My mom is the best cook I know. Beyond enjoying the tangible flavors of her culinary creations, I love that she continues to adjust and experiment with even her most tried-and-true recipes. I also love when I get to reap the benefits of some of her more adventurous moods - like this night pictured below, when she recreated one of our family's favorite pizzas (the Baked Potato Pizza) from Howie's Artisan Pizza in Palo Alto.
This idea spawned from a package of pre-made pizza dough she saw at a local grocery store. Suddenly, it was no ordinary dinner menu. Prosciutto, marinara sauce, potatoes, and a plethora of cheeses were purchased very quickly, and the decision was made: tonight, we made Baked Potato Pizza from scratch. And by we, I mean Maripat. I helped supervise.
Once the ingredients were assembled, the first step was to roll out the dough and cook it slightly for 8-10 minutes until browned.
The sauce was added - maybe the next step towards gourmet "cheffery" is to make our own marinara sauce!
We made one side of the pizza vegetarian, with only garlic, potato, and cheeses. The other side had deliciously salty prosciutto slices in lieu of the pancetta found on Howie's potato pizza.
Then, it was time for the final step: smothering the poor pie in gobs of goat cheese and gouda.
The final, final step: red pepper flakes. I am a newly-firm believer that red pepper flakes should be added to just about everything...
Cooked until the cheese was melted and the crust was golden brown...
...and sliced by the professional. That is, Mom.
Not the most attractive picture of me eating pizza (you'd be surprised at how often that moment is captured on film) but you get the idea. The pizza, while not an exact replica of the one in PA, was incredible of its own right. Nights like this remind me of how fun food can be - how legitimately fun it can be to create something out of distinct flavors and see whether or not it works.
For the record: this recipe works. Really well. In fact, you should probably plan to make this the next time I come home. Thanks Mom!