Authors Cat Rambo and Fran Wilde issued a call for contributions of recipes to the members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. I sent Cat my recipe for Yin-Yang Pizza a few days ago. The recipe includes the optional use of cashews (and almonds), which I love on salads, fish, pasta, or pizza.
Cat and Fran also asked for a note about food in fiction. My note follows the recipe.
Coincidentally, my Facebook and Twitter friend, Al Handa, the talented musician and leader of Al Handa and the Internationals and the Boogie Underground, just posted an article about cashews on Facebook and mentioned that he puts cashews in his chicken pot pie.
So here you go, Al!
Our family includes a mermaid, who is a vegetarian but loves seafood, and a lettuce-eater, who is a strict vegetarian. So the Yin-Yang Pizza must be prepared in a Mermaid version and a Lettuce-eater version.
Two 14” pizza pans (Lodge makes a really good cast-iron pan with handles. You can also roast baby potatoes on it.)
Two large stainless steel mixing bowls with plastic snap-on lids (Williams Sonoma makes terrific bowls-with-tops in different sizes.)
Two Pyrex measuring cups
A large mixing bowl
(We only eat organic ingredients. But if you don’t care about that, feel free to make conventional substitutions in the list below.)
Whole wheat crust:
(We only eat whole grains, never refined. This makes a deep-dish, bread-like crust.)
In each of the stainless mixing bowls, mix 3 cups of whole wheat flour with 1 ½ tsp sea salt.
In each of the measuring cups, warm a cup plus 1 tablespoon of filtered water plus 1 tsp of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to at least 70 degrees. Mix well, add a packet (or 1 tablespoon) of yeast, and mix until the yeast is dissolved.
Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and knead well. Add a bit more water, if needed, and cover the bowl firmly with the snap-on lid.
Fill the kitchen sink with 3 inches of very warm water, set the bowls in the water, and let the dough rise for 60 minutes. Be sure to refresh the warm water every 15 minutes or so.
Oil the pizza pans with olive oil.
Punch down each ball of dough and place in the center of each pizza pan. Let the dough rest 10 minutes. With a roller, smooth out the dough to the edges of the pan.
One 15 ounce can of tomato pizza sauce (No, I don’t make the sauce from scratch, I try brands until I find a sauce that’s as good as I could make. Charley Brown once told me he could make onion rings, but he’d rather someone else did. Muir Glen makes an excellent organic pizza sauce.)
One 6.5 ounce jar of pesto sauce (Whole Foods makes a great pesto.)
1 medium onion
½ cup each of green and red sweet bell peppers
1 small box of button mushrooms
10 ounces canned or fresh black olives, well drained
8.5 ounce jar of olive oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, well drained
½ cup almonds, cashews, or both (Optional, but I love nuts on pizza, pasta, salads, and fish.)
About ½ pound smoked salmon or baked fresh salmon, wild-caught Alaskan, flaked
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
A garlic-herb seasoning blend (Frontier makes an excellent one.)
Preheat oven to Bake at 425 degrees.
Spread half of each crust with tomato sauce and pesto sauce. (I used to draw the teardrop-shaped halves of the yin-yang symbol, with a dot of the opposite in the middle. But the effect was lost beneath the toppings. Now I just go for half and half.)
Chop up the vegetables and mix well in the third bowl like a tossed salad, dusting everything with garlic-herb seasoning.
Pour the vegetable mix over each of the pizzas, distributing everything evenly. Bake on the middle rack for 8—10 minutes.
Switch oven to Broil. Move the pizzas to the top rack and broil for about 3 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle on nuts, in the Mermaid version the salmon, and the cheeses.
Broil on the top rack for another 3 minutes, watching to make sure everything cooks as well as you want, but doesn’t burn.
Remove from oven, let cool, and cut each pizza into eight pieces.
As the cartoonist Roz Chast says, the serving size depends on how hungry you are.
Vital Food, Fantastic Food
As Number One Chef, Victual Procurer, Concocter of Recipes, and Health Diva of my family, I’m conscious daily of food and its significance in life. I enjoy reading about food in fiction. Food plays a part in nearly every fiction I’ve written, long and short.
Food indicates whether a character is living in an era of prosperity or one of scarcity (The Gilded Age), whether she herself is rich (Celestial Girl [A Lily Modjeska Mystery]) or poor (The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria). Food may be poisonous to a character from a different era or world (Summer of Love). Bespelled food may enchant a character (The Garden of Abracadabra). A character tells his backstory over food (Every Mystery Unexplained). Food fattens a slave for auction (Daughter of the Tao) or proves the measure by which one character judges another (Shaken). A mortally ill character can’t eat at all (Hummers), while alien characters cultivate alien food (Tomorrow’s Child) or have strange food fetishes (U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy). Food eaten at the side of a freeway on a cross-country trip reveals that a potentially murderous character is packing a serious knife (“Destination” in Strange Ladies: 7 Stories).
So there you have it, my friends. What inventive ways do you use nuts in cooking? Let’s eat!
From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
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The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
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Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
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