When Life Leaves You Without Grits
All this happened before, and it will all happen again.
Poised with a list in hand and as focused as a camera, I whipped through the automatic doors to my neighborhood grocery store. Starting with the produce, I found myself gapping like a guppy at the pears and hoarded all of the shallots I could fit into my basket. An angel that must have fallen from heaven generously offered me a cup full of freeze-dried strawberries. Who knew?? They were lovely, tangy and I felt like an astronaut eating them. I strolled through the deli section, sampled a little Virginia ham, and bought a pound! Oh, my shopping was going like gangbusters. But you don’t want to hear about a perfect shopping trip, do you?
It was in my moment of pure enthusiasm when I realized I was missing an essential ingredient for my supper, grits for the grits soufflé. I circled around the cereal, floundered around the flour, and ended up ogling inanely at almond butter for no reason whatsoever. Grits rained on my parade, or the lack of grits really. My head began to spin. I stared hopelessly at the lucky people passing me by, racing to the checkout line. In a desperate panic, I looked down at my basket. Life handed me ham, shallots and pears. Roasted pears could be for dessert, check. And for dinner, PIZZA. When in doubt, pizza. If ever there was an answer to question that’s questionable, pizza. Sautéed shallots drowning in hot butter seemed a lovely choice for a topping and paired well with the ham. A sprinkling of thyme for good measure should do the trick.
The results were better than I ever imagined. Thyme, ham and shallots are best friends in my book. And I am confident to say that no one even missed the grits.
Recipe: Makes 4 Individual Pizzas
4 pieces of thawed pizza dough (recipe below)
1 cup of favorite homemade or jarred red sauce
Sautéed Shallots (recipe below)
¼ pound of thinly sliced ham
½ cup of shredded mozzarella
Olive oil and cracked black pepper (to dress)
Fresh thyme leaves (garnish)
Preheat oven to 500o with a baking sheet or pizza stone preheating in the oven as well.
Roll out rounds of dough thinly onto a piece of foil lightly dusted with flour. Pour a few tablespoons of red sauce onto the dough. Scatter ¼ of the shallot mixture onto the sauce. Hand-tear ham and scatter on top and finish with mozzarella. Place the prepared pizza in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Dress each baked pizza with a drizzle of olive oil, cracked black pepper and thyme leaves. Continue with the remaining pieces of dough. Enjoy!
2 packages of Rapid Rise yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups of warm water
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of salt
6 cups of bread flour
Combine yeast, sugar and water in a mixing bowl fitted with the dough hook. Let the yeast bubble and puff up for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and olive oil. Mix on low. Add 3 cups of flour and mix the flour into the dough. Add the other half of the flour and continue mixing on a low speed until the dough forms into a ball. Set the dough in a large bowl covered in olive oil. Place a kitchen towel over the bowl and let rise in a warm spot for an hour.
Once the dough has risen, punch the dough down and place on a cutting board. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and place in a gallon sized freezer bag. Place in freezer until ready to use.
For the sautéed shallots:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 shallots, sliced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves (or a dash of dried thyme)
¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add shallots, thyme and seasonings to the pan. Sauté shallots until softened but not browned. Set aside.
Thank you so much Cheri! I really appreciate it!
Can you come live with me and be my personal chef? 🙂 Everything you make looks amazing and always features some of my favorite ingredients!