Summer is on its way but the air has been chilly day and night — it even snowed and rained. Late spring and Memorial Weekend in the Sierra is the ideal time for making hot pizza and cold yogurt parfaits for festive effects and health perks.
Sure, pizza spots are plentiful at Tahoe, but making pizza pies is trendy, too. The cool thing is that when you do it yourself, it’s easy to mix it up and make it your way, your size, and personalized.
On that note, up close and very personal pizza brings me back to a book signing booked in May.
A gal pal, me and my dog, Simon headed up to Barnes and Noble in Chico to dish on my earthquake book. My fun-loving, extroverted Brittany upstaged my guest speaker, a geologist, and worked the audience like a therapy canine charmer.
After the event, we drove to our pet-friendly hotel. No room service. So, delivery pizza was the option. We ordered three pizzas, three beds (it was Simon’s birthday). Late at night we took Simon down to the pool. We ignored the “No Dogs Allowed” sign. Thirty minutes later: We were busted. Staff and guests weren’t laughing. We ended up back in our room to watch “10.5” (the monster quake film) and munched on cold pizzas and fresh fruit from the local store.
This week I am craving and creating pizzas, probably in memory of that night and how great it was to include Simon on the road trip with some unexpected pot holes. (This is his birthday month.) The point is, some folks like cheese and others like vegetables. So why not make individual pizzas? This way everyone gets the toppings they like and there’s no fighting like cats and dogs.
2 pre-made store bought pizza crusts (gourmet preferred)
1/2 cup store bought all-natural, marinara sauce (or ready-made pesto sauce)
1 cup cheese (mix of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese and ricotta)
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped (or use mushrooms, green peppers, artichokes)
1/4 cup fresh tomatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh Italian seasoning
Olive oil (optional)
Parmesan cheese, fresh and shredded
On a baking pan, spread pizza crusts with sauce, cheese and spinach. Add seasoning. Bake at 400 degrees till cheese melts and crust is toasted. Top with tomatoes. (You can place fresh spinach leaves on top and drizzle with olive oil.) Sprinkle with parmesan. Serves two. Cut in slices.
Blueberry Yogurt Honey Parfait
1 cup vanilla honey Greek yogurt
2 fresh peaches, diced or ½ cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Whipped cream (optional)
Almonds, sliced (for garnish)
Mint (for garnish)
In a bowl, mix together yogurt, fruit, and cinnamon. Cover and put in fridge. Put in parfait glasses. Top with cream, nuts, and mint. Serves 2.
This week I noticed blueberries and peaches are pricey and I blamed it on the drought — paid the price. It was worth it. Savoring the pizza and parfait was comfort food at its best with my favorite fresh vegetables and fruit. I enjoyed one pizza for dinner and the parfait for dessert. Both recipes are down-to-earth, are versatile, and will keep you and yours happy come rain or shine.
Motto: Thinking outside of the circle brings sweet memories and triggers new experiences.
Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. Her website is www.calorey.com .