Like many, I’d say Mondays are my hardest day of the week, mostly because I have to get into the office by 8:30, sometimes earlier. It’s not like I am not used to this — I’ve worked for years, after all — but life is a bit different these days. Now I have to clear the cobwebs out of my own head to get organized enough so that I can get some breakfast and coffee in me, put on some semi-‘professional’ clothes — and do that times two (well — minus the semi-prof clothes bit). Gone are the days when I could fully wake up on the walk to the bus and then zone out while thinking about my first cup of Blue Bottle Coffee always made impeccably by the nice Italians near my old office. I won’t say Mondays (and Tuesdays, and occasionally also Wednesdays) are frantic, because S is still very portable and doesn’t care about what clothes she wears, but they are definitely much more … efficient … than once they were. By the time we make our way home after 5p I’m especially grateful if I’ve managed to come up with an idea for a quick dinner that will take less than 15 minutes to put together (vegetable fried rice anyone?) or have stashed a pot of soup in the fridge.
What I wish I’d done for tonight — split pea soup aside (and it is very good split pea soup) — is to have made some dough so I could quickly put together this recipe for a roasted zuchini/charred red onion/tahini sauced whole grain pizza. Unfortunately I did not, though it’s all I’m thinking about this afternoon, so in lieu of consuming it later at least I can share the recipe here.
I’ve wanted to write this one up for well over a year (!) and why haven’t I? The inspiration for it comes by way of The Sprouted Kitchen and while it may seem a bit weird to put tahini sauce rather than tomato on pizza let me be the first to say that if you llike tahini even 1/8 as much as I do you will love its inclusion.
I made some adaptions to the original recipe, the main being that we rather abhor eggplant in my household and go to great lengths to avoid it (for me the reason behind this traces back to an incident with a dining hall portion of eggplant parmesan circa 1998, the details better left unshared). But squash is quite nice, no? Especially when it’s first baked with olive oil and then tossed with some gently ‘charred’ (quotes because they are not burned, but nearly so) onions and a touch of oregano. The mix of feta, mozzarella, and parmsan cheeses is well bolstered by a hearty whole wheat crust, but the result feels wholesome and not smack-you-in-the-face ‘healthy’ (though it sort of is).
The addition of preserved lemon on this pizza would make it even nicer; now that I’m in North Africa preserved lemons are so easy to come by I have no excuse not to nestle them alongside the feta cheese. And so I think that will be my excuse to make it for next Monday’s dinner …
Meanwhile, we’ve been having a string of really quite gorgeous days here after a wicked storm — thunder and lightening at night! Buckets of rain during the day! — last week. We did some exploring this weekend and I’ve gathered up my courage and have been driving as much as I can deal with (verdict: not pleasant but far from impossible) which makes me feel pretty proud of myself (visit Casa and you’ll immediately understand what I mean). We had a friend over for drinks and sat on the patio in the sun, and then ate Guinness chocolate cake. The girl has gifted us with some long and lovely nights of sleep and that plus the spring sunshine has made our post-run cups of coffee taste extra delicious. It’s the little things: yes. Particularly, good pizza.
You could add or substitute a varity of vegetables here as they come into (or out of) season, but I like the simplicity of using just a few here. I also think you could get away with using less cheese or eliminating it altogether if you’re vegan; the vegetables plus the tahini sauce are interesting and flavorful enough on their own.
For Pizza Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 talepsoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheatflour
Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a mixing bowl, stir in the yeast, ans et aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining water, olive oil, and salt, then add the flous, adding enough to form a shaggy dough. Turn it out onto a floured board and kneed a few minutes until smooth, adding more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking.
Put the dough in an oiled bowl, turn once to coat, then cover with a towl and set aside to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Turn dough onto the board and divide into the number of pizzas you want (this amount would make about 4 personal pizzas I found). Shape each piece into a ball ball, cover with a towel, and let rise for another 20-30 minutes.
3 tablespoons tahini sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt + pepper to taste
3 medium zuchinis, cut into thin rounds
3 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
1/2 bunch swiss chard, chopped/shredded and slightly wilted
1/2 cup shredded mozzarrella
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup crumbled feta
Heat the oven to 500 F. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic Mix all of the tahini spread ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, drizzle the zuchini with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt, and dried oregano. Toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet, place in the oven, and roast for 15-20 minutes.
To char the onions, place a (cast iron, if you’ve got one) pan over medium high heat. Add one teaspoon olive oil and char the onions for about 10-15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal or flour and roll out the pizza crust. Smoothly spread the tahini spread across the surface. Evenly sprinkle the mozzarella, zuchini, charred onions, chard, parmesan and the crumbled feta across the crust. Drizzle a little olive oil on top, place in the oven, and bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes until the edges are crisp and the cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.