Just to be clear with my readers, for the near foreseeable future I am without home, which naturally means I am without kitchen. Until I get my own home and my own kitchen (whenever that may be), I’ll be cooking with friends in their kitchen or capturing their meals as they cook.
For now I’m staying with a dear friend from high school, Kiki, and her husband, Colton. First and foremost, they have the most amazing kitchen. Any kitchen that has two ovens is amazing in my eyes, so I guess that’s my definition of amazing.
I had my first ever shopping experience at Fresh & Easy tonight, and I have to say I was extremely impressed and I can’t wait to go back. The prices are cheaper than Trader Joe’s (as far as I can tell), and Kiki and Colton both attest to the fact that the food is amazing. The food truly is fresh(ly prepared) and easy (to make); or as Colton would say, Fresh and Easy to burn down your house.
We had very good intentions tonight as we started out making our roasted garlic veggie pesto pizza. Unfortunately we got a little overzealous when applying the pesto to the dough (you want the dough covered in sauce right?) because as the pizza cooked, the pesto bubbled up and out and began dripping. I’m sure you know what happens when oil hits the bottom of a hot oven. No? A lot of smoke.
As far as assembling the pizza goes, the only role I had was pressing the dough into the pan. (In hindsight we realized as we were struggling to tear the cooked pizza from the pan that we probably should have oiled the pan before pressing the dough onto the bottom.) After I pressed the dough, I snapped pictures while Kiki assembled the rest of the pie.
As the pizza was cooking/burning/smoking in the oven, Colton said to Kiki, Honey, I’m not eating that. Kiki replied, There’s just a little too much pesto. It’s fine. It will be good. To which Colton replied, There’s so much smoke the neighbors are calling the fire department right now. (Note: We tried but failed at capturing pictures of the smoke pouring out of the oven.)
- Foccacia bread dough (we used two store-bought packages; here’s a recipe for some homemade stuff)
- pesto sauce (approximately 1/4 of the prepackaged variety, we learned after using the entire package)
- fresh mozzarella (again, two packages)
- shredded basil (not too much!)
- shredded spinach (apply liberally)
- Baby bella mushrooms, sliced (same)
- one tomato, sliced (to taste)
- roasted garlic (as much as you can stand)
- garlic salt (just a sprinkle)
- parmesan cheese (garnish)
- Pam cooking spray (recommended!)
- Spread the foccacia dough into the pan and let settle according to directions.
- Spread with an ample amount of pesto sauce (but not too much).
- Layer with fresh mozzarella, garlic salt, fresh basil, veggies, garlic, and garnish with parmesan cheese.
- Bake according to directions on foccacia bread package (12 to 15 minutes but you’ll probably need longer — we cooked it for 26 minutes). If you’re using homemade dough, bake at 450 for 25 to 35 minutes. Broil at the end if necessary.
- Let stand for a few minutes before cutting.
Despite Colton’s hesitation over the smoking oven tainting the taste of the pizza, the end result was beyond our expectations. The crust was evenly browned, crunchy, and dense; the medley of the pesto sauce and rosemary foccacia dough was exquisite; and the toppings were perfectly paired with the sauce and dough. A fair warning should be noted: you have to LOVE pesto to enjoy this pizza; but if you do love pesto, you’ll never want to eat another flavor pizza again. (Or you could try Colton’s suggestion: mixing the pesto sauce with marinara.)