You're going to have a hard time forgetting this pizza. You can try to resist, but it's going to be tough. I'm just warning you. The good news? It's a whole wheat pizza crust. The other good news? After a bit of prep, you can have this pizza ready on a weeknight in 10 minutes.
I've been on the lookout for a thin, crispy, and tasty pizza crust recipe for a few years. I've tried a handful and I've never achieved the texture I desperately wanted. And then? I found the recipe that worked. So forget the box mixes and dough from the deli. Make some of this and don't look back. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!
from Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone, Deborah Madison
This dough makes enough for eight 6-inch pizzas, four 10-inch pizzas, or two 12-inch to 14-inch pizzas
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Cornmeal, for sprinkling on the parchment
1. Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a mixing bowl, stir in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining water, olive oil, and salt, then beat in the whole wheat flour followed by the white flour to form a shaggy dough. Turn it out onto the counter and knead until smooth, adding more flour as needed to keep it from sticking. For a crisp, light crust, pizza dough should be on the moist side, which means it will be slightly tacky.
2. Put the dough in the oiled bowl, turn it once to coat, then cover with a towel and set aside to rise until doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes. Turn the dough onto the counter and divide into the number of pizzas you want. Shape each piece into a ball, set on a lightly floured counter, cover with a towel and let rise for another 20 to 30 minutes.
[After the second rise, if you plan to save some of the dough, wrap the dough you're not going to cook immediately tightly in plastic wrap, then foil, and stick it in your freezer.]
3. With the remaining dough, take one ball one at a time, flatten it into a disk, pushing it outward with your palm and a rolling pin. Roll it out until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on a piece of parchment paper. Place your dough on the parchment, cover with a towel, and let it sit for 10 minutes before adding toppings.
I think pizza margherita is a good place to start. Simple, classic, the best.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in sauce (I buy Muir Glen)
Salt and pepper
Warm the oil over medium heat in a wide skillet with the garlic and a little black pepper. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt and raise the heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the juices are evaporated and the sauce that remains is thick enough to mound on a spoon with no surrounding watery liquid, 15-20 minutes. Taste and correct the seasonings.
For pizza margherita, top the dough with some sauce, 4 ounces sliced fresh mozzarella, and a drizzle of olive oil. When it comes out of the oven, top with a bit of torn fresh basil.
Baking the Pizza
With a Stone (this is the route we go)
Place your stone in the oven before preheating. Preheat at 500 degrees for 30 minutes before baking the pizza. Keep the pizza on the parchment and place it on the stone. Bake for 7-9 minutes until the crust is lightly browned.
With a Cookie Sheet
Preheat at 500 degrees for 30 minutes before baking the pizza. Turn the cookie sheet upside down. Keep the pizza on the parchment and place it on the upside down pan. Bake for 7-9 minutes until the crust is lightly browned.
My recommendation? Pick a Sunday. Go buy your ingredients and spend some time prepping your dough and sauce. I recommend doubling the dough and sauce recipes. Set aside enough dough and sauce for one pizza and freeze the extras. The dough and sauce freeze beautifully. To thaw your dough and sauce, stick what you want in the fridge the night before you cook. The next night the dough will just need rolled out, topped, and put in the oven.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Fitting that this week I pass on a new playlist. So many great albums were released this week. And seeing as we're heading shortly to the Animal Collective show, I thought today was the appropriate day to post a new playlist. This one includes some new songs that came out this week. You'll also find some good early Motown. We are currently focused on expanding our early Motown vinyl collection in our house, hence the emphasis in the playlist on some genuine soul. In my opinon, turning on Solomon Burke's tune as loud as possible is one of the best ways to fight the January chill. The song by The National will forever remind me of our night in Grant Park. With Obama's inauguration this week, I couldn't help but include it.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I read recently, “It’s never the changes we want that change everything.” I have really identified with this in the last few weeks. Change. It is both inevitable and the one thing we fight hardest against. We want so much to fix things, to put them in their place, to stop them from changing. And at times, we manage to do this. Everything is in its rightful place for a moment. We feel in control of our lives. Things are organized, arranged, a plan is in place, and we can sit back in relief.
