Monday, February 22, 2010

A Weekend of Pizza.

Somehow my weekend featured more pizza than I'm sure if healthy for a person, but I have to admit it was a very comforting way to graze.  Friday was a busy day at work and the evening was packed with far too many errands.  By the time I even was able to think about dinner it was nearly 9:00 and I was in no mood to cook so I ordered out.  Apparently sometime in the last few months Dominos has changed it's recipes.  Whatever changes were made have resulted in a pizza far better than before.  I enjoyed a jalepeno-pineapple pizza alongside a 2007 Riesling from Washington Hills, a refreshingly decent pairing.  


Saturday evening I had been invited to a couple of parties, one being a crawfish boil (pizza-free, thankfully) and the other a wine and flatbread thing.  My friend Alex had been trying his hand at various pizza doughs and wanted to have people over to try his creations.  We had a selection of lovely flatbread/pizza-things including a basil, apple, fontina pizza and an arugula, chevre and panchetta pizza.  I enjoyed my bites with the a 2006 Bogle Petit Syrah and the 2008 Waterbrook Sauvignon Blanc.  


As Sunday rolled along I decided to have a small dinner party for some friends and in the process of figuring out what to prepare discovered that there was plenty of starter from a bread project that needed to be used, and so many random veggies, cheeses, sauces I had canned last summer, etc. that needed to be used up that flatbread became the easy choice!  We prepared a wide variety of pizzas last night including the following:


  • Crimini Mushroom, Fresh Mozzarella, Caramelized Onion and Date
  • Red Pepper, Sweet Onion, Sun Dried Tomato, Ham and Chevre
  • Beet, Chevre and Green Onion
  • Potato, Cotija, Mozza and Rosemary
I would strongly encourage you to make an evening of flatbreads soon.  It is easy, varied and enjoyable!  Below is a dough recipe for you, you can top it off with anything you desire.

Simple Pizza Dough:

Makes enough for one small, thin crust pizza. Double it if you like your pizza thick and bready.


1 1/2 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil


Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.


If you are finding this step difficult, one of the best tricks I picked up from my bread-making class is to simply pause. Leave the dough in a lightly-floured spot, put the empty bowl upside-down on top of it and come back in 2 to 5 minutes, at which point you will find the dough a lot more lovable.


Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (a spritz of cooking spray perfectly does the trick) where you had mixed it — one-bowl recipe! — dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size.


Dump it back on the floured counter, and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.


Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Roll out the pizza, toss on whatever topping and seasonings you like.


Bake it for about 10 minutes until it’s lightly blistered and impossible to resist.



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