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!

pizza bourekas

It’s been a while since we discussed pizza night recipes! Pizza night is obviously really exciting during the summer because the tomatoes and basil from the garden make every Friday a home run. In July, I got into such a great groove of sticking a pizza in the oven, running outside to the garden (or, more likely, sending Eggboy out), and yanking a few basil leaves to tear over a steamy hot margarita. Our basil did so well this year in its sunny spot in front of the house. When fall came, we transitioned to apple pizzas with apples from our trees and squash pizzas with some of the gajillion butternut squash that we grew, but my problem with those types of flavors that straddle the line between savory and sweet is that I love them sooooo much for about two days and then I immediately get sick of them and I can’t think about them for another year. 

So after the garden had truly died, we fell into kind of a janky pizza phase: a few weeks ago I was dead set on trying that place in town that college kids go to exclusively after 2am, at one point I got a frozen cauliflower pizza, and two weeks ago there was the five course dive bar pizza tasting experience. They were all awesome. But like awesome in the way that spray can cheese is awesome…????

I figured that all of this pre-made pizza could have meant that I was in a pizza making rut, so rather than continuing to mourn the loss of my basil plant, I decided to shake things up and make pizza bourekas. Bourekas!! I love bourekas. Bourekas are pastry pockets that can be filled with pretty much anything, the most common of which have potatoes or cheese. I first fell in love with them at the Levinsky market in Tel Aviv, and they’re originally from the Balkans (they’re related to this Borek). With store-bought puff pastry, they’re not too difficult to make, and with pizza fillings they are just plain addictive. Cheesy sauciness in a buttery flaky pastry? Oh yes yes yes. They’re just as great hot out of the oven as they are cold out of the fridge the next morning for breakfast, which is the sign of a solid pizza situation. You can add any of your favorite pizza toppings, these days I’m into mini pepperoni, which I am hereby calling “meat sprinkles.”

…Slowly backs away…

And I’m using ingredients from one of my favorite grocery brands, Our Family! If you’re from North Dakota or Michigan, you know (and love) Our Family from seeing them in almost every section of the grocery store. I use their ingredients all the time because they’re reliable and the name just makes me smile. The culinary team for Girl Meets Farm also loves Our Family because their label is really easy to greek, but my North Dakota friends still recognized it! Which made me really happy. Thanks so much for sponsoring this post, Our Family


Pizza Bourekas

Makes 6

Ingredients

4 oz Our Family shredded mozzarella

6 oz Our Family whole milk or part skim ricotta

2 large eggs

2 tb all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

A good pinch of Kosher salt

Black pepper

A pinch of dried oregano

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

6 tb (94g) pizza sauce, plus more for serving

Additional toppings as desired: chopped peppers, onions, mini pepperoni, sausage, etc.

Crushed red pepper, for topping

Clues

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the mozzarella, ricotta, 1 of the eggs, flour, salt, a few turns of pepper, and oregano.

On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll the puff pastry out to 10” x 15”. If it gets sticky, you can dust with more flour as needed. Cut the pastry into 6 squares and transfer to the baking sheet. Place a dollop of the cheese mixture into one of the corners of each square, leaving a 3/4” border (see photo above for reference). Create a well in the center of the cheese mixture and add a spoonful of sauce. Sprinkle with additional desired toppings. Beat the remaining egg with a splash of water to make an egg wash and brush the edges of the pastry with it. Fold the pastry over and press to seal well, using a fork to pinch the edges. Repeat with remaining pastry squares. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with crushed red pepper. 

Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºf. 

Bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. (It’s alright if some of them break open at the seams while baking, it’s part of their rustic charm.) Let cool slightly and then serve warm with additional pizza sauce for dunking. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and are great cold the next morning for breakfast! You can also prepare a whole batch a day or two in advance, store them in the fridge, and reheat them for a few minutes in a 325ºf oven before serving. 

-yeh!

Thank you, Our Family, for sponsoring this post

Photos by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen

apple and honey pizza + wheat harvest!

