Al Pastor Taco Pizza

I first met a taco pizza when I visited Dubuque, Iowa for the first time, seven years ago! I was seriously into the concept of taco toppings on a pizza crust and got totally jazzed when I moved to Grand Forks the following year and discovered that taco pizza is everywhere here too. Even though I didn’t grow up with it, it made me nostalgic for the kind of tacos that my mom would make when I was little, from the boxed kits- ground meat mixed with a packet of seasonings, shredded orange cheddar, and shredded iceberg lettuce. Super basic. Common taco pizza is essentially that on a pizza crust, plus olives, crushed tortilla chips, and side ramekins of sour cream and salsa. It’s tasty, but a lot of its tastiness for me comes from the nostalgia factor, not necessarily from the fact that it’s an exceptionally good taco situation.

Eggboy and I have had too many extremely good taco situations in LA and Chicago to let this go unnoticed. Our joint dream taco is al pastor, complete with pineapple, cilantro, onion, lots of lime, and tomatillo salsa. (His fave is from Los 3 Ponchos, in Chicago. He once ditched me at a Purim party nearby there to go eat three of their tacos. This was after we’d had dinner there before the party. Where does he find the stomach space for all of this food??) So when his birthday last year fell on pizza Friday, I got to work combining the magic of a great al pastor with the perfection that is Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough. I quickly learned that when you have two perfect things like that, you don’t need much else. I held it all together with melty oaxaca cheese and salty fresh queso fresco, and we just about lost our eyeballs in the back of our heads, it was so good. All of the perfect smoky/sweet/salty flavors of al pastor were there and the doughy pizza crust with the melty cheese took it to a crazy level. The cheeses here don’t overpower, they just bind everything together in meltiness and allow the al pastor to shine. The grilled pineapple makes an entirely new case for pineapple on pizza, and the cilantro and onions sprinkled on at the end add freshness, crunch, and prettiness! I’m obsessed with this pizza. Eggboy is too. It’s 10000% worth the two-day process it takes to make—day one: mix the dough, marinate the meat. Day two: grill the meat and assemble. So as part of my meal prep back in March, I made one and stuck it in the freezer for Eggboy’s first Father’s Day!!!! 

Happy Almost Father’s Day to the best taco eater and Bernie dad in the world! 


Al Pastor Taco Pizza

Makes 2 14” Pizzas

Ingredients:

Al Pastor:

1 (14oz) can pineapple rings, juice and rings separated

1/4 c distilled white vinegar

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 guajillo chiles, dried, seeds tapped out

1 lb pork shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces

Assembly:

All-purpose flour, for dusting

About 2 pounds pizza dough (I recommend Jim Lahey’s no-knead dough)

1/2 c tomatillo salsa, plus more for topping and serving

10 oz queso fresco, crumbled

10 oz oaxaca cheese, torn into small pieces

Chopped fresh cilantro

Chopped yellow onion or pink pickled onions

Lime wedges

Clues

To make the al pastor, in a food processor, combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, cumin, black pepper, cloves, and chiles and blend until smooth. Place the pork shoulder in a bowl and pour in the mixture from the food processor. Fold to combine, cover, and let marinate for 4 hours or overnight. (If letting this sit overnight, this is a good time to start your pizza dough.)

Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Use tongs to lift the pork out of the marinade and grill in batches until browned and cooked through. Also grill 8 of the pineapple rings until charred. Transfer the pork and pineapple to a cutting board and chop the pineapple into bite sized pieces.

Preheat the oven to 500ºf with a pizza stone if you have one. On a floured surface, divide the pizza dough in half and roll each into a 14” round, dusting with flour as needed. Transfer to a baking sheet or parchment paper (which will make getting it on and off a pizza peel much easier). Top each pizza with 1/4 cup tomatillo salsa, about 5 oz queso fresco (reserving a little bit for topping after baking), 5 oz oaxaca cheese, and 1/2 of the al pastor and pineapple. Bake for about 9-12 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese has brown splotchy marks. Top with a splatter of salsa, cilantro, onions, lime, and reserved queso fresco. Slice and enjoy!


mini <3 whole wheat veggie pizzas (freezer friendly!)

I have truly lived out my wildest fantasies this week by baking Valentine’s cookies all day, watching ice skating on the tv, and not even being allowed outside. Windchills in the negative 60s meant that going outside was dangerous (!!!), and so like it’s one thing to have a random free weekend to stay inside and bake all day, but literally having no choice but to stay inside was the cherry on top of these past few days. I haven’t left the house since Saturday. I’m so cozy. My best friend is my microwaveable heating pad and our kitchen table is covered in five types of cookies. I’ve slept better than my whole entire pregnancy combined*. I mean, Hawaii was awesome and all but a snowy week with highs in the -20s?? An extremely close second.

*I definitely just jinxed this by typing it out, right?

