Sunday, March 9, 2008

Pizza Bianca Verdi

Vegetarian pizzas run the risk of being tasteless or boring. Not the case with this pizza which incorporates flavors that work together well. The taste of grilled Portabello mushrooms and eggplant combine with the cheese, onions, peppers and spinach to create a real treat. Add some fresh basil and the flavor is out of this world.

The name of this pizza means white green pizza. White because it has no tomato sauce, and green because of the spinach and basil. This is a great candidate for cooking in the Stone Pony.

Hint: Even though many steps in this recipe call for grilling, you can achieve the same taste by brushing the ingredients with olive oil and searing in a non-stick pan.

  • 1/2 pound pizza dough ball. I bought mine at a local pizza parlor, but you can make your own if you like.
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced.
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 Portabello mushroom cap
  • 1 Italian pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 3-4 leaves of fresh basil, chopped coarse.
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz Gorgonzola cheese
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese

  1. Roll out the dough, brush with olive oil and garlic and set aside.
  2. Slice and salt the eggplant, set aside to shed water.
  3. Slice the onion, drizzle with olive oil and grill until caramelized. You can also sear in a non-stick pan.
  4. Rub the mushroom caps with garlic and brush with olive oil and grill. It is important to grill fin side down first.
  5. Blot dry the eggplant, brush with olive oil and grill. It is also possible to broil the eggplant 10 minutes on each side.
  6. Slice the Italian pepper into rings, brush with olive oil and grill quickly, being careful not to let it get mushy.
  7. Layer the eggplant on the dough followed by the Gorgonzola cheese and the spinach. Save some of the spinach.
  8. Layer all the rest of the ingredients, top with chopped basil, the rest of the spinach and the mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425o F.
  10. Let stand for at least 5 minutes. If desired sprinkle with crushed red pepper for a little extra pizazz.

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Simple and Fresh Tasting Yogurt Cucumber Dip

The simplicity of this dip takes nothing away from its delicious Mediterranean flavor. This is a taste that you may have encountered on a shawirma or gyros sandwich, but it also works great as a bread dip or a salad toping. It is a great side dish for other middle eastern dishes such as falafel, fava beans, shish kebab, or stuffed grape leaves.

If you want to make it thick enough to be used as a sandwich spread, you can substitute Lebna for the yogurt. This will also make the flavor slightly more tangy as well.

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt. If you want the dip to be thicker for a sandwich spread substitute Lebna.
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mint
  • 1 shake of salt

  1. Peel the cucumber.
  2. Make a criss-cross pattern on the cucumber with a knife.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to slice the cucumber into a bowl. The criss-cross pattern will make the chunks small.
  4. salt the cucumbers, add the mint and garlic. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add the yogurt, mix thoroughly.
  6. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or let stand in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  7. Serve with your favorite foods or just enjoy crispy bread or chips.

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