Monday, July 12, 2010

Confused Pizza

I supposed I could have just as easily called this post "befuddled taco" but since it LOOKS more like a it shall be!  In an effort to please the collective palates of 10, 15 and 46 year old males, I was keenly aware that the only ingredient of consequence was cheese!

I often joke that my husband would eat ANYTHING be it covered with enough cheese or saturated in sugar.  His somewhat lame and sterotypical response..."I was born in Wisconsin."  That doesn't really hold water when you consider that the boys were NOT and their dairy (and sugar consumption) borders on the obscene. 

However, lacking the urge to field complaints and questions about "strange looking vegetables" I simply fell back upon a tried and true man-food:  pizza.
A quick perusal of the fridge yielded a 3 lb bulk bag of "Mexican blend" shredded cheese from my last trip to BJ's, sour cream, guacamole and a sack of romaine hearts.  The kernels of an idea began to form....

Sure enough, the freezer supplied me with a package of grass-fed ground beef from the co-op, a baggie of left over jalapeno pieces, container of frozen fresh lime juice (from the last time I got key limes 20 for a buck at the farm stand), and a cube of frozen cilantro. 

I searched the pantry for a jar of commercially prepared vain.  I do not normally buy it (even the better quality organic refrigerated kind) due to the high sodium content, but it was worth a shot!  Lacking that, I settled upon a can of no-salt added diced tomatoes with which to make my own.

From here it isn't much of a stretch to figure out where this is going....Tex-Mex ingredients...jar of sourdough starter in fridge...

It worked out exceptionallly well and was indeed quite a hit with all three of the boys. 

Here is my Pizza that wants to be a taco...or my taco that thinks it's a pizza...

*If you don't have a sourdough starter, simply prepare a yeast dough

To begin:

  1. Bring 1 cup of sourdough starter to room temperature in a large glass or plastic bowl.  In a small bowl, combine 1 cup 110 (mzx temp) degree water with 1 envelope ( 2 1/4 tsp.) dry granulated yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar.  Stir and allow the yeast to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes to bloom.  This mixture should be foamy.  *Always mind the date on the packets of yeast lest you ruin your dough!
  2. Once the yeast has begun to feed on the sugar and produce bubbles, pour this mixture into the sourdough starter.  Stir in 1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour, 1/2 cup fine yellow corn meal, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Mix vigorously; cover and let rest at least 20 minutes to form the "sponge".  Properly mixed and rested in a warm, draft free encvironment; the mixture will produce large bubbles in the dough.
  3. Once rested, begin by adding an additonal cup of flour.  Work in with a spoon until it is no longer possible to do so.  Add enough flour (generally takes the first additon and 1 more cup) to form a soft dough.  It should be sticky but relatively easy to handle.  Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead 5 minutes.  Excessive kneading is unecessary for pizza crust.
  4. Place dough in an oiled large glass bowl.  Turn the dough to coat all sides with the oil.  Cover with a damp towel and rest in a draft-free place for approximtely one hour or until doubled in bulk.  Punch down, divide into 2 equal portions.  Sprinkle pizza sheets liberally with yellow corn meal (not oil).  Roll, stretch or press dough to fill pans.  Rest 20 minutes whilst toppings are prepared.
To make this crust without the use of a starter simply follow all directions except you will begin your dough with TWO cups of warm water and may want to add 1/4 cup dry milk powder for fortification and to give the yeast more sugar to feed upon.

If you are using commercially prepared salsa, simply spread evenly over rested crusts with a spatula.  If making your own simple salsa:

  1. Finely mince ( or blitz in food processor) 1 small mild yellow onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 seeded jalapeno (or to taste) and 2 tablespoons cilantro.
  2. Add the above to 1 28 ounce can of drained petit diced no salt added tomatoes or if you prefer a thicker "sauce" type salsa, use a 28 ounce can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes.  Season with lime juice and salt to taste.  Adjust heat with more jalapeno or some cayenne.
  3. Spread evenly over pizza crusts.  You will probably have extra salsa which may be stored in the fridge to eat with corn chips.
For toppings:  Use what you have or what you like.

