Peachy pizza and petticoats

Pizza traditionalists won't miss the usual tons of tomato sauce and cheese with this slimmed-down and flavorful version from Cooking Light magazine.

What a week — first the house rock ‘n’ rolled with the baby earthquake, and then Hurricane Irene rustled her petticoats in our Brushy Mountain  foothills of the Blue Ridge. A low of 59 predicted for Sunday  night which means windows open!

 We are so lucky, of course, to be on the far edges of all this, but trust me when I tell you it has not always been so. (Six Julys ago a tornado removed the top floor of our house and then dumped 10 inches of rain in the next hour.)

We checked with all our children (in Baltimore, Boston and central PA) and then celebrated with a Rolling Rock and pizza made with the white peaches my father-in-law gave us this week. We had intended to try grilling pizza for the first time, but those rustling petticoats were too vigorous for a charcoal fire.

We’d also intended to grill romaine in an effort to duplicate the wonderful salad (grilled romaine, balsamic reduction, Gorgonzola cheese, toasted walnuts and caramelized onions) of the night before at Cimarron Steakhouse in Winston-Salem. That was just a lovely the-kids-are-all-right celebration with our friends Michon and Walter, which included the biggest piece of cheesecake I’ve ever seen on a restaurant table (3 of us shared it) and a merry Australian Shiraz called Layer Cake.

Michon and I had talked about the balsamic reduction on the salad we shared, and this Cooking Light magazine recipe features the same to cut the sweetness of the peaches. It is a lovely combination, especially when paired with a salad of greens and tomatoes for those missing their usual tomatoey slice.

Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza

1 10-ounce prebaked thin pizza crust

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon EVOO

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1 cup shredded cooked chicken (we used thighs)

1/3 cup (about 1-1/2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (we used blue cheese crumbles, and we’re lucky that the Harmony grocery carried that!)

1 medium peach, peeled and thinly sliced

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 400. Place crust on baking sheet sprayed with olive oil (we prefer pizza stone for a crunchier crust). Brush 1 teaspoon EVOO over crust. Top evenly with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, chicken, Gorgonzola and peach slices. Top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Bake for 11 minutes or until crust browns and crisps.

Put vinegar in small saucepan over heat high enough to bring to sizzle. Cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons (just 3 minutes or so), stirring often. Drizzle reduction evenly over baked pizza. Cut into 8 wedges. Each of 4 servings has 384 calories, 12.5 g fat (46 mg cholesterol), 24.3 g protein, 42.5 g carbs, 643 mg sodium and 264 mg calcium.

Note: In the previous post “Roast Chicken and Deep Agricultural Thoughts” heat and humidity prevented my poached brain  from crediting Mark Bittman for the spot-on directions.

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