put the dough on a greased cooking sheet or on a cooking sheet topped with parchment paper.  Top with sauce, add the sausage & veggies.  Crumble some of the cheeses on top.

BE SURE YOUR OVEN HAS REACHED FULL TEMPERATURE.  Cook for about 13 minutes – but time depends on your oven & the density of your pizza & your own preferences.  When it looks golden & the cheese are browned & soft – it should be done.

Top with arugula & eat that bad boy.  Alone.  Rejoice!

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Sausage Pizza Roll-Ups – Vegetarian or Vegan or Not!

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or 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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There are still a few left! PERFECT book for your anti-Valentine’s Day book club meeting!

Buy a signed and LETTERED (hence – limited to 26 copies) copy of my book FROM THE LINK BELOW, and get copy of the short on DVD & 3 signed bookplates so you can give three people signed copies as gifts. The cost will be $25 which will include DOMESTIC shipping.

First come – first serve. When the 26 are gone – that is it. Buy ASAP if you want to be sure to get the templates for your Valentine’s Day gift giving this season!

http://www.bathingandthesinglegirlbook.com/store/p6/Christmas_LIMITED_Special%21.html

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So – the badass Miles Miller was in town for Christmas.   Those of you that know him and my regular readers know that he lives almost exclusively on meat.  I eat none.   So, meals can be tricky.  But these roll-ups proved to be a perfect compromise.  He made his with real sausage & I used vegan ones.  Problem solved.

These are really easy & be customized to suit almost all tastes.  Vegan?  Use vegan cheese.  Want some veggies?  Add chopped spinach – like the filling I used in my Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells (Vegan – Vegetarian – Or Not).

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You could add anything, really.  Just saute your selections with whatever sausage you are using.  I used a homemade pasta sauce and I have posted lots of recipes in the past for sauce.  HERE is a 5 minute arrabiata (spicy red sauce) and HERE is a marinara.  You can make a sauce or use your favorite brand.

I used homemade pizza dough – from this recipe HERE.  You can use that (I use it the same day despite the instructions) or make another kind or use a store bought variety.

This post is really just a guide rather than a recipe.  The ingredients are up to you as is the quantity you use – of sausage or cheese or sauce.  Whatever you decide to do – I can promise these will be crowd pleasers.

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Sausage Pizza Roll-Ups – Vegetarian or Vegan or Not!

Two of these little roll-ups will typically feed one person.  One recipe here can be cut up to make 6-7 roll-ups.

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough

2 sausages – (vegan or not) – sliced

1 pinch fennel

1 tsp dry oregano

1 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

2 garlic cloves – minced

Red sauce

Grated cheese (I used a Mexican mix) – (vegan or not)

Mozzarella – sliced – (vegan or not)

Fresh basil

Olive oil

Cooking spray

Flour to roll the dough out on

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the sliced up sausages.  If using vegan ones – you will need olive oil to keep them from sticking.  If using real sausage – adding spices might not be necessary but I think they REALLY help the vegan sausage.   If you care to – add the fennel & oregano & crushed red pepper.  Once the sausage is browned & ready to go – add the garlic & saute another minute but be VERY careful not to burn the garlic.  Burned garlic is bitter.

Roll out your dough on a floured surface.  Roll it pretty thin.  Top with sauce (reserving some sauce to serve with the roll-ups) & sausage & grated cheese.  Roll up & slice.

Place the roll-ups in a pie pan (or other pan) treated with cooking spray.  I then sprayed the rolls themselves to aid in browning them.  Add some grated cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until they just begin to brown.

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Warm the extra red sauce on the stove.

Take the roll-ups out & top with mozzarella & cook another 10 minutes or so or until the cheese is properly melted.

Serve with warmed red sauce & chopped fresh basil.  Bust out the bag of wine & get down to the serious business of chowing the fuck down.

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Arugula and Ricotta Cream Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbs

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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 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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Yesterday, I posted my Arugula, Ricotta, Cream Cheese and Parmesan Pie with Heirloom Tomatoes – seen above.

I found myself with a bit of extra arugula-ricotta cream & some extra tomatoes – so I made this pizza.

Because I used extra ricotta from the pie recipe – I don’t really have details on the ingredients needed for such a small amount – but I will try to approximate.

It was a lovely & mild pizza but I added tons of crushed red pepper flakes once it was cooked – as you can see below.   I added fresh basil & thyme – primarily because I had them.  Rosemary & fresh oregano would be nice, too.

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Arugula and Ricotta Cream Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbs

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough – I always make THIS but your favorite dough will work

Heirloom (or other) tomatoes – sliced thin, salted a bit & pressed between paper towels to reduce moisture

Fresh herbs (I used thyme & basil but rosemary and/or oregano might be nice, too)

Grated cheese (I used mozzarella)

1/2 cup fresh arugula

1 clove garlic

4 oz fresh ricotta (or vegan alternative)

1 oz cream cheese – optional (or vegan alternative)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Sliced & drain the tomatoes (sprinkled with salt) between paper towels.

Puree the ricotta, arugula, garlic & cream cheese (if using) in a blender or food processor.  Season with salt & pepper.

Roll out the dough.  Place it on a cooking sheet either treated with olive oil or cooking spray of covered in parchment paper.

Top it with a thin layer of the ricotta cream, some grated cheese & then the tomatoes.  Season with S&P.

Bake for 8-12 minutes or until your crust is done & the tomatoes look a bit seared.

Garnish with fresh herbs.  Reflect on how nice it is to eat pizza made at home & NOT be at a fucking food court in a holiday-crazed mall.  Continue eating the entire pizza.

FTW!

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