Monday, February 10, 2014

#makesmesmilemondays I am officially turning into my Grandmas / Pizza Ripiena di Verdura e Olive

When I was a little girl, I used to love sleeping over at my (maternal) Grandma's home.With so much nostalgia, I now see that we have so much in common, and so many of the same habits. On our sleepover nights, we always went to an evening mass, always lit candles before the statue of Mary (I still do this with my kids), and usually stopped at a bakery afterwards, so we'd have some treats with our tea in the morning. (Grandma always drank tea throughout the day, black, with milk, just like me.) When I would sleep over at my Grandma's, she would draw me a bath before bed (To this day I always take a nice, long bubble bath before bed like Grandma; I'm not much of a shower person) and give me a fresh nightgown to wear (having several granddaughters she always had extra nightgowns on hand!) and then she would let me sleep in her bed if I was too scared to sleep alone in the guest room bed (always). Grandma would fall asleep listening to a Catholic station on the radio. Last night, as I feel asleep to my latest podcast obsession -  Catholic Stuff You Should Know - and I thought to myself: I am officially turning into both of my Grandmas.
Date Night with Grandma = Novena at St. Domitilla Church. I always thought it looked like a UFO.

My paternal Grandma was an exceptional cook. And yet if you asked her for a recipe, she was always at a loss. "Well, take a cup or so of flour, and a pinch of salt, and well, let's see, about a cup or so of milk...) - Grandma cooked and baked by instinct, with recipes that were taught to her while she cooked alongside her mother and grandmother. I regret that I didn't spend more time cooking alongside Grandma, but I have officially turning into my Grandma because like her, I don't cook or bake using recipes. Someone asked me to share a recipe recently, and I had to bake the dish again and actually attempt to write down the measurements. This is why I love to cook and bake but really would not make a good food blogger - it's hard for me to think of the exact measurements for the recipes that our family loves. Also, I am a terrible food photographer.

My Pizza Ripiena di Verdura is one of the most delicious things I make at home. Here's the recipe, which is written exactly like a recipe my Grandma would have shared with me:

Pizza Ripiena di Verdura e Olive

Make your pizza dough by mixing about 2 TBS of yeast with warm water and a dash of warm milk and a dash of sugar. In your food processor, mix about 5-6 cups of flour and a good pour of olive oil from your olive oil jug. Add the yeast mixture slowly to your food processor, enough so that it turns into a ball. Take out the ball of dough and finish kneading it by hand. Let it rise for two hours or so. 
This homemade pizza - Pizza Ripiena di Verdura e Olive (Pizza stuffed with greens and olives) is so delicious.
Definitely more delicious than it looks in this photo. 

As the dough is rising, saute garlic (and crushed red pepper if you want a tad of spiciness) in olive oil until it's just slightly browned and add whatever greens you have around the home (we love dandelion greens but collard greens and kale with work, too). Saute until the greens are tender. Add some halved olives (we like Kalamata) to the greens mixture. 

Roll your dough out. Add the greens and olives mixture to half the dough. If you're in the mood, sprinkle the greens mixture with Fontina or Scamorza or even better, thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese). Fold over the dough and seal. Brush with olive oil. Bake in about a 425 degree oven until the pizza is toasty brown. 

Buon Appetito

So yes, I am never going to be a magnificent food blogger. And I am slowly but surely turning into my Grandmas. But that is a good thing: They were both wonderful women. I am so sorry that my (maternal) Grandma never had a chance to meet my two kids (she would have just adored them!) but thankful that she taught me so much about motherhood (she had seven kids!) and grand-motherhood. And I am thankful that my (paternal) grandma was able to cherish my son for eleven years and my daughter for three and pass her cooking and baking style down to me. I'm sure they are both looking down on me and my children from heaven today.
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