Wednesday, January 10

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! and the SATs

Ok I'm back. Sorry for the delay in getting more of these recipes up online. I've been studying for the SATs.

SATs!?!?! you exclaim, upon reading this. You're no high school Junior! What are you doing?!?!

Well, let me tell you. I just got a job tutoring for the SATs. I did this back when I was in college but it didn't pay well enough to balance out the cost of gas to get to students' houses. Now, however, the folks I used to work for have formed a new company that only hires experienced SAT tutors and pays them about 3xs the going rate. So it's a no-brainer. I'm in.

I spent the weekend in training and was supposed to go in and do a pretend lesson with my trainer to determine my pay rate, but he's sick and so here I am, posting recipes.

I last posted about the Enchiladas I made on Christmas Night, so that brings us to the day after Christmas. Another full day of entertaining, Christmas Post was a day filled with lunch with Kristie and her new husband and stepdaughter, and then dinner with the Reynolds (my mom's side of the family). So we'll do lunch today. I figured that as there was a seven-year-old coming, the safest and most fun thing would be pizza. So pizza it was.

First of all, if you remember from before, I posted a recipe for Grape and Gorgonzola Pizza that I adapted from Gourmet magazine. I'm a huge, huge fan of this recipe, though it's not really the kind of thing you want to eat more than one or two slices. I thought a plain cheese would be safe, as would a veggie pizza. Because there were 10 of us I made an additional pesto pizza.

Here's the breakdown:

For the Dough (I quadrupled this recipe)
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour mixed with 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cups warm water (105-115F)
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Pizza stone and parchment paper are ideal!

Make Dough: Stir together yeast, 1 Tbsp flour and 1/4 cup warm water and let stand until mixture appears creamy on surface, 5 min. (If mixture isn't creamy get new yeast)
Whisk salt into 1 1/4 cups flour in a large bowl, then add yeast mixture, oil and remaining 1/2 cup warm water. Stir in enough flour (1/4 to 1/2 cup) for dough to begin to peel away from side of bowl. (this dough may be stickier than others you're used to)

The dough also rises

Knead dough on a floured work surface with floured hands, adding flour as necceassary but as little as possible, until dough is smooth, about 8 - 10 minutes. Form dough into a tight ball and dust with flour. GENEROUSLY dust the inside of a bowl with flour, place dough in bowl, cover with a damp towell and let rise in a draft free place until doubled in bulk about 1 1/2 hours.

Shape Dough and Make Topping: At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500F. Don't punch down dough. You want to work it as little as possible at this point. Gently stretch it out into a circular shape and place on a parchment lined pizza peel. Cut the parchment so that there is about an inch extra around the dough. Now top!

For the Toppings

Pizza Sauce
I made this myself from scratch by using my basic tomato sauce recipe leftovers from the lasagna. I'll post that recipe tomorrow along with the lasagna recipe. For now, suffice it to say that I processed the sauce until it was smooth.

Cheese Pizza
I used Fontina, Mozarrella and some Parmesan on this pizza, along with the sauce.

Veggie Pizza
This had a similar blend of cheeses over sauce, but then I also added sliced mini bell peppers, purple onions, marinated artichoke hearts, thinly sliced tomatoes, and some goat cheese.

Pesto Pizza
I'm embarrassed to say that I used pre-made pesto sauce from a plastic container from Jimbos. I just didn't have time to make mine from scratch. Over the pesto I used whatever cheese I had leftover and that pizza was finished.

The key was really the order in which these were served as I could only cook one at a time. Cheese came out first, in case any young ones were starving, then the veggie, grape and gorgonzola and finally the pesto. The pesto was really my extra one, but even that got almost completely consumed. What was leftover became appetizers for dinner.

It was the kind of cooking day that had the first group of people leave at the exact same time the next group arrived. Intense. No one ever said Christmas was meant to be restful. If it was, we'd all go to spas.

Tomorrow....more recipes.

No comments: