rustic pizza with feta, heirloom cherry tomatoes, kalamata and marinara + invitation to Julia Child croissant challenge

by Stevie on August 25, 2011

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I’ve been out of town at the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno. It was really fun, but I’ve fallen dreadfully behind with you, my fellow food bloggers. So this week, as I re-adjust to the “real world” again, I’m scrambling to get on the ball. To that end, I’m pleased, no, thrilled to announce a September cooking challenge to any and all of you. Heavenly from donuts to delirium and I agreed to try the elegant but surely prone to disaster Julia Child recipe for butter croissants. Follow this link for the recipe.

rustic pizza with feta, heirloom cherry tomatoes, kalamata and marinara

rustic pizza with feta, heirloom cherry tomatoes, kalamata and marinara

The recent Ottolenghi cheesecake challenge was a wild success and amazingly fun. That one was quite specific however. Here, should you be daring enough, you can tinker with the croissant recipe to your heart’s content. I’m already fantasizing about stuffing mine with tropical fruit and mascarpone. All you need do is contact Heavenly or me to let us know that you’re on board. Make the recipe and publish it on your blog on September 19, 2011. We’ll send you a list of links of other participants a few days before for you to add to your post. C’est tout! I do hope all of you try this with us. The more, the merrier.

Today’s rustic pizza doesn’t have a thing to do with Julia Child or butter croissants. But it’s one that I’ve been thinking of trying since July when I saw it posted on Karen’s wonderful The Gourmet Food Blog. Her pizza tri-colore was stunning! I was particularly impressed with her gorgeous crust.

chilly and overcast Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco

chilly and overcast Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco last Sunday

I tried mine on a very cool foggy San Francisco day—you could say almost winter-like weather (I know most of you are suffering over the record-breaking temperatures everywhere, but it has been a might cold in the City by the Bay.) I think that affected my final product. My dough rose, but remained fairly dense, even after I doubled the time. It had a firm texture that really held onto the heavy toppings. It reminded me of Chicago style pizza. I added heirloom cherry tomatoes, feta, Kalamata olives, and marinara sauce. I like a lot of toppings.

Also, I baked mine on our new, amazing-because-you-can-actually-wash-it-with-soap-and-water coated pizza stone! Gone are the days of crusty gross pizza stones growing funk in my oven. Hurrah! It was twice as expensive as the other kind of uncoated stone, but so worth it.

our glorious new washable pizza stone

our glorious new washable pizza stone

rustic pizza with feta, heirloom cherry tomatoes, Kalamata and marinara

for toppings:

½ cup feta cheese
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, in halves
12 kalamata olives in halves
2 tbps. Parmesan
Small bunch fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Plus some coarse corn meal to move pizza

for marinara:

14 oz. Diced canned tomatoes with juice
1 clove garlic, minced
½ small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp. Dried oregano
1 bay leaf
½ tsp salt
crushed red and black pepper to taste

Prepare pizza dough from Karen’s recipe.

Pre-heat oven to 425F with pizza stone inside.

In a small saucepan, add 3 tbsp. olive oil, garlic, onion and salt on high heat. Cook for a few minutes. Add remaining marinara ingredients. Bring to boil then reduce heat to rapid simmer to reduce liquid by at least half. Discard bay leaf.

Shape pizza dough. Prepare a board with some corn meal. Place dough on top of corn meal. Spread with marinara sauce. Sprinkle with feta, then heirloom cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives and parmesan. Gently slide onto pizza stone. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until crust becomes golden.

Remove from oven then drizzle with some olive oil and finally toss basil leaves on top.

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