What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Greek Pita Pizzas
Twenty years ago, I recall visiting the South Shore one summer. I wanted to go to Greece but Lake Tahoe was in my graduate school budget. It was one of those days when we had outdoor outings planned – hiking to swimming – but the rain out of nowhere rained on our mountain parade (I was with the man in my life).
So, rather than driving around in the thunderstorm, we went with the flow as we did in Hawaii. It was dejà vu … on the Big Island, we started out towards a volcano – a must-see – but rain ruined our trip to see the natural wonder. Our prescription for rainy days was a pizza for two in the hotel room just like at Tahoe.
In the decade I’ve lived in the Sierra, I confess I have devoured at least 500 pizzas – all types – before, during and after work and play. I’m talking take-out at all our main pizza spots, to the healthy, organic frozen ones from Italy (it says it is and I’d like to believe it). Think summer, autumn, winter and spring, pizza, from deep dish to thin crust, has been delivered to my doorstep time after time. I’ve been satisfied, more times than not, when I order and always get the vegetarian style.
I admit that I’ve watched Food Network and fantasized about making homemade pizza crust. Many times at our friendly Safeway I’ve stopped and stared at those big ready-made pizza crusts but for some reason I’ve passed. A month ago, I tried making mini pizzas with bagels. It worked, sort of. The other day, I picked up pita bread. Then, I grabbed some fresh cheeses, vegetables and my fave marinara sauce. And I did it. I made Greek-style pita pizzas – my way.
2 pita pockets (whole wheat or onion)
2-3 tablespoons marinara sauce with olive oil (or pesto sauce) for each
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
A few baby spinach leaves
2 sliced Roma tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 cup natural feta cheese, crumbled with roasted bell peppers and garlic (or Italian shredded cheeses)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put pita bread on a pan and heat for about five minutes until crispy. Remove from oven. Spread sauce on each. Place half vegetables and cheese(s) on top of each pita pocket. Pop in the microwave (or oven) until cheese is bubbly and melted. Slice pita pizzas in half. Serves two.
The cheese pizzas are hot, gooey and crisp. When you add water-dense tomatoes, it’s less crispy. But the freshness of the ingredients is worth the DIY effort. Now I’ve never been to Europe or the Mideast, but after I finish the honey bee book, come this fall, I plan to fall into a mega R&R regime. It may not be as exciting as the new film, “Eat Pray Love” with Julia Roberts, who goes on a self-discovery adventure to Italy … but I’ll settle for mountain living. For me, that means swimming-hot tubbing at one of the local Tahoe resorts, savoring the off season, buying a cord of wood, buying flannel sheets and shirts, and baking savory breads and casseroles. And just maybe the travelfest-food movie will be on cable by our first snow flurry.
Locals around town have been talking about Greek honey yogurt. I found the yogurt – without honey. I have a pantry stuffed with dozens of honey varietals. I chose locust, a fruity one. I put a half-cup of sliced oranges in a small bowl. I topped it with a scoop of thick and cheesy plain nonfat yogurt. A drizzle of honey, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice garnished with unsweetened cocoa powder is a dessert with a heavenly Mediterranean taste.
– Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.
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