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Monday, May 9, 2011

Pizza with Spinach Salad in a Vanilla Fig Vinaigrette

Did you ever wander into a store not expecting to buy anything? 

Well last week while I was in Home Goods shopping for some gifts, I came across some specialty vinegars from Wine Country Kitchens. Now, this was probably only my third or fourth time in the store, and I didn't realize they carried these kind of items. I was thinking that I still had some feta cheese left from the other night so I picked up a bottle of the Vanilla Fig Balsamic and thought it would be something new and different to try (and for only $6.99 a bottle it was truly a great find!) The sweetness of the vinegar, cranberries and pecans mixed with the sharp flavor of the feta made this a great salad. 

Spinach Salad with Vanilla Fig Vinaigrette
6oz. Bag of Fresh Spinach; de-stemed and washed
1/4 Cup Chopped Pecans
1/4 Cup Craisins
2 oz. Feta Cheese, crumbled
1/4 Cup Prepared Dressing(see below)

Mix all ingredients together until well incorporated. Serve chilled. 

Dressing (makes 1 cup):
1/4 Cup Vanilla Fig Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Crushed Black Pepper

Whisk all ingredients together or store in a sealed, air tight jar and shake. 

After leaving the store and was headed back to my car, I realized I was parked in front of a Pizza place. So I stopped in, purchased a ball of dough (yes, you can do that usually at any pizza place and it was only $3 and change) and thought some pizza and salad would be a nice, quick dinner.  My kids prefer the non-traditional kind of pizza without the sauce whenever we make it at home so we opted for some fresh tomatoes and basil. You can add whatever toppings you'd like and we've even made white pizzas with ricotta cheese. 

Pizza with Beefsteak Tomatoes and Fresh Basil
1 Pizza Dough, room temperature
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
1 1/2 Beefsteak Tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 Chop Fresh Basil, chopped
2 Cups Part Skim Mozzarella, shredded 

Heat oven to 425°F. Coat a 17x11 (approx. size) cookie sheet with oil and stretch out the dough until it covers the entire bottom of the pan. Sprinkle some garlic powder over the dough. Next, add your sliced tomatoes to the top of the dough, leaving 1/4" border around all four edges. Add the basil on top of the tomatoes and then the cheese. Using a brush, lightly coat the edges with the oil. Bake in the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve hot. 

*Tip: A small, inexpensive brush can be purchased at any local hardware store for under $1 if you don't have an "official" pastry brush and works just as well!


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