Thursday, September 23, 2010

pizza and beyond!

And the pizza continues!  Last night after I finished making and devouring my cheese pizza, I prepared lunch for today.  On the menu: Chilly Garden Pizza.  The recipe technically asks for a prebaked thin Italian pizza crust, but I obviously wanted to make the crust myself, so that's what I did!  Second time around, this Bisquick + water combo is AWESOME!  To start, I baked the crust and let it cool.
Next, I covered the pizza with garlic-and-herbs spreadable cheese and topped it with a TON of veggies.
I was out of cucumber, but I had some bell pepper on hand, so I made a little switch.
The only negative to this recipe was my fault: I didn't chop up the spinach very small, so it kind of covered the pizza and made it harder for the other veggies to stick to the cheese spread.
This recipe definitely invoked some nostalgia.  My grandmother makes a Vegetable Pizza appetizer when we visit her, which uses crescent rolls as the crust and an Italian dressing/cream cheese mix for the "sauce".  If you are curious - I found an approximate version of what she makes here.  It's definitely one of my favorite appetizers to share with her when I visit!

The chilly garden pizza turned out great, but it feels like more of an appetizer than a main meal.  I definitely think I'll make this again - but probably to take to a party as a snack or something, not as a main dish.

Tonight for dinner, I got to work with a new ingredient: POLENTA!  I didn't really know what polenta WAS before today.  For those of you who also don't know, polenta is ground cornmeal that has been boiled in water.  The recipe started with me chopping up THREE medium sized onions.  However, after chopping two and seeing how much onion I had, I decided my onions must have been "large" and put my third onion back in my drawer.
After chopping up the onions I got to put together the sauce for the recipe, which was a peperonata sauce.  Before today I also didn't know what a peperonata sauce was - doesn't it sound like it should have pepperoni in it? No?  Anyway, instead of pepperoni, it had roasted red bell peppers, kalamata olives, and diced tomatoes... yum:
I actually didn't have as many olives as the recipe called for - but I think this was a good thing.  My friend S came over for dinner and she commented that she usually finds kalamata olives to be too salty... so I was glad I didn't add more!  Anyway, after I cooked the sauce, I piled layers of sliced polenta, sauce, and parmesan cheese into a dish...
And then popped it in the oven!  With my friend coming over and all, I kind of forgot to take a picture... but we did have leftovers, so here is what it looks like after being in the refrigerator:
Hooray for dinner with friends!  It turned out delicious - I'm really becoming a big fan of onions!  The only thing I might change about this recipe for next time is to add more garlic... I think garlic is one of the most key ingredients to any Italian style dish :-)

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