Iowa Summer on a Pizza
Does the thought of that first, fresh-from-the-garden tomato make your mouth water? Will the sight of the first sweet corn truck along the road trigger your foot to move from the accelerator to the brake? Can crispy bacon, slices of that juicy tomato, some mayonnaise, cool lettuce and a couple pieces of toast satisfy you more than any four-course meal?
Here in the midwest, July arrives and so do the hopes that these oh-so-simple food cravings will soon be met, and met in excess! Please don’t tell me I can only have two slices of bacon on my BLT. Please allow me to slice my tomato as thin or as thick as I choose. Please look politely away as the butter drips from my corn and onto my plate (or my shirt). The anticipation is over … it’s officially summer in Iowa!
expedition farm country
Last summer, I had the great privilege of traveling with the Iowa Food and Family Project on Expedition Farm Country. We toured several farms in southeast Iowa, learning from wonderful families about their farms and their commitments to land and animals. At each and every place, we were encouraged to ask any questions we wanted. They honestly discussed hot topics and current political concerns as easily as they answered questions about raising families in rural Iowa.
What does this have to do with tomatoes, sweet corn and bacon? They fed us really well! All our meals were delicious but one stop registered particularly high on my food-blogger radar. Instead of driving into a nearby town or city for dinner, our tour bus left the highway and travelled a few miles on gravel roads and pulled onto a pretty little farm outside Wellman, Iowa. On Friday nights, this farm turns into an outdoor restaurant, Stonewall Pizza, with live music, yard games, local wine and a buffet of homemade brick-oven pizza.
curious pizza combinations
One pizza, in particular, piqued my curiosity: Sweet Summer. Fresh tomatoes, crispy bacon, and tender sweet corn on a wood-fired crust. Simply amazing.
I have yet to convince my husband that we need a brick pizza oven in our backyard, so I turned to my summer cooking partner, the grill, and started creating my version of that brilliant combination.
There are all kinds of options when it comes to pizza crust. The convenience of buying pizza dough at the grocery store cannot be beat for quick meals but I had been curious to try a homemade, two-ingredient crust recipe. It called only for self-rising flour and sour cream. Given that I have been a long-time fan of AE Dairy Sour Cream and that AE Dairy is a long-time (almost 90 years) Iowa based company using milk produced in Iowa by Iowa cows, well … you can see where this is going … ON the pizza. More specifically, it went IN the crust. Using only those two ingredients, the dough seemed too dense for pizza crust so I “thinned” it out with a little water and then, for flavor and maybe a little luck, added a pinch of salt. That was all it took to get the dough to a workable consistency.
To bacon? or not to bacon?
Bacon is a widely loved pork delicacy. If, by some rare chance, you do not share that love, or if you are lucky enough to have some leftover ham or bratwurst in your refrigerator, either would make a wonderful substitution. Maybe you just want to go all Iowa-hog-wild and put all three on your pizza … your Iowa pork producers will thank you for it!
No matter how you cut it, this pizza is a satisfying slice of summer!