Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Turkey Feta Pizzas & More DC Happenings

More on this guy later...

Every couple should be forced to spend at least one summer in a studio with no TV. Hubby and I have been more active than we ever could have imagined. Gone are the lazy Saturdays of San Diego, spent lounging in bed all morning, then rolling out of bed to lay a little bit longer on the beach. We've been out and about and DC's great (free) museums have something to do with that. First off, can anyone tell me what's the name of this tree? They're everywhere and absolutely gorgeous.

This Saturday, we visited the US Botanic Gardens to mourn my lovely garden that has surely died of neglect in my absence. We were a little weary of the Botanic Gardens as D.C.'s heat makes for a little bit of a bloodbath and the last thing we needed was to be subjected to any junglesque greenhouse temperatures. I was delighted to see that one of the first exhibits was not only air conditioned, but featured "The Aroma of Food and Drink," showcasing exotic and native spices and plants that go into many of the foods we enjoy. Best of all (well, second to the air conditioning), you could get up close and take a whiff of the spices. Of course, vanilla smelled so good and the thought of French Vanilla Ice Cream was more than I could handle at the time.

Could this place get any better? The orchid exhibit was next, displaying my all time favorite flowers and the main flower of our wedding. See those beauts up top in the banner? That's our wedding cake!

After too much fun for one day, we hiked to the Metro & came home to pass out after all this excitement.

Once I awoke from my nap, I got working on our dinner. A wife's work is never done, huh? :)This treat was inspired by none other than Elle from Elle's New England Kitchen. There are a lot of great blogs out there, so I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite, but if some crazy man demanded that I choose one or else, I'd say Elle's is definitely up there.

From the moment I saw Elle's post about Turkish Pizzas, I knew that the recipe would hijack all the others on my burgeoning 'to-make' recipe list, and take top spot. Boy, am I glad that these pizzas made it to the top. This was easily one of my favorite recipes to date and I can't wait to have these again.

I followed Elle's recipe for the dough, though I added a 1/2 tsp of garlic powder to the flour. Garlic makes everything better, don't ya think? The crust came out perfectly soft on the inside with a slight crisp on the outside. Fluffy bread like this is the stuff of dreams for carb-a-holics like us.

For the filling, I went ahead and used ground turkey since I purchased a package on sale, and cooked it directly with the spices and other ingredients instead of cooking them seperately. I also added diced red pepper, cilantro, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and a dash of lemon juice to the mixture because I'm crazy like that. Elle mentions in her post that the original recipe suggests feta as an optional add-on, but I would say do not skip the feta as it definitely makes the filling!

This smelled so good while cooking that we couldn't wait to take pictures. The pics were snapped in a little bit of a starvation-half tired from a nap-too much activity for one day-frenzy so pardon if they're a teensy bit of out of focus. I served the pizzas with a side of coucous and we were in heaven...once I put the camera away.

Turkey Feta Pizzas
Adapted from Elle's New England Kitchen & Oriental Basics

Elle's dough recipe (I added 1/2 tsp garlic powder)

1/2 large sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped & seeded tomato
2 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and pepper
4-5 oz crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
half of a lemon

1. Heat oven to 450°.
2. Heat a large wok over medium high heat. Heat the oil and saute the onions until they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add red pepper and garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until red pepper begins to soften. Add diced tomatoes and saute 1-2 minutes. Push the veggies to the side of the wok.
3. Add a bit of oil to the skillet if needed, then saute the meat until barely pink. Mix veggies into turkey and add tomato paste and spices. Mix until incorporated. Remove from heat and add feta. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4. Divide dough into 8 portions and roll out to thin circles. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment, and place 4 dough circles on each one. Spread some of the topping on the first 4, then put the baking sheet in the oven. Have 1/2 cup of cold water ready, and toss it in the bottom of the oven quickly, then shut the door.Bake for 8-10 minutes. Repeat with last 4 pieces of dough. Remove from pan to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro & lemon juice.


VeggieGirl said...

Although I do NOT know the name of that tree (sorry!), I can verify that it IS gorgeous ;0)

Anonymous said...

mm the little pizzas look delicious!

i'm not sure about the tree ..

DC is fun, isn't it? I like the dress you're wearing!

noble pig said...

I think life without a TV would be great, more fun instead of vegging out! Enjoy.

Mary said...

*Sigh* Another venue in DC I never visited when I lived there. That tree is gorgeous!

Lina said...

I would love to visit DC someday. That Botanic Garden looks so wonderful (and so does that pizza)!

Laura said...

That sounds so good. I am very lazy about homemade pizza, perhaps because I am not a huge pizza person, but boy that one makes me want to try.

Krysta said...

okay, that tree looks like a crape myrtle...i could be wrong but i don't think i am.

Bridgett said...

It looks like a crepe myrtle. We have a purple one in our backyard. Thanks for sharing pics from your trip! Love your dress :)

Sharon said...

veggiegirl - I've never seen them before and suddenly they're all over DC in many colors!

carmencooks - thanks! DC is tons of funs. If it only weren't so hot :)

noblepig - It has been surprisingly fun. The only downside is that we aren't as up on current affairs with the news.

mary - I feel like you never visit all the touristy things in the city you live. I feel the same way about Chicago!

lina - You definitely should. I've been having a great time.

laura - This certainly isn't your typical pizza so you might like this one!

krysta & bridgett - THANK YOU! One day I'll post a picture of one in my garden :)

Jenny said...

