“…for the first time I saw how three or four ingredients, as long as they are of the highest and freshest quality, can be combined in a straightforward way to make a truly excellent and occasionally wondrous product.” -Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential
I’m no chef, but I must say I am all about taking a short list of ingredients and throwing it together into something amazing. It’s the college kid in me. The only problem is that the “occasionally wondrous” is just that: an occasional thing. Honestly, a hardly occurring thing. Of course, I am not a master with food like Anthony Bourdain.
In his particularly touching “Third Course” chapter served with a side of pity, Bourdain tugs at the heartstrings by taking the reader through his bout of seemingly endless unemployment. He first takes us through his array of interviews, mainly focusing on one in which he misheard his interviewer and completely bombed the last, yet main, question. After flawlessly frosting each question with precision and wit, the last one caught confident Bourdain off-guard: “What do you know about me?” He struggles, answers with an eccentric “Nothing!” and loses the job.
We come to find out later what the interviewer really meant was “What do you think about meat?” alas it was too late for Bourdain. We then suffer through another short description of a long unemployment until he gets a job in an Italian place. Although insufferable to him, he is surprised with the freshness of the ingredients and the simplicity of the food.
While Bourdain huffs over Italian food, I simply cannot get enough of it. I am a carb lover, let me tell you. Anything with pasta or bread I am sure to eat. The problem with my love for this type of food is that I could never quite cook it. For a while the closest I got to Italian was the ramen I prepared for myself in my dorm kitchen. Despite my lack of skill, I had formed a specific way of cooking it. However, upon getting my own apartment and then later a house, I now cook more than I used to. I’m still no Bourdain, but I can get by.
The only downfall is that my love for Italian has me constantly craving one certain pie: pizza. I can never get enough.
Whether it’s delivery or Digiorno, or home cooked (which almost NEVER happens) I am always down to eat pizza. My mind persists, because you know, calories, but my heart always says yes. I mean it has all the food groups, right? And it just fits in to any occasion. You had a bad day at work? Pizza. Want to celebrate something? Pizza. Cramping and craving? Pizza. Last minute get-together and no food? Pizza. It is the Italian’s gift to all of humankind. Sadly my tummy persists, shoving my jeans, until all I want to wear are leggings and possibly maternity pants. So I am always on the lookout for healthier option.
Luckily I found one on Marina’s blog “Let the Baking Begin!”. Substituting dough for naan and adding fresh veggies and lite oils, Marina’s flatbread pizza is the way to go, not to mention it only takes about 15 minutes! Perfect for impatient, busy me. It doesn’t have meat, which would kill Bourdain, but it’s still incredibly tasty. I added a little extra ingredient because I’m an onion lover, but ultimately it’s true to the original and a delicious, healthier option. My jeans are thanking me for sure.
Margherita Flatbread Pizza
1 tomato, thinly sliced
3 pieces of sliced 1/3 inch thick mozzarella cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp dry garlic powder
5-6 leaves of basil
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
1) Mix garlic with oil in small bowl.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush naan with half of garlic oil mixture, place in oven for 5 minutes to crisp.
3) Remove from oven. Place sliced cheese on bread, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place sliced tomatoes on cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with chopped onions. Place back in oven for 5 minutes, and an additional 2-3 minutes on broil. If bread is dark before 2-3 minutes, remove immediately.
4) Mix remaining garlic oil mixture with balsamic vinegar, stirring until smooth.
5) Chop basil.
6) Top flatbread with garlic oil balsamic mixture and sprinkle with chopped basil. Slice and enjoy!
–By Destiny Sims