Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza
Dorcas Annette Walker

Labor Day weekend found a couple of Dwight’s friends down from Indiana at our house so I got the brainstorm of having each one do up a pizza that I am going to feature this month. Dwight’s friends were hesitant, but I assured them that my recipes were not difficult and would be easy to make. For some reason my son, Dwight, groaned and shook his head causing flickers of alarm to appear on both of his friend’s faces. I pulled out the big guns after they had stuffed themselves on my homemade lasagna, garlic bread, and Ice Cream Cake asking them how wimpy could they be when all they had to do was make one pizza while I cooked how many meals for them. With that threat hanging over their heads they disappeared from my house the next day to go exploring out in the woods, uh, maybe to bolster up their courage. They were gone all afternoon and it was getting close to suppertime when I called Dwight on his cell phone to remind him that I wanted to have the Taco Pizza for supper. He asked how long it would take, and since he was going to do the honors, he wasn’t too worried and told me that they were heading back. A half an hour later I buzzed Dwight again. They had stopped to check out a cave and found a really neat spider that was huge, but he assured me they were on their way home. My husband had already wandered to the kitchen a couple of times wondering how late supper was going to be and fortifying himself by snacking. Another thirty minutes passed without any signs of my fellows so I called again. Dwight said that they were almost to the main road- they had stopped to get some really neat pictures of his friend’s 4-wheel drive truck going over some rocks. I started browning the hamburger. It was almost 7:30 pm by the time they made it back to the house. In high spirits Eric and Aaron razed Dwight as he put together the Taco Pizza. We made a double batch and sat down to eat our evening meal at eight o’clock. Needless to say the Taco Pizza disappeared like the wind- I managed to get one piece- along with the Dirt Pudding I had made up earlier.

Did you know that lettuce is a member of the sunflower family and is one of the oldest known vegetables believed to be native in the Mediterranean area? The ancient Greeks believed that lettuce induced sleep so they served it at the end of their meals and the Romans continued the custom until their dictator, Emperor Domitian, started serving it at the beginning of his feasts to torture his guests- thinking to force them to stay awake in his presence. Ceasar Augustus even put up a statue praising lettuce because he believed that it cured him from an illness. Lettuce was introduced to the New World as early as 1494. Thomas Jefferson had nineteen varieties of lettuce growing in his garden at Monticello. Our ancestors ate Lamb’s lettuce, also known as field lettuce, that grows wild and I discovered that there is even an Opium lettuce. The USDA found red, yellow, and blue-green varieties of lettuce while accumulating a worldwide gene pool. There are four main types of lettuce: Butterhead, Iceberg, Looseleaf, and Romaine. Iceberg lettuce was called Crisphead until 1920 when it was renamed after California began transporting large quantities of lettuce underneath mounds of ice to keep it cool as lettuce is one vegetable that is immune to any form of preservation. Lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable in the United States. Americans eat thirty pounds of lettuce each year. The darker green leaves are more nutritious than the lighter green ones. Almost all lettuce is packed right in the field- which is why you should wash all lettuce before eating it.

My Taco Pizza takes around thirty-five minutes to prepare and this recipe serves eight. Sometimes I add a layer of refried beans, which makes the Taco Pizza even more filling and healthful. Have fun experimenting with different toppings.

Taco Pizza

1½ c self-rising flour
½ c cornmeal
1 pkg yeast
2 tb cooking oil
½ c warm water
Knead together and let rise for ten minutes. Roll out on greased pizza pan and bake at 350º for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown.

Brown 1 lb hamburger.
1 tsp chili powder
1 c salsa
Simmer together and spread on top of baked crust.

Layer toppings:
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 c bite-size lettuce pieces
1 c chopped tomato
½ c sliced black olives
Serve warm with sour cream or taco sauce!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a freelance writer, author, columnist, and photographer from Jamestown, TN. If you have any cooking tips or favorite recipes you are welcome to contact me by mail at: Dorcas Walker, 929 Wildwood Lane, Jamestown, TN 38556 or email me at: dorcaswalker@yahoo.com. For more information about the Walker family and Dorcas’ books check out her website at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com or htpp://dorcasannettewalker.blogspot.com for other Creative Mountain Cookin recipes.

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