Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fig-Prosciutto Pizza (The Pioneer Woman)

I never imagined that when I started my own food blog, in 2008, that I would collect so many recipe ideas.  In fact, I invested in a DEMY Digital Recipe Reader, so that I could keep track of the hundreds of recipes that I doubt I'll live long enough to make.  My food blog addiction began, when I stumbled across Ree Drummond's Blog.  I liked her humor, her photos, and her recipes are downright tempting.   For 35 years, I owned horses.  My dearly departed and beloved horse, Savannah, went on to win state championships as a stock horse.  I loved riding trails, tagging along cattle drives and flirting with cowboys going to rodeos.  I enjoy how Ree shares about her city girl, turned wife-of-a-real-cowboy life.  I don't read a lot about her home schooling, since I have a grown son.  I can honestly say that the recipes I've made, from Ree's blog,  are some of my family's favorites.  Yes, they're a bit high in fat and calories, but they are not low in flavor.  I just don't eat like that every day!

My step-by-step photos and printable recipe are past these next few paragraphs.  I just want to share some of my personal feelings about some recent comments I've been reading about The Pioneer Woman (along with  Paula Deen, and Ina Garten, Sandra Lee and Rachael Ray).

Why so much hate, people?!  I've watched Ree's new Food Network Show.  I'm not so sure that Ree's written humor translates as well on screen, and I learn more from Anne Burrell-- when it comes to cooking techniques.  But, whoa, Nelly!  There are websites where people are having a field day ripping Ree's new show to pieces!  She's being labeled a phony, a piece of PR marketing and a lot of not-so-nice digs at her "money".   They're attacking her for her fattening food, along with Paula Deen. Much of this translates to me as pure envy, and a mixture of just plain food snobbery.  While I appreciate "gourmet food" as much as any other "foodie", I'm also a fan of simple comfort foods.  I hope that I never become as snobby sounding as some of the comments I read about this particular recipe!  I have certain food aversions that I cannot overcome. But, I would never write anything like "gross", or "ew" if I see an ingredient that my palate just can't accept.  I'm just plain disappointed in the "hate" websites.
It remains to be seen if the Pioneer Woman's new show will be as big a hit as her website. For now, she has a huge base of loyal fans.  As for me, I like her personality, on her blog.  I've never met her, in person, so I can't say that she's phony. Some of her recipes aren't something I'd make, but that doesn't mean there aren't other households who are racing to the store to buy those very ingredients.  The same goes for my own food blog.  There are times when I've posted a recipe, and the comments are less than stellar. Other times, I receive a lot of blog love when I post something else.  We can't please everyone, and I try not to take things too personally. While I'm not a fan of recipes that use a lot of processed foods and/ or mixes,  I'm sure there are plenty of people who prefer to use these shortcuts. Go for it!   But, why the hate?  If PW isn't your cup of tea, it doesn't mean she is worthy of such vicious attacks. Just move I have with some Food Network personalities I just don't care for.  For the record-- I suspect those who are on writing such hateful comments are not food bloggers.  Some people just need to complain about something... End of my complaint rant.
 So, back to this recipe.  I love figs, and I only recently discovered how fun they are to cook and bake with in very recent years.  I've had pretty good success in making my own fig jam.   Figs and cheese... figs and Prosciutto... these make excellent pairings--and they make lovely appetizers.  It was Tyler Florence's recipe for Bacon, Potato, Rosemary & Fontina Cheese with Arugula that opened my eyes to less traditional pizza combos.  Ree's recipe uses Fig Spread (or jam), instead of red pizza sauce.

 After watching her show, I made a note to buy Prosciutto di Parma ...

 ...and fresh mozzarella.  

I already had a jar of fig jam that I had purchased, and it was nearing it's expiration date. The ingredients were nice, too-- figs, lemon juice sugar and no high fructose corn syrup.  Works for me!

NOTE: This is not an inexpensive pizza to make.  Total cost = $15.00, approximately.  However, have you ever seen a pizza like this at your local pizzeria?  Probably not!
I usually make my own pizza dough, but this time I bought one from Trader Joe's-- I made this last Monday, on a work night.  If I had planned enough ahead, I like making my pizza dough a day or two ahead. When the dough ferments, it takes on extra flavor that I really love.  There are a few tips I've learned about making  non-soggy pizzas...

I've invested in a baking stone.  Mine is large and square, for baking Artisan breads. It's perfect for pizzas, too.  I like to preheat my pizza stone, at 450F.

