food pairing: pizza and a movie night—The Duff with Revenge of the nerdy vegetables pizza
May 11, 2016
The Duff movie, adapted from Kody Keplinger’s novel, is without reserve welcomed to my list of teen movies classics. Filled with the staples—friendships that don’t quite fit at first blush, awkward exposure of personal embarrassments, and of course the must-do dance, Prom—this movie fits easily alongside our longtime favorites, also thanks to its own freshly lovable couplings and hijinks. Yes, perfect for pizza and a movie night.
. . . is without reserve welcomed to my list of teen movies classics . . .
Now, you may initially look with disgust upon the offenses against the long established social order of pizza that I’m offering here. Don’t worry. I am not challenging the universal appeal of tomato sauce, fluffy white crusts and shredded mozzarella. But in the spirit of finding the cool kid in everyone maybe we can let these veggies fly their nerd flags to see their previously unappreciated deliciousness. Carrots can push beyond the label of fibrous rabbit food to bring browned and roasted sweetness, artichokes can embrace the silk in their leaves to bring a heavy cream, and peaty kale can serve as a foil to break up other more dainty flavors. Of course those of the establishment are still invited: bright, long-scented basil; salty, biting parmesan and flavor-ballooning garlic.
. . . in the spirit of finding the cool kid in everyone maybe we can let these veggies fly their nerd flags to see their previously unappreciated deliciousness . . .
. . . The perfect pizza crust bears the elusiveness of the perfect chocolate chip cookie . . .
Pizza crusts are tricky to share. The perfect pizza crust bears the elusiveness of the perfect chocolate chip cookie; it cannot be found because everyone is called to something different. This one is my mom’s everlong offering, with a few twists. As we made it together over Mother’s Day weekend, she looked at me with the same skepticism that you might as I added whole shelled sunflower seeds and flax seeds. The evenness of the final crust, with only the slightest hints of nutty bite in the texture, sat with curious ease on her relenting tongue. If you already have a favorite crust, I always suggest sticking with it. If you want something easier, Trader Joe’s multigrain pizza dough has never served me wrong. And don’t forget to brush your crust with herbed olive oil just after it is baked to compound seeped-in and baked-through flavors.
Or, order your favorite pie and still laugh and swoon with The Duff.
Revenge of the Nerdy Vegetables Pizza with Mom’s Whole-grainified Crust
1 tsp dry active yeast
3/4 c lukewarm water
1 1/4 (up to 1 1/2) c white whole wheat flour
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp flax seeds
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp powdered garlic
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil (optional up to 1/4 c olive oil)
2 tbsp apple cider or red wine vinegar
Carrot Kale Pesto
3 medium carrots
4 artichoke hearts (canned)
3 tbsp juice from canned artichokes + 1/4 c coconut water (or 1/4 c canned artichoke juice)
1/4 c olive oil
6-7 large basil leaves
2 cloves fresh garlic, or 1 tsp powdered garlic
1/2 c (heaping) chopped kale
1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese
splash lemon juice
salt and black pepper to taste
Toppings of your choice – we used 3/4 lb homemade turkey sausage, and 6 oz of a shredded cheddar/gouda blend for the cheese, and finished with olive oil blended with garlic powder and chopped rosemary
Dough – 15 minutes hands-on, 2 hours to rise
Sauce – 25 minutes
1. Preparing the crust—Finely chop fresh rosemary. Mix all dry ingredients together, except sugar. (Start with 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour, and add the addition 1/4 c later if the dough looks too wet after being added to the yeast/water mixture.) In a separate bowl, mix the yeast and water together until the yeast has dissolved. Add sugar, olive oil and vinegar to the yeast mixture. Add the dry ingredients and knead until a ball of dough forms (it should not be very sticky). Cover the dough with a damp cloth, and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours.
2. Preparing the sauce—Chop the carrots into small squares. Bring a pot on the stovetop to a medium heat, add butter and then add the carrots to cook until very soft; cover the pot and stir occasionally while cooking.
In a food processor, combine the cooked carrots, artichoke hearts, artichoke juice, coconut water and oil and blend until smooth. Add the kale and again blend until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients and blend to smooth, saving the lemon juice, salt and pepper for last so that you can adjust the amounts according to your desired flavor.
3. Cooking the pizza—Preheat the oven to 485 degrees F. Roll out the dough onto your desired pizza pan (or you can roll out the dough without a pan to be placed directly onto the oven rack). Spread the sauce over the pizza, leaving the desired amount of crust around the edges. Add your toppings and cover with cheese. (If you are adding sausage, you can add raw sausage to the pizza and it will cook while the dough is cooking. If you prefer to use cooked sausage, save it to be added during the last 5 minutes of cooking the pizza so that it does not get dried out.) Cook for 17-22 minutes, until the crust reaches your desired crispiness.
4. After pulling the pizza out of the oven, use a pastry brush to brush the crust with herbed olive oil. Cut into slices and enjoy the melty cheese!
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