It was a great ride.
The NBA Playoffs are prematurely over for me now, but I am not disappointed. I am beaming with pride at how hard the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors played this season. I am heartened by their staggering efforts, the sincere collegiality they share with their teammates and with the entire NBA, and their abiding spirit of competitiveness.
I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation for every adrenaline-filled minute of every game.
The Golden State Warriors exceeded everyone’s expectations. And the Phoenix Suns always friggin’ incredible. They came together in the face of adversity and put up a great fight, even when the odds were clearly stacked against them.
Okay, enough @$$-kissing on my end. In celebration of the efforts of these NBA players, and for those of you who will continue to watch the Playoffs, I want to share with you a delectable game day recipe that will be sure to get your trash-talkin’ vocal cords all geared up.
Pita Wedges Topped with Warm Goat Cheese and Roasted Squash
2 medium rounds of pita bread
1/2 bulbous squash (or 3 slender squashes, such as zucchini), sliced thinly
1/2 onion bulb, sliced thinly, and separated into rings (red onion adds more color)
5 tbsp of pesto (or 4 tbsp of freshly grated parmesan cheese and 1 tbsp of fresh thyme)
1/2 of an 11-oz pkg of chevre (goat cheese)
First, preheat an oven to 400 degrees. With a paper towel lightly dampened with vegetable oil, wipe down the surface of a cookie sheet. Lay the two rounds of pita bread on the cookie sheet. Next, layer the pita rounds evenly with the thin slices of squash and rings of onion. You do not want to overwhelm the pita bread by adding so many ingredients so that the ultimate pita pie will be soggy, so only lay one layer of squash on top of the bread. Add the chevre and pesto next. Rather than directly smearing pesto onto the pita bread, add it onto the squash slices in clumps. Adding the pesto visibly on top of the squash slices (as opposed to burying the pesto underneath of the other toppings) adds an appealing dimension of color to the pita pie. I usually freeze leftover pesto, so when I want to make these pita wedges, I just break the frozen pesto apart into rough chunks and scatter the pieces over the pita bread. When the pita wedges are finished cooking, I spread the warmed pesto over the surface of the pie and the exposed slices of squash.
Next, firmly clutch a spoon in between your fingers and shovel out moist clumps of goat cheese from the package onto the pita bread. Twist your wrist as you spoon out the cheese from the plastic package. "Twisting" your wrist helps to separate the goat cheese into relatively uniform morsels and prevents the chevre from sticking to the spoon.
When the toppings are evenly distributed, put the pita pies on the top rack in the oven, and let the pies heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure that the bottom of the pita bread does not burn. When you remove the pita pie from the oven, test the pita bread quickly with your finger to make sure it is crispy, otherwise, you might have to put it in the oven for a few more minutes. You can also leave the pita pie in the oven longer so that the squash and onions obtain a nice "roasted" look during the cooking process.
If you have leftover slices of squash, you can store them in a Ziploc bag for use later or cut them into triangles and serve them with 1) marinated artichokes or 2) spongy mozzarella balls that have been marinated in extra virgin olive oil and an aromatic blend of Italian spices. These tiny squash snacks perfectly compliment the roasted pita wedges.
I hope these pita snacks give you a burst of energy to cheer for your favorite team! Go fill-in-the-blank-team!