Thursday, April 18, 2013

Restaurant Wars 2013 - California Pizza Kitchen

First off today, I have to say Happy Anniversary!!! to Boyfriend.  It's been ten years since our first date.  Ten years, seven cities, nine different apartments, over twenty different countries, we're like our own little Amazing Race.  That's right, BF and I have been a couple for a whole decade.  You might ask why we aren't yet engaged or married.  My answers generally vary from 'We've only been living together for 2 years' to 'We're really busy' to 'If I get engaged, then I have to plan a wedding.'  We'll get around to it before all this food blogging catches up to us and I can't fit into a size 4 wedding dress!


Now, back to the reason for todays post - Restaurant Wars 2013!  It's been almost a month since my last RW post because I've been out of town so much recently!  March and April found be travelling to my hometown for a long weekend and to Washington, DC for a work conference.  I also spent my weekend mornings training for my half marathon.  I reorganized my RW schedule based on restaurants that are close to our apartment and therefore easy weeknight meals!


This week brought us to California Pizza Kitchen, on a surprisingly busy night.  Our CPK is located inside of a mall, like most locations these days, and tends to be a popular place for dinner.  It would be forty-five minutes if we wanted a table.  How long for the bar?  You can sit down right now!  I highly reccommend sitting at the bar at CPK.  The bartenders are fun and lead to quick drink service.  You can also watch all the pizzas being made and get good views of the TVs.


Personally, I love all of the unusual pizzas at CPK.  I always wind up with their pear & gorgonzola, spicy Korean BBQ or Jamaican Jerk pizza.  BF is more of a classic pizza fan.  Meat and cheese is his go to pizza.  This trip to CPK was no different - I went with the Thai chicken pizza and BF got the Meat cravers.  Apparently vegetables have no place on a pizza in BFs world. 

When it came to reproducing CPK at home, I had a little leg up.  While browsing the local bookstore in Montclair, I stumbled upon this book.  Published in 1996, previously owned, this cookbook cost me $8.  Deal.  The best thing about this version of the cookbook (they have updated it twice since the original was published), this book contains several pizzas that are no longer offered on the CPK menu.  Like BF's favorite - The Rosemary Chicken and Potato Pizza.


 I remember heading to CPK in the early years of our relationship and ordering this pizza.  He's been upset ever since it was pulled from the menu.  When I discovered the recipe in my new cookbook, I knew this would be the recipe to make for RW - CPK.  The only problem, this recipe is so involved.


It took me almost two hours from chopping the first clove of garlic to when I pulled the pizza out of the oven.  You can prepare some things in advance (which I should have done, but I neglected to read the recipe ahead of time, bad blogger) and shave some time off of the prep.  I have also reorganized the directions, to allow you to multitask during the cooking process.

Make this pizza, it is delicious.  And according to Boyfriend, very close to the original.

One Year Ago: Salad Dressing
Two Years Ago: Mango Shrimp Curry

Rosemary Chicken and Potato Pizza

The original recipe makes two pizzas.  The majority of changes I have made are just to cut the recipe in half and reorganize the instructions to be more multi-tasking.  If you can get help in the kitchen, you will be able to bring this dish together pretty quickly.  But make this pizza, I cannot stress how delicious it is.

For Rosemary Potatoes
4 small, red new potatoes, sliced into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
dash of white pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Garlic Chicken
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound chicken strips

Garlic-Shallot Butter Sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup chardonnay
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon chicken bullion cube

For the Pizza
1 recipe your favorite pizza dough
Cornmeal
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Make the rosemary potatoes - Heat oven to 325 F.  Toss potatoes with remaining ingredients.  Arrange potato slices on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until they being to brown.  Remove from the baking sheet and move to a plate lined with paper towels.  Blot off excess oil.  Set aside, do not put in the fridge.

Prepare the chicken - Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl.  Add chicken and toss to coat.  Let chicken marinate for 15 minutes.  Grill chicken on a grill pan or grill, discard excess marinate.  Cook chicken until no longer pink in the middle.  Remove from the grill and let cool.  Chop chicken into 1/2-inch cubes.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the pizza (you can do this a day ahead of time).

Make the sauce - Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic, shallot and thyme and toss to coat in butter.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until softened.  Add remaining ingredients to the saucepan and stir until chicken bullion is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. 

Now it's finally time to put the pizza together.  Preheat oven to 450 F.  Arrange your pizza dough on a baking sheet/pizza sheet.  Top pizza dough with garlic-shallot sauce.  Spready to within one inch of the edge.  Top with half of the mozzarella cheese.  Add chicken.  Top with potatoes, leaving one inch between each potato.  Sprinkle with chopped rosemary and oregane.  Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.  Bake pizza for 15-18 minutes or crust has risen and is slightly browned.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley.  Slice and eat!

Now wasn't that worth it?  Totally.
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