Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Strawberry Basil Goat Cheese Chicken Pizza

I know. I cried too when Labor Day passed. I cried because of all the 'summery' things I'd meant to do, but never did. On our fridge is a 'Summer To Do' list . Here's a sampling of what didn't get crossed off:
1. Skip stones at the lake.
2. Night swim.
3. Breakfast on the patio.
4. Catch lighting bugs.
5. Picnic at the park
6. Make the best banana split.
7. Sparklers

But, here are some things that were enjoyed in all their summery splendor:
6. Play with water balloons.
5. Street. Fests.
4. Watch the sunset

and what was number one on my list? Me, the non-pizza person? 1. Invent a new summer pizza. I know. I was aiming pretty high there... but, guess what? After three months, I have got it!

The 90 degree temps here in Chicago are broadcasting that summer isn't really over. And really, everything on the first list is still in the cards... 'cause for as long as I can...I'm holding on to summer here, Muchachos.

To help you keep the dream alive, here is that summer pizza recipe. Don't don't don't don't don't (please, really, don't) skip the roasting step. Also, be a good little recipe-follower and bake the crust in the oven first, then add the toppings and put it back in the oven. If you skip either of these two steps, you will have a very sad, soggy, not-at-all summery pizza. If you are a good little recipe-follower, you will be rewarded by explosions of summer in your very awesome mouth.

  • Strawberry Basil Goat Cheese Chicken Pizzaadapted from Mwa. 

    2 pints strawberries, sliced
    1 chicken breast, sliced
    olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste
    6 oz goat cheese
    12 basil leaves

    1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2.5 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 450 F. Lay strawberries out in a foil-lined lipped dish. Roast for 20-40 minutes. Quite a bit of juice will come out of the strawberries, so don't make the mistake of putting the berries on a cookie sheet. Pull the berries out of the oven when they are starting to shrivel, and brown a tiny bit on the top. Drain juice (can reserve for smoothies, as an ice cream topping, etc). Set berries aside. As the berries are roasting, heat olive oil in skillet. Saute chicken with salt and pepper to taste. When cooked through, drain extra chicken juice, and set chicken slices aside. 
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well  to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Bake in preheated about 13 minutes.

Pull pizza out, and cover with toppings. The order I used: chicken, roasted strawberries, goat cheese. Bake for another 10-15 minutes (could go even to 20), until chicken, goat cheese, and dough start to brown a bit. Pull pizza from oven, and immediately add basil. Smush into the cheese a little.

Slice and do some cartwheels. 'Cause summer ain't over yet.

kristen mrdjanov


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