When I ask my father what vegetables he wants with dinner, his response is often "potatoes" to which I reply "Dad! We already have a starch. What vegetable would you like?" He then looks me with an obvious smirk and repeats "potatoes". I am very much my father’s daughter in that regard. Love them. And noodles. I hope I never have to chose between the two. As much as I am a potato gal, I never thought of putting them on pizza, until last week that is. This Potato-Leek Pizza from The Pioneer Woman has surely changed my mind. "More!" I say!
I remember very distincly the first post I read on Ree’s site. I was on the phone with a friend back home who wanted to know how to make cinnamon rolls. We may have many a delicious pastry back home but I think we sorely miss out in the cinnamon rolls department. As a very occasional baker, she needed visuals. I searched step-by-steps online and stumbled on Ree’s site. Bingo! My friend had an official teacher, willing to take her by the hand through the whole process. I had found a treasure trove of All American classics that my husband grew up on. He never says so but it’s good to split my cooking between my French and his American. Makes for a fun relationship. Much like potatoes and pizza actually.
Ree lives on a ranch in the middle of vast great lands. I live in a house on stilts in the middle of marsh land. She has four 2-legged offsprings, I have two 4-legged companions. She married a cowboy who herds cows for a living. I married a man of the last frontier, history teaching. In her cooking, Ree makes do of what is available in her neck of the woods. I had to learn quickly what is Lowcountry cooking. Her cookbook is #1 in the New York Times Best Sellers list. Mine is still being edited (more on that later, promise) See…completely the same. Ahah!
I don’t know Ree. Sure I have met her at BlogHer Food in San Francisco and exchanged a few words but that’s about it. Yet, and I don’t know how she does it, she is one of the most kind hearted ladies, taking time in her incredibly busy schedule and many roles to make you feel like what you say did not get lost in the big emptiness of the internet. I can guess it has got to be mind boggling for her how life has changed for her family in the last few years. It would make people feel uneasy, others would get the big head. Yet, Ree remains her natural, super nice, dorky self. I do need to say that she made me blush bright red when she put me in the same sentence a Matt Armendariz at BlogHer. Ugh!
Ree’s cookbook reads like a novel. There is food and there is life on the ranch, life with the kids, daily thoughts and aspirations. The one most excited about getting the book was my husband however. He can relate to the recipes, they were part of his mom’s stapples. He thought that whereas I fought the generation gap with his mother and the can of Ro-Tel, I would relate to Ree’s fresh approach to life and cooking as she was trying to adapt to her new territory. He was right. Copies of my mother-in-law’s Little League cookbooks are collecting dust but The Pioneer Woman Cooks is being earmarked by the both of us. He seldoms cooks so he loves the step by step pictures while I skip those for the stories. I like stories.
Ree’s book does not need another review, yet I can tell you that B. is extremely excited to eat "Pioneer Woman" this weekend while I am away. I have been invited by the great folks of The Grove Park Inn in Asheville to be a judge in their annual National Gingerbread House Competition. I am not only extremely honored but thrilled to be in a group comprising Colette Peters and Chef Lodge to name a couple. I thought that B. would be able to accompany me but he’s stuck with gigs this weekend. Instead, gal pal Tami from Running With Tweezers is coming up from Atlanta to share some of the fun and mountain air. In preparation of the trip, I made a few things that Bill loved and that he could easily reheat at night. One of them was this potato-leek pizza except it was devoured the moment it came out of the oven (well, after a few pictures).
I felt a bit pioneer-ish shopping for the ingredients when the only leeks I could find were fancy baby ones (did not have time to get to another store). Despite the double price tag, they looked a lot like green onions to me and I think I even aggravated the store clerck when I said so. I hate to aggravate them because they do order fancy stuff for me when I ask them. They are indeed green onions and they did taste like leeks however so all’s well. The combination of potatoes, leeks, bacon ang goat cheese made me think of Frenchified loaded American baked potatoes meeting their Italian cousin on a bed of mozarella and tender pizza crust. Awesome…and I am packing two slices for the road.
I hate to tell you I’m going to frolic in gingerbread goodness in a paradise like retreat while some of you have to work, play hard or are stuck sick at home. That’s why I am psyched that Ree generously offered to giveaway THREE copies of her book to three readers. If you want a chance to win, here is what to do:
– leave a comment on this post
– ONE entry per person – if you don’t see your comment right away, give me a few hours before re-posting as I have the moderator on.
– Enter until Wednesday November 18th at midnight, US eastern time.
Potato Leek Pizza, with permission of Ree Drummond:
6 slices thick bacon, cut into 1-in pieces
3 leeks, sliced thinly
Extra virgin olive oil
5 small red or Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced paper thin
16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
4 oz crumbled goat cheese (I used twice that much:))
Parmesan cheese, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
Unbaked pizza crust
Preheat oven to 500 degrees
Begin by frying bacon pieces in a skillet over medium heat until cooked but not crisp. Remove bacon from pan and pour off most of the grease. Set bacon aside.
Return skillet to stove and turn heat to medium-low.
Slice leeks very thinly. A sharp knife helps.
Add leeks to the same pan and sauté over medium-low heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice potatoes very thin.
Prepare pizza crust according to directions, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Arrange potatoes in a single layer all over crust, slightly overlapping edges. Sprinkle potatoes lightly with salt, then lay mozzarella slices in a single layer over the top of the potatoes.
Place sautéed leeks over the top of the cheese.
Next, sprinkle the fried bacon pieces over the top, followed by a generous addition of crumbled goat cheese.
Finally, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Bake pizza for 8 to 11 minutes, or until edges of crust are golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly. Cut into wedges or squares and serve immediately.
Makes two pizza crusts
1 ½ cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Extra olive oil for drizzling
Pour warm water into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the water.
Stir together flour, olive oil, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add water/yeast mixture and stir together until just combined. Dough will be very sticky.
Drizzle a little olive oil into a clean mixing bowl. Toss the ball of dough in the bowl and turn over to coat in oil. Cover bowl and place in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, or cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.