6 February 2013

Celebrate 'The Toast's' 6th Blog Birthday with White Four Cheese Pizza with Garlic and Basil

White Four Cheese Pizza with Garlic and Basil

Six years ago in February I pressed the publish button and my fledgling little blog (that began as a love note to my family) took its first baby steps. Over the years it has taken on a personality of its own thanks to the many blessings it has afforded me. So much has happened since those early days. I've met many amazing foodies in person who share my passion for food. I've won trips, appliances and countless cookbooks to add to my collection, co-authored a community cookbook for charity, and spoken on a panel at a food conference. I have improved my baking and cooking skills and have been challenged to think outside my comfort zone and spread my wings. I'd even like to think that I have improved my photography and writing skills, even though this will always be a work in progress.

As you have heard me say many times blogging for me is not about these perks, or my stats, or popularity. I could go into a long speech, giving thanks and pointing out my favourite things that keep me coming back to blogging each and every day, or, even all the recipes that I’ve tagged from all of the talented foodies along the way....that I still hope to make in the warmth of my own kitchen... "someday". But if the truth be told YOU are are the real reason I continue to plug away here at More Than Burnt Toast and continue to learn and push myself to the limits of my imagination. Countless times I've turned to food blogs for tips, answers and inspiration and I have never been disappointed. There is so much talent and creativity out there in the blogging world. I try to leave a small footprint with these pages and contribute in my own steadfast way while still keeping my day job. 

I have always had a heightened degree of curiosity about cooking. When I first started learning to cook in my home kitchen, one of the initial things I discovered was that the key to outstanding meals was using good quality ingredients. As time passed I realized that this meant either growing or purchasing the best local ingredients available which with today's trends has become easier and easier with a resurgence of farmers markets, specialty food shops and local producers.


Never be afraid to try something new. 
Remember, amateurs built the ark, 
professionals built the Titanic.

- Dave Barry

What has taken me years to understand is that recipes are merely guidelines and are open to any interpretation. I used to follow recipes to the letter and they always turned out well, but, as the years progressed, and I have become confident in the kitchen, I am more open to experimentation and substitution. Even as a teenager I collected recipes like hockey cards and had a burgeoning cookbook collection. 

As I browse through these pages, I marvel at all the dishes I have prepared and all the recipes that have landed in my prized, best-of-the-best personal collection. In 6 years I have posted 1,100 recipes and gained confidence in the kitchen. This blog is a labour of love and as I browse through its pages during the latest blog updates it speaks to me!!! I can hear laughter and animated conversations from wedding showers, wedding receptions, graduations and L'il Burnt Toast's recitals where many dishes from these pages have shone. These pages have inspired me to be a better cook and to continue a life long love affair with the kitchen. 

It is interesting for me to note the recipes that have been the "most popular of all time" in these 6 amazing years. Most are a complete surprise to you and me both!

Layered Heirloom Tomatoes with Feta and Basil Oil
Salmon Tacos with Corn Relish
Rolled Stromboli
Beechers Macaroni and Cheese
Caramel Sea Salt Brownies
Julia Child's Cherry Clafouti
The Original Loose Meat Sandwich
Pesto Pasta Salad
Gnudi or "Naked Ravioli"

Of course, this blog would be a lot less fun without all of your comments and I want to thank everyone who has taken the time from their busy lives to read these pages and left me their insight, tireless guidance, enlightenment, inspiration, and encouragement. I enrich my own life just by putting my heart and soul into these pages, pushing my boundaries and improving my skills and techniques. It has all meant so much to me! 

“The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body; 
use yours to lift someone up today. 


It just goes to show you the way in which food makes the world a smaller place and brings people together from every corner of this great wide world we live in. Since it is an improbable possibility to share a table with more than a handful of you I am sharing an amazing pizza recipe instead. The next time you prepare pizza in your own kitchen think of all the amazing bloggers out there who have touched your life in one way or another. Savour a few bites, have a laugh or two, have a sip of wine and count your blessings. I am so thankful to have discovered this outlet and community. For you I am truly grateful.

**White Four Cheese Pizza with Garlic and Basil** 

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 recipe of your favourite pizza dough (or store-bought)
All purpose flour
 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
 3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 450°F. Brush 13x9-inch metal baking pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. (I used a pizza stone so follow manufacturers directions). Mix remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in small bowl.

Roll out pizza dough on lightly floured work surface to 14x10-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to prepared pan; brush lightly with some of garlic oil. In a small bowl mix ricotta, goat and Parmesan cheeses. Top pizza dough with cheese mixture leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Top with grated mozzarella.

