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Cookin’ the Books: Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin

Ah, my love for Jacques Pepin runs deep. I have enjoyed several of his cookbooks in the past, but his newest one, Essential Pepin has all of his best work rolled into one volume. It also comes with a useful DVD featuring tips that range from how to tie your apron to the proper way to roast a chicken.

His recipe for Green Pizza was the perfect fit for our lazy weekend when no one was feeling much like cooking, but appetites were still voracious. The “pizza” uses pita bread rather than actual dough. The recipe features pretty basic ingredients that most people already have on hand or can improvise with whatever happens to be hanging around in the fridge.

The first step is to take a pita pocket and cut it into two pieces so that you end up with two pizza rounds. Jacques calls for one cup of mesclun, 1/2 cup of diced tomato, 2 tablespoons of chopped onion, salt & pepper, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Well, you probably know by now that I’m not really one for exact measurements. (Also, I was making two pita pizzas- instead of one like in the recipe- since I don’t think Hubs would have been too pleased to watch me enjoy my delicious meal without him.) So I kind of went rogue on Mr. Pepin’s quantities and slightly deviated from his ingredients too. I did have a bag of baby lettuce that was about to kick the bucket, so I used that for my greens. Then I grabbed a tomato from the garden and chopped it. A tiny onion was still hanging out in the ever-so-slightly-abandoned raised bed garden, so I snatched it up and sliced it into rings.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. Then I layed the pita rounds side by side on a baking sheet and topped each one with the greens, the tomato slices, and the onions. A pinch of salt and pepper was followed by a scant drizzle of olive oil. Finally, the Parmesan cheese was liberally showered onto both pizzas. Now they were ready for the oven. These cook very quickly, so be sure not to forget about them. About four minutes is really all they need, or until the cheese is melted.

These Green Pizzas turned out great and were really easy. There are several other pizza variations in Essential Pepin that I will try in the future.

By the way, if you really want to roll deep with Jacques, check out his autobiography, The Apprentice. Great read.


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