My innate Chinese cheapness usually compels me to cook every single night. But there are times I just can't come home with enough energy to make a meal. We have recently exhausted nearby takeout spots, so we tried the Olive Vine Cafe, a middle eastern place, for some falafel and pizzas. The falafel was bad -- lukewarm and too dense. But the pizzas were simple and good. They used pita bread as the crust, and all sorts of toppings. This is quite similar to Barefoot Contessa's tartines. I realized that it is the perfect way to use up leftover food. And I also began to feel ripped off for paying $9 for each pizza. Hence two nights later I made my own versions of the same thing.
The first one has onions, roasted red bell pepper, and leftover skirt steaks that was marinated in soy sauce, ginger, rice wine, and garlic. The second one is topped with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and fresh pesto sauce. The last one is almost a breakfast pizza, with sauteed vidalia onions and bacon and boiled potatoes. The concept is so simple, but the execution is what prevents a homecook from making them often. Assembly of the pizzas was a piece of cake, but before that I had to:
1. Roast a bell pepper over open flame until charred all over; place it in a bag to steam; peel off all skin and chop it into strips;
2. Boil 2 small potatoes and cut them into slices;
3. Toast a handful of pine nuts; slowly cook slices of garlic in olive oil; blend nuts, garlic, oil, and basil with salt and pepper to make pesto;
4. Blanch slices of onions for the steak pizza;
5. Saute bacon and vidalia onion until slightly caramelized.
This is why restaurants trumps at making these dishes -- they can do all of these prep steps on a much larger scale and make it a more economical process. If I had to make 10 pizzas, I probably would have spent just 20-30 minutes more to accommodate the increase in volume. But boiling 2 potatoes!? Ugh, I certainly felt wasteful just turning on the gas for that.