Bake pizza until crust is golden brown and cheese melts, about 18 minutes. Drizzle remaining garlic-oil over pizza. Let stand 3 minutes.

Do ahead: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Before continuing, rewarm in 350°F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes. Cut pizza crosswise into 8 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 4 pieces for 32 pieces total. Sprinkle with basil. Transfer to platter and serve hot.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. Félicitations! Six years of blogging is quite the achievement, and I know how much discipline, creativity and hard work a successful blog involves. There are huge benefits too, as you mentioned.

    I must say this recipe looks trés délicieuse... I might give it a try this weekend. Here's to another year of great blogging! A bientôt, Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  2. Congratulations! We started about at the same time, mine will be in April!!! Love this pizza, one of my favorite.

  3. Congratulations, Val! Six years of quality blogging is no small accomplishment. I hope that, in addition to pizza, there will be cake and champagne to celebrate.

  4. Congratulations! I want to try the salmon tacos. Blessings on your gorgeous blog:) (I know how you feel..I have loved my blog, too.)

  5. Congratulations Val, has it really been 6 years? I've been following you from almost day 1, and I will continue to do so in the coming years, your passion shows through in every post! Here's to another great year!

  6. Happy blo anniversary and to many more! This pizza looks mighty scrumptious.



  7. happy blogoversary - the best thing about blogging is the way it keeps you in touch with the whole world

  8. 6 years!?? Time flyes. Your blog is one of my favorites,love your recipes and the way you right and and I guess that behind the blog is a beautiful person .. Bring many more years! Happy blog anninersary

  9. Congratulations and happy blog birthday Val. You are an inspiration to us all. I'm looking forward to many more years of visiting your kitchen.

  10. Congrats on six years, and hoping you will have many more!

  11. Congrats Val, wishing you another 6 delicious years of delicious blogging and you're always welcome back in Ontar-ari-o!

  12. Pizza is always an awesome way to celebrate, especially when it has so much cheese. Congratulations, love!

  13. 1100 recipes is a ton of cooking. So great to know you and share blogging and this food passion with you. Cheer's to 1100 more.

    1. That means that I have blogged 1/2 of my recipes in 6 years. If I made one meal per day for 6 years that would be 2,190. Sounds impressive when math is added.

  14. Happy blogiversary. It's amazing what a blessing our food blogs have been to all of us isn't it? The pizza looks TASTY!

  15. Congrats dear Val, your blog is one of these especially and lovely blogs I enjoyed, many years of happy and lovely food blog !!
    The pizza look awesome!! xxxxx

  16. Congrats Val! Your blog is a total joy. I have had your gnudi recipe bookmarked for far too long. Need to get on that! As well as several of the other popular posts that have slipped by me. I always look forward to your creations!

  17. 6 years of great food blogging is really an incredible feat, congratulations. I am pizza challenged, but this looks too good to pass up!

  18. Congratulations on six years of blogging, Val! The is a wonderful accomplishment. What a delicious way to celebrate. It will be interesting to see if we're still here in another six years :)

  19. Congratulations on 6 years of blogging Val! And I think you've chosen well to celebrate with pizza!

    1. Thank you Peter. I think we have been following each other since we both began. We have come a long way baby.:D

  20. That really is a milestone, Val. It is so nice to have you in our community. We need your skill, grace and inspiration. I'm looking forward to the next 6 years. Happy Anniversary. Blessings...Mary

  21. You know Val - even if you didn't end the post with my favorite way to have a pizza - this just lifts the soul. You eloquently described the journey that is blogging. It's not a destination - it's a travelogue. Love the sentiments, the learning curve, the quotes and the dedication. Kudos and Happy Bologversary to you!

  22. Happy blogiversary to you! It appears it is a golden birthday too, 6 years on the 6th. (P.S. you share a bday with my brother, that must be a good omen)

  23. Happy blogiversary! 6 years! A lot has changed, hasn't it? Well done. And what a great pizza.

  24. Congrats on 6 amazingly tasty years!

    1. Thank you Kevin. I think we have been following each other since the very beginning. I will always cherish when we met at Ruby Watchco in TO.

  25. I share your sentiments Val. Lovely post. Best wishes for continued success and fabulous dishes! You've certainly inspired me over the years.
    Thank you my friend,
    Lori Lynn

    1. It seems to me we have been together since the very beginning Lori Lynn. I will always remember when we met the very first year of the Foodbuzz festival in San Francisco. That was the best year and my first Outstanding in the Field dinner. Tres magnifique.

  26. is it bad that i don't know how long i've been blogging?
    i know i'm one of the oldies
    glad you're still around and kicking out the good, really good recipes

  27. that's not fair portioning pizza... hehehehe
    i pick the middle part...


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