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It's Shavuot; Why Not Think Pizza?

May 24, 2012 By:
Jamie Geller, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
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The mere mention of Shavuot sends images of cheesecakes dancing before my eyes. I love cheesecakes and they love me -- so much they plant themselves on my hips.

On the two-day festival, which this year begins on the evening of May 26, the Jewish people became the People of the Book. When we said "yes" to accepting the Torah, we created a bond -- like marriage, our sages say -- with our Creator that will never be broken.

So in honor of my marriage to a man who does not like cheesecake, I'm forsaking the cheesecake and making his favorite dairy delicacy, pizza, to satisfy the custom of enjoying dairy delights on Shavuot.

When I met my hubby-to-be eight years ago, I was a bachelorette on a perpetual diet; my go-to foods were salad, fruit and yogurt. Bachelor food looks more like a slice (or two or three) of pizza daily -- could be for breakfast, lunch, dinner or all three.

So as a cultured pizza connoisseur, my future spouse introduced me to pizza shops all over New York: the good, the great and the fabulous, complete with running commentary on the specialties of each. I discovered that a New York pizza shop is so much more than just plain pies. It was almost surrealistic to experience -- fries and onion rings and fried eggplant on a pizza, even salad. I pretended especially to go for the salad pizza, but I must confess I loved those onion ring pies and all the rest!

Plain pizza is so yesterday, I concluded. And since that time, I must have my slice all dressed up, piled with everything, like it's going to the pizza party of the year.

Of course, now I make my own. There's no point to standing in line at the pizza place when it's so easy to do it yourself. I have developed some amazing pizzas that are healthy and quick, and one oh-so yummy carb-fest for my other half. You won't find these at your local pizzeria.

The idea here is to be so satisfied that you won't even crave the cheesecake for dessert!

Onion Lovers Pizza

1 small Vidalia or sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced shallots
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 frozen pizza dough, defrosted (9-ounce)
2-3 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsps. chopped chives
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium saute pan, saute Vidalia onion and shallots in olive oil over medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelize.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°. Sprinkle a rimless baking sheet with 1 tablespoon flour and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pizza dough to a 10-inch circle and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Prick dough all over with a fork to help prevent large bubbles from forming during baking. Spread dough evenly with ricotta cheese and sprinkle with salt. Top with sauteed onion mixture, red onion and mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 12 to 16 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Garnish with chives and pepper, and slice into 6 to 8 wedges to serve.

Serves 4.

Potato and Avocado Pizza

1 medium Yukon gold potato, scrubbed
1 frozen pizza dough, defrosted (9-ounce)
2-3 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

In a small saucepan, cover potato with 1/2-inch water and bring to a boil. Simmer until just tender when pierced with a fork, about 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool until comfortable to handle. Slice into 1/4-inch thin slices and set aside.

While potato is cooking, preheat oven to 450°. Sprinkle a rimless baking sheet with 1 tablespoon flour and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pizza dough to a 10-inch circle and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Prick dough all over with a fork to help prevent large bubbles from forming during baking. Sprinkle with sliced garlic, olive oil and salt. Layer potato slices all over pizza and top with cheese and green onion.

Bake for 12 to 16 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Top with avocado slices once out of the oven. Slice into 6 to 8 wedges and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Peach and Arugula Pizza

1 frozen pizza dough, defrosted (9-ounce)
2-3 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsps. sour cream
1 small yellow peach, pitted and cut into 10 slices
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup arugula, washed and dried thoroughly

Preheat oven to 450°. Sprinkle a rimless baking sheet with 1 tablespoon flour and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pizza dough to a 10-inch circle and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Prick dough all over with a fork to help prevent large bubbles from forming during baking. Top with sour cream, peach slices, cheese and pepper.

Bake for 12 to 16 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Top with arugula and drizzle with olive oil. Cut into 6 to 8 wedges and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Jamie Geller is author of the Quick & Koshercook book series.

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