Ever since reading Animal Vegetable Miracle, by Barbara Kinsolver, I’ve been dreaming of a self-sufficient lifestyle where we grow our own food, and or buy only local, organic products. We’re not there yet, and may never be. While healthier products are better for us, and buying local helps the local economy, we’re still in that place of needing to pay only what we can afford.
A few of the recipes I’ve used from this book/website all revolve around the Friday Night Pizza. At our house, we had a long tradition of Friday nights being reserved for pizza and a movie. The pizza came from Papa Murphy’s. Now our Friday night pizza is only homemade, and lately, it’s been so good, it’s also Saturday lunch or dinner, and sometimes Sunday. We love our pizza!
Instead of copying each recipe, I’ll direct you to the website; animalvegetablemiracle.com
Family Secret Tomato Sauce
30-Minute Mozzarella (more about this in the next installment!)
Friday Night Pizza
I made up a batch of the Secret Tomato Sauce to use as pizza sauce and/or spaghetti sauce. I may not have been patient enough to cook it long enough to thicken up, and ended up adding a big can of prepared tomato paste. It freezes well and is pretty tasty, but it’s a little sweeter and fruitier than I would like (I think the lemon zest is something I would omit), but I have a lot of it in the freezer, so I’ll add some salt and use it up.
The crust listed in Kingsolver’s book has a good flavor and consistency. If you want a whole-wheat crust, this is a great recipe to use. I’m sorry, but unless you want to see through the crust – I wouldn’t split this recipe into two. I use it all for one. I used this recipe for quite awhile, but that’s an area where we’ve continued to evolve to our new favorites.
Our next favorite crust came from the Food Network website, Grill it with Bobby Flay program. If you want to read it exactly as they printed it do a quick search for Bobby Flay’s grilled pizza. (I have edited the directions, because once again – I don’t know how he made 4 pizzas from this recipe!)
Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay
* 2/3 cup lukewarm water
* 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 3/4 to 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
* 1/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
* 2 teaspoons coarse salt
In a large bowl stir together 1/3 cup water, yeast, and sugar and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 3/4 cups flour, cornmeal, and salt and blend until the mixture forms a dough. Knead dough on a floured surface, incorporating as much of remaining 1/4 cup flour, as necessary, to prevent dough from sticking, until smooth about 5 to 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.
Lightly oil the sides and bottom of a large bowl with oil, add the dough, turn to coat in the oil, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Gently punch the dough down and form it into a ball, and roll it out to a circle (to fit your pizza pan!) I always roll the dough out on cornmeal because we like the extra grit.
I really like how firm this dough is to work with. I can roll it out, fold it in quarters and carry it to the pizza stone. This dough is tasty, and really easy to handle.
Now – for our new favorite dough – I will refer you to a cook book about Artisan Bread. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. You really need to read about how and why it works (I’m not trying to be difficult, here, but it’s the first cook book I’ve ever actually read – not just recipes – but the theory behind the dough.) The pizza dough we use is The Master Recipe: Boule dough. I cannot say enough about how fabulous the texture is. It’s much softer and, therefore, more difficult to work with, but the cooked texture is chewy and crispy and just so perfect! AND it’s a dough that stays in the fridge for up to two weeks so you can pull out what you need per use. This book is worth having!
So – now that you have the scoop on dough – you know what to do next - top it with whatever you love, and change it up depending upon what’s available. Right now, I'm enjoying the fresh basil and tomatoes. Since we’ve been eating pizza more often, I’ve been using Italian Turkey Sausage so we don’t die of pepperoni-clogged arteries.
With homemade crust, sauce, and yes – even CHEESE – homemade pizza is simple. Store bought pizza just holds no appeal. In the winter we bake our pizza inside, and during the summer months, we bake it on our gas grill. Set all burners on low and preheat your pizza stone with the grill. (We bought our baking stone at Bi-Mart for about $11.00)
|With the softer dough, it's easiest to shape it on a pizza peel|
dusted in cornmeal or flour. Be generous with the dusting!
|Add your favorite toppings, and gently transfer the pizza|
to your pre-heated pizza stone (also dusted in cornmeal)
|Bake until the bottom is as dark as you like. Use a pizza|
peel to remove the baked pizza from the stone. Turn off
grill and let it, and your stone cool off while you eat!