Eggplant Potato Pizza

Tim has a series on our blog categorized “Why I Did That to You“. These posts are written for our daughters when they become older, wiser, and question the sanity of our family. Hopefully by reading his letters, our girls will gain some insight into our parenting philosophy (or lack thereof as the case may well be). Writing out our thoughts makes us feel like we’ve really figured out this whole parenting thing and aren’t flying by the seat of our pants. And maybe, just maybe we have more reasons than “because we said so.”

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Mr. Eggplant Head

When our daughters wonder why tv was not a part of their childhoods yet soccer and reading were, the answers are there. As are the reasons for not caring what they become when they grow up. Whoa – wait a minute. I do care – a little bit. If they want to be farmers – great! Writers – great! Picky eaters – not so great.

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Why? Basically it comes down to pure laziness on my part.

I make one thing for dinner.  One thing only.

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I just can’t bring myself to fix separate kid and adult plates, so they’ve been raised with the expectation that they eat what we eat. When they’re adults, they can decide what is served (which will probably mean no yellow squash – ever). But for now, as their momma (and a mean one at that), I get to do that.

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Sure, I’ll admit that sometimes, especially when they were younger (they’re 9, 7, and just turned 5 as I write this), it was a struggle. And some days, it still is. But, together we’ve worked hard at becoming good eaters. We’ve invested in our children’s eating by having a vegetable garden, belonging to a CSA, visiting the farmers’ market weekly, and cooking together. But perhaps most importantly, they’ve learned that I’m not giving in, so they might as well give up. They now know to stop complaining and start eating because dinner isn’t over until their first plate is clean.

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Last week, this meant that Lou slowly, slowly ate her way through her arugula salad, eating the greens, pears, almonds, and cranberries piece by piece. Finally, she finished and was offered seconds – of her choosing. Not surprisingly, she said no to more salad. But shockingly, she said yes to more eggplant potato pizza. The very pizza that she had balked at when she sat down at the table. A vegetarian pizza, made with a cornmeal crust topped with a savory spread of eggplant, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes, that somehow managed to taste meaty. She tried it and, by golly, discovered that she liked it and wanted more.

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Sam-I-Am would be proud. I know I was.

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Eggplant Potato Pizza

adapted from Amy’s Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree

makes enough for 2 12×17-inch pizzas

Dough

  • 1 2/3 cups (13½ ounces) warm water (105-115° F)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (about 1½ packages)
  • 4½ cups (20¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (2 ounces) coarse cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon (½ ounce) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  •  tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Savory Eggplant Saute (recipe follows)
  • olive oil for brushing
  • 3 cups (10½ ounces) mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese, grated

For the dough:

Combine all the ingredients in bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with paddle attachment until all the flour is moistened and a shaggy mass has formed. Switch to dough hook and mix on medium speed until smooth and supple, about 5-7 minutes.

Gently shape dough into a loose ball. Put into a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise at room temperature, until it has doubled, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425°F and place a baking stone in the oven to preheat for at least 30 minutes.

When dough has doubled, divide it into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a loose ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 minutes. (This allows the dough to relax so it’s easier to shape.)

Line two 12×17-inch baking sheets (half-sheet pans) with parchment and brush olive oil over parchment and sides of pans. Place one of dough balls into the pan and gently press and stretch it until it fills the pan evenly. If the dough resists stretching, let it rest for about 5 minutes before continuing. Repeat with remaining dough.

Lightly brush each rectangle of dough with olive oil, being sure to brush the edges. Divide eggplant topping between the two pizzas and spread evenly over dough, leaving small border around the edges. Divide cheeses between the two pizzas and sprinkle evenly over the top of each.

Put one pan directly on the baking stone and one on a rack above it. Rotate the pans from top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and golden and the cheese is completely melted and bubbly.

Let the pizzas cool in the pans on a rack for about 5 minutes. Use a metal spatula to loosen the crust of each pizza from the edge of the pan. Using the parchment overhang, lift out the pizza and place on a cutting board. Slide the parchment out from under the pie. Use a pizza wheel or a long chef’s knife to cut the pizza.

Savory Eggplant Saute

Don’t limit yourself to using this as only a pizza topping. Serve with rice or pasta, stuff into a pita, top focaccia, or freeze for your next pizza.

  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) olive oil
  • 2 medium (14 ounces) onions, sliced
  • 1 medium (18 ounces) eggplant, unpeeled and diced
  • 2 small to medium (12 ounces) potatoes (unpeeled), diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • kosher salt
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, eggplant, potatoes, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and juice. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Turn heat down to low, cover pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but not mushy. Remove from heat, uncover, and let cool before using to top pizza. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

 

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