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More Pizzalicious Game Night

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This first full week of the new year has been a whirlwind!  I was fortunate enough to kick it off by watching the Horns defeat the sweater vests’ of Ohio State. Go Horns!

My friend Claire has season tickets to the home games, so she had missed the first Pizzalicious Game Night and asked me to reprise the menu for the Fiesta Bowl.  I agreed to repeat two of the pizzas – National Championship Pizza (for obvious reasons) and the OctoberFest Pizza – if I could try two new ones.
I decided to play it safe with one (Spinach, Garlic & Feta), but to try something crazy with the other.  My colleague Kim gave me the idea of spinach, garlic and feta as one of her favorites, so now I just had to pick the “experimental” pizza.  I read several beet pizza recipes this fall and  decided it was time to put yet another beet recipe to the test.  I know, I know – I just won’t give up on the beets.  I decided that I would try the same ingredients I had in a good beet salad recently – arugula, roasted beets and feta.
My friends thought I’d lost it, but they’ve thought that before, so they tried it anyway.  It was definitely different – the beets were a little sweet with some spice from the arugula, but we all decided it was good and polished off the whole thing.  We needed our energy for cheering on the Horns.
Beet, Arugula & Feta Pizza
1 bunch of beets, peeled and sliced
1 bunch of arugula, rinsed
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3-4 oz of feta
olive oil
1 pizza crust  (I got mine from HEB – I like their ready made crust and had too much going on to make my own)
Heat oven to 400 degrees.   Place beets in a dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast pizzas for 20-30 minutes – until they are tender.
Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Place pizza crust on a preheated stone or a cookie sheet.  Brush olive oil over the crust and sprinkle garlic over it.  Next, layer the arugula on the crust and top it with a layer of beets.  Sprinkle the feta on top.  Drizzle olive oil on top of the pizza (this keeps the arugula from getting too dried out.)  Cook the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 10-15 minutes.


Spinach, Garlic and Feta Pizza

1 bunch of spinach, rinsed
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3-4 oz of feta
tomato sauce of your choice (I used the pizza sauce that came with the HEB crust)
1 pizza crust  (I got mine from HEB – I like their ready made crust and had too much going on to make my own)
olive oil
Preheat oven to 450.  Place crust on preheated pizza stone or cookie sheet.  Spoon sauce over crust.  Layer garlic around the pizza, followed by the spinach.  Sprinkle feta on top.  Drizzle olive oil on the spinach to keep it from getting dried out.  Cook pizza for about 10 minutes.
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Pizza-licious Game Night

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I am not one of the fortunate 98,000 people who had a ticket to last night’s big University of Texas game vs. Missouri so I invited some friends over to eat dinner and watch the game. (It was an excellent game if you missed it.  Go Horns!)
And what goes better with watching football than pizza!  Of course, being me, I couldn’t just make pepperoni, and decided we needed some farmers market inspired pies.  I settled on four different types of pizzas:  sweet pepper, mushroom and Italian sausage; zucchini, basil and bacon; shrimp, zucchini and feta; and the piece de resistance – an Octoberfest pizza.
I had made two of the pizzas before which allowed me to be more “creative” with the others.  It helps to have some confidence in part of the dinner.   So, about that Octoberfest pizza…
I’m not really sure where I got this crazy idea, but I think it started when I saw that Steele farms had red cabbage last week at the market.  I love sausage and cabbage.  I know, I know, but I love it.  And then I had the idea to have pizza for my game night party.  Then I saw Jamie Oliver make a pizza with cabbage.  The tumblers clicked and the Octoberfest pizza was born.  
I did do some googling to make sure I wasn’t totally nuts and I found a similar pizza from Germany that included sauerkraut, apples, bratwurst and Swiss cheese.   I now had evidence that I hadn’t completely lost it.  
Surprisingly, I could get almost all the ingredients from the market.  I bought the pizza crust (don’t really have the counter space to roll out dough – but got some great pre-made crusts from the the HEB deli case), the pesto, tomato sauce, the mustard and some of the cheese.  
All four pizzas turned out great based on the empty plates.  The general consensus was that the Octoberfest pizza was good and was a little like eating a hot dog on pizza crust.  I’m going to take that as a good review.
The other great thing was I pre-cooked all the ingredients so all I had to do was throw the pizzas together and toss them in the oven.  It was the perfect combination for a football party.
I cooked all the pizzas at 450 degrees on the bottom shelf (if you have a pizza stone it’s even better) for about 15 minutes.
P.S.  My apologies for being the slacker poster.  For the first time in 2.5 years, I am in town for three weeks in a row.  I have cooked up a storm, but I have been playing instead of posting.  Just know there are lots of recipes coming….
Octoberfest Pizza
1 lb German Sausage
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 small red cabbage, sliced
Bavarian mustard
2 bottles Shiner Bock Beer
Olive Oil
Swiss cheese, grated
Put 1 lb of German Sausage (from the fabulous Peach Creek Farms of course) in a pan with 2 bottles of Shiner Bock beer.  Bring to a boil and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes (until they look done).    Remove from the pan, but reserve the Shiner Bock.
Put about a tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and sweat the onions.  Add the red cabbage and ladle the shiner bock from the other pan (I don’t like to waste beer so I reused.  If this grosses you out, you could open a new bottle).  Add a tablespoon of Bavarian mustard – not Dijon, not regular mustard – and stir.  Allow to cook until the cabbage is just tender.
For the sauce, in a small bowl, take 2 tbsps of Bavarian mustard, about a tbsp of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of Shiner Bock.   Whisk.  If it doesn’t look like enough sauce, then increase the amounts of everything in the proper proportion.
Spread the sauce over the pizza crust.  Leave about 1/2 inch around the edge of the crust dry.  Spread the onion and cabbage mixture evenly over the sauce.  Slice the German Sausage on a slant so that it isn’t too thick and then layer over the cabbage mixture.  Sprinkle Swiss cheese across the top.  
Be careful not to layer too many ingredients in the middle of the pizza.  It makes it soggy. 
Cook for about 15 minutes, check along the way to make sure it doesn’t get too “crispy.”
Shrimp Zucchini Feta Pizza
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons (use a vegetable peeler like you are peeling a carrot)
Feta cheese
Pesto, I used TexaFrance Classic
Red Pepper flakes
Spread pesto over the pizza crust, leaving about 1/2 inch dry at the edge of the crust.  If you have more time and energy than me, then you will make your own perfect pesto.  I bought Texafrance Classic from HEB.   I am not Martha Stewart.
Layer the zucchini over the pesto – not too thick because you want the zucchini to cook.  Add the shrimp and sprinkle with feta.  Add the red pepper flakes.
Cook until the zucchini and shrimp are done.  Yum!
From the Garden Pizza
Pizza sauce (homemade or from the jar – no judgment! – I used the yummy pizza sauce that came with the HEB pizza crust and it was great)
Zucchini, shaved – use a vegetable peeler to make strips
Bacon, uncooked and chopped (Jamie used pancetta – I didn’t have pancetta from the market)
Mozzarella, grated
Red pepper flakes
Parmesan, grated

