Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Great Tomato Debate

Day by day, I’m getting back into the swing of things. Half the days this week, I’m happy to report that I’ve got two workouts on my schedule, instead of just one. Before you get your knickers in a twist, realize this is a big deal for me. Officially I’m training more and spending more time swimming, biking, running, and doing the dreaded functional strength.

Unofficially I started this regiment last week – adding a run here or there, tacking on extra yardage with my swim, and spending more time on my bike. And I was doing it for the right reasons (for me!). Not because I felt I needed to go faster or do more, but simply because I was enjoying myself so much. It only reasoned to continue on my path of self-discovery.

Who was I to interrupt a great run by stopping at exactly 60 minutes? So I added an extra 10 or 11.

Before you fall off your chair laughing, those ten minutes were a big deal. Because I had to run past my car, make the decision to keep going – even though the promise of a cool drink and comfy seat awaited.

But that’s not what this post is about.

Home-made pizza, that’s what I was going to write about. Yes, pizza.

Lately, Nathaniel and I have been experimenting with our pizza-making skills. If you can count buying the pre-made crust, the we’re on a roll. Our favorite (aka – the only recipe we’ve attempted in our new cookbook) – Greek pizza.

It’s actually really healthy – fat free feta, light mayo, garlic, spinach, tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onions – not necessarily in that order.

But last night we tried something new. Rather than use regular tomatoes, we tried sun dried tomatoes. No matter the recipe called for the dried ones in the first place. Who needs a recipe anyway? It’s more like guidelines, right?

Besides, I didn’t think that one teeny-weeny detail could make that big of a difference.

Boy, was I wrong.

With regular tomatoes, while plump, juicy and delicious, our pizza crust turned out slightly, ah, soggy. So we compensated by baking it slightly longer.

And then we had a slightly soggy and burnt pizza crust.

Eventually – after three tries – we substituted sun-dried tomatoes. (Thanks Mom!) What turned out as an experiment ended up absolutely delicious. And to boot? No soggy burnt pizza crust.

So, it turns out that following directions can be helpful. Martha Stewart I am not. But I know a good Mediterranean/Greek pizza when I taste it. So does Nate.

There were no leftovers.

I never thought the difference between sun-dried and regular tomatoes would be that huge. Sometimes it just takes doing something a new way to realize that the result can be very different even though the basic ingredients are the same.

Food for thought there.

And now, food for the tummy.

Greek Spinach Pizza:

½ c light may OR fat free Greek yogurt (mayo gives it a zip)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced (I use 3, as 4 would keep away not only vampires, but everyone!)
¾ c feta cheese (fat free is okay) – about 4 oz.
12-inch whole wheat pizza crust
½ c coarsely chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil (I used dried – from the packages, and then steamed them for a few minutes. Less fat but lots of flavor. Also – we didn’t coarsely chop them, just left them whole)
¼ c coarsely chopped kalamata olives, pitted!
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups baby spinach leaves
½ red onion, halved and thinly sliced.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. HOT! Keep small children and pets away from the oven. Also, overly curious spouses who think oven mitts are only a suggestion.
Mix mayo/Greek yogurt, garlic (remember – its very potent!), and half the feta in some sort of bowl-thingy. Place the pizza crust on a cookie sheet (we have a round stone from Pampered Chef, sounds awful, I know. But it was the only thing I bought at one of those parties a few years ago. It survives to this day and we use it all the time). If the pizza crust is thicker, you can place the cookie sheet/stone in the oven while its preheating. It’ll turn out extra crispy that way (hopefully not burnt!). Spread with garlic, feta, and mayo/Greek yogurt mixture. Top with tomatoes and olives and sprinkle with oregano.
Bake until heated through and crisp – about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss spinach and onion with tomato oil (I use extra virgin olive oil…just a drop!) Top hot pizza with spinach mixture and remaining feta and place back in oven (carefully!) until the spinach wilts – about 2 minutes.
Cut and serve! Yum!


Anonymous said...

Glad the tomatoes worked out - and thanks for the receipe! (sorry,couldn't find an easy way to mail sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil - but you can use ours to make the pizza next time you're home)

Trigirlpink said...

yummy (drool) pizza ideas.

DFT aka Dreaded Functional Training. I'm sooo with ya on that one. lol

Flatman said...

Sounds delish...will be trying.

TriGirl Kate O said...

Ooooh, we love make-your-own pizza too! I use pesto instead of mayo/garlic, then load it up with skim mozzarella (I like cheesy pizza), spinach or fresh asparagus spears, olives, goat cheese, and sun dried tomatoes. I found a small local pizza place that sells dough, already rolled out and ready to top and bake--sooo much better than the prefab crusts. Yum!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE homemade pizza, but I definitely would go with the full-fat cheese!

also, i like your new hairstyle!

Kim said...

I actually HAVE one of those pampered chef pizza thinys! No lie! I might have to bust it out FOR THE FIRST TIME (shhh..don't tell whoever bought it for me!) and try this (after IM). I'm excited! Thanks for sharing. Sounds Delicious!