Do you ever have one of those restless days? You can’t sit still at work. You want to get up and boogie. You want to hop on a train. You want to drive down the road feeling glad. And you most certainly do not want to eat yesterday’s leftovers. Because who wants boring old roasted eggplant for another night in a row? Not us. No suh.
As part of my worktime restlessness, I re-organized my Pinterest recipe boards, digging up some old recipes that I had forgotten I even pinned. I found this gem: a recipe for a white-bean avocado hummus. I have new obsession with white beans and a continuing born-again-like fervor for avocados (the only such sentiments I possess, I promise), and I just happened to have everything I needed on hand…plus a newish food processor that I have been taking advantage of as often as possible.
Now, you can stop at the white-bean-avocado hummus if you want an appetizer or a snack…or you can make a Super Excellent Mediterranean-ish Focaccia Pizza Thing, also known as the Non-Pizza.
Now, this Non-Pizza does take some time to make, but it is well worth the effort and was filling enough as a Dinner for Two (with ice cream for dessert–more on that later).
For the hummus:
1 can white beans, such as cannellini
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
A drizzle of olive oil (for smoothness of texture)
For the focaccia:
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp warm water (my test: it should be hot, but not so hot that you can’t stick your finger in it and keep it there)
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour or AP flour
1 tsp table salt
3 large cloves garlic, minced
A drizzle of olive oil
For the rest of the Non-Pizza
Feta cheese (I bet goat, parmesan, or mozzarella cheese would also be really tasty on this…this is just what I had on hand)
Cherry tomatoes, any amount — I roasted a whole package and used a handful, but a few handfuls from your garden will do, too
Food processor (do not use a blender — if you don’t have a FP, use a potato masher)
Garlic press (okay, you can get by without one, but I swear by mine)
Large cutting board
1. Make the pizza dough: Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl and add the yeast. Let it stand until foamy (~4 minutes). Add the flours and salt and mix until a rough dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured surface (use extra bread flour, not whole wheat) and knead until you have a uniform, elastic mass. Oil the bowl and return the dough, covering with a towel. Allow it to rise for 1 hour.
2. Once the dough has risen for an hour (or doubled in size — the season will affect this), turn it out onto a floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a ~1/4 inch thick circle.
3. Place your cherry tomatoes on an oiled or lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (yes, with the tomatoes inside it). Once it is preheated, set a timer for 15 minutes. Check the tomatoes then — if they are blistered and browning, remove them. If not, let them cook longer.
4. While the oven preheats, combine all of the hummus ingredients in a food processor and blend until incorporated.
5. When the tomatoes have come out of the oven, put them in a bowl and set them aside. Turn the cookie sheet over and dust it with flour. Place your slightly-re-puffed focaccia on the floured back of the cookie sheet and dimple it by pressing your fingers all over the surface. Spread the minced garlic and a drizzle of oil over the top and into the dimples. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 15-25 minutes. You will know it is done when it is browned and sounds slightly hollow when tapped.
6. Place the focaccia on a cutting board. Spread the hummus over the Non-Pizza like you would spread tomato sauce on a Real-Pizza. Top it with the roasted cherry tomatoes and a generous sprinkle of feta cheese and slice into four pieces.
And Now a Non Sequitur Story About Post-Non-Pizza Adventures:
So after Sean and I scarfed this pizza, we convinced ourselves that it would be a good idea to go get ice cream, because it was hot and Sean had a long day, and I’ve stopped worrying about my figure because I care more about enjoying things like ice cream with entire Reese’s Cups in it…
Anyway, we put on our sandals and tromped down the street to our local ice-cream-and-the-best-burgers-in-the-world joint, The Family Dog. On the way, we observed the biggest thunderheads in the world looming to our left.
“They said on the radio that we’re supposed to have severe thunderstorms,” I observed. “Hey, remember that time there was a huge storm when we were walking back from getting ice cream and we sat on that bench and watched the lightning?”
At this point, I think Sean was worrying more about what kind of ice cream he should get, so he humored me, “Yeah.”
We entered the sweaty restaurant and ordered our ice creams. I was immediately occupied with the task of not getting ice cream all over myself; I did not succeed.
We returned to the electric outside air and I, dripping everywhere, said, “Let’s take the long way home.”
So we set off down the street, away from the street that would take us home.
“Was that thunder?” asked Sean, eating his mint chocolate chip sideways.
“I think so,” I mumbled around an entire Reese’s Cup that I was slurping out of the bottom of my teetering ice cream stack.
We rounded the corner and Sean got distracted by some nice chimney work on a house across the way. I saw a side street.
“Let’s go that way.”
“I think it might be starting to rain,” Sean hesitated.
And then the skypocalypse happened. Without so much as a rising crescendo, we were at full-on fortissimo rain. The streets were raging rivers within moments. We dashed towards the library, saw from afar that there were no overhangs to be had, and sprinted instead for a dense tree next to an apartment complex. By now, my ice cream was rather watered down. I tried to shove it into my mouth as I ran. Never let good ice cream go to waste!
We huddled under the tree for a minute, shaking. Then,
“Ouch!” Something had bounced off my head.
And then it began to fall all around us. Hail!
This is when Sean, fearing for his life, made a mad dash for our house. I crunched down the last of my cone and speed-walked in his trail, cackling maniacally and leaping over the muddy river torrents coming out of driveways.
And that is how we survived The Great Hailstorm of Thursday Evening.