Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year and Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who has visited our blog this year, made comments and suggestions, or just read it and enjoyed.  Thank you, too, to Google for offering Blogger for free - that's awesome!  Not much is free these days and I appreciate it.

We started our Pizza Pizzazz blog earlier this year on a whim.  It had been a tough year and we wanted something fun to do, and pizza - since it is one of our favorite things - seemed like a good subject for us.  We thought it would be fun, but didn't realize how much fun it actually would be - we've had a blast!  Our pizza research has taken us in many directions, some very unexpected.  For example, we knew would like Fiori's, Danny's and DiSalla's pizza - people raved about them to us.  What we didn't expect was to find such an excellent pizza at Spartan Pizza in Brentwood, or at Foli's in Braddock Hills.  We had more fun than we ever expected tasting the pizza at the Grandview Buffet at the Rivers Casino, Heinz Field, and also at Kennywood - although we forgot to take photos and write the review.  It will just give us an excuse to go back and try it again when the park opens in the Spring!  We also were delighted to discover the Pizza Cone at Pino Gelato in Hilton Head Island, SC on our fall vacation - we expected it to be a gimmick, but it was amazing and delicious.

We have been researching Pittsburgh pizzas to try in 2010, and have been gathering recipes to test.   We'd love to hear from you and find out where you think the best pizzas are in Pittsburgh.

And once again, thank you, and best wishes for 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pizza Flavored Pretzel Nuggets Snack Recipe

3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning, prepared or your own homemade mixture
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups small pretzels or pretzel nuggets

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pour olive oil into a large Tupperware type container with a tight fitting lid.  Add pizza seasoning and garlic powder, and stir.  Add pretzels and tighten container lid firmly.  Shake container until pieces are completely and evenly coated. 

Empty coated pretzels onto large baking sheets (rimmed types work best because of the oil), spreading out on the sheet so that there is a minimum of touching.  Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and let cool.  When cool, store in a large zip lock bag or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.   I like to drain the pretzels on paper towels or parchment paper before storing, so that they are less oily.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Italian Meatballs in Pizza Sauce Recipe

1 lb. lean ground beef (we use ground round)
1 egg
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp. powdered lemon peel
1 pint pizza sauce (we used Mids)

Combine ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs and powdered lemon peel in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix and shape into golfball sized meatballs - we usually get 12 meatballs to a pound. Place meatballs in microwave safe grill pan or pie pan and microwave for 2 minutes. While the meatballs are being microwaved, empty jar of pizza sauce into large saucepot and bring to simmer. Drain meatballs and gently place into simmerin pizza sauce. Cook for a minimum of 30 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

Note: We precook the meatballs in the microwave to allow some of the fat from the meat to drain. It is not necessary, and you can either precook them by sauteing in a little olive oil and then adding to the sauce, or by simply placing the uncooked meatballs into the simmering sauce. 

Serving suggestion:  Either serve the meatballs over cooked pasta, and sprinkle with a mixture of pizza cheese (mozzarella, provolone and parmesan) or serve 2 or 3 meatballs on crusty hoagie rolls, topped with cheese.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ephesus Pizza - Downtown Pittsburgh

Ephesus Pizza
322 4th Avenue
Pittsburgh (Downtown)

We recently saw a television ad for Ephesus Pizza and it looked so good, we thought we would try it.  So I guess their advertising works!

Ephesus sells four sizes of pizza:  Personal (6"), Small (10"), Large (14") and X-Large (16').  We ordered a small and wished we had gone up a size to the large - it just wasn't big enough for us!

The crust and sauce are made fresh daily and the dough is hand tossed.  The crust was thick, with a nice chewiness.  The sauce was deep red, and think, with a good tomato flavor and occasional chunks of tomato.  The cheese was perfectly melted with a slight crust and was very flavorful.

We're not sure that Ephesus will be one of our new "top favorites", but it was very tasty and we did enjoy it.  Since they are a combination of pizzaria and Mediterranean restaurant, they have some very unusual menu items that we plan to go back and try another time.  The Turkish Pizza, or "Pide", sounds especially good.  Pide come in ten varieties and according to the menu are served with a spring mix, fresh onions and lemons.

Ephesus Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Foli's Place - Braddock Hills, PA

Foli's Place
1050 Brinton Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
(412) 241-8840

Foli's is a popular local favorite, tucked away in a tiny strip mall near where Braddock Hills, Forest Hills, Edgewood and Wilkinsburg meet. It had been way too long since we'd eaten there, so decided to head over the hill and pick up a pizza!

We weren't disappointed. We ordered a small, which was a 12" 6-cut traditional Pittsburgh-style pizza. The crust was very good, with a light and airy interior and nice chewiness, and a crisp exterior. The chunky tomato sauce had a freshly made flavor, and it had a good proportion of sauce to cheese.

We also ordered a side of cheese sticks - they were perfectly fried, and had just the right amount of spice for our taste. The accompanying sauce was delicious.

Everyone we talked to in Foli's was very friendly and welcoming, from the nice woman who answered the phone, to the restaurant staff and the fellow customers. I have to admit I forgot to pick up a take out menu and am not sure what else Foli's has to offer. The pizza was so tasty, that I would expect nothing but good things from their other menu items!

Foli's Place on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pepperoni Pizza Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced or chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 can Italian style stewed tomatoes, with liquid
1 small can (8 oz.) no-salt tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup pepperoni (sliced, then cut into quarters)
1 cup grated pizza cheese mixture

Heat olive oil in large sauce pot. Saute onion, mushrooms and green pepper on low heat until tender (about 3 minutes). Add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef broth, stir well. Simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes.

Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and serve. It's fun to use breadsticks as "dippers"!