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01 March 2009

Pizza for Brunch


There is a certain group of people who firmly believe that certain things aren't meant to be eaten until past a certain time of day, like no alcohol before noon, no ice cream for breakfast, or no cereal during dinner. Fortunately (in my opinion) for me, I grew up in a household that did not fall prey to these stereotypes, and I grew up comfortable eating fried egg and tinapa for dinner, cereal very late at night, and pizza and ice cream for breakfast.

I love pizza, and for me nothing comes close to Gourmet Garden or the Garden Special from Yellowcab. But lately there have been fewer and fewer toppings, and in accordance to my new year's resolution to eat better, I have shied away from most pizzas because they are far too oily.

Which brings me to today, and I would like to share what I do to get my healthy pizza fix. It is so much easier to buy pizza crust from the store, but if anyone is interested in making their own pizza dough, Chef Todd English has a great recipe for pizza dough here. The rest of the ingredients are:

  1. Zuchinni - cut into thin rounds or roughly half a centimeter (because they taste best when they are cooked all the way through)
  2. Eggplant - cut into slightly thicker one centimeter
  3. Blanched Tomatoes - You drop tomatoes (not fast! you don't want to get splattered!) into hot boiling water for no more than maybe a minute, followed by a quick dunk in ice water. After this you peel off the skin, it is much easier to peel off the skin if you score the tops of the tomatoes (you cut an X on top so you have something to pull when you peel off the skin). I know this is technically not blanching as blanching usually takes only 15 seconds, but you want the tomato to get to a slightly mushy but still intact phase, because this is going to take the place of your tomato sauce. It will get messy. Do it in a bowl.
  4. Green Bell Pepper - cut these into crunchy rounds, and don't be afraid to include the seeds!
  5. Feta - one of the staples in our household, we use Lemnos feta most of the time because they have some great goat feta. You're gonna have to crush this with a fork so that it is easier to spread.
  6. Mozarella (Fresh Bocconcini) - Almost all commercial pizzas use long life mozarella blocks, which may be a better melting cheese but is not very good for you. Fresh mozarella, like Bocconcini has a shelf life of only a few weeks, and are balls of cheese in water. We get this from S&R in small clear plastic tubs (Mamma Lucia). You're gonna have to cut this up in pieces, doesn't matter what size.
  7. Olive oil - for general drizzling
  8. Basil - the perfect garnish
So first off, you want to waterproof the crust, as you can be sure that all the vegetables and the bocconcini is going to release a lot of water upon baking. So you drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil on the crusts and bake them until they begin to form a hard crust on the top. You take them out and begin to spread a thin layer of crushed feta first. Then you alternate the eggplant and zuchinni, and top it off with tomatoes and green bell pepper. Last will be the pieces of mozarella. Drizzle again with olive oil. Place in the oven at 350C until the cheese melts and the zuchinni and eggplant are cooked.

That sounds like pretty great breakfast to me.

1 comment:

  1. I agree... excellent breakfast, or brunch, heck I'd take that anytime of the day. One question though, see I don't have an oven, any idea how I can adapt this to cook with either an oven toaster or microwave (or a combination of both)?


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