Two food related headlines garnering national attention this week in the U.S. caught my attention. The first headline was a food blogger facing backlash for calling a noodle soup recipe a “quick Pho”. Vietnamese Americans were outraged. A debate was sparked about ‘cultural appropriation vs. appreciation’.
Fong’s Pizza made the second national headline. A local Des Moines pizzeria, they are known for their fusion of Asian, Polynesian and Italian flavors to create unique pizzas. The headline this week was about their newest creation, a breakfast pizza topped with Fruit Loops Cereal. This pizza has created quite the debate as to what belongs on the top of a pizza. Our Minnesota neighbors to the north have even suggested we should close the border, Lol!
The ‘Loopy Fruits Pizza’ is topped with a sweet cream cheese sauce, topped with mozzarella, Froot Loops and a drizzle of Greek yogurt and sweetened condensed milk. Would you give it a try?
If you have been following my Pizza Journey you know that I have been quite creative with what I have topped my pizzas with. I mean no cultural disrespect to the Italian history of pizza. But, according to Wikipedia, the word pizza was first documented in A.D. 997 in Gaeta. Various ancient cultures put a variety of toppings on flatbread. I think that gives me license to be creative.
So where might you stand on the issue of creativity in cooking and baking? It has been fun coming up with new ideas to put on the blank canvas of a crust. And I have 100+ ideas yet to try.
So, let’s talk about sauce. Our traditional thinking dictates putting a tomato-based sauce or sometimes a white sauce on the crust. But, as much as I love tomatoes, they do not pair well with everything. As I began this pizza journey, I decided to think outside of the sauce pot, can or jar. Or wherever your tomato-based pizza sauce might come from. I have used olive oil, garlic sauce, cheese sauce, salad dressings, jams, spreads, pesto, glazes and gravy. There really is no limit on what you might try, so get saucy!
If you prefer a more traditional sauce, here are two basic recipes:
Red Pizza Sauce
16 ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 ounce can of tomato paste
2 teaspoons each: oregano & basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
White Pizza Sauce
¼ cup butter
2 large shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream, warmed
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter then add shallots & garlic. Cook till soft. Sprinkle with flour, stir. Slowly add in cream, whisking continually. Add in thyme, salt & pepper to taste. Cool before using. Will keep for a few days in the fridge.
This brings us to the latest creative pizza. Bethany & Joel told me about a Pot Roast Pizza they had while living in Ames, Iowa. A few weeks ago, I had leftovers from a traditional (American) pot roast. Chuck roast, potatoes, carrots, onions and gravy were saved in the freezer. I decided to use my Pan Crust pizza which essentially served as the ‘dinner rolls’. I have a basic formula when topping a pizza. I layer on the sauce, sprinkle on a seasoning, sprinkle on grated Parmesan, then layer on whatever specialty cheese I am using. Then on goes the toppings and finally shredded mozzarella cheese. Here is the result…
I used gravy, steak seasoning, shredded cheddar, grated parmesan, , shredded pot roast, potatoes, carrots, onions, green peas and shredded mozzarella. As usual, there were barely any crumbs left.
On Thursday Dough Day this past week we tried an easy recipe that Matthew could make on his own…Pour-a-Dish Pizza. The crust is mixed up and poured into a 9” x 13” dish, toppings are added and then it is partially baked. Then the sauce and mozzarella are added and it is popped back into the oven to finish baking. It reminded me of a savory Dutch Baby pancake. It was easy and a hit!
Next week we will be celebrating an early St. Patrick’s Day with a special pizza. Can you guess what I might top our pizza with? What would you put on yours?