Pizza Eric

This recipe was inspired by the Pizza Sagra at—you guessed it—Sagra Trattoria and Bar. Now that Eric has mastered the fine art of a crispy thin crust pizza, we decided to try one at home, complete with our not-so-secret favorite ingredient: eggs!

The first time I ever encountered the eggs-on-a-pizza thing was at Pizza Express, a chain in the UK. Their Fiorentina pizza with spinach, grana padano, garlic oil, black olives, and a cracked egg blew my mind. This is how unsophisticated my palate was! So, you see, I’ve actually come a long way! (Besides, I never said I was a role model.) And now I’ve convinced Eric that eggs are the ultimate pizza-perfecting ingredient.

At a loss as to what to name this one, and considering that it includes some of his other favorite inclusions (like fresh kale and homegrown herbs), I’ve decided to christen it simply “Pizza Eric.”

First, make Eric’s Easy Pizza Dough.

Pizza Eric
Dough (as prepared ahead, above)
6 oz. tomato paste (small can)
1 tsp fresh chopped oregano
two eggs
fresh mozzarella, too taste*
1 cup shredded kale
1/3 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
2 Tbsp olive oil, halved***
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 300°. Meanwhile, drizzle one half of the olive oil on the pizza stone and spread with your fingertips.

2. Next, take the ball of pre-made dough in your hands, and spread it out on the stone so that it covers the whole thing thinly and evenly, curling up at the edges. You can make the crust as thin or as thick as you like, but for this recipe (and according to my personal taste), you will want to spread it comparatively thin.

3. Once dough is evenly spread on the stone, bake it in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.

4. Remove the stone from the oven and turn up the heat to 425°. Meanwhile, spread the remaining olive oil evenly over the dough using a spoon. Next, spread tomato sauce. Crack the two eggs over the pizza, and add oregano, salt, and pepper as desired. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

7. Remove the stone from the oven; add mozzarella, basil, and kale, and return entire to oven. Bake at 425° until the crust is brown and crispy around the edges and the center looks firm.

9. Carefully remove the pizza from the oven, sprinkle the parmesan over it, and let it cool for a few minutes. Cut with a pizza cutter or wheel, then serve immediately.

You won’t have any leftovers.

*Enough to cover the pizza, as desired. Here, we used a couple of mozzarella balls, sliced and spread out over the pizza. You could grate it if you prefer.


Eric’s Easy Pizza Dough

3 cups bread or all-purpose flour
1 cup of lukewarm water
1 Tbsp of salt
Drizzle of olive oil
1 packet of instant yeast (~1 tsp)

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover, and let it sit as long as you want (the longer it sits, the more sourdough flavor it will have).

2. About an hour before baking, remove the dough from the bowl and place in a foil “tent” (get a couple of large pieces of foil and wrap your dough up in them, with enough extra space for the dough to rise further – they tent does not need to be completely sealed).

3. Before preparing pizza base, flour your hands and work surface to avoid sticking. Fold the dough over a couple of times with your hands, and then make a medium-sized dough ball – this will become your pizza crust. The size of the dough ball will depend upon the size of the pizza you plan to make and the diameter of your pizza stone, so results here will vary.

Creamy Garlic Zucchini Soup

Over the weekend, my household gardener and brewmaster (a.k.a. Eric) met up with a chicken-keeping pal to trade some homegrown produce. In exchange for a bag full of jalapeños and habaneros and a nice bunch of fresh herbs, we got six eggs and the Largest Zucchini Ever. This zucchini was seriously about two feet long and weighed at least ten pounds! Eric took half of it to a Memorial Day pool party and grilled it in thick slices; I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the rest.

I don’t really get tired of squash—especially zucchini—and I’m glad it’s zucchini season. You can roast them, grill them, use them as filler, make them into soups, put them in pasta—the possibilities are nearly endless, and they are healthy and filling. But I am kind of afraid to see what size zucchini we’ll be getting from this guy by August!

Anyway, this soup is easy, not requiring a lot of prep work, and the result is shockingly rich and quite silky! I would encourage you not to peel your zucchini; leaving the skin on adds to the nice green color, as well as providing additional nutrients.  Sometimes leaving the skin on gives the final dish a bit of a bitter aftertaste, but, in this case, that’s more than compensated for by the half stick of butter.


I also highly recommend making the sourdough croutons. The rich, tangy flavor of the bread, especially after it’s toasted in olive oil, is an excellent counterpoint to the fresh, creamy flavors of the soup. The addition of the croutons transformed this from a great dinner into a memorable one that I will no doubt make again soon.