And then a wave of changes comes once again. Maybe your body changes. Maybe there is a momentum shift in the office. A friend acts differently. Your house that was once clean is cluttered again. We manage to keep control for a moment and then control passes. In each moment we are changing, born again in a new idea. Our needs, desires, relationships, and bodies are in a constant state of flux.
. . .
Last Saturday I traveled back to Wisconsin to spend some time with my Grandma. It was a visit I’d been feeling the pull to make for a few months now. Her health has been declining for some time and in the depths of my heart I knew I needed to see her soon. We left Chicago and drove through snowy stretches of highway. With two hours to go, the great gray curtains of the sky pulled back to display a beautiful sunshine, a bright blue cloudless sky. We soaked in the warmth of the sun and I anticipated our visit.
I’d prepared myself to see a very changed woman as we walked into the living room. I turned the corner and there she was sitting in her chair, my Grandma, changed but not unrecognizable. She smiled when we walked in. I kissed her cheek and took a seat. We talked at length about the past few months in Chicago. We talked about how school has been going for Charlie, my work, our life in a new city. Just seeing her for those first few minutes eased a lot of things in me. I’ve been worrying about her for a while now. When the phone rings I worry that it will be the news I fear. But in those first moments, just seeing her as I remembered, chatting with her like the old days, helped me relax and enjoy our time together.
Before we left town on Sunday, she presented me with a necklace she purchased forty years ago. She held it out for me and it is a new treasure. Knowing she selected it just for me makes it so special.
I do not know what it will feel like not to have her in my life. It’s been too hard for me to think about. I know it is not worth the anguish and heartbreak to think such thoughts. I’ve found comfort in the many moments we’ve shared together: baking in her kitchen, going to breakfast at her favorite restaurant, playing catch in the yard in our younger days, sitting around the table listening to her stories about growing up on the farm, seeing her turn from the stove to kiss my Grandpa, the quiet drive back from the cemetery after we’d nailed a wind chime into the frozen December earth two weeks after his death, to see her relax in her chair after a lazy Sunday dinner –her cheeks rosy and head thrown back in laughter, walking her dog Jill (the dog everyone hated except for the two of us) down country roads, her impeccable style (always, always, always). I keep these memories close and pull them out when I feel sadness sinking in. I know things will change and I will not be able to do anything about it. I’ve tried to accept this, that everything that comes into being must change form or pass away. Each of us will. Our lives are precious gifts because of this very thing. Our time is fleeting. We have to accept this and live each day as brightly as possible to give the others around us memories to keep close.
And just for once I wish I could stop this. Hold time still for a little while. Place her sickness and pain in a box and ship it far, far, away.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I've been counting the days (hours? minutes?) until the release of Andrew Bird's new album, "Noble Beast." January 20th is the official release date but if you're dying to hear the new album as well, NPR is streaming it here.
Most are familiar with the Andrew Bird obsession in our house. It goes well with just about any household activity: cooking, reading, hand holding. When I put together this blog, "The Naming of Things" played on the stereo, hence the title above. I hope you'll be lucky enough to see him live. It is an experience not to be missed.
Andrew Bird links to peruse--
- Live performance of "Nervous Tic Motion of The Head To The Left"
- Andrew Bird writes about song writing on the New York Times
- Andrew Bird featuring Dianogah - "Lull"
Sunday, January 4, 2009
We are home after a trip back to Missouri and Kansas to celebrate the holidays with our families. We had a wonderful trip home. We filled our days with long walks, playing fetch with the dogs, cooking, eating, relaxing, playing wii, gift exchanging, guitar playing, birthday celebrating, burger eating (at Booches and Brahm's, respectively), piano playing, coffee drinking, entertaining our nephew and niece, and enjoying long stretches of highway through the Midwest. Hope your holidays were just as lovely.