Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Salad Challenge

Well kids, the votes are in for the Halloween Food Challenge: Salad Edition. I lost, mostly because I cheated a little bit, and my family took umbrage with me playing fast and loose with my sib's choice of theme. However, an extravagant lunch was had by all.

Here's the blow-by-blow for a crazy, salad-ish idea of your own.

HOMEADE PEPPERONI PIZZA WITH LEMON-VINAIGRETTE SALAD-ISH

I started with the recipe for Bombay Flatbread from the Masterchef Cookbook (page 23), and added thyme to the flour. With only four ingredients, this flatbread is incredibly easy to make, and the added beer makes for a nice, yeasty flavor. I went with Bud Light and other standard grocery brands, as that's what was handy, but I'd like to try it with a good dark beer sometime. 
I let the dough sit for a bit, pressed it out, baked it at 350 degrees just to precook it a bit, and then added a layer of tomato jam
This, however, was a bit sweet for the final product. Next time, I would mix half jam, half tomato sauce to cut the sweetness a bit. Add a layer of fresh, sliced mozzarella (I don't like the type floating in water for pizza, as it tends to make pizza crust soggy, though I love it for other things. I use the kind tightly wrapped in plastic), some pepperoni, and then some fresh grated mozzarella and parmesan with chopped roasted garlic sprinkled about.
While this was baking, I prepped my salad component. (My sister is casting me a scathing glance at this.) I roughly chopped some spinach, arugula, and chiffonaded (can that be a verb?) some basil. I also sprinkled in some fresh thyme. For the vinaigrette, whisk oil, LOTS of lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, garlic salt, and some agave nectar (be sparing; remember, the jam is already sweet) to taste. Toss the vinaigrette with the greens just before serving. Layer it a onto the pizza and garnish with lemon zest. 

 Voila! My sister made a wonderful saffron lobster salad with crispy potatoes. It was pretty amazing.
And that was the salad challenge, complete with our early '90s garnish (we're fans of the silly garnish around here). Lessons I learned: practice new recipes before I inflict them on the family, and it doesn't always pay to be a salad rebel. However, as my mother, daughter and I sit around this evening in our pajamas and zombie make-up, munching on the leftovers, cheater-salad pizza beats the hell out of brains.