Rosemary, Olive Oil, Potato Pizza and Lemony Zucchini Ricotta Pizza

At first mention, the idea of a sauceless, cheeseless pizza doesn't seem too enticing, so if it makes you feel better, you can call these flatbreads or something else. I'm happy thinking of them as pizzas where the focus is all dough and toppings. (In case you're new here, I LOVE dough.)

These are both Smitten Kitchen recipes I made last weekend with my friend Allie. The zucchini pizza I first made last summer, but this time used ricotta instead of goat cheese. And a recent LA Times article reminded me I had never tried the potato pizza I saw on Smitten Kitchen two summers ago.

zucchini-squash-lemon-pizza

Both are great summer pizzas, in my mind. Light and fresh tasting. (I know, carbs on carbs, how is potato pizza light? But the potatoes are sliced thinly and there's not sauce and cheese to weigh it down further.) The two pizzas with a side salad make a perfect evening-on-the-porch meal.

I won't post the full recipes since I didn't make any significant changes, except as mentioned, this time I used ricotta instead

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of goat cheese. For the potato pizza don't be shy with the sea salt and cracked pepper. For both, I used Trader Joe's dough, then cooked the pizzas individually in a 500-degree oven on a preheated pizza stone until the toppings were cooked and the crust turned golden brown.

Rosemary, Olive Oil, Potato Pizza

Lemony Zucchini Ricotta Pizza

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Sour Cream Ice Cream

I first had sour cream ice cream 7 years ago at Prune in NYC. It came with a molten chocolate cake and was surprisingly delicious. So when I got an ice cream maker and started looking for flavor ideas, I didn’t hesitate to bookmark Gale Gand’s sour cream ice cream recipe. (In case you missed it, read what Michael wrote after meeting Gale Gand here.)

I didn’t have a pound of sour cream as the recipe called for, so I made up my own version on the spot. I added lemon zest and very little sugar, so it made a nice, tart ice cream perfect for serving with berries. Or molten chocolate cake,

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which Gale Gand can also help you out with (see here).

Continue reading “Sour Cream Ice Cream”

Strawberry Lemon Basil Sorbet

lemons

My parents’ house used to have the best lemon tree. I’m sure these lemons would have won a contest of some sort had I entered them. The tree produced absurdly large lemons. Bigger than grapefruits and more interesting shapes, too.

Besides comedic value, the tree offered an endless supply for lemonade, and last summer I started to get creative. The best flavor I made was Strawberry Basil Lemonade.

As soon as I got my ice cream maker I knew I’d have to recreate the flavor in sorbet form. Finally I bought huge package of strawberries and the biggest lemon I could find in the store (still a dwarf compared to our tree’s best). I also picked some of the basil I’ve been growing. It was on.

You can make extra lemon-basil simple syrup to flavor the strawberry sorbet and have some left over for great summer drinks. Add it to iced tea or invent some cocktails. Continue reading “Strawberry Lemon Basil Sorbet”

Acid Redux

acids1In the Los Angeles Times food section today, editor Russ Parsons (also the author of How to Read a French Fry, which I started reading the other day) discussed the benefits of adding acids

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like vinegars to a dish.

How many times have you watched Top Chef, or something like it, and heard the judges say, “It needs more acid” and wondered what exactly that meant? “Needs more acid” used to be my go-to phrase for sounding like a food snob in jest. Then I started to read about more about cooking, and suddenly acid is no joke.

Acidity is sourness. As I mentioned the other day, The Flavor Bible talks a lot about balancing flavors, and sourness is one of those. The book says acid is only second to salt in enhancing flavors. There’s a quote from Sharon Hage, a chef at York Street in Dallas, “We have lemon juice right next to the salt when we cook. Acid is the most important aspect of how a dish tastes — whether it is there as subtle punctuation or an exclamation point!

citrus1

The LA Times article focuses on vinegars (balsamic, red wine, sherry, apple cider), but I use citrus fruits a lot. Anything Thai or Latin benefits from a squeeze of lime, as something Mediterranean or Middle Eastern will be enhanced with lemon. Oranges are a lot less harsh than their yellow and green cousins, and orange zest adds depth to desserts, like in an apple-cranberry pie.

Wine is great for awakening dishes too. White wine or sherry in a stir-fry marinade or a dry red in tomato sauce are almost critical to me now.

The point is, when something seems sorta blah, a squeeze of citrus or splash of wine or vinegar could be your redemption. The Flavor Bible tells me so.