Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mushroom Pizza!

One of our favorite uses of the bean-enriched tomato sauce is pizza.  Fresh dough is fun (and cheap!) to make at home, and it bakes up beautifully, even when using sub-par equipment.  We do miss our pizza stone, currently languishing in storage back in Iowa, but we are able to swing it with what we have.

As an alternative to the standard white flour pizza dough, we found some large mushroom caps on sale one week at the store and decided to try them out.

Mushroom cap pizzas
Mushroom Pizza...No, really, mushroom pizza!
We weren't the first ones to build pizza on a mushroom cap, and we won't be the last.  We found some suggestions on various cooking websites to make these pizzas work.

As a side note, when finding recipes online, make sure to check the source and read the user reviews before attempting a recipe.  Some websites find ways to get to the top of a search result page- but their recipes can be quite poor.  Check the comments, reviews, and ratings for real feedback and sometimes improvements or modifications.  Just like anything on the internet (including this blog!) one never knows what kind of depraved lunatics or teenage pranksters are writing internet content, but a sane consensus can usually be found in a large volume of reviews, especially for something like a recipe.  Use common sense- if a recipe review recommends adding arsenic to your morning oatmeal, maybe leave that recipe alone... And what are you doing with arsenic in your home, anyway...?

Back to our mushroom pizzas.  The online recipes we found almost all suggested baking them on a raised rack with a pan to catch the copious amount of water dripping from cooking mushrooms.  Besides that suggestion, it seemed like we were go for any toppings we could think of.

Broccoli and Feta Cheese Pizza on a Mushroom Cap
Broccoli and Feta Cheese Pizza on a Mushroom Cap
One of our recent favorite pizza top combinations is broccoli and feta cheese with bean-enriched tomato sauce.  The sharp saltiness of the feta really goes well with the tomato sauce and the mild green taste of the broccoli.  We buy broccoli frozen here, and this gives us more water with which to contend.  Whenever I'm using frozen broccoli in a dish that does NOT need additional moisture, I blast the frozen broccoli pieces in the microwave to thaw the florets, melt the frost from the freezer, and get the water from the ruptured cell walls to drain away.  Each piece of (thawed) broccoli is then squeezed over a colander to get out even more water.  If this water cooked out on top of the pizzas, we'd be dealing with goopy sauce and waterlogged dough.

Mushroom cap pizza with tomato sauce, broccoli, and feta cheese
Finished Pizza
After a brief trip to our very hot oven, the mushroom caps are cooked and have given off more than one half cup of brown water to the roasting rack.  The thick bean-enriched sauce stays firm and develops just a bit of a (not unpleasant) dry cap.  The feta gets nicely toasted, and the broccoli was, of course, already cooked and squeezed dry.

The pizzas have a great meaty flavor, even without a speck of meat in the recipe.  The beans add some protein, the feta gives us a nice creamy texture, and the broccoli gives a perfect chewy finish.  This recipe isn't considered to be a replacement to our white flour pizza dough, but rather an addition to our repertoire.  We aren't vegetarians, but we don't mind mixing in vegetarian dishes.  We have no problem with carbohydrates like bread and dough, but sometimes we make low-carb recipes.  The variety and trial-and-error keep our regular meals exciting.

Get in the kitchen!  Try something new!  We did and we found a winner.

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