So a great week needs to end with a great pizza night, right? This here is a veggie pizza that’s become our go-to, our ~house veggie pizza~ on the family pizza menu. It’s whole wheat, loaded with greenery, and not too heavy, dare I say it’s almost healthy?! We started making it during weeks when we had one too many heavy dinners and then got to Friday and didn’t feel like having pizza that was going to make us feel like poo. So we got in the habit of emptying out our fridge of all of the vegetables and piling them on a whole wheat version of our favorite thin pizza crust (based on Amy Thielen’s cracker crust pizza from New Midwestern Table), which is super easy to make and delightfully chewy. The things that make this pizza great are the nice big pinches of salt that go all over the veggies and the crust (you’re going for visible salt crystals on the crust, ok?), and the order that everything goes on. I like some mozzarella on the base to hold together all of the smaller chopped veggies, like the peppers and tomatoes, and then a little more on top of the kale, to hold it on and to help it get crispy. The kale on top bakes up crunchy and salty like kale chips, it’s excellent. Bonus points if you sprinkle this pizza with ranch seasoning or dip it in ranch dressing.

Obviously, since it’s the season, these lil pizzas are heart shaped. But of course you could make circles, or one big circle, or one big rectangle, or a trapezoid, etc. And they are freezer friendly!! From here on out, many of the recipes I’ll be posting will be freezer friendly since i’m preparing for you-know-who and filling our freezer with easily reheat-able, ideally one-handed meals.

Ok that’s all for now! Happy almost pizza night, fronds!


mini heart whole wheat veggie pizzas

makes 6

Ingredients

Dough:

1 c (130g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 c (130g) whole wheat flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp sugar

3/4 c (178ml) water

1/4 c (50g) olive oil


Toppings:

Olive oil

1/2 c (120g) red sauce

8 oz shredded mozzarella 

2 big cloves garlic, minced

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 oz (about 1 c) chopped kale

2 oz (about 1 c) spinach

Optional salty meat: prosciutto, pepperoni, cooked sausage, etc.

Kosher salt and black pepper

Parmesan, for topping

Crushed red pepper, for topping

Clues

To make the dough, whisk together the flours, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the water and olive oil. Once combined, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding additional flour if it gets too sticky. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel, and let sit for 30 minutes (this is when I chop up all of my toppings). 

If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 475ºf.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll them out into thin 1/8” rounds or heart shapes (SEE GIF) and then crimp the edges to make a crust. Place them on the baking sheets and brush with a thin layer of olive oil. Top with sauce (a heaping tablespoon per pizza), most of the mozzarella (leave about 1/2 c for the top), the garlic, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, meat (if using), spinach, kale, another little drizzle of olive oil, remaining mozzarella, a few good pinches of salt (don’t forget to salt the edges!), and a few turns of black pepper. Bake until the cheese is splotchy with brown marks, begin checking for doneness at 10 minutes. To serve, top with lots of grated parmesan and crushed red pepper. Enjoy!

To freeze these, do everything up until the baking step. Instead of putting them in the oven, freeze on a sheet tray for a few hours until the crust is firm, then wrap tightly individually in plastic wrap and place back in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bake on parchment lined baking sheets (straight from the freezer) at 450ºf for 12-15 minutes, until the cheese is splotchy with brown marks. To serve, top with lots of grated parmesan and crushed red pepper. Enjoy!


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett!

This recipe was created in partnership with Our Family!

challah pizzettes with swiss chard, lemon, and ricotta

Hello from the delightful state that is westbound jet lag, when waking up with the sun is easy as pie and pre-lunchtime productivity is at a height. Falling asleep tonight is going to be a breeze! To be honest though, I’m actually surprised that I even have jet lag because over the course of this past week in Amsterdam and Paris, we did not put an ounce of effort into adjusting to the time change. We danced to Yallah Yallah at the Melkweg until the sun came up and slept way past breakfast every day. We regularly ate dinner at 2am. Our method of traveling was a string of what Rob calls stream of consciousness days. That is, we planned nothing and did everything we wanted at the moment we wanted to do it. We sat for hours watching ducks in the Tuileries and climbed the adult jungle gym in the Vondelpark in the rain, we rode bumper cars and boats, and then royally freaked out when we discovered endless free chocolate samples at the Tony’s Chocolonely Superstore. On the way to eat Rijsttafel, we smelled pancakes and they smelled so good that we decided to eat those instead. In Paris we went to Rose Bakery every afternoon and Canal Saint-Martin every night, and I had a lot of ice cream cones. My new friend Catherine introduced me to Glace Bachirwhere Lebanese ice cream gets covered in bright green pistachios. So so so so so good. We had no restaurant lists, no schedules, no places we needed to be (except for when it was time for Rob to get married), and it was… fantastic. 10/10 would recommend this method of traveling. Especially with your old college homies, because there is something about wandering aimlessly around a city that feels extra nostalgic and school-kid-like. But most importantly: Congratulations, Rob and Hansaem, on getting hitched!!!!!! Thanks for having a wedding Paris! 🤗 (And, guys! My rhubarb rose jam made it safely all the way to their wedding!!)

