Is there anything more sexier than homemade flatbread with caramelized onions, blue cheese, crispy potatoes, and za’atar (an incredible exotic spice)? Perhaps showing off my ridiculous Target Bullseye mittens on a first date? Ya dig? Are you confused? Don’t worry I will explain.
Have ever told you about my first ever date with the hubs? Oh boy, it’s a doozy.
Our first date was a bit of a blind date situation, we had never met before and I had no clue what to expect.
He picked the Low Brow, a little local burger place near his old place. I had never been there, so that sounded good to me.
I remember walking in and seeing him sitting there looking a bit nervous in his super cute flannel long sleeve. I honestly don’t remember what I was wearing but I do remember it took me FOREVER to pick it out after trying on 1 million things. I wanted something cute, but not too revealing but not too warm because I was nervous, but I also did not want to get cold. Not too tight, not too baggy. Nothing that said I was trying too hard but also showed I was trying a little bit. Something that made me feel comfortable and confident. Yea you try picking something out that fits all of those things. Yea being a girl is hard. Blah.
Immediately I remember thinking, he was really cute. Strong tall guy, broad shoulders, kind face, gorgeous eyes. Ok so he seemed like a tall guy to me because 1. My family is short. 2. I lived in both Houston and Rhode Island where people do not tend to be as tall as Midwesterners. 3. I am short.
As far as first dates go, it was a great good. We got to know each other, learned about each other’s families, where we went to school, etc. Talked a little about our jobs and hobbies. Then things got goofy.
Personally, I am a firm believe that the person you should be with for the rest of your life should love you for you. Even if you (or me in this case) are kind of weird. And even though this was only the first date, I wanted to test his sense of humor and coolness with my weirdness.
So we talked movies. He told me he LOVED the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. NERD ALERT! Which in my eyes was way cute and endearing. I told him I loved the Muppets. Yep the Muppets. And anything Will Ferrell does.
I also showed him my ridiculous Target Bullseye dog mittens that I happened to have in my purse. They basically look like hand puppets. And yes I proceeded to do a mini 10 second mitten puppet show. It was total word vomit that I could not stop. AHHHH!!! Looking back I am some what mortified!!!! Not exactly sexy or romantic. Lucky for me that did not scare him off forever! Phew…
All in all we spent a good 2 hours just talking and laughing and falling for each other. I would call that a good date. At the end of the date, he walked me outside and he gave me a hug.
A single hug that started something great.
I love date nights that include something casual that has been elevated for the occasion. Take these simple Flatbreads. Easy to make but dressed up with fun and fancy-feeling toppings. Pair with some luscious red wine and this is an ideal date night.
Since the dough does need to raise, this is the perfect dinner to make a little earlier maybe around 6ish while you catch up on the day, sip some wine and snack on some olives. While the dough raises for an hour, you can prep the toppings. Then roll the dough out, add the toppings, pop them in the oven or on the grill outside and light some nice candles.
Flatbread Date Night (Za’atar, potatoes and gruyere, potatoes onions and blue cheese, and pepperoni)
Makes 4 small flatbread pizzas. Plenty for 2 people. Flatbread dough by NYT Lebanese Flatbread.
Notes: This flatbread is absolutely delicious on the grill as well! I was just too lazy to turn the grill, plus it was raining. To grill, simply heat the grill on medium high heat. Bush dough with olive oil (or spray if it is easier), set rolled out dough on the grill for 3-5 minutes on each side. Add toppings and return to the grill (topping side up). Cover and cook until cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes. If no cheese, just make sure dough is cooked and a tad bit crisp on the bottom.
Za’atar is an insanely tasty and complex middle eastern spice mix normally a blend of za’atar/thyme/oregano, sesame seeds, and sometimes sumac. Perfect on so many things. Especially doughy breads.
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, very thinly sliced
- 2-3 ounces creamy blue cheese or gorgonzola
- ½ onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons za’atar
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup marinara sauce
- 8-10 pepperoni slices
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Whisk together the salt, sugar, yeast and 1 cup warm water in a large bowl. Let the mixture sit until it begins to froth, about 5 minutes, then add the flour and mix until well combined. (If the dough is really dry, add more warm water a tablespoon at a time to moisten it.) Cover and let rise somewhere warm for about an hour.
In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in large pan. Fry up the sliced potatoes. 2-3 minutes on each side. Cook all of the potatoes. It might take 2 batches. Set potatoes aside on a plate lined with paper towels.
In the same hot pan, cook up the sliced onions in another tablespoon or 2 of olive oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
When the dough has puffed up, transfer it to a well-floured surface and knead until soft and silky, 5 to 8 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the dough into 4 equally sized pieces and roll each one out until it’s about 6 inches in diameter; don’t worry about making these perfectly round, but try to keep them relatively even in thickness. Lightly oil a 2 baking sheet, place 4 doughs on the sheets and prick the surface with a fork. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Top each pizza (4 total):
- Drizzle olive oil and za’atar
- Spoon marinara sauce, add pepperoni slices and sprinkle mozzarella cheese
- Drizzle a little olive oil, half the onions, layer half the potatoes, gruyere and parmesan cheese
- Drizzle a little olive oil, layer rest of the potatoes, half the onions, and gorgonzola
Place the flatbreads back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes to heat through. Lay pizzas out on a large cutting board or platter. Serve up with your favorite drink and enjoy a romantic night.