Monday, February 28, 2011

Pizza--a whole new spin (Part 1)

One of my older daughter's friends is here today playing video games. Of course pizza is on the menu for dinner, and it will be the usual pepperoni with green peppers and pineapple (?). But that got me to thinking about what other things could be done with a simple piece of pizza dough and a bit of imagintion.

The pizza I want to tell you about today is from one of our favorite restaurants in Victoria, British Columbia--Rebar Modern Food. Rebar started in 1988 as a small downtown corner cafe. Their fame for good coffee and amazingly good veggie burgers and a juice bar spread quickly and several years later they took a leap of faith, expanding and relocating to 50 Bastion Square--where they have been for about two decades. They still have the coffee, juice, and veggie burgers, but they are now so much more.

Rebar is all about quality ingredients and carefully prepared foods. Most of their menu is vegetarian or vegan, but the flavors are so wonderful and innovative, even a meat-lover can dine there and not feel deprived.

Roased Potato Pizza
your favorite pizza dough (or see below)
sun-dried tomato pesto (see below)
1 lb red potatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cracked pepper
1/2 bunch spinach, stemmed and washed
Two 6-oz jars marinated artichoke hearts
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Quarter the potatoes lengthwise and slice 1/4-inch thick. Toss with garlic, rosemary, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and tender. Cool and set aside. Slice spinach leaves into 1/2-inch thick ribbons. Drain artichoke hearts and cut in half lengthwise. Crumble and grate the cheese.

Turn the oven heat up to 450 degrees F. Press dough into an oiled 15-inch pizza pan.

Spread the bottom of the crust with pesto and sprinkle with 1 cup mozarella cheese. Layer with spinach ribbons, potatoes, and artichoke hearts. Sprinkle feta cheese over top, followed by final cup of mozzarella.

Turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F and bake on the bottom rack for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and crust golden.

Pizza Dough
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in salt, sugar, and olive oil. Add flour and mix until dough comes together. Knead about 20 times on a well-floured surface.


Sundried Tomato Pesto
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
2 tsp. capers
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
4 tablespoons chopped mint or basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
cracked pepper to taste

Place sun-dried tomatoes in glass measuring cup. Cover with boiling water and soak for about 15 minutes. Strain and reserve about 1/2 cup soaking water. Cool. Combine all ingredients except soaking water in food processor and pulse until blended. Thin if needed with some of reserved soaking water.

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