Here are some photos of old fronds and good food:

Now let’s talk about these pizzettes! The idea for these was born during the brainstorming phase for the Girl Meets Farm episode that aired this past Sunday. We originally thought it might be fun to show a few different ways to use challah dough, and making mini pizzas was one way. We ultimately decided to go with just the garlic and onion challah, but I still really really wanted to make these for you because challah dough as pizza dough is fluffy, soft, and great. Texturally, it reads slightly more like a focaccia, but "pizzette" is such a cute word and calling it that makes it appropriate for Pizza Friday. (And with 4th of July tomorrow, today is basically a Friday!!!) These are topped with my current favorite pizza toppings of lemon, cheese, shittons of garlic, and green things. It’s an A+ mix of bitterness, creaminess, and acidity, and bonus: you get a slight sweetness from the challah dough. I feel like I’m cheating the Pizza Friday system when I use my pizza as a shovel for green vegetables, because you’re supposed to let loose on Pizza Friday… but just like anything that involves dough and cheese, you cannot go wrong with changing things up a bit, so if you’re not feeling the lemon and greens vibration, go wild and sub the chard for salty meat. Just let your biggest takeaway from this post be that challah dough as pizza dough is good. 


challah pizzettes with swiss chard, lemon, and ricotta

makes 8

ingredients

Dough:

1 packet (about 2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3/4 c warm water
1/4 c (50g) + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
3 1/4 c (423g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (or sub up to 1 1/4 c (163g) for whole wheat flour)
2 large eggs
1/3 c (67g) flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable

Toppings:

Olive oil
12 oz (340g) swiss chard, stems and leaves separated, both coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced and deseeded
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1 c (250g) whole milk ricotta
Parmesan
Crushed red
Flaky salt
 

clues

To make the challah dough, in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. 

Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, and remaining sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil.

When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook, for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary (but resist any urge to add too much!), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. It will take slightly longer if you’re using whole wheat flour. Alternatively, you can stick it in the refrigerator overnight and then let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before shaping. 


Once the dough has just about completed its rising, preheat oven to 400ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook the chard stems for about 4 minutes, until tender. Transfer the stems (and any oil from the pan) to a large bowl and combine with the chard leaves and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat the leaves in olive oil, adding an additional drizzle if needed. 


Divide dough into 8 balls and flatten them into rounds about 1/2” thick. Place them on the baking sheets about an inch apart. Brush with a thin layer of olive oil and then top each with lemon slices, garlic, onion, dollops of ricotta (sprinkle the ricotta with a pinch of kosher salt), a shower of parmesan, a big pile of chard, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Sprinkle flaky salt around the edges. Bake until the challah is browned; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes. Top with more parm if desired and enjoy!


-yeh!

pizzette photos by chantell and brett quernemoen!

kale matzo pizza with garlic, lemon, and almonds

A truth about matzo pizza that I only recently learned is that it has the ability to take on the life of a very tasty cracker crust pizza and become something that is delicious enough to have year-round and, in this case, healthyish enough to have for lunch pizza. You have to do the following though: use a fresh cheese (like fresh mozzarella) that will lend some of its excessive moisture to the dry matzo and soften it slightly, salt the shit out of it, and brush it with olive oil so the edges get just slightly kind of fried and light and crispy. I believe that the world is your matzo pizza kosher oyster when you do these things and I’m going to demonstrate it with this tasty recipe inspired by the broccolini and preserved lemon pizza at the hip joint Young Joni, in Minneapolis. That Young Joni pizza has my favorite flavor combo: green + lemon + garlic, and then it also has almonds! Which turns out is a brilliant way to add protein to a vegetarian pizza. I’ve used kale instead of broccolini here because the dainty matzo wanted a daintier topping than broccolini and also I opted to go with lemon zest instead of preserved lemons because I think I’ve recently overdosed on preserved lemons. But you can use them if you want! 


kale matzo pizza with garlic, lemon, and almonds

makes 4

Ingredients

4 slices of matzo (egg matzo or gtfo)
Olive oil
6 oz (170g) fresh mozzarella, torn
Kosher salt
1/3 c (40g) sliced almonds
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 oz (113g) kale, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Black pepper
Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Parmesan, for serving
Sriracha, for serving, or other spicy stuff
 

Clues

Preheat oven to 425ºf.

Place the matzo on baking sheets lined with parchment and brush all over with a thin layer of olive oil. Top with the fresh mozzarella and a few good pinches of salt. Distribute the almonds all over. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, kale, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt, and massage it for a minute or two to soften the kale and get it evenly coated in olive oil. Pile it onto the pizza. It is a lot of kale (and a lot of garlic) but it will cook down in the oven and also a lot of kale is good! Sprinkle with the thyme, a few turns of pepper, and the lemon zest and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the matzo are brown. 

Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a shower of shaved parmesan, and some very good drizzles of sriracha or other spicy stuff and enjoy! Yogurt ranch is also good drizzled on this.
 


-yeh!