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Pizza

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    Menu Description: "With pieces of chicken marinated in a spicy peanut-ginger and sesame sauce, green onions, bean sprouts, julienne carrots, cilantro and roasted peanuts."

    After the first California Pizza Kitchen opened in Beverly Hills in 1985 success came quickly: there are currently 78 restaurants in 18 states. In 1992, huge food conglomerate PepsiCo paid over $70 million for a 70 percent share of the company-just eight years after Larry and Rick started the company. As for those two, well, they pocketed $18 million apiece, or around 70 times their initial investment in 1985. 

    Thai Chicken Pizza is one of the oldest varieties of pizza still on the menu, and remains a favorite. If you prefer, you can make this pizza with a store-bought package dough or dough mix, but I recommend making the crust yourself. If you decide to do that, make it one day ahead of time so that it can rise slowly in the refrigerator.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "With grilled chicken breast marinated in lime and herbs, Southwestern black beans, fire-roasted mild chilis, sweet white onions and Cheddar cheese. Served with green tomatillo salsa and sour cream."

    Menu Description: "With grilled chicken breast marinated in lime and herbs, Southwestern black beans, fire-roasted mild chilis, sweet white onions and Cheddar cheese. Served with green tomatillo salsa and sour cream."

    California Pizza Kitchen uses imported Italian wood-fired ovens to bake the specialty pizzas. These ovens reach temperatures over 800 degrees F, allowing the pizzas to cook in just three minutes. This technique keeps ingredients from drying out so that the pizzas don't require as much cheese as in traditional recipes. 

    Unfortunately, most of us don't have wood-burning pizza ovens in our kitchens so I have designed these recipes to work in a conventional oven with a minimum of cheese. If you have a pizza stone, use it. If you have a hard time finding tomatillos (they look like small green tomatoes with a thin papery skin and are found in the produce section) you can use canned green salsa. 

    You have the option of using a store-bought crust or instant pizza dough, but I can't say enough about making the dough yourself from the recipe here. You just have to plan ahead, making the dough one day before you plan to bake the pizza. This way the dough will get to rest and will rise slowly in the refrigerator—a great technique the pros use.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.80. Votes: 5

    This CPK creation is a top pick at the 209-unit chain, most likely because chefs slather on a delicious sweet-and-spicy Caribbean sauce where tomato sauce usually sits on traditional Italian-style pies. Making the sauce from scratch is the way to go for true clone rangers, but if you'd like a shortcut, find Tiger Sauce in your local market where the bottled hot sauces are sold, and use that. If you want another shortcut, rather than mixing your own jerk seasoning from scratch, use any jerk blend or seasoning. I do recommend making the pizza dough from scratch, rather than buying prepared dough, however. You'll need to plan ahead on this part of the recipe so that the dough has a chance to slowly rise in your fridge overnight. This is the technique the pros use to recreate professional-style, chewy pizza dough. To bake the pizzas—this recipes makes two—I suggest cooking them on a preheated pizza stone in your oven. This is the best way to reproduce the taste and texture of the great pizzas at CPK.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.83. Votes: 6

    Menu Description: "Applewood smoked bacon, grilled chicken and Mozzarella cheese, hearth baked, then topped with Roma tomatoes, chilled chopped lettuce tossed in mayonnaise and fresh sliced avocados."

    There's no better way to clone the great pizzas from this creative chain than to start with dough made from scratch. Since the best way to recreate commercial-style pizza dough at home is to use the same slow-rising technique the pros use, you're going to have to plan ahead at least 24 hours. This is the length of time it will take for the gluten in the flour to work its magic while resting comfortably in your refrigerator. And, if you've got the patience, 48 hours is even better. Once the dough is ready to go, you should bake your pizzas—this recipe makes two—on a pre-heated pizza stone in your oven. If you don't already have one, you can find one of the round or rectangular stones in just about any housewares store. This cooking method is the absolute best way to produce an evenly baked finished product with a texture and taste that mirrors the amazing pies CPK whips out of rocket-hot brick pizza ovens.

