May 2, 2012

Pizza nights

Now for some recipes.

Frequently, but by no means always, do we have pizza for supper Friday night. Mostly at Mom and Dad's. I really like making pizza. I have an old menu from a pizza place we loved in Anchorage, Mooses Tooth, and I frequently try to recreate certain pizzas. So far I have never been spot on. This doesn't deter me though. It just spurs me on to try a different pizza or to fiddle with the ingredients a bit more. Mostly why it isn't spot on is because I don't have Moose's Tooths recipes and pizza oven. And it has been almost 5 years since I ate at Mooses Tooth, which makes comparison cooking a wee difficult. But we can't all have what we want in life. So lacking those fundamentals I have my own recipes. And they are pretty good if I do say so myself. No one is going to eat a slice and decide to fund me in opening a pizza place. But the pizza is thoroughly enjoyed, which is the whole point of pizza anyway.

I will apologize in advance for the complete lack of useful pictures for these recipes. Just imagine really good looking pizza, etc and that is exactly what it looks like. Of course!

The dough recipe I got from Pam Anderson's Perfect Recipes for Having People Over. (Side note, that is a pretty nice cookbook. I contemplate buying it instead of just taking it out of the library. That is how good it is.) It is basic and good. 

Pizza Dough

1 pkg yeast (2 3/4 tsp)
Warm water
1/4 c Olive Oil
4 c bread flour (I generally use all purpose, but bread flour crust is crisper)
2 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 c warm water and let stand until yeast foams. Add 1 1/4c warm water and olive oil. Whisk to mix. Add in bread flour and salt and stir to combine. Turn out and knead a few seconds to form smooth ball. Cover and let rise until doubled 1.5-2 hours. Makes about 2 16 inch pizza crusts or 4 10-12 inch crusts. 
This recipe actually calls for putting the flour and salt in a food processor, pulsing to mix and then adding the year mixture. However, I generally double or triple the recipe and my food processor can't handle 12 cups of flour. So I just mix by hand. 

Easy peasy. I generally pre-bake the crusts, just so supper comes together more quickly. Typically about 15-20 minutes at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet. This means I can throw on all the toppings and broil for a few minutes to get everything melty and browned. And have 4 pizzas on the table in a somewhat similar state of warmth. Personal preference. 

Another awesome crust recipe is from Smitten Kitchen This crust calls for white wine, I just buy the cooking wine at Wal-mart, but Pam Anderson's crust requires nothing out of the ordinary, so I generally end up making it, since I always have everything on hand. And the white wine makes it pricier. 

Pizza Sauce
I just discovered this in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook that I just got out of the library (I know, cookbook authors must hate me, getting everything from the library...). It was super yummy and as soon as I tasted it, I decided this was my go to sauce. Partially because it is so good, but mostly because I can use those bags of frozen tomatoes from last summer's garden that I freeze in good faith and then have no earthly idea how to use. 

1/4 c olive oil
2 cans (28 oz each) whole peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper

Obviously, I just substitute 56 ozs of my frozen tomatoes for the whole peeled tomatoes. 

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Using your hands, crush tomatoes into a bowl. Add to skillet along with oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon until sauce has thickened 40-50 minutes. If you are picky, Martha suggests you pass it through a food mill to get any remaining solids out. I am not picky.

With the frozen tomatoes, I just put them in a pot, cooked them on low until they began to release water and drained it off a couple times. When they were fully thawed and less watery, I added the oil, oregano and salt and pepper. And then mashed up the tomatoes with a spoon and simmered until thickened. 
Absolutely delicious! 

While we are on the topic, I would like to state how irritated I am at who ever had Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook out before me. Apparently they had never heard of a copier and just ripped out pages willy-nilly whenever a recipe appealed to them. There are some downsides to getting your cookbooks from the library. 

And salad is such a no-brainer when you have pizza. Particularly Caesar Salad. I am not sure if I have put this recipe up on here before. If I have, it is worth repeating. 

Caesar Salad (Cooks Country 2007) 

1/4 c olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
4 c baguette or Italian Bread cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Drizzle garlic olive oil over bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until browned.  (I was just complaining to Clover how the croutons I made this weekend weren't very garlicky. And as I was copying this recipe, I realized it was because I was using eight cups of bread cubes with the same amount of olive oil and garlic. Ha. I guess I should always read recipes, no matter HOW many times I have made them!)

1 garlic clove minced
1/2 c mayonaisse
1/4 grated parmesean
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1 Tblsp EACH: fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard

Mix them up. I just plop it all in the food processor and whizzle it a bit. I have made it without anchovies, in a pinch and it is still pretty good. So you can leave them out if you have moral objections to anchovies.

3 Romaine hearts, chopped-12 cups
1 c shredded parmesean cheese

Drizzle dressing over greens. Toss with parmesean and croutons.

And for dessert--I generally do Brownies. This recipe is from a magazine or newspaper in the '80s. It had a Hershey's cocoa box on it, so I assume it was from Hershey. When I was 8, I made these--the first recipe I successfully made. I don't think we should count the cookies I made with my grandmother that included a 1/4 cup of salt. They weren't successful. I used to make these frequently on Sunday afternoons when Mom and Dad were taking a nap. Yeah, I felt grown up, baking away by myself.

3/4 cup (12 Tbsp) butter melted
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix butter and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Whisk dry ingredients together and gradually add to wet mixture. Mix well, but don't beat. Spread in 8 inch pan, 30-35 minutes.

I double it for a 9x13 pan. Which takes longer to bake, since 9x13 is not actually double the volume pan size.

These are really good brownies. They generally bake up somewhat cakey and crunchy on the edge and solidly gooey-ish in the very middle. Makes everyone happy. And yes, I did steal a little nibble from the top. I hate serving something that I have not made sure it tastes good. In my defense, I was testing them for doneness and that little bit came up with the toothpick. So what was I supposed to do? Not eat it? Hardly. 


Sheena said...

Moose's Tooth is great! What is your crust recipe like? Heavy & fluffy or thinner or crunchy?

laura said...

Yum! I'll be there on Friday! ;-)

Verity Earl said...

Well I feel like, super special that I've had Moose's Tooth pizza only 2 years ago! It was pretty good then, but I do love a homemade pizza. Generally, I just buy the fresh dough at Trader Joe's and freeze it for future use. Someday I will have to try making my own with your help!

Cecil and Amy said...

I don't have a moral objection to anchovies, Smarty Arty, I just don't like them!!!!!

Evan and Clover and Co. said...

I am so stinkin' hungry now. And I will certainly vouchsafe for the caesar salad. As in, I could eat it every day for ten months, with or without the croutons. And have you tried Noble Pig's pizza sauce yet? Super yummy, too!

Rebekah said...

Been MIW with blog commenting, but I couldn't help but chime in and thank you for posting these recipes! Sounds fun. We love making homemade pizza too. Don't get me wrong, I love when DH calls and says he's bringing pizza home for Saturday lunch (as happened this weekend!!), but making our own is yummy too when time and energy allows!