When The Moon Hits Your Eye...

Have I mentioned lately how amazing Justin is to put up with me? This point was driven home to me earlier this evening, after the two of us engaged in a ridiculous tug-of-war over a bowl of bread flour. You see, I tend to be rather anal retentive about my baking, and am a stickler for accurate measuring. The volumetric measurements preferred by American cooks, and therefore employed by American recipe authors, are the bane of my culinary existence. Depending on how hard you pack flour into a measuring cup, a seemingly standard measure can hold a wide range of actual product. Weight, however, is universal. A pound of flour weighs a pound, no matter how densely you cram it into a container.

So when I noticed Justin sweeping the excess flour from the top of a measuring cup into the bowl he was measuring it into instead of the regular container, I kind of freaked out. Cooking may be an art, but baking is a science, and I wanted the pizza crust he was making for our dinner this evening to turn out perfectly. It's hard to gauge the quality of a new recipe when you don't follow it to the letter the first time around.

Justin looked at me like I was from another planet when I asked him to re-measure it, and when I offered to do it myself, a tug-of-war ensued over the bowl of flour. Thankfully, he acquiesced, or we could have been vacuuming up bread flour from the epic mess that could have potentially ensued. I re-measured the flour using a kitchen scale, the pizza crust turned out just fine, and more importantly, Justin didn't leave me over the whole episode. When it comes to baking, I'm crazy, I know. I'm just incredibly lucky to have this man who is crazy enough about me to overlook my irrational perfectionist streak in the kitchen.

As for our dinner... it was interesting. I'd spotted an unconventional combination of toppings in Food and Wine that included sweet potatoes (which have been my recent object of obsession lately), caramelized onions in a balsamic vinegar reduction, mozzarella cheese, and soppressata, a spicy Italian salami, and was keen to try it, mostly as a potential way to use up leftover mashed sweet potatoes. While the onions were delicious, and will definitely be making an appearance elsewhere in my culinary adventures in the future, the pizza was far from the best I've ever made.

Sweet potatoes are not a good pizza topping -- very texturally challenging. I think this pizza would actually be fine without them, as the savory, spicy pork was a perfect foil to the sweet, tangy onions. Minus the sweet potatoes, I'd certainly recommend the other toppings on this pie, if you're into making your own pizza. Just don't follow my example of being a total kitchen drama queen if you decide to go that route.

If you look closely, it turned out somewhat heart-shaped...

Balsamic Onion and Soppressata Pizza
adapted from Food and Wine

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 c. plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 12-inch pizza crust, par-baked
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. soppressata, cut into thin ribbons

Preheat the oven to 450.
1. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and dried oregano, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the onion is caramelized, about 10 minutes; add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet if necessary. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Season the onion with salt and pepper.
2. Top pizza crust with the mozzarella, onion and soppressata. Bake for about 10 minutes, until bubbling and golden in spots. Cut into wedges and serve.

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