Especially if I get anymore ten-pound zucchini!

Creamy Garlic Zucchini Soup

6 cups zucchini, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil, halved
~1 tsp garlic powder
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 white onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tsp paprika
~ 2 cups roughly chopped greens*
salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
3-4 slices sourdough bread (stale is perfect!), roughly cut into 1″ squares

1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a large roasting tin, toss diced zucchini in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, along with the garlic powder and some salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning the pieces over with a spoon about halfway through.

2. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium high heat in a large stock pot. Add onions and garlic, stir, and cook for about five to ten minutes, until onions are fragrant and translucent. Add celery, paprika, and a dash of salt and pepper, and cook for another five minutes. Pour in vegetable broth. As soon as it starts to lightly boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes.

3. Remove zucchini from oven and add to pot. Stir thoroughly, and allow to cook for about five more minutes. Meanwhile, add the sourdough squares to the pan, toss in remaining oil and juices, and spread out evenly. Return the pan to the oven and cook for about three minutes, until nicely browned, then remove and set aside.

4. Remove soup from heat and allow to cool slightly (for about five minutes). Add greens, then pour the soup into a blender (you will need to do two separate batches) and blend to desired consistency. I prefer this soup very creamy, so I blend for about three minutes on a higher setting like “cream” or “purée.” After all your soup is blended, return it to the pot and stir in cream. Taste, and add more salt and pepper as desired.

5. Ladle out into serving bowls and garnish with the sourdough croutons. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Reheats nicely to make even tastier leftovers, and also freezes well.

* I used homegrown green leaf lettuce.

Refreshing Homemade Fruit-Infused Green Iced Tea

3-6 tsp loose green tea leaves or 3-6 bags, to taste*
1 lemon sliced
1/2 an orange, sliced
handful of fresh mint leaves
1 Tbsp raw honey

You will also need a large pitcher and about 2 cups of ice.

1. Bring a full kettle of water to a boil.  If you don’t have a kettle, use a regular pot on the stovetop.

2. To steep the tea, you can do one of three things: you can either place bags of tea directly in your kettle or pot; you can pour the boiling water into a separate kettle or pitcher and then add the bags; or you can use a tea strainer or ball strainer for loose leaf tea.  We use a lovely little cast iron Japenese tea pot with a built-in strainer that my out-laws gave us when we moved in together.  Steep the tea for at least ten minutes.  If using tea bags, remove them from the tea and discard.  Add honey and stir vigorously until it is dissolved.  Allow tea to cool a bit, say for about another ten to fifteen minutes.

4. Meanwhile, pour the fruit and mint into your pitcher.  When the tea is cooled, add the ice to the pitcher, and then pour the tea over it.  Stir to mix in fruits and mint.  Refrigerate immediately.  Allow to cool further in the refrigerator–for at least 30 minutes.

5. Serve over ice, adjusting the amount depending, again, on how weak or strong tea you like your tea.  I like mine stronger and with a bold tea flavor; the boy likes his weaker and with more ice, as he finds it more refreshing.

*Use more or less to taste, depending on how strong you like your iced tea. Here, we used loose leaf green tea with mango.

Creamed Hominy

This one’s pretty straightforward, but I want you to enjoy it as much as I did, so I’m posting it!  If you like hominy (and you should like hominy), you’ll love creamed hominy.

4 cups fresh (or fresh frozen) hominy
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp butter, separated
dash of raw sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Rinse the hominy and pour into a stock pot or slow cooked (I prefer the latter). Cover completely with water, add a dash of salt, and boil for approximately an hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for about another four hours, until hominy is tender but still firm. It can now be cooked, or stored for future use within (This step can be skipped if you’re using canned hominy, bless your heart. If you’re using raw, unsoaked hominy, follow these steps–you are a braver cook than I!)

2. Drain the water from the hominy and pour it back into a stock pot with the cream. Bring just to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to simmer, stirring constantly.

3. Add butter, sugar, salt, and pepper. Continue to stir until all ingredients are melted and well mixed, cooking over low heat as hominy achieves a thick, creamy texture. Serve warm as an addictive and filling side dish.

Serves 4.

You could also use corn. But it won’t be nearly as buttery and delicious!

Shown above with butternut squash and potatoes roasted in bacon fat and olive oil, with a little salt, pepper, and fresh sage and rosemary, topped off with a little grated parmesan.