Saturday, April 19, 2014

Homemade Pizzas - with green and red sauce

I recently posted some pizza pics to Facebook, and then received a few requests to post the recipe that I had used. In order to make these people happy, I suffered through a second batch of pizzas later in the week in order to produce this post.

The Week of the Pizza was inspired by a recent video post in the New York Times featuring Roberta's restaurant in Brooklyn. You can find the original recipe here. It does produce a nice pliable dough that bakes up nicely. But, baker's warning: this is not foolproof, like a cookie dough or some other baked goods. You do need some experience with making bread in order to know when to veer off recipe and trust your instincts. For example, the first time I made these pizzas, the windows were thrown open and a rainstorm was approaching. My dough was excessively wet, and I needed to manually add flour to get the consistency I wanted. Later that same week, a cold front had moved through, and I was making the pizzas with all the windows closed; the dough came out quite good, if slightly dry. You want to aim for dough that, after kneading, sticks together while not sticking to your fingers.

It's not rocket science, but you don't want to trust that the recipe works as-is just because you weigh everything out.

(Also, you don't have to weigh everything out -- though I usually do. The NYT recipe provides cup measurements, as well as weights. 

The one "special" thing I would ask you to do is to use the particular flour mix called for. You can use all-purpose flour for the entire mix, but you'll get a lighter crust if you use the 00 flour. If you can't find it at your grocery store, you can order it online (i.e. from Amazon).

Roberta's Pizza Dough
Makes 2 medium pizzas

153 grams 00 flour (1 c + 1 T)
153 grams all-purpose flour (1 c + 1 T + 2 tsp)
8 grams fine sea salt (1 tsp)
2 grams active-dry yeast (3/4 tsp)
4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 tsp)

In a large bowl, combine flours and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine water, yeast, and olive oil. Add 200 grams (about 1 c) lukewarm tap water. Stir to dissolve.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and knead until well combined (about 3 minutes). Let mixture rest 15 minutes.

Knead the rested dough for 3 minutes. Then, cut into 2 equal portions and shape into a ball. Place a heavily floured surface (I tend to use way too much flour, as seen in the below picture) and cover with a damp cloth. Let rest and rise for 3-4 hours at room temperature.

The finished dough:

If you look closely at the above, you can see areas of slightly darker "skin" on the dough. This is because I did not use a slightly-damp towel; I used a dry one, which allowed too much air to get in. Not a deal breaker.

To make the pizza, dust your hands with flour and begin with one of the balls of dough. Press your fingers lightly around the perimeter of the dough, outlining your crust. Then, pick up the dough and toss it gently from hand to hand, letting the dough drape over your hand each time. At first, you won't feel like you are making any progress, but after 45 seconds or so, the dough will start to give in to gravity and will begin to stretch.

There is no need to aim for a perfectly round pizza. Just keep flipping and flopping the dough back and forth until you a medium-sized pizza, or, until you start to fear that the dough will start to tear in parts.

Place the dough on a pizza peel (or cookie sheet) that has been dusted with corn meal. (Again, I tend to use a lot of this -- largely because I don't trust my ability to slide dough off the peel and onto a baking stone.)

Top the pizza with whatever toppings you are using, insert into a 500-550 oven (or, basically, as hot an oven as your oven will give you) for about 11 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

Here is the pizza with a red sauce:

And here is the pizza with a pesto sauce:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Swiss Chard and Mushroom Squares

I love, love, love this dish! It's great for guests, too. I assemble part way the night before, and finish the casserole off in the morning. Here is the casserole, served with breakfast potatoes and a side salad.

Swiss Chard and Mushroom Squares
inspired by Regina Schrambling's blog, The Wednesday Chef

1 bunch Swiss chard
pinch salt
pinch red pepper flakes
1 small onion, minced
1/2 lb mushrooms (Baby Bella or Crimini), diced
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1/2 c Monterey Jack-Colby cheese, grated
1/4 c panko
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp Spike seasoning (opt)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cut away center ribs from chard. Cut chard into thin ribbons, then chop coarsely. Wash chard in salad spinner or colander. Bring small saucepan of water to a boil, add chard, salt, and red pepper flakes. Boil about 10 minutes, until chard is softened and cooked through. Let drain while you prep other ingredients.

Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan. Saute onions over medium heat about 3 minutes add garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Add mushrooms and soy sauce and saute 5-7 minutes, or until mushrooms are softened and liquid is evaporated.

Squeeze water from drained chard and place into large plastic bowl. Add mushroom mixture, grated cheese, Panko crumbs, beaten eggs, and Spike Seasoning and mix together. Spray 9 X 9 inch glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray. Pour in egg mixture.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until firmly set but not hard, and slightly browned. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares. Serve hot or at room temperature. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gingered Pinto Bean Salad

This is a surprising twist in a bean salad. Full of flavor and perfect for a summer side dish!

Gingered Pinto Bean Salad
All-American Vegetarian

 2 c pinto beans, cooked
1/4 c scallion, minced
1/4 c sweet pickle relish
1 tsp brown mustard
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger, minced
3 T mayonnaise

Put beans in a bowl. Toss with onion, relish, mustard, jalapeno, salt, ginger, and mayo.
Serve by plating lettuce, and topping with bean salad. Top with chopped hard-boiled eggs, if you'd like.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Asparagus Omelette

Asparagus and eggs are a classic combination in the morning. And, this is also a good way to use up asparagus leftover from the night before.

I based this breakfast recipe off of a more complicated version found at Vegetarian Times

Asparagus Omelette

1 lb asparagus spears, trimmed and spears peeled
2 T unsalted butte
8 eggs
1 T red onion, minced

Melt butter in a saute pan. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat eggs with a few teaspoonfuls of water.

Saute onion and asparagus until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour eggs over top and cook gently until set, all the while using a spatula to lift the edges of the omelette and let wet eggs slip underneath to cook.

When all wet egg has been moved under the omelette, gently flip the omelette and quickly cook the other side.

Serve folded in half (as a classic omelette), or, open-faced (like a frittata).