The other night, you, Brian, Harry, and Lucas were snacking on some kickass pickles when I heard you and came down to make a proper snack-flatbread pizzas. You asked me to put together some ideas and instructions for making easy, delicious, nourishing food for yourself. So, let’s start with the pizza and take it from there…
You need some pita or naan or any kind of tortilla, some tomato sauce or sliced tomatoes, and some shredded mozzarella. Olive oil, grated parm, and red pepper flakes are nice additions, as are mushrooms. Preheat an oven or toaster oven as hot as it will go while you put together the pizza. Spread sauce or tomatoes (add a bit of olive oil if you’re just using tomatoes), leaving a small border so everything stays put while you bake. Sprinkle with mozz and parm. If you prep the pizza on a little board, you can line it up with the rack of the oven and slide it over. Bake for just a few minutes, watching carefully, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and pepper flakes and let it stand for a minute or two to calm down before you bit or cut into it.
Can you see? She’s eating a pizza,
Use homemade or prepared pesto instead of the tomato sauce.
After you take the pizza out of the oven, add some prosciutto. Or a pile of arugula and some extra parm and olive oil.
Use goat cheese instead of mozz with either tomato sauce or pesto.
Make a pizza with sliced baguette or rustic italian bread instead of flatbread.
Add mushrooms, peppers, cooked sausage, pepperoni or olives before baking.
To make tomato sauce in the microwave:
Chop a little garlic or onion and place in a medium bowl. Drizze with olive oil and a bit of salt. Nuke for 30 seconds until hot but not brown. Use your nose to tell you if it starts to brown. Add a can of crushed tomatoes (Muir Glenn are best, but any will do fine), and nuke for a couple of minutes until hot. Best to cover the bowl with a napkin or sauce will splatter everywhere!
A good affordable olive oil is Colavita Extra Virgin or Fruttato.
Buy real parmesan reggiano. Some stores pregrate it, which is ok, but don’t get domestic or fake parm!
The pickles are Bubbe’s Bread and Butter Pickles. Bubbe means Grandma in Yiddish. I’ve never put them on a pizza, but there’s a first time for everything.
Other things to do with your tomato sauce:
Serve it over plain cooked pasta or rice.
Cook some chicken in it. Serve with rice or bread and a little salad.
Put a shitload of baby spinach in a pan, add a few spoonsful of sauce, and place over a burner. The spinach will wilt down to nothing. Add a couple of eggs, cover the pan and cook over lowish heat until the eggs are cooked. Serve with a piece of nice bread. Very nourishing meal!
Add some cumin and chili powder, now it’s mexican! Drizzle it over a bowl of tortilla chips, add some grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese and nuke until the cheese melts. Nachos! Serve with sour cream.
Add some cream and a couple tablespoonsful of vodka, a few red pepper flakes, and cook for a few minutes on the stove or in the microwave. Cook up some penne pasta, serve with cheese for penne ala vodka!
Some other things to do with flatbread/tortillas:
I like to cover one with grated cheese (our favorite is Cabot’s Seriously Sharp, which comes pre-grated and has Harry’s Serious Vermont Stamp of Approval) and pop it into the toaster oven. If you preheat the oven to “toast” while you prep, the cheese will melt really fast. When the cheese is bubbly and the tortilla or pita starting to toast, take it out. You can just fold or roll and eat, or add other stuff, like: arugula drizzles with a bit of olive oil, sliced tomatoes, some crispy bacon*, some cooked mushrooms**, sliced sun-dried tomatoes, leftover chicken or other meat, a slice of deli ham or prosciutto, or my favorite (don’t skip this until you try it)-peanut butter and honey!
*wrap a couple of slices of bacon in paper towls and nuke for a minute. Check. Nuke for 30 seconds at a time until crip
**slice a few mushrooms and place in a bowl. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Nuke for a minute, adding time as above, until they’re cooked. Drain before using.
OK, now for some general sandwich ideas: First, wraps, since we’ll talking tortillas. You can also experiment with naan, chapatis, lavash, whatever you can find. It’s helpful to heat flatbreads before using them to make them pliable. You can do that in an oven, toaster oven or microwave. If you have a gas burner, my favorite way to toast a flatbread is directly over the flame; use tongs, watch carefully, turning several times. Then lay your fillings on the part of the bread furthest from you. When full, roll up towards you. Then, if you’re going to take your wrap with you, roll in foil, sealing the sides midway, making it nice and tight.
Alternatively, get some good sliced bread, a bagel, toasted english muffin, or some good bread and slice yourself. Then make traditional sandwiches. You can use almost any bread with almost any filling, but it’s always nice to think about how the flavors will match.
Check out this beautiful list of bread on Wikipedia:
Here are some fillings:
Ham and swiss with mustard and/or mayo. Lettuce and/or tomato optional. Pickles
Hummus and sliced cucumber. I like Cedar’s lemon hummus.
Peanut butter and banana
Peanut butter and nutella
Nutella, banana and crushed peanuts
BLT; use any kind of lettuce or arugula
Mix drained tuna (albacore) with some mayo; add lettuce and/or grated carrot
Tuna salad with hummus
Tuna with pickles
Deli turkey (smoked is nice), mayo, swiss, arugula
Turkey and fig jam. Cheese optional
Turkey, cheese, and sliced apple. honey optional
Swiss or cheddar with fig jam
Sliced mozzarella and tomato, a little olive oil and salt; pesto or basil
Mozzarella and prosciutto
Cream cheese and prosciutto
Cream cheese and smoked salmon, sliced cucumber optional
You can turn just about any wrap into a quesadilla as long as it contains some cheese. Simply put all your fillings on one side. Fold it in half and place in a hot, nonstick pan with or without a bit of oil (oil will give the sandwich a sort of fried crust, which is nice). When the first side is browned, flip and cook until the second side is toasty.
You can make a wonderful panini without any special equipment except two pans. Take the larger of two pans, preheat with a little oil. Place in any sandwich containing cheese. Put a little oil on the bottom of the smaller pan (it needs to be big enough to cover the sandwich), and place this pan on top of the sandwich. You can put something else into the pan to weight it like an unopened can or a rock, it helps to press the sandwich. Cook until browned, flip and brown on the second side.
Note: Pizzas, quesadillas, and paninis are best if you let them stand for a couple of minutes before cutting. Just let the cheese firm up ever so slightly so it doesn’t run right off and make a puddle instead of staying where you want it. And prevents those nasty burns on the roof of your mouth!
Did you know you can made a baked potato really fast by cooking it most of the way in the microwave and then finishing in the oven or toaster oven? Wash a nice, big russet (idaho) spud and poke it a few times with a fork or knife. Nuke on high for 2 minutes, turn, nuke for 2 more. Then put it in a 400° oven for 10 minutes until it feels done when you squeeze. You can top this with sour cream, bacon, cheese, bits of ham, butter, leftover steak or meatloaf…the options are endless…and this makes a great, easy lunch or supper.\
OK, a few more easy snack ideas for when you’re in a hurry: apple or banana with peanut butter; vanilla yogurt with a handful of raisins, nuts, and honey; yogurt with peanut butter and granola; Carr’s wheat crackers with nutella and/or peanut butter; Carr’s with cheese or cream cheese; pretzels with peanut butter, boca burger (nuke for 1 minute) on a bagel or english muffin.