Thursday, October 10, 2013

Southwestern Pizza 

deep-dish southwestern pizza with mixed sweet peppers & corn

One average size cast iron frying pan oiled with olive oil
A large spoon or spatula
A large knife or pizza cutter
A large mixing bowl
A measuring cup

You'll also need a clean cutting board or clean surface for rolling the dough out a little.  Also a small roller for this purpose - one that will preferably work in the cast iron fryer itself when you move the dough from the rolling surface to the pan.  I improvised, for example, with a clean vitamin container.

pizza dough

2 1/2 cups of white flour (bleached or unbleached)
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 teaspoons of double-acting baking powder (if it doesn't say "double acting," I'm sure it's still fine)

pizza topping

1-2 tablespoons tomato sauce 
A few handfuls of frozen mixed peppers 
2-3 handfuls of frozen sweet corn  
A few handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese


freshly ground black pepper, dry or fresh basil 

optional - kalamata or green olives


1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2.  In a large bowl, mix your pizza dough ingredients and knead in the bowl, anywhere from 1 to 2 to 3 minutes.

3.  Roll the dough out on a clean cutting board or surface until it is close to the size and shape of the cast iron frying pan.  Then place the dough in the cast iron frying pan and finish shaping it/rolling it out in the pan using the improvised "mini roller" (unless you have an actual mini roller).  With your fingers (clean hands, of course), shape the edges of the dough up around the frying pan so you have a bit of a "bowl effect" for holding the ingredients.

4.  Spread the tomato sauce on top.  Then spread around the frozen peppers, top with the sprinkling of corn, then the mozzarella cheese.  Finish off with your dry basil and fresh ground black pepper.  (If you are using the optional olives, you can put them on before or after the oven.)

6.  Place it in the oven for 25 minutes and remove promptly.  (Due to oven variations, you may want to check yours 5 minutes sooner or a little later, depending on how fast things cook where you are or with your particular oven.)

Et voila!  A lovely southwestern pizza with pizzazz!  Serve with a nice salad and a glass of wine (for the adults) and you have yourself a satisfying repast.  Enjoy!


There are countless variations with homemade pizza, including doughs, some of which I'll share again here at Sauk River ReviewYou can experiment with different cheeses (or none at all), real tomatoes, fresh herbs, spinach or other greens, meats, seafood, many other vegetables, and even fresh and dried fruits.  I'm also playing around with whole wheat varieties which I find a bit more challenging if you desire a lighter, fluffier result. 


It's been a long time since I posted a recipe, but what the hey.  Eventually, we'll have individualized posts at Sauk River Review so you can know who to blame and who to praise, depending on what they're writing about.

With attention this week on Idle No More, I was thinking about corn, which has been under a great deal of scrutiny these days, as far as global food politics are concerned, while corn is traditionally (and also) a sacred Native American cuisine. And with Thanksgiving around the corner, we remember how Native Americans taught the first Pilgrims how to grow corn and find food in order to survive the first harsh New England winters in a new land.

I wondered if sacred corn would combine well with homemade pizza, which I've been experimenting with.  I decided that it would, and combined with mixed sweet peppers, as these vegetables often work well together in other recipes, and peppers, of course, are popular additions to pizza in general.  Olives, optionally, also combine well with these flavors, including green varieties.

With pizza in general, I wanted to circumvent the processed frozen kinds many families purchase, often weekly, as an inexpensive, fast food meal, hopefully providing meal planners respite from time consuming kitchen preparations and clean-ups.  I wanted to see if it were possible to prepare homemade pizzas (a) easily and quickly, (b) economically, and (c) while keeping real nutritional needs in mind.  For while these processed pizzas may seem like the perfect solution on a busy week night, many of them contain a lot of unhealthy artificial additives, are extremely high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and offer very little by way of real nutrition.  

So I think people deserve better food.  If you've followed any other food posts here at Old Sauk River/Sauk River Review, it is my position that "luxury food," for the most part, is a non-sequitur.  Everyone has the right to eat healthy, affordable dishes as part of balanced meals that are not poisoned or destructive to human health.  

Looking at the google stats, it's been striking that one of Sauk River Review's more popular posts is the yam and white bean stew with leaks, something I developed over the years as a parent looking to provide economical and tasteful nutrition along with preparation conveniences. 

Although I like some frozen pizzas, I do find, for the most part, as you develop more discerning tastes, you still have to spend more money if you want to get a fresher and healthier frozen pizza.  So I wanted to learn how to make good pizza myself - and almost as easily and economically as sticking the frozen kind in a preheated oven.

In the process thus far, there have been a couple of books I looked at (but they're not paying me to review these books, so I won't bother telling you about it, at this point, at least) and I also looked at several pizza recipes on the internet.

I improvised with these various resources, and thus far, conjured this surprisingly pleasant and simple variation.

A critical factor was the absence of yeast, and not so much for the health factors some may cite, but because yeast is prohibitively expensive in many American households these days.  

So I wanted to make a pizza - a good pizza - without yeast.

I recommend you use a corn that honors the planet we share.

Hey, this could also be called "A Thanksgiving Pizza," couldn't it?  Peace, and happy pizza journeys!

*Image credits/top, via Wikipedia, Illustrator: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen, "English: Maize: (a) Lower part of the plant (b) top of plant with male inflorescense (c) middle of plant with female inflorescenses (d) ear/cob: (1) two pollen grains of a male inflorescense (3, 4) female flowers (5) female flowers with stigma (6) fruit bottom view (7) fruit side view (8) fruit cross-section views"/second, via Wikipedia, photographer: Evan-Amos, "A cast-iron pan,"/third, via Wikipedia, photographer: Chemee2, "Stored flour in the Czech Republic,"/fourth, via Wikipedia, photographer: Scott Bauer, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, "Cluster of tomatoes from Ho Farms in Kahuku, HI,"/fifth, via Sacred Earth, Corn, Zea mays - Poaceae/bottom, via Wikipedia, photographer: Spedona, "Corn tassel."

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