Tuesday, May 6, 2014

In Honor of Cinco de Mayo

I made... pizza?

Makes absolutely no sense, I realize that.  What you don't realize is that I spent the better part of my day telling myself I needed a couple of soft shells from Taco House in order to properly celebrate.  Alas, the part of my brain that tells me not to spend money (we'll call it the Patrick side), won out.  I had to eat something I had on hand.  Even though the amount of money I spent on groceries that day could easily feed all the starving children in Africa I chose to make something with ingredients I've had sitting in my cupboard for months.

A couple of weeks ago I decided I needed to learn how to make my own homemade pizza crust.  In my head it's one of those things that's really tricky to do, like making pie crust or eating only one King Sized Take 5 bar instead of two.  Turns out it's really simple.  At least this recipe is (compliments of Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman).  The bonus is that (minus the yeast) I always have the ingredients on hand.  It's pretty much fool proof and comes out nice and crispy.

You do not need to pre-bake your crust and you can put on whatever toppings your heart desires.  I should mention though, the first time I made it I put on pepperoni, onion, green pepper and mushroom. The combination of those three veggies with the pizza sauce made for a runny/watery pizza.  The crust still held up and didn't get soggy but it was way more liquid than I'd like.

This time I went for something less traditional.  Rather than using a marinara sauce I chose to use jarred pesto (love this stuff).  And because baby was sleeping I had some time on my hands and sauteed/caramelized some onions.  Holy cow were they perfect.  To try and get a little more "healthy" in there I also topped it with fresh spinach.  I would have loved to do a few different kinds of cheese but I settled for some left over fresh mozzarella and bagged mozzarella.

One hour into the two hours it took to caramelize... kidding.  But it does take some time.  Low and slow my friends, low and slow.

Isn't she purrty?

Jarred pesto, caramelized onions and garlic.  I later added fresh spinach and mozz.

All of this build up and guess what? I'm not going to show you the end result... I burned the GD pizza.  It was looking so great, right on track to being perfect, just needed a few minutes longer.  That's when I heard a rumble coming from my child's general direction followed by a putrid smell.  In the time that it took me to change her pants and fumigate the living room I had taken the pizza too far.  You'll have to settle for this one, lonely picture of the end result.  This was one of the least burned pieces.  What I will say, is that it was still soooo good.  I can't imagine how good it would have been having not torched it.

Check out the recipe, add it to your collection.  Try it and tell me what you think (unless it's negative then I don't care what you have to say).  You'll be happy you did.  Happy belated Cinco de Mayo!

Pizza Dough
Makes enough dough for 1 pizza

1 scant teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Combine the yeast and warm water in a small bowl.  Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

2. Add the flour to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

3. Sprinkle in the salt.

4. Turn the mixer on low, then slowly pour in the olive oil.

5. Finally, pour in the yeast/water mixture.

6. Stop mixing when everything comes together.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rise 1 hour before using.  The dough can be stored in the fridge for several days before using.

When you're ready to bake, roll your dough (or spread with your fingers like I do) on a lightly oiled baking pan.  Add toppings and cook for 12-15 minutes at 500 degrees.

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