I topped mine with copius handfuls of the tiny-shred Mexican blend of cheeses, mild banana pepper rings and ground beef which I sauteed off, drained of excess fat and seasoned with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, diced onions, salt and pepper.

I distributed the beef evenly between the two pizzas, layered on some pepper rings and topped the whole of it with the cheese.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until crusts are golden brown and move around easily when the pan is gently shaken.  Tip:  the corn meal on the sheet keeps them from sticking, adds a great crispy texture AND...contributes no additonal fat (because pizza does not need any help in the fat department).

Baking time will vary from oven to oven.  Since both of my round pans will not fit on the same rack, I rotated them halfway through baking to ensure that each got the same degree of doneness.  In general, it should take around 30 minutes.

I put together a quick topping of diced yellow tomatoes, 1 rinsed and drained 15 ounce can of black beans, 1 small diced yellow onion with a bit of lime juice and salt.  Top the baked pizzas with shredded lettuce, the tomatoe mixture, more cheese shreds and generous dollops of sour cream and gucamole.  You have extra salsa if you want to use that too!

As you can see...this isn't the first pizza my pans have ever seen.  They have been though the wars!  That is when they bake the best.

(c)copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet


  1. Yummy! That pizza would be great with a Corona :) I always bake my pizzas on a pizza stone as opposed to a pizza pan. Do you think there's a big difference? I should try it both ways and see.

  2. Love it, making the best with what you have. And even more rewarding when it is a hit. I have had hits and misses that way.

  3. I actually have pizza stones too Victoria and it depends...I think they work out really well for quicker cooking doughs. I knew this one would take a little longer and those old restraunt pizza pans I have are the bomb for longer cooking crusts.

    I have hits and misses also Evelyn...I think all cooks do! Yes, the hits are nice!

  4. This looks really good and has inspired me for a meal this week. Thanks!

  5. Taco salad is a great idea!!! I'd love to make this sometimes.

  6. Hey Jillan, It's a Mexican Pizza! No? Maybe... I make a lasagna with a lot of these ingredients and everyone says 'Stella, will you make that Mexican lasagna?'. Anyway, it looks great! I wish there was one here already made (smile)...I'm starving.
    p.s. Banana peppers are delicious awesomeness!

  7. Wow, I bet the guys loved this:) Looks great!

  8. Thanks for sharing this! My family would go crazy over this dish! I think your taco is very happy being a pizza or vice versa. ;)

  9. I want some of your "Befuddled Tacos!" I'm sure there's nothing befuddling about their taste.

  10. Yum I love it when something food becomes something else. I mean who doesn't enjoy a good I mean pizza.

  11. it's a pizza--no it's a taco--you know this may be how Reese's got started!

  12. Now that pizza looks great to me, the fresh tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream are wonderful!

    I managed a Mexican themed restaurant for several years and we made a pizza with toasted flour tortillas topped with our ranchero sauce (tomato based) and either chicken or beef and once out of the oven we topped it with shredded cheese. Some would request shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes on top, similar to a tostada.

    Bon appetit!

  13. befuddled taco, oh no..more like yummy goodnees, I would love this but then again I love anything on crust, ha ha


  14. me too sweetlife...therein lies my problem!

  15. OMG.....that looks sooooo good!!!!! That is a perfect pizza! and you don't have to be from Wisconsin to love cheese! I remember those commercial on TV....the power of cheese....
    But in Male words.....UMMM Cheese Good!

  16. me like cheese, taco, pizza, heck, I like to eat... this sounds just great - I used to have a sourdough starter, but I forgot to feed it, (or got tired of doing it) and well....

  17. thanks Dennis and Drick! I've not gotten an opportunity to photograph most of what I've had to cook for the boys this week. It seems like they just inhale and it disappears. I did make a really beautiful Shephard's Pie with a Polenta top (instead of potatoes) that was layered with slices of yellow squash and zucchini, roasted red peppers, vidalia onions and a ground sirloin meat sauce. No pics...they literally fell face first into it and it was GONE! is banana split day (for the foodbuzz/Electrolux thing) and I shutter to think what will happen to those!


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Fort Myers, Florida, United States