Clam pizza

IMG_8478.jpg

Clam pizza is such a Connecticut thing. I'm sure some would argue that it's also a New York thing, but I feel like Frank Pepe, the New Haven pizza institution, is best known for it's clam pizza, and thus, clam pizza is a Connecticut thing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I first tried this briny, garlicky pie on a trip to Connecticut long before moving here myself. And I've been on a Goldilocksian journey to find the best one ever since. They have either been too salty, not garlicky enough, or without cheese and that is not acceptable to me when it comes to pizza. (Don't yell at me, people who think seafood and cheese should never mingle.)

Some slapdash mis-en-place.

Some slapdash mis-en-place.

We have not yet found our favorite (sorry, Pepe's), but instead have been making our favorite. Full of three different kinds of cheese and two different kinds of garlic, this pizza tastes like clams and tastes like a proper pizza, but also SO MUCH MORE. 

IMG_8401.jpg
IMG_8403.jpg

I used a pizza stone on a grill because a) not everyone has a grill, so you can easily recreate this in an oven with the pizza stone (see directions in the recipe); and b) because I've never grilled my pizza directly on the grates. If you're braver than I am, here are some instructions for that method.

If you aren't as into garlic (this recipe calls for 10 cloves!), either reduce the number of fresh cloves or just use the roasted ones. Their flavor is much mellower and blends well with the cheese.

IMG_8465.jpg
IMG_8480.jpg

And please do garnish with the lemon and sea salt. They make a huge difference in the end product.

Clam pizza

1 pizza dough
Flour to prevent sticking when rolling out dough
Coarse corn meal, about 2-3 Tbsp
1 cup ricotta cheese
6-7 roasted garlic cloves (see method below)
2-3 large raw garlic cloves, minced
2 cans clams, drained (about 4 oz of clam meat)
1/2- 3/4 cup nutty cheese such as gruyere, sharp cheddar, gouda (not smoked), or fontina,
shredded
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
Parsley
Lemon wedges
Sea salt
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

For the roasted garlic:
Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 400. Smash 10 cloves of garlic, but don't remove the peels. Add them to a small oven proof container. I usually use a ramekin or a coffee mug. Cover with olive oil. Cook in the oven until the garlic is bubbling and fragrant and the cloves are very soft when (carefully! hot oil!) pushed on with a spoon, about 10 minutes.

Preheat your grill on high or your oven at 500. Remove the top rack of your grill or the second rack of your oven and move the remaining rack to the lower middle portion of the oven. (You want enough room above the rack to negotiate your dough onto the pizza stone, but be close enough to the top of the oven to easily brown your cheese. Add the pizza stone and let heat for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prep all of your toppings. Add the raw and roasted garlic to the ricotta, drain your clams, and shred and combine the mozzarella and nutty cheeses. Set aside. 

On a floured pizza board, roll out or press out your dough until very thin. Lift up half of the dough and scatter the coarse corn meal underneath. Repeat on the other side. Jiggle your pizza board to make sure that the dough will slide off easily. 

If cooking in the oven, add your toppings before placing the raw dough on the pizza stone, periodically shaking the pizza board to make sure that the topped dough will slide off easily. If the toppings are weighing down the dough too much, carefully add more corn meal under the crust.

Slide the topped, raw dough onto the pizza stone carefully. Cook for 6-8 minutes without opening the oven. Check the pizza and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the cheese and the sides of the crust begin to brown. Check the bottom crust for doneness (it should be golden brown and crispy). Remove from the heat and top with chopped parsley, sea salt, lemon, and crushed red pepper flakes (optional).

If cooking on the grill, make sure all of your toppings are measured and easily spreadable. Slide the plain, raw dough onto your grill and quickly top with the ricotta and garlic mixture, the clams, and the shredded cheeses. Close the lid to the grill and let cook for 5 minutes. Check for doneness continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until the crust and cheese begin to brown.

Check the bottom crust for doneness (it should be golden brown and crispy). Remove from the heat and top with chopped parsley, sea salt, lemon, and crushed red pepper flakes (optional).

One note about grilling, the number of burners on your grill will change the speed at which this pizza cooks. A 6-burner grill might take less than 5 minutes, so check it sooner. A 3-burner grill might take a minute more. Use your judgement based on your grill or oven.

IMG_8476.jpg

Carrot flatbread pizza

IMG_7371.jpg
IMG_7379.jpg

How is it Passover and Easter again? I've been thinking a lot about the passage of time lately. Having a sick parent has made me feel more like an adult than any other milestone has, while simultaneously making me feel like a helpless kid. How am I old enough to sleep next to a hospital bed and interact with doctors who seem to think I know what I'm doing? And also, isn't someone else supposed to take care of this stuff? Like, the mom who's in the hospital bed?

Last week was also M's 3rd birthday and while I felt the obligatory, "How is this kid 3 already?" I also felt a little bit like, "How is he only 3?" In the best way possible, it feels like he's always been here.

So yeah, time. It flies and crawls.

M also starts school on Monday. Real school where I drop him off every day and he makes friends and has relationships with teachers and learns things that I don't know. We flirted with this type of setting before we moved last summer, but then we relocated and decided to get on a waiting list for a school we liked instead of jumping right in as soon as we got to Connecticut.

IMG_5554.jpg
IMG_5557.jpg

So! This means I'll be actually posting lunchbox meals over on instagram instead of talking about them theoretically. This carrot pizza is a good place to start! First, it's "pizza" which is appealing to lots of kids. Carrots are also a good gateway vegetable because they're sweet, especially when roasted.