Today is the last day of wheat harvest! It was earlier than expected this year because it was such a hot and dry summer. The wheat fields are soooo pretty so I'm kind of sad they'll all be picked now but one perk of this earlier wheat harvest is that Eggboy will have some breathing time before beet harvest, some of which will be spent at summer camp!!! Since it’s been a good few years since I took a camera out to the fields, I thought it would be fun to have Chantell and Brett come out and capture the harvest, the wheat, and a fun thing to do with the wheat: mill it into flour and make pizza with it! 

Wheat harvest is less intense of a harvest than sugar beet harvest because you can only harvest the wheat when it’s very dry, meaning that you can’t really start until 11am, and then you have to stop at sundown, so there’s still time at night to sit on the couch and eat a taco and watch half an episode of Breaking Bad. (Sugar beet harvest goes 24 hours a day… no time for couch or TV.) But that doesn’t mean it’s less dramatic!! The way the fields are so golden and create big poofs of dust when the combines roll through creates the coolest scene. 

Once it’s harvested, the wheat, which is hard red spring wheat, gets brought to the mill in town where it’s ground into flour and shipped all over the country. Some of it becomes King Arthur Flour! Some goes into pancake mix. And some of it (the high protein variety) gets sent to the Bronx to make bagels!!!

And then there’s like .00000001% of it that Eggboy has brought in for me to blend in the Vitamix and play around with. I added some to challah and it came out reeeeally dense. It was bad. But that density works really well in pizza dough, so I’ve been adding it to my current favorite pizza dough, which is based on the recipe in Bread Toast Crumbs. It’s a no-knead recipe that only needs to rise for an hour and a half, so it’s the best on pizza Fridays when I forget to make dough the day before. And the nutty whole wheatiness of our home-milled flour goes splendidly with this new concoction: apple and honey pizza! With apples from our trees!!!

Apple and honey pizza is a Rosh Hashanah-ready recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a while and it works because sharp sharp cheddar, pepper-y arugula, and punchy balsamic all balance out the sweetness of the apples and honey so it definitely does still feel like a good salty savory situation. In a slightly dainty move, the crust here is really thin and crisp, so you could totally house the whole thing for supper or serve it as an appetizer flatbread thing. There’s no real sauce, just some slow cooked olive oily onions, and brie would be en excellent alternative to the sharp cheddar. Overall it strikes a perfect combo of sweet, salty, and acidic, so it's fully ready for a sweet (yet balanced!) new year!

apple and honey pizza

serves 2-4

ingredients

Dough:

1 1/3 c (173g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2/3 c (86g) whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 c (236 ml) lukewarm water

Toppings:

1/4 c (50g) olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 oz (170g) sharp cheddar, shredded
1 apple, thinly sliced
leaves of 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
Black pepper
Kosher salt
4 tsp honey
Crushed red pepper
2 handfuls of arugula
A drizzle of balsamic glaze
 

clues

In a medium bowl combine the flours, salt and yeast. Mix in the water until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours (or overnight).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over low heat and add the onion and thyme sprigs and cook for about 45 minutes, until very very soft.

Preheat the oven (ideally with a pizza stone) to 500ºf, cut out two big sheets with parchment paper, and dust liberally with flour. Divide the dough into two parts, and place each on a piece of parchment. The dough will be very sticky, so don't be shy in dusting it with enough flour as needed to handle it. Roll out until the dough is very thin, just a little thicker than 1/4” (and again, feel free to dust dust dust with flour as you're rolling). 

Discard the thyme leaves from the onion mixture and transfer the onions and the excess olive oil to the dough, spreading it around to distribute evenly. Top with the cheese, apple slices, rosemary, and black pepper, and sprinkle the edges with salt. Using a pizza peel or baking sheet, slide the dough onto baking stone and bake until the cheese is splotchy with brown marks; begin checking for doneness at 7 minutes. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can simply bake on a baking sheet. 

Drizzle the pizzas with honey, sprinkle with crushed red pepper, top with arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Enjoy! 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

apron by enrich and endure, necklace by marian bull