October 11, 2010
If you think we eat a lot of pizza at our house, you'd be right.
When I left home at eighteen, I made leftovers into soup. In my twenties, I learned that I could make pizza out of almost any kind of leftover imaginable, and I did; my rampage through leftover chile con carne, curry, flank steak and mushrooms, baked bean and cheese, and whatever-was-in-the-crisper eventually led to the now-legendary Lapin Dijon Pizza of 1996 (sadly, no photo).
In my thirties, I relegated leftovers to quesadillas (including the surprisingly tasty Aloo Gobi quesadilla), and pursued more classic (ahem) forms of the pizza, that is, if you can include "cheeseburger" as a classic pizza option.
Nowadays, I just make pizza whenever I want pizza, and I still make it sometimes to use up ingredients. Sometimes, it takes on strange new territory (there was a mushroom-sauced roast beef pizza a couple of weeks ago that I completely forgot to take pictures of), the trendy (buffalo wing pizza with blue cheese sauce) or the time-honoured traditional (pepperoni from the deli counter, maybe mushrooms, maybe peppers, tomato sauce, cheese).
Pizza is a go-to dinner for a few of reasons:
1) It can be on the plate in an hour, even making the crust from scratch.
2) I almost always have the ingredients for making crust, some manner of sauce, and cheese
3) It can help me use up whatever is lurking in the fridge.
The leftover factor might be subtle, it needs to be said. The Taco pizza above was constructed out of a need to use up some black olives and a red pepper that wasn't going to put up with much more fridge time. Since I had some ground buffalo in the freezer (and I usually do), it was pretty easy to fry up the meat, season it up as if I were making tacos (chiles, onions, garlic, cumin - loads of cumin!) and spread it over the pressed-out crust.
For the crust, I substituted about a quarter of a cup of the flour with yellow cornmeal, just to give it a complementary flavour, a slight corniness, you might say. I also use cornmeal for dusting the pizza pan, to make sure the crust comes away nicely, so I already had the cornmeal out. (Link to my standard, yeast-raised crust recipe).
In this, somewhat rare incidence, I didn't use any sort of sauce at all, but made sure that the taco meat was fairly "saucy" or wet before spreading it in an even layer on the unbaked crust. Top with olives, confetti of red pepper, and cheddar cheese, and you have yourself a taco-flavoured pizza. Serve with a little drizzle of sour cream, if you like, or a side of guacamole.