IMG_5549.jpg

A few notes about the pesto: We're lucky that M's classroom isn't nut-free, but if your school is, swap in pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for the cashews. Also, the carrot tops lend a fresh, green taste to this pesto. Use 2 packed cups of carrot tops and basil, in whatever ratio you want. My carrot tops usually measure between 1 and 1.5 cups, so I fill up the remaining cup with basil. And be sure to pack it tightly.

IMG_5545.jpg

Carrot flatbread pizza

Carrot top pesto
1-2 cups leafy carrot tops (see note above)
1/4-1 cup basil
¼ cup raw cashews, toasted
1 large clove garlic
½ cup olive oil
splash of lemon juice
½ tsp salt, to taste
pepper

Yield: about 9 oz, or 1.5 cups sauce

For the flatbreads
2 lb carrots
2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
4 flatbreads
6 Tbsp ricotta
6 Tbsp carrot top pesto
4 Tbsp parmesan
1-1.5 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 400. Peel the carrots and arrange in roasting pan. Add oil and salt and roast for 35-40 minutes, until thickest part of the carrot is fork tender.

To arrange the flatbreads: Mix together the ricotta and pesto. Spread 2 Tbsp of the cheese and pesto mixture on top of the flatbreads. Top with about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of mozzarella. Arrange carrots in whatever pattern you like and top with 1 Tbsp parmesan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese has begun to brown and the breads are crispy.

IMG_5575.jpg
IMG_7374.jpg

Healthy-ish pizza rolls

Healthy-ish pizza rolls | Me & The Moose. Whole wheat pizza crust, kale pesto, and turkey salami make these lunchbox friendly pizza rolls (just swap the walnuts in the kale pesto for sunflower or pumpkin seeds or leave them out entirely) a healthier pizza option. #meandthemoose #pizzarolls #healthypizzarecipes #healthypizza #lunchboxideas #lunchboxrecipes #lunch #pizza

Today is Pi day and Friday is St. Patrick's Day and the closest we're getting to a themed meal here at M&TM headquarters is kale pesto pizza rollups which are just barely a pizza "pie" and just barely green. Needs must.

We love pizza around these parts, but pizza doesn't always love us. First of all, it's bad for you. Second, it's a mess. A toddler with pizza grease and tomato sauce all over him is just a prelude to an APARTMENT with pizza grease and tomato sauce all over it. These rolls solve these problems: They're a bit healthier, using whole wheat pizza dough (pre-made from Whole Foods because my laziness is well documented on this blog), turkey salami, part-skim mozzarella, and kale pesto. But they really don't skimp on flavor. These rolls also keep well in the fridge or freezer as long as they're re-crisped well in the toaster or the oven before being eaten. 

Healthy-ish pizza rolls | Me & The Moose. Whole wheat pizza crust, kale pesto, and turkey salami make these lunchbox friendly pizza rolls (just swap the walnuts in the kale pesto for sunflower or pumpkin seeds or leave them out entirely) a healthier pizza option. #meandthemoose #pizzarolls #healthypizzarecipes #healthypizza #lunchboxideas #lunchboxrecipes #lunch #pizza

To get this cleaner, healthier version of pizza, you have to do a tiny bit more work than just slapping some sauce and cheese on a rolled out dough and popping it into the oven, though not much more. First, you have to roll the dough into a rectangle, which can take a bit of doing. Make sure your sauce layer is thin since overfilling the middles can cause the rolls to fall apart. You also want to be stingy with the cheese and salami (if using) for the same reason. But the rolling up means that you'll still get tons of cheese and toppings in each bite. 

I took Sally from Sally's Baking Addiction's advice about refrigerating the dough and fillings for 30 minutes after rolling them into a log, but before cutting and cooking them, but I'm not completely sure it was necessary as I've made these without that extra step and found the rolls similarly loose. A few pieces of advice: Try to make this roll as tight as possible. Use your sharpest knife to cut the rolls and don't make them more than 1-inch wide. Also, feel free to tighten and crimp the outside layer of the dough as you transfer the cut pieces to the baking sheet. 

Healthy-ish pizza rolls | Me & The Moose. Whole wheat pizza crust, kale pesto, and turkey salami make these lunchbox friendly pizza rolls (just swap the walnuts in the kale pesto for sunflower or pumpkin seeds or leave them out entirely) a healthier pizza option. #meandthemoose #pizzarolls #healthypizzarecipes #healthypizza #lunchboxideas #lunchboxrecipes #lunch #pizza

Pizza rolls

1 store-bought or homemade whole wheat pizza dough
½ cup kale pesto (scant)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
4-5 oz Turkey salami or pepperoni
1/8 cup corn meal
Tomato sauce for dipping

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Roll or press out the pizza dough on a separate piece of lightly floured parchment paper until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Spread a very thin layer of the kale pesto over top and make sure to get all the way to the edges of the dough. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Add salami or pepperoni if using.

Along the longer side, start rolling the dough as tightly as you can. Continue rolling until the dough and fillings form a log. Transfer the log and parchment paper to a baking pan and chill for 30 minutes (or not, see above note).

After chilling, cut 1-inch pieces from the roll and dip one cut side into the corn meal to prevent sticking. Place the cornmeal crusted side on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Once all the pieces are cut, sprinkle lightly with parmesan and bake for 15-18 minutes until the outsides are golden brown.

Yield: about 15 rolls

Healthy-ish pizza rolls | Me & The Moose. Whole wheat pizza crust, kale pesto, and turkey salami make these lunchbox friendly pizza rolls (just swap the walnuts in the kale pesto for sunflower or pumpkin seeds or leave them out entirely) a healthier pizza option. #meandthemoose #pizzarolls #healthypizzarecipes #healthypizza #lunchboxideas #lunchboxrecipes #lunch #pizza