Layer sauce on the dough. Sprinkle bacon on top of the sauce. Then, layer zucchini. Sprinkle with mozzarella (not too much cheese).

Place in the oven until the top bubbles and is cooked through – about 10-15 minutes if you have a precooked crust and longer if the crust was raw. 

Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and parmesan to taste.

National Championship Pizza or Sausage, Red Pepper, and Wild Mushroom Pizza 
The last time I made this was when Texas won the Rose Bowl, aka the National Championship.  I do not believe it’s an accident that we won the Missouri game – BIG.
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
5 to 6 small red peppers, thinly sliced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
7 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 1/4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 3/4 cups coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 7 ounces), divided
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage. Sauté until
brown, breaking into 1/2-inch pieces with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon,
transfer sausage to bowl. 
Add peppers and garlic to skillet. Sauté until crisp-tender, about 2 to 3  minutes; transfer to plate. 
Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add mushrooms and 1 tbsp rosemary.  Sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
Leaving 1/2-inch plain border, spread the pizza sauce thinly around the crust.  Then top with 3/4 cup mozzarella, then onion, sausage, peppers and mushrooms.
Bake until crust bottoms are crisp and brown, reversing sheets after 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons mozzarella, then parmesan, if desired.

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Sharing a Slice: Zucchini Pancetta Pizza

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For the first time in what feels like months, I got to cook two nights in a row last weekend. Yippeee!

I had a number of recipes I’d been waiting to cook and chief among them was a pizza recipe I had seen on an episode of Jamie At Home where Jamie Oliver cooks from his own garden. I figured since I was doing a half mile swim race the next morning that I had the perfect excuse to carbo load. An added bonus to the evening was my friend Sandy ended up coming over for dinner and pizza is always better when you get to share.

Jamie made a 4 section pizza and each section had a different flavor. I picked one set of ingredients, put my own twist on it, and made an entire pizza from it. But don’t worry – we’ll be visiting some of the other taste combinations as those veggies come back in season here.

A big disclaimer – I did not make my own pizza dough. I bought a pizza crust from the store. I know, I know, but I just didn’t feel like it.

I also did not make my own sauce – heresy, I know. I had a jar of open marinara so I just used it. Hey, I did turn on my oven….

From the Garden Pizza
Jamie Oliver’s Pizza Dough or buy one from the store
Pizza sauce (homemade or from the jar – no judgment!)
Zucchini, shaved – use a vegetable peeler to make strips
Mushrooms, chopped and sauteed with a little butter and some mixed Italian seasoning
Bacon, uncooked and chopped (Jamie used pancetta – I didn’t have pancetta)
Mozzarella, grated
Red pepper flakes
Parmesan, grated

Place one of the oven racks on the bottom position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Put your pizza dough on a pizza stone or baking sheet (pizza stone is much better). Layer sauce on the dough. Sprinkle bacon on top of the sauce. Then, layer mushrooms and zucchini. Sprinkle with mozzarella (not too much cheese).

Place in the oven until the top bubbles and is cooked through – about 10-15 minutes if you have a precooked crust and longer if the crust was raw.

Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and parmesan to taste.

I was worried the bacon wouldn’t cook, but it does and everything else came together too. We really enjoyed it and I hope you do too.

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