Friday, December 21, 2012

My Deployment Pizza (Pizza Night!)

NOTE:  I don't usually feel qualified to offer wine pairings, but I will say that deployment goes well with Old Vine Zinfandel in a Bota box.

Having your partner-in-life absent for long stretches of time is un-fun.  If he is where somebody's shooting at him, it just sucks.  Everything is on you.  The one you turn to when life gets rough is not only not there, but very probably dealing with his own stuff too.  More than likely, your partner is also not readily reachable to help you cope.

So what do you do?

For me, a few things keep me semi-sane, though I freely admit I live in a particular state of crazy during deployments or long stretches apart, despite my best efforts to stay sane.  I exercise, spend time with friends, try to eat semi-healthy foods, and have read-in nights/mornings with the kids.  These are all things I do for me.  Doing for me helps me do for the others in my life (you know, put your oxygen mask on first and all).

This pizza is just that--for me.  I developed it during one of my spouse's deployments and, to be honest, I kinda miss fixing it after he's been home for a long stretch.  Since I recently celebrated my birthday, I've made my Deployment Pizza and written it up for you.  It starts with a spinach crust, made in my old bread machine, followed by Trader Joe's Artichoke Antipasto (Costco's Artichoke Asiago jar also works, or some similar jarred mixture of artichokes and Other Things), anchovies, and Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio over top.

I am sure you don't like anchovies.  So don't put them on your pizza.  This one is mine.  And other than sharing this recipe on my blog, I'm keeping it for myself!  Though if you ask nicely and don't mock the fish, I'd give ya a slice.

Forgot the garlic and yeast.  Didn't use the salt. 

Spinach, garlic, lemon pepper, and oil go in first.

Dry ingredients on top.

After adding a bunch of water-one Tablespoon at a time!

Spinach Pizza Dough in a Bread Machine

adapted from The Best Pizza Is Made At Home by Donna Rathnell German--an excellent book!

3 large handfuls spinach
3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 to 12 Tablespoons water.  Yes.  This is not a typo.

Wash the spinach and nuke it for 3 minutes, until it is wilted.  For me, this took the 3 large handfuls down to 2/3 cup packed cooked spinach.  The inspiring recipe calls for 2/3 cup cooked undrained spinach, but since I only used the water on the leaves, mine was drier, hence the crazy spread in water needs.  Using a box of spinach, thawed, and measuring out 2/3 cup would be about right--however I've got spinach from my CSA farm share so I'm using what I got, ok?

Place ingredients in a bread machine in the order that the manufacturer suggests.  It's been multiple moves since I last saw the directions that accompanied this machine, so I guess and put the wet ingredients in first and top with yeast.  Set it for pizza dough cycle if you're able to, or dough cycle and stop it after the first rise.  After it starts mixing, keep an eye on it and add water, a Tablespoon at a time, until your dough forms a smooth ball.  I apologize for the vagueness of this description, and I've tried to include a photo of the dough so you know what you're aiming for.  If you have any questions, fire away or check my Pizza Primer.  This makes enough for 2 generous (10 - 12 inch?) personal pizzas or one large pizza, and was the first way I got my kids to eat spinach (this dough, not the following pizza).

My Deployment Pizza

1/2 portion of the above spinach pizza dough
1/2 cup artichoke antipasto blend (I use either Trader Joe's or Costco)
1/2 can anchovy fillets
1 1/2 cups Quattro Formaggio or other Italian blend shredded cheese with a good amount of fontina
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, optional (if you have any left over from the kid's pizza, go ahead)
Pasta Sprinkle (I use Penzey's, or any Italian seasoning blend)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  On an oiled piece of parchment paper, stretch out your dough to an approximate circle shape.  Have some wine.  Congratulate yourself on surviving another day (or week, if it's Friday night).  Spoon artichoke antipasto out of the jar onto your pizza (how easy is that?).  Scatter anchovies across the entire thing, because you love them and you love yourself.  Top with the cheeses and a shake or 3 of Pasta Sprinkle.  Bake, paper included, for 5-8 minutes until the crust is ok to stand on its own two feet like you are doing, then remove the parchment paper and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly.  Cool on a wire rack, then slice and have some more wine, and enjoy!   This pizza has joined the party with What's In The Box at In Her Chucks and Food On Friday (twice)!


  1. I think we should do wine pairings more often, especially if it means trying the various kinds to see which works best with the dish.

    I can't even imagine what it must be like when the husband is deployed. Kudos to you for finding ways to stay sane. Sometimes that's all we can do.

  2. Meghan,
    If I don't have to drive, I'll happily try all the kinds of wine to find the best, though my judgement may be impaired by the 3rd glass . . .


  3. I had to come back and comment on this post (now that my computer is plugged back in). My husband occasionally works away from home - 9 months last year!

    I absolutely sympathize with how difficult it is to run the whole show while your partner is gone. At least I can talk to my husband in the evening when he is gone.

    Taking care of yourself first is so important, and I like to think it teaches the kids something about resiliency.

    Thank you to you and your husband for your service.

    And I am definitely going to try that spinach crust!

    Happy New Year. :)

    1. Wow, 9 months! Honestly, I think the comings and goings are worse than just gone. Though my house would be cleaner if my spouse was gone for a week and then back and then gone ;)


  4. Spinach dough!! Looks pretty darn amazing :)

    Thanks for sharing and linking up...

    1. Heather,
      Thanks for hosting! You're raising a girl who likes green, which is awesome. If she ever flips to the 'I don't like green' stage, try this pizza. It works on kids!

  5. I agree, deployments suck. I love the sound of this crust, though - I just pinned it! Can't wait for that first bite :)

    1. Amanda,
      That they do, that they do. So, we embrace the suck.
      With pizza!
      It's a great crust, and probably one of the more tame crusts I've got around here, veggie-in-crust wise. Thanks for stopping by!