Foodtastic: Baking Some Brooklyn Pita-za

Growing up in NYC, one of the delicacies that I have almost always found favor in is good old fashioned pizza. In my eyes its one of the truly great pleasures in life and its magic is all based on a very simple recipe with only a few ingredients. I’m located in Brooklyn and have sworn allegiance to no less than ten pizzerias over the course of my life but sadly many of them have gone away due to retirement or even worse after new owners took over and made a mess of the formula that worked best for the establishment. When that becomes the case I always cross my fingers that a new and appetite pleasing place will come along. In a pinch you can opt for either Dominos or Papa John’s but to the conventional Brooklynite, these are not really what we are looking for in pizza. I prefer the quick fix of a traditional pizzeria over them anytime. That leads me to the recipe being discussed in this segment of my “Kitchen With Ken” blogs as it’s a pizza concoction that goes a little outside of the normal process but still comes out good at the end. Well. I like it at least and have made it for years. I felt the best name for it would be “PITA-ZA” since we use pita bread instead of dough but everything else is generally found on “normal pizza”. Let’s begin.

Required Ingredients:
1 medium sized piece of pita bread. You need to go to an authentic Middle Eastern bakery or produce store to find the differently sized ones as opposed to the mass market package of ten that are all perfectly sized and the same (unless you really want those and feel like cooking for a few people).

– 1 section from a garlic clove. I just love fresh garlic so we will be using this puppy.
– 2 or 3 pepperoncini (they often come in a jar of many and look like mini bell peppers but they have a chili pepper kick to them). You can also use plain sliced green, red or yellow peppers if you feel like it. They work out also.
– 2 or 3 decent sized mushrooms. Remember that we are only discussing how to one serving.
– 1 small can of tomato sauce (you will not use the whole can for this).
– 5 or 6 slices of pepperoni (or sausage, meatball, tofu). Slice these things thin.
– Mozarrella cheese.

Tools: A toaster oven and about ten minutes.

First Step:
Take your pita bread and pour some of that tomato sauce on it but not too much since it will likely spread out while its cooking/baking in the toaster oven. I like to sprinkle on some oregano and also the garlic that I mentioned we would need for this. Depending on your taste, don’t overdo the garlic.

This particular recipe was using pepperoni and I think its much better to add this right on top of the sauce and then putting the cheese on top of that with the mushrooms and peppers. It lets those ingredients act as a bit of a blanket to the other stuff. Of course as you can see in the provided photo, for this time around I decided to add the peppers in before the cheese as well.

The Pita, The Sauce, The Pepperoni and the Peppers

The shot above shows our already covered in sauce pita bread since I did not take a lot of pictures of the preparation process.  I didn’t think that it was necessary for this little episode.   I didn’t grate the cheese and instead opted to slice it into smaller chunks and position them accordingly.  It worked for my purposes as you can see in the upcoming pic.

Let There Be Mozzarella Cheese

Second Step: Add the mozzarella cheese. You can also season it up a little more and let it bake with the optional hot pepper or garlic powder.  I mentioned needing some fresh garlic so you can also slice that fine and scatter it about the pita bread.  Not too much of course as you don’t want to breath fire after you eat.

Our Pita-za Is Done. “Well done” actually.

Third and Final Step – Cook ‘Em Up:
Since we’re doing this in the toaster oven as opposed to the larger one in the kitchen we’re also only making one of these at a time. I guess you would fire up the big box if you were making them for company. Having made these for some time I have found that you only need to bake them for about ten minutes at 300 degrees at the most. My toaster oven has a button that let’s you “toast” as well, and if I want the cheese a little crispier I press that but you MUST monitor its progress so you don’t burn it or anything else. This is really a quick dining fix when you add the preparation and cooking time together so don’t get involved in anything while you are making them. This is especially true if using the big oven and making a few of them for guests.

I told you this was a quick one.  It probably takes longer to wash the dishes and make sure everything is put away as opposed to making this.  Bon appetit.

But Ken, I’m A Vegetarian!!!!

Oh yes, you guys 🙂  Well, that is not a problem with the recipes for pita-za that I make, because you can easily substitute any of the meat options with some extra mushrooms (perhaps portabella ones) and the vegan delicacy of choice – tofu. I am sure the stuff would absorb any of the sauces and seasonings and come out rather good in the end.   As you might have noticed I suggested we keep a few mushrooms for this particular cooking adventure but as I started preparing it, I realized I did not have any on hand.  I left it in the recipe of ingredients just the same.

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