I haven't purchased a pizza peel yet, so I use the back of a baking sheet-- with lots of corn meal.  There is nothing more disheartening than to make your pizza and then it sticks...and rips... while trying to set it on a baking stone.  If you don't have a baking stone, I've found that preheating a baking sheet works pretty well.

Fig Spread is easier to use.  I had to heat this jam, so it would become more spreadable. that!

I could slap my forehead for all the years that I bought that rubbery ball of mozzarella.  Fresh mozzarella is so worth the extra cost. It's creamier... and so much tastier. I used the entire container.
NOTE:  I forgot to drizzle olive oil, and salt, but I actually didn't find the additional olive oil to be necessary. The salt is essential, though.  I used sea salt.

I said a little prayer, and my pizza slid right off the back of my baking sheet and onto my very hot baking stone.  Corn meal, to the rescue! The pizza crust was baked in about 18 minutes.

I could cut this up into bite-sized pieces, and serve them as tapas. But, let's kick this up a few more notches...

Lay the Prosciutto slices all over the pizza, while hot. By the way, I love wrapping Prosciutto around fresh cantaloupe slices. Sweet, salty... so good!

Very nice!

Right before serving (which was, like, 3 minutes after I finished with adding the Prosciutto and pouring wine), add some fresh and peppery arugula. 

...and Fresh Parmesan shavings is the last "ta-da". Since I used "cheater" pizza dough, dinner was ready in about 1/2 hour! 

Craig and I enjoyed our dinner "Al Fresco", as the chilly Fall nights haven't quite arrived in Salinas. But, it's getting closer.  

VERDICT:  My husband, at first, referred to this as a "girlie" pizza.  He got that idea, from watching a little bit of Ree's show.  Once he took a few bites, he said it was good.  He had thirds seconds, he said this was really good.  I'm glad we added a little extra sea salt, because the Prosciutto didn't quite hold enough of that salty contrast to the sweet of the fig jam.   I liked the fig jam, but I will use my favorite brand, "Dalmatia Fig Spread", in the future. This pizza is quite light, actually.  I would make this again, and cut them into smaller squares-- as a perfect appetizer.  The crunchiness of the arugula works really well.   There were a few slices left over, that my son discovered when he did a midnight refrigerator raid.  The next morning, he commented that the pizza was really good.  He said it threw him for a loop, at first, when he realized the sauce wasn't a traditional tomato-base.  Overall, this is a keeper recipe.

Ree Drummond, congratulations in your success. It's always nice for me to see a food blogger who is successful.  I'd never have the courage to stand before a camera, and demonstrate my recipes.  I don't have that kind of confidence!

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Susan said...

I have not been a fan of Ree's because she uses ingredients I do not use. But, I still admire her for her gumption!! Secondly, never say never! I have been following you long enough to know I would enjoy watching you on camera. I know you could do it, but would you actually want to? It seems more stress than necessary. Keep rolling forward. Susan

bellini said...

I have not seen Ree's new show, but I wouldn't be hater. She is a regular gal and most bloggers would love to be in her shoes with a network show, cookbooks, deals coming out her whazoo:D I have made several of her recipes lately and so it is a win for us all.

Velva said...

Wow! What a great recipe.

The Pioneer Woman was one of the first blogs I started reading. I have no criticisms. It was a great blog. I have not seen her show on Food Network as yet but, look forward to it.


Priyanka said...

Great recipe...!!!

Kirsten@My German the Rockies said...

That is a heavenly pizza! I would also add LOTS of fresh figs as well.

Roz from 'la bella vita' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you. It sickens me to think of how people in this world got to the point of finding delight in tearing down a wife, a mother, an author, a home schooler,a blogger,
they go on retreats!! she gives away prizes! she has a great sense of humor, she gives tutorial workshops at her home nearly every weekend!!she takes amazing photos, she surpassed me in all aformentioned. she works her ass off!!!!I had house guest over labor day and I'm still trying to catch up...whats to hate!!
what did these HATERS do this year?...maybe one book? home school ONE child?? one TV show? unlikely. add it up. power to ya sista'


Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

That "girlie" pizza looks amazing Debbie! Wish I could have some right about now... I'm sitting at the office and I'm starving!

FOODalogue said...

Lovely pizza - and interesting conversation.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Well said, Debby. I'm not one of Ree's regular readers but I do enjoy her blog and admire what she has accomplished. Very few of us could follow in her footsteps and it's easy to respond by criticizing her and other successful people like Paula and Rachael. Over time I've learned a great deal from these accomplished women even if I don't use many of their recipes.

