Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pear Goat Cheese Pizza with Caramelized Onions

This is one of my $4.50 a day food stamp challenge recipes. I decided to splurge on goat cheese – Trader Joe’s is by far the best pricewise and tastewise.

To save money, I made my own crust using this recipe from The Kitchn. Alas, my bread lately has just been failing... I don’t know why my yeast didn’t work *sadface*. I tried different two packets of yeast and no rising, even after proofing and checking the expiration.

It’s ok, the flat crust worked out still.
This pizza combo is definitely one of my favorites: the pear and goat cheese combo is just delicious (ok anything with goat cheese is amazing). Goat cheese was actually introduced to me by my lab at Stanford; my PI was a huge foodie, and our lab meeting lunches on Monday were super gourmet.

Anyways, while I was making this pizza, I had a Skype date with my good friend Thomas. He was my freshman dorm neighbor and my “Mr. Fix It.” He’s fixed my camera, my printer, my bike, my computer, you name it. He also invented some contraption out of wire hangers that he could slide under the door and hook onto the handle when people got locked out of their rooms (like me, um, during orientation week…and…* cough* many other times of freshman year). It’s very useful to have brilliant engineering friends.

It’s kind of funny how friends come and go through the years, and some, like Mr. Fix- It, just stick around forever. We're actually very different, so it's interesting how friendships work. On paper, you can’t ever quite predict who becomes lifelong friends (same city? same major? same dorm? same hobbies?), but when it happens, you just know it.

Ingredients
CRUST:
1/4 - 1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon yeast, proofed
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil

TOPPINGS:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
1/4 cup honey (or brown sugar)
1-2 pears, thinly sliced
1/2 cup goat cheese (I used Trader Joe's honey goat cheese)
1/2 cup arugula mix
black pepper, to taste

Directions
Set the oven to 500°F and let it heat for at least a half an hour before making the pizza.

Crust: Combine flour and salt. Add the water and yeast (rapid rise/instant yeast does not need to be "proofed" in water beforehand). Mix until you've formed a shaggy dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If too sticky, add flour; if too dry add water.

Let the dough rest and rise for 1 hr (optional).

Topping: In a skillet set over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and honey to the pan, stirring to coat. Continue stirring the onions every 5 minutes or so, being careful not to burn the onions. Once the onions have softened and become a deep golden brown, remove from heat and set aside.

Assembly: On a lightly floured surface, press and stretch the pizza dough into a 10-inch circle. Transfer to a pan lined with parchment paper. Rub the pizza dough evenly with olive oil and top with rosemary.

Top pizza dough with pears, goat cheese, and caramelized onions. Add mixed greens then sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake the pizza 15 minutes until golden browned. Garnish with additional mixed greens.

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