Olive Flatbread

Is it pizza or is it flatbread?  I don’t really know.  I think I’d call it pizza if it had one or two more ingredients on it, but this simple pizza-like flatbread was just brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with Spanish Roasted Black Olive Sea Salt (which you can find, of course, at Savory Spice Shop), some sliced olives (I got a mixed container of olives from the olive bar at Whole Foods), and some grated parmesan cheese.
So, maybe it’s a flatbread.  But, I used a pizza crust recipe…. hmmm… 
For my crust:
In a large pyrex measuring cup, mix 1 1/3 cup warm water, 1 TB yeast, and a spoon full of sugar.  Let this dissolve and sit for approximately 10 minutes.  Your yeast should get nice and frothy, which lets you know it is alive.
In your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, measure out 3 cups unbleached bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, a pinch of sea salt, and some freshly ground black pepper.  Mix this for a few seconds with the dough hook before slowly adding the liquid and a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Knead this in the mixer, adding a little more flour as needed, for 10 minutes or so until it is a nice, smooth dough ball that isn’t sticky.
Then cover the bowl- I usually put wax paper over the bowl and then cover that with a dish towel.  Place the bowl in a warm area (not a hot oven) to double in size over the next hour or so.  Then, punch it down and start rolling out crusts, or flatbreads.
I like baking my pizzas and flatbreads on a baking stone in a 425 degree oven.  They cook in no time. Enjoy!

French Bread Pizza

Sometimes dinner needs to be fast, and French Bread Pizza is a great fast fix.

What I have here is some fresh French bread, layered with thinly sliced fresh tomatoes, some sauteed yellow onion, buffalo mozzarella, and basil. Delicious.

The Best Pizza in Boulder (updated 3.12.11)

I enjoy making pizza from scratch. I plan ahead and make my dough, get some great ingredients assembled, and have fun rolling out little pies and baking them on my pizza stone. There are times when I am too busy to go through the whole pizza process, so we look towards others to supply our pies. When we first moved to Boulder (more than 5 years ago now) we’d go to Lefty’s since we live in Gunbarrel and it is close to us. We’d often bring the pizza home and put it in the oven for a while to crisp it up a bit.

Then we heard about this place called Proto’s. We gave it a try and loved it. For the past couple years we’d usually go to Proto’s for pies whenever I decided not to cook. It was a reliably delicious decision.
We hadn’t been to Proto’s in a while, and, while downtown recently, decided to give the new BOP a try. Result? A soggy bottom in the middle of the pizza by the time we got it home.
The very next week I was working at a dinner party downtown until quite late, so I planned to pick up some pizzas. We (though I state clearly here that it WAS NOT my idea) decided to try BOP once again since it was conveniently located close to the party where I was working. Result? A soggy bottom again.
I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be a pizza snob, but a soggy bottom is just totally unacceptable to me in a pizza.
So, back to my story… The soggy bottom pies led to a conversation reminiscing of Proto’s pies and how good they were. We had just eaten pizza two weekends in a row, so we weren’t about to go to Proto’s just for the hell of it. But, we recalled it fondly.
Fast forward a few weeks and we decided to try Basta, the new pizza place in the Peloton. We were pleased with Basta- they have a wood-fired oven, nice toppings, crisp crust, nice wines, etc. We had a good meal and tried to compare it to Proto’s. It had now been quite some time since eating a Proto’s pie, so we had trouble comparing. We knew Basta made good pies. That was for sure.
Fast forward another few weeks and we decided it was time to try Proto’s again. We were replacing our floors- ripped out the carpet and laid down a wood floor on a Friday night until past 10:00 pm. I showered first so I could pick up our pies and was SO EXCITED and hungry and Friday is clam pizza night, which is FANTASTIC! And then the news… Proto’s closes at 10. We called at 10:30 to place an order for pick-up. Worst. Moment. Ever.
I whipped up something… oh yeah, I remember now. Nachos.
The next day we were laying down floors and getting our place in order until 9 pm. Not too late for Proto’s! Just no clam pizza. OK. So, I picked up our pizzas, brought them home, opened the box and smiled, and took my first bite. I instantly declared it to be the best pizza I’ve had in Boulder. Hands down. Thin, crisp crust. Not too many ingredients, but good ingredients. Not too doughy. Just right. Just right.
This pizza taste-test led to a conversation with someone who had purchased a BOP pie. I warned her of the soggy bottom. We talked of Proto’s and Basta, as well as Abo’s, a place I had never frequented for a pie. The same week my friend with whom I discussed pizzas gave me a gift certificate to Abo’s. Cool… let the pizza pie challenge continue.
And so, I bought some Abo’s, brought it home, and was absolutely shocked at how big, dense, and heavy this pie was. Seriously. Big, dense, and heavy is all I can think of to describe the pie. I’m just not into that kind of pie. I don’t want that much crust and that many toppings. That’s just not enjoyable pizza to me.
The bottom line: Proto’s is the best pie. I know there are people making great pies in Boulder, like Laudisio, which is always a fabulous pie. But I’m talking here specifically about pizza places where lots of customers order pies for take out. I’m talking about places that really specialize in pizza, not gourmet restaurants that also make pizza. Proto’s wins my unofficial pizza challenge.

I need to edit this- My new fav is Pizzeria da Lupo! No doubt about that one!

Where’s your favorite place to get a pie in Boulder. Let me know. I’ll check it out and add it to my pizza challenge.

Pizza Four Ways

Why make one large pizza when you can make four small pizzas? Mix it up a little…
The four I made, from left to right, are:
  • Turkey Meat Sauce and Green Pepper
  • Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Oil and Green Pepper
  • Caramelized Onion, Apple, and Blue Cheese
  • Roasted Garlic
For all of these, I followed my Pizza Dough recipe, in which I altered the flour content in following way: 2 cups unbleached white flour, 1.5 cups whole wheat flour. Also, I rolled each crust super thin and baked them at 425 on a pizza stone for approximately 5 minutes each. They will take more time if they are not incredibly thin, so be mindful of that.
I had some leftover Turkey Meat Sauce (which was actually chopped meatballs in sauce from my Turkey Meatballs in Homemade Sauce recipe) , so I spread that on some dough with sliced green pepper.

I roasted garlic for my Roasted garlic flatbread-style pizza, and used the oil as a base for the shrimp pizza. I spread some oil, put on some chunks of shrimp, green pepper, salt, and pepper.
My favorite pizza of the four was the caramelized onion, apple, blue cheese combination. This needs to be planned out a bit because it can take 30 minutes or so to slowly caramelize onions. I spread them out on the crust, covered the pizza in apple slices, and then some Oregon blue cheese crumbles. Delicious. If you aren’t familiar with caramelizing onions, the first part of my Caramelized Onion Butter recipe can explain that.
My roasted garlic flatbread is really simple. Just add some roasted garlic and its oil to the rolled out dough. Salt and pepper, bake, and dive right in. If you want to review roasting garlic, follow my recipe for Roasted Garlic Spread, but skip the part where you make it a spread. Or, make a roasted garlic spread… whichever way you prefer.

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