I made a version of this pizza recently and admit it wasn't one of my more popular posts. I think it deviates too much from traditional recipes. Too bad, we thought it was great. I'm going to try your version with fig jam instead of fresh ones.

Noelle Marie said...

Good rant Debby. Haven't watched the show yet, but I agree- Ree's blog is a go to when I want something yummy and predictable. I've done that pizza before on the grill... great combos. yummy!

Cheers to Ree for getting us all started. Just made her Italian Chicken Soup last night... once again, excellence in a bowl.

Nice post.

Backyard Biddy said...

I think of the negative websites out there for Pioneer Woman, Paula, Rachel, Sandra as portraits, like Dorian Gray's, but these people seem proud to display their ugliness. Very sad really, best not to go to their websites and contribute to their nastiness.

A favorite pastime is reading food blogs such as "Pioneer Woman" and "A Feast for the Eyes". Blogs such as these inspire me to try different ingredients. Fig and prosciutto together would never have occurred to me but as I type this I'm thinking that Fig-Prosciutto Pizza will be on the menu this week.

Thanks for the inspiration, Debbie.

Kim said...

Oh Debby, I know. I get so mad at people who feel the need to spread their hate around. If you don't have anything nice to say then keep your mouth shut, right?

Anyway, I'm so happy for Ree. I think her new show is fantastic and I hope it continues on.

Your pizza looks fabulous. It's every bit as beautiful as the one she made on her show. Glad your husband was a good sport and ate it. Mine would've been begging for a plain ol' pepperoni pizza. LOL!

Mika said...

Well said Debby! I totally agree with you! Now.......I need to try that pizza. I saw Ree do it on her show and really want to try it! I love that an Oklahoma girl is getting so much well deserved attention! Way to go, Ree!

SkinnyMommy said...

Your pictures are beautiful and I like your comments about Ree too. Perhaps the haters need a hobby? ;)

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Dear Backyard Biddy,
Thank you! What a very kind things to say.

Thank you, my friends. Y'all are such nice people! Muwaaah!

Joanne said...

I was actually talking with another blogger about this this weekend. All of these haters need to CALM DOWN. Seriously, don't they have anything better to do?

I love figs also and this pizza sounds amazing!

Donna said...

Like you, Pioneer Woman was one of the first food blogs I became hooked on. Her humor, her sharing of her life, her photography and more, quickly had me coming back regularly. I did watch the show once, and probably would again if time permitted, and while it won't rank up there as one of my favorites, I am silently cheering for her. I wonder if her critics think they could do a better job or it's just jealousy?

Love this recipe, have marked it to try!

Sandra said...

:)) I am so hungry now looking at your so delicious!! by the way I think that I am first time here on your blog..very beautiful, will explore a bit!:))

mjskit said...

For me this looks like an absolutely delicious pizza. I'd make it in a second. My hubby doesn't like figs but I've changed his mind with a couple of recipes. This might be another one! Love everything about it!

Becki's Whole Life said...

Your pizza looks fabulous - just like Ree's. I completely agree with you about all the hatefulness. I don't feel sorry for Ree or Paula in regards to the sites. I feel bad for the people who have so much ugliness that they would take the time to create or contribute to so much hatefulness. We should be happy to see so many successful women out there! But honestly, I think the people who do that are just not happy and find their peace in putting down someone else's success. I love Ree's blog and my little girls will actually watch the show with me, too (they also like Paula.) Granted their recipes are higher in fat, but I make them for a special occassion or just not as often. Also, look how active her family is. They are not sitting and watching video games or TV all day. Anyways...I totally agree with you....and definitely will try that Pizza - holy yum!

Stacey Snacks said...

You know PW's cooking is not my style, but I have made this tart many times with my own twist and I love it, it's almost the same as hers.
She seems like a nice, genuine person and I caught one of her shows and think she will be successful. Most of the country cooks and eats like Paula Deen and Sandra Lee, that's why they're so popular.
Not everyone lives in California or NYC area and eats farm to table. Kudos to her success!

Tina said...

I am certain that my DH would not eat this, so I'll have to make this for myself while he is traveling.
I must live under a rock. I had no idea there was all this PW hating going on. I had to look it up.Disgusting. I'm sure none of you wonderful food bloggers have started your blogs with a mind of huge success as your motive, just a love of food and a desire to share. If you don't think you'll like something, don't partake. Spend your energy giving comments of appreciation for those things you enjoy. Great job Debby...