How fun, Love this post of all your happenings! Your pizza recipe looks incredible!!

Lisa said...

Yummy pizzas. Your pictures are gorgeous!

Grace said...

americans don't appreciate our nation's capital nearly enough. i should really go and take it all in. yeah...i say that every year. good for you, you patriot, you. :)
meanwhile, your pizza looks amazing! i'm especially loving the crust (mighty good call with the garlic).

Jeff said...

I have never been to DC. Been on my list of places to go. Actually leaving for San Diego on Friday but it is business and that means to much time in the facility and not enough time enjoying the town. Hopefully I can get out. Do you have any places that are must eat/see?

That pizza looks great and the perfect size for multiple experiments.

cakewardrobe said...

I was there a few weeks ago. Lovely pizzas!

MrOrph said...

Looks like a myrtle: http://www.raleighbridgewater.com/AnnounceAttach/define-crape-myrtle-1.jpg

"...no TV. Hubby and I have been more active than we ever could have imagined..." Hmmm curious... "active huh? mmmmmkay.

Those look great, I saw them at Elle's as well. I think I need a different topping though. I'm not feeling the ground turkey. I dunno why either. Go figure.

"more active" hmmmm

Leslie said...

Love the photos!!!
Thanks for the comment on my apple cake!

Kevin said...

Those turkey and feta pizzas sound really good!

Kristen said...

It is nice to be forced to unplug every once in awhile, isn't it? And, to be in a city that offers so much to do with that free time? All the better!
Gorgeous photos!

Carrie said...

Oh my, that "aroma" exhibit at the botanical gardens looks like a bit of heaven on earth! I'm dying to get back to DC at some point, since I only scratched the surface of the Smithsonian when I was there about 10 years ago.

Prudy said...

Ok, Gorgeous woman-life looks so good and so do the pizzas.

ICook4Fun said...

I've been blog hopping and landed myself here. What a great blog!!

Cakespy said...

I think those little pizzas are MY new favorite! Oh they look so good. I love DC too, a friend used to live there so I got a chance to see a lot of the sights. Sigh...

Elle said...

Sharon, those look so good! I love your additions! And I sure hope a crazy man never makes me choose a favorite, but if he did, yours would also be up there at the top. I can't wait to make these again, and will be sure to try your variation!

Elle said...

I forgot to tell you how amazing the Botanic Gardens look!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh, yes, it's a crepe myrtle. When we lived in NC, our entire neighborhood was lined with them. It was absolutely enchanting when they bloomed in pink, lavender, and white.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

How cute are you and your pictures?! No tv is actually a good thing some times, you're doing great stuff! Love the little pizzas!

Emiline said...

I guess everyone has decided it's a myrtle? I was going to say a redbud, but I have no idea what I'm talking about.

DC looks like a fun place to live! Thanks for sharing.

The pizzas sound really yummy. I love all kinds of pizza.

tigerfish said...

The vibrant colors is telling me...deliciosio! Yum yum!

Sharon said...

jenny & lisa - thanks, it's been fun!

grace - I can't believe there's so much to do here and I've waited so long to experience it all.

Jeff - I sent you an email, let me know if you didn't get it!

cakewardrobe - hope you had fun as well!

mrorph - you're a funny one alright ;) I'm ready to plant this tree in the backyard I one day hope to have. Maybe you could try ground lamb?

leslie - you're quite welcome!

kevin - thanks!

kristen - it definitely is nice though I sometimes wonder what's going on in the world!

carrie - yes, you definitely need a couple days to hit up the museums. There's so much to see and learn!

prudy - haha, thanks :)

icook4fun - thanks for stopping by!!

cakespy - any good DC cupcake recommendations?

elle - Aw, thanks. I wonder if this crazy man is ever going to come and make us pick? :)

susan - any idea how long they stay in bloom?

clumbsy cookie - I've definitely been blog reading more without a TV!

emiline - I have no idea about trees either.

tigerfish - I'll trade you some for some Taiwanese food!

RecipeGirl said...

That tree is indeed beautiful. I'm no tree expert though so I can't help you there.

Well it certainly looks like you've been having a great time there in DC. Do you miss your summer in San Diego??

Bren@Flanboyant Eats said...

isn't the garden amazing! geesh I haven't been there in years it seems. There's so much to do in DC! Glad you're enjoying your stay!

pizzas: NICE work!

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Those pizzas look great!

eliza said...

hi Sharon, i just got back from my vacation & finally am able to reply your comment in my blog. thanks for visiting! you have a lovely blog as well and lots of stories, i might go back here often! :)

The Blonde Duck said...

That looks great!

Maybe cherry blossom tree?

white on rice couple said...

Oh yes, everyones right,it is a crete myrtle, crape myrtle, crepe myrtle tree. There are so many different spellings for it. They really are gorgeous, especially during summer when they explode. The model in front of the tree is quite a bombshell too! :)
What a wonderful trip again. I was lucky enough to visit DC when I was in high school, and what a lasting impression it made on me. Thank for sharing your travels and tasty dishes!