    Source Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The culinary development team at Domino's spent 2 years of trial-and-error testing to create a new version of the chain's original signature crust. The end result was a more flavorful crust with a top secret garlic spread brushed on after the pizza baked. While hacking Domino's new pizza for my TV show I discovered several secrets for making a great home clone of the famous pizza including a cold rise for the dough and a special blend of canned tomatoes for the sauce.

    Now I've taken my recipe from the Top Secret Recipe show and tweaked it for Dr. Oz so that the finished pizza is a lower-calorie, lower-fat version the world famous Domino's cheese pie. You'll want to plan ahead for this recipe since the best way to make commercial-quality dough is to let it rise very slowly in the refrigerator—2 days seems to work great. If you don't have that much time, at least let the dough rise overnight. And if you wan't the bottom of the crust to look just like the chain's version, find a 14-inch perforated or mesh pizza pan online or at a restaurant supply store. These pans make a huge difference in the finished product, although a standard pizza pan will also produce fine pizza. And if you have a choice, the finely shredded (fancy) mozzarella cheese works best here.

    Original (slice)       Todd's (slice)
    305 calories          185 calories
    13g fat                   3g fat

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    When PepsiCo shelled out $100 million for a 67 percent share of the trendy pizza chain back in 1992, founders Lawrence Flax and Richard Rosenfield thought they had it made. Unfortunately, the company behind Pizza Hut found expanding the more upscale eatery an unfamiliar struggle. The company expanded too quickly, and as costs began to dwarf sales figures, fresh ingredients were replace with cheaper frozen products. Customers noticed and sales took a nosedive. By 1996, PepsiCo decided to bail out.

    The following year, PepsiCo's share of the chain was picked up by New York investment firm Rosser, Sherrill and Co. Fresh ingredients returned to the kitchens, and the size of the pizzas was increased without adjusting the price. Sales once again blossomed, and the chain was on its way back to turning its first profit since 1991.

    Here's a great pizza to clone if you need to take a little time off from delicious-yet-fat-filled mozzarella cheese. With the marinated, grilled eggplant and tasty honey-wheat dough, you won't even miss that gooey white stuff. Be sure to start this one a day before you plan to eat it. The dough needs that long to rise in the fridge for just the right California Pizza Kitchen-like taste.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3 slices
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–380
    Fat per serving–8g

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Who needs meat when you can make a pizza taste like this without it? It's grilled veggies and mozzarella cheese stacked on a great clone for the chain's tasty honey-wheat dough. With regular mozzarella cheese, the total fat for three slices comes in at around nineteen grams, which is still much less than you'd get from, say, the pepperoni-topped variety tipping the scales at about fifteen grams per slice. Just remember to prepare your dough a day before you plan to make the pizza. This way you'll get the best consistency in the final product. And one heck of a better clone.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3 slices
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–632
    Fat per serving–19g

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Introduced in our first restaurant in 1985. With barbecued chicken, sliced red onion, cilantro, and smoked Gouda cheese."

    In 1985, attorneys Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield traded in their private practice, which included defending mob bosses and union officials, for a specialty pizza chain. These two "amateur chefs" say they were influenced by Wolfgang Puck, whose Spago restaurant in Los Angeles was the first to create pizza with unusual toppings. Now they have developed a niche somewhere between gourmet food and traditional Italian-style pizzas, creating what one magazine described as "designer pizza at off-the-rack prices." In addition to the pastas, soups, and salads, California Pizza Kitchen offers dozens of unique pizza creations that reflect the current trends in dining. When Cajun food was in style, the Cajun chicken pizza was a top seller; today that item has been replaced with Southwestern and Thai pizza varieties. As the menu explains, the Barbecued Chicken Pizza was one of the first pizzas served at California Pizza Kitchen. Decades later it remains one of the top-selling pizza creations.

    You can use this CPK BBQ chicken pizza recipe to make your pizza with pre-made or packaged dough, but I highly recomment taking the time to make the dough yourself. You'll find that it's well worth the little bit of extra work.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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