With Easter behind us, our last real break from school over that means only one thing…..5 weeks of school left! Now don’t get me wrong, I dearly love the Mount and I love my girls, but this time of year my staff and I are just about running on empty, its been a long hard year and it has taken its toll on everyone. It’s funny though, before I worked at the Mount, I had a regular job with normal vacation and holidays…..I got through it, it never really seemed to bother me, I mean that’s what everyone does right?Well everyone but school employees….for years my wife would torture me with oh where are you going, aren’t you off today? Snow day, hah!! Unless the Governor declared a state of emergency I went to work. But those days are over, I’m off all the holidays, and the summer…..life is good! But what that did to me, and it took a surprisingly short time to do it, what it did do was get my mind and body into teacher mode, ah yes my wife knew it well. You go from working a whole year without complaining to uttering phrases like we have 3 more weeks until spring break, or when is our next holiday? The Mount even got me interested in baseball, we got off from school the year the Phillies won the series!! Now I am a converted die hard fan!! Go Phillies! But what it did was get my mind and body accustomed to being off, and when my body knows a rest is on the way, it gives me just until that day I promised not one day more, and to prove its point…..it starts to break down the closer we get to the end of the year.
I have no idea when this happened but trust me it does……sighSo five more weeks and I get to rest for 8 weeks……life is good!
But enough of that, I know why your here today, its my happy day! It’s Guest Post Friday!!! Today its my pleasure to introduce you to Raven from RavienNomNoms Blog. Raven and I became fast friends when I discovered that she was a Penn State Alumni, working and living in the Philadelphia area, I have become a die-hard Penn State Fan (even though I still love my Texas football). Now I’m also a RavienNomNom Fan!!
If you haven’t been to Raven’s blog before your in for a real treat today! You can always tell when someone really loves what there doing, and its plain to see that Raven loves to cook and she loves to blog, and it definitely shows in all the wonderful creations she shares with us week after week! I know your going to be glad you stopped by today, but be forewarned your going to be hungry when you leave!
So my friends, sit back, relax, put your feet up and get ready to hear those stomach rumblings as I give you….
I cannot tell you how absolutely excited I was when Chef Dennis sent me a note asking me to participate in his Guest Post Friday! I feel truly honored that he would even consider me as a Guest Post candidate. When I first started my blog, I wasn’t too sure where it would take me, but one of the first people to comment on my blog page was, yeup you guessed it, Chef Dennis. He welcomed me into the food blogging community with open arms and told me that he and some of his students were Penn State fans…I knew from then on that he and I we would get along juuuuust fine (PSU Alum right here! WE ARE!). He is truly such an inspiration to me with all his knowledge and expert advice, not to mention his stunning pictures. Every time I see another post from him I anxiously sit on the edge of my seat to see what he has come up. I owe Chef Dennis a big T-H-A-N-K-S for all his warmth and support throughout my journey as a blogger in this past year and also for the wonderful opportunity to do a Guest Post on his fantastic blog.
What is it about a Friday that makes people want to have pizza? Personally, after a hard work week the last thing I want to do on a Friday is come home and make something uber complicated for dinner. Do you ever have one of those weeks where you just think to yourself, “I don’t want to do anything but sit on the couch, have a glass of wine (or a beer), watch a movie, and eat a whole big yummy cheeeeeeessy pizza”?? I often have those thoughts as the whistle blows on a Friday afternoons.
Pizza is one of those foods that you can dress up or dress down so easily, which I just enjoy so much! You can make it simple with one or two toppings or get really fancy and make extravagant pizza pies with all sorts of creative vegetables and meats. You can even buy the dough from the store or make it from scratch. There are endless possibilities! Pizza is always on the menu in my house and this recipe that I came up with I think is a real winner for those Pizza Fridays.
I call it Ratatouille Pizza. Every time I hear Ratatouille I think of the Disney movie when the main character says, “Sounds like Rat and Pa-tu-tee…RAT PATUTEE!” Traditionally, Ratatouille is a French dish with many different delicious vegetables. I love to play around with traditions and see what I can come up with. I personally, love to make my own pizza dough, but feel free to use store bought it will work just as good!
Mix flour, yeast, salt, & herbs in bowl. Make a well in the center and add the tepid water and olive oil. Combine the dry and wet ingredients using your fingers until you can form a ball with the dough.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put some muscle into it people!
Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom of a large bowl and use a paper towel to rub the entire bowl with the olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and rub the top of the dough with olive oil.
Let the dough rise for about 2 hours or until it has doubled in size. You can get about 2 pizza crusts out of this recipe. This dough freezes marvelously! Which means that you can make the dough and then place the remainder in the freezer until you are ready for your next pizza night.
Once the dough has doubled in size, lightly dust a surface with flour and turn your dough out of the bowl onto it. Using a floured rolling pin start to roll out your dough into a pizza shape. You will need to flip the dough and stretch it as you work to get the shape you want. Be patient!
Cut all your vegetables into very thin slices and place onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the vegetables into the oven for about 15 minutes. I find that if you pre-cook your vegetables just a small amount it really brings the flavors together nicely. Also, it helps get some of the moisture out of the vegetables before you put them on the pizza, that way your pizza doesn’t get soupy once cooked. If you prefer to put the vegetables on the pizza raw, go for it! I am sure it will be just as delicious.
With your dough that you prepared and rolled out, pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread on the dough. This is your “sauce” for the pizza. Finely chop your garlic and sprinkle over the olive oil. Also take your pre-roasted onion and arrange however you like.
Press down gently on the vegetables once you have lined the entire crust. This will help make the pizza thinner and not look so much like an accordion because of all those vegetables you just stacked, hehe. Using your fingers pull the 1” edge that you left unlined and fold gently. Use a fork to push down on the rolled dough edge. This will help seal the crust.
Take your mozzarella and sprinkle it over the top of the pizza. I lifted up the veggies in certain areas and sprinkled cheese, then pressed them back down so the cheese would melt nicely into the vegetable layers. Top the mozzarella with the fresh Parmesan.
Place into the oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly and the crust is nice and crisp. Once it comes out of the oven sprinkle with fresh parley and basil.
Viola! You have a fancy and yummy cheeeeeeessy pizza for your Friday. This is most definitely NomNoms worthy. So…guess what? It is Friday, go home and make some pizza foodies!
Thanks again to Chef Dennis for this great opportunity! I had such a great time being your guest! J
Now was that not one of the most glorious pizza’s you have ever seen!! A feast for the eyes as well as the stomach! So before you forget, head on over to RavieNomNom’s Blog and say hi to my favorite Nittany Lions Fan Raven! Just don’t forget to tell her Chef Dennis sent you!Thanks so much for stopping by today, I do appreciate you taking the time to stop and say hello.
I hope where ever you are, you are blessed with glorious weather……Winter has finally loosened its grip on us and none to soon! So get outside and enjoy the weekend, have lunch or dinner outside, and spend some time with the one you love. Enjoy life while you can my friends, you never know what the future has in store for us……