So it would seem that I have abandoned my blog for a while, almost immediately after sharing it with friends and colleagues…I hope that they don’t give up on me and visit occasionally since I am determined to continue writing and publishing recipes.  I just had been spending too much time in airports lately and even though I have access to internet, unfortunately I don’t have access to my kitchen (or someone else’s kitchen, if they are friendly enough to share it).  So in the meantime, I resort to reading recipes of other, more fortunate souls, and finding my own inspiration for later.  One of the most incredible food blogs that I follow is Green Kitchen Stories, based in Stockholm.  The recipes on this blog resonate my own cooking philosophy of using whole, plant-based ingredients and combining them in ways that allow each item to shine while preserving or enhancing its nutritional value.  So when I needed to find basic recipe for whole-grain pizza dough, I knew exactly where to search.

I went home to Texas for couple of weeks, and, after recovering from jet lag and shopping craze (it is Thanksgiving week after all), I finally found my way to my mother’s kitchen.  Quick survey of our giant (US-sized) refrigerator revealed a box of slightly shriveled cherry tomatoes, a pile of somewhat unhappy brown mushrooms, few indifferent zucchinis, and still edible spinach.  There were of course many other things worth mentioning but these were items identified to be in most immediate need of attention.  And what a better way to cheer up several vegetables at once than to make a pizza out of them?

As I mentioned earlier, I got an idea of making mini pizzas from GKS but I used different toppings and skipped the tomato sauce.  I like to layer toppings directly on the pizza dough because I find that tomato sauce has tendency to act as a ‘distraction’ when combined with more delicate ingredients.  I made three varieties of pizza using thinly sliced zucchinis sprinkled with kalamata olives, bunches of fresh spinach with little mounds of creamy goat cheese, and quartered mushrooms with halved cherry tomatoes showered with dried oregano.  The beauty of such recipe is its versatility because once you create the base, there are endless possibilities to fill in the colors.  Thinly sliced apples, fennel, potatoes, beets, kale, cheese sprinkled with olives, nuts, herbs and spices — the choices are yours!

Pretty Pizza Palette

– 1 batch of dough (see recipe here) — I ran out of spelt flour after 1 cup so I used 1.5 cup of whole wheat flour instead.  Also, I cheated and used my awesome bread machine to knead the dough and call me when its ready.

– 1 zucchini

– 5 to 7 olives (kalamata are my favorite)

– 2 cups of cherry tomatoes

– 2 cups of brown mushrooms

– 4-5 handfuls of fresh spinach, washed and dried

– 4-5 tablespoons of goat cheese

– dried oregano

– black pepper

Once your dough has risen, separate it in approximately 10 little balls and roll each one out into thin circles (the size of large saucer plates).  Make sure your oven is nice and hot (about 450F / 230C) and line baking tray with parchment paper.  Transfer the dough circles onto the tray and load with your choice of toppings.

Zucchini-Olive topping (makes about 2 fun-size pizzas)

Use potato peeler to thinly slice zucchini into ribbons.  With a flat side of knife, smash olives and remove pits.  Pile few of zucchini strips directly on the dough and sprinkle with several olive halves and black pepper.

Tomato-Mushroom topping (makes about 4-5 pizzas)

Use wet paper towel to wipe any dirt off the mushrooms (don’t wash them or they’ll get soggy and sad) and slice in quarters.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Arrange everything on the pizza and sprinkle liberally with dried oregano and black pepper.

Spinach-Goat cheese topping (makes about 4-5 pizzas)

Pile as much spinach as you can fit on the pizza dough (high pile is OK, it will shrink).  Tear small chunks of goat cheese with your fingers and place on the spinach leaves.  I use about a tablespoon of cheese per one mini pizza.  Finish by adding black pepper.

Bake for approximately 13-15 minutes or until the edges are brown and toppings are thoroughly cooked. Eat quickly, using your hands!

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