Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book 111: InterCourses: an aphrodisiac cookbook | Artichoke Pizza with Feta & Thyme

by Martha Hopkins & Randall Lockridge

When I first saw this book (back in 1997), it gave me a chuckle. I thought, really? I remember feeling a bit embarrassed to look at it in public, but the cover photo was intriguing, and lured me in.

I purchased this book more for the artwork, than the recipes (evidently); it's taken only 17 years to finally make something from this book!

You may be wondering, as I did, where the aphrodisiac comes into foreplay. Well, it's the artichoke, and this is what they have to say:

"Experience it for yourself: Together with your partner, insert your thumbs into the very center of a blanched artichoke, where the leaves meet. Slowly pull the petals apart and down. As the leaves fold down, they will reveal a variable painting of green, white, and purple. Don't stop there, but delve deeper toward the center. Continue spreading the petals until you spy a hint of yellow-white fur. Insert a finger into the opening. The fur, you will find, is protected by the prickly spears of the choke. But persevere, close your eyes, and stroke the voluptuous fur."

Yeah, getting pricked by the prickly spears would excite me - think not.

One more quote from the artichoke chapter:

"As the skewer penetrated the goodies , Laurel became more involved with cooking than ever before. She couldn't stand it as I slowly, ritually skewered the plump scallops next to the slippery-slick hearts of the artichoke. And then - when it was her turn to skewer - wowza!"

OK. Enough of that..

Why did I wait seventeen years?! This pizza was delicious! Reminiscent of the quick appetizer I used to make (thanks to my friend Christine), with the Boboli cheese pizza crust, that you slather with purchased artichoke jalapeno dip, baked in the oven till bubbly and browned, and went wonderfully with a glass of Champagne.

I really don't care for pizzas (or pasta, for that matter) that are slathered with an insane amount of tomato sauce. When we order pizza (which is not all that often), if I remember, I'll ask for them to go light on the sauce - or order one that uses a pesto, or garlic oil in place of the tomato sauce. 

For this pizza, the "sauce" is made up of garlic, mayo (I used non fat Fage Greek yogurt), crushed red pepper, and artichoke hearts (I used the marinated hearts). This is then topped with sautéed bell peppers & garlic; I had a handful of spinach in the fridge that I added as well. Then you top it with some Parmesan and feta cheese, and some dried thyme (I'm thinking, fresh thyme added to the bell pepper mixture would be good in place of the dried thyme). Then it goes into the oven for fifteen minutes.

Can you say, "super easy"! This makes for a quick weeknight meal; by itself, as we did, or with a side salad. The leftovers, if you have any, even tasted good the next day.

Ready for the oven! Isn't it beautiful?



Artichoke Pizza with Feta and Thyme
Serves 2 to 3

1 tsp. olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
½ small yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed (I minced)
¼ cup mayonnaise (I used non-fat Fage Greek yogurt)
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 (9 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained (I used 2 [6.5oz] jars marinated hearts)
1 (1 lb.) cheese-flavored pizza crust (I used Boboli brand)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. dried thyme

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the bell peppers. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add half the garlic. Sauté until tender; set aside. Combine the remaining garlic, mayonnaise, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and artichoke hearts in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Place the pizza crust on a baking sheet. Top with artichoke mixture, then the bell pepper mixture. Sprinkle with the cheeses and thyme.

Bake at 450°F for about 15 minutes.

InterCourses/Martha Hopkins/Randall Lockridge


  1. I remember that cookbook! Someone gave it away at our book club cookbook exchange about the same time you bought it. I really wanted it...the pictures ARE spectacular. Your pizza is, too!

  2. Cathleen, It sounds like the culinary version of 50 Shades of Grey…lol! Your pizza is fabulous…such great vibrant color! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

  3. Cathleen, what a fun post - I cannot say that I had ever heard of this intriguing cookbook before though, but it certainly sounds quite interesting! And I love the recipe that you chose to make from it - delicious, pretty and just plain wonderful - my kind of recipe!
    Have a great weekend!


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