The Crust
July 29, 2011, 1:54 am
Filed under: Breads, Food and Recipes | Tags: , , ,

Pizza is all about the crust, and this crust is top notch. It makes homemade pizza an awesome weeknight staple, can get the kids involved in helping with dinner by adding toppings, and makes enough to feed a large hungry family or enough for leftovers the next day.

My favorite breakfast?? Cold leftover pizza and coffee…

Jamie Oliver’s Pizza Dough
Recipe courtesy of The Wednesday Chef

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons table salt
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

1. Combine yeast, sugar, oil, and water in a bowl, stir, and let sit until it’s foamy. Mix together your flour and salt together in a large bowl, make a well in the middle, and pour in your liquid yeast mixture. Using a fork, stir your liquid mixture, bringing in small amounts of flour, until you have a shaggy kind of mess. Dump out onto a floured board and knead all together for about 5 minutes, until it comes together into a smooth dough.

2. Wash out your bowl you mixed the dough in, dry it, and drizzle in a little olive oil to coat the bowl. Place in the ball of dough, turning it over to coat it with oil as well, cover it with a towel, and stash it in a warm space in your kitchen. Let it rise an hour until doubled in size.

3. After the rising, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, slightly punching down the dough, or pushing some of the air out of it. Cut the dough into two equal portions. Each piece is enough to be stretched and pressed into a sheet pan that has been coated with nonstick spray. Will make 2 thin pizzas. If you prefer a thicker pizza dough, just use the whole ball of dough in one sheet pan instead of dividing it between two.

4. Cover with toppings of choice, crank your oven up to 500 degrees, and bake your pizza on the sheet pan until browned, bubbly, and delicious.


Double Duty
February 17, 2010, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Breads, Breakfast, Food and Recipes, Main Dishes | Tags: , , ,

I love items and ingrendients that can do double duty. I especially love when I can prep two meals at once; it makes life all the more enjoyable.

Last night, such an instance occurred without warning. I started off making calzones, and realized that I had enough fillings leftover for a next day frittata…and both were extremely delicious. I love both aspects of these meals: a homemade pizza (which I love) and next day an egg dish (which I love, too). Both meals also fit perfectly into my days off, a good family dinner and a nice breakfast the day after.

So, if you’re wanting to make two meals practically at once, here’s your menu. The first meal takes significantly more prep than the second. But, if you have a stand mixer, most of the hard labor will be covered by that. You’ll just have to set the timer.

Sausage and Pepper Calzones with Homemade Pizza Dough and New York Pizza Sauce
Courtesy Cooking Light, July 2009 issue

Start with your pizza dough since it takes the longest prep…

Homemade Pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup hot tap water
1 1/4 cups cold tap water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour, divided (do not substitute with all purpose, the texture of your final pizza crust will not be crisp and chewy due to lower concentration of glutens in all purpose flour)
cooking spray

1. Dissolve yeast in one cup warm water in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1 1/4 cups cold water, oil, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk.

2. Lightly spoon 5 1/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Reserve remaining 1/4 cup flour for later use. Combine flour, yeast misture, and cold water mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low 8 minutes, until dough begins to form. Allow to rest two minutes. Then, mix on low for 6 more minutes, until dough appears smooth.

3. Using reserved flour, one tablespoon at a time, turn dough onto flour surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. Use the flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and surface during kneading.

4. Divide the dough in half (this whole recipe makes two portions), and place each portion in a large ziplock bag coated with cooking spray on the inside. Seal and chill until ready for use, up to two days. You can also freeze this for later use, for up to two months, just be sure to thaw dough overnight in the refrigerator.

As dough is resting in the fridge, make up pizza sauce to allow flavors to meld before use…

New York Style Pizza Sauce
Slightly modified from Cooking Light version in July 2009 issue

1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp herbs de provence
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

Mix ingredients together in a bowl, whisk to combine, cover, and refrigerate.

When you’re ready to make your calzones, take your dough out of the fridge. Allow to come to room temp as you prep your fillings of the sausage, peppers, and onions. It needs to sit out at room temp for approximately an hour before baking…

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Calzones

1 portion of homemade pizza dough
1 portion of New York Style Pizza Sauce
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 small yellow onion, sliced into strips
1 lb of hot italian sausage links
1 1/3 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

1. Remove dough from fridge, allow to stand at room temp for one hour.

2. Take sausages and cook in a skillet over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until browned on all sides and cooked through. Remove sausages from pan, and using any fat rendered from sausages, saute peppers and onions until crisp-tender, for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of your strips. Remove from the heat. Reserve one third of your peppers, onions, and sausages for frittata next day.

3. Slice sausages into thin slices on the diagonal. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into four equal portions. Roll each portion into a 9 x 5 inch rectangular shape. On one side of the rectangle, place 1/4 cup of pizza sauce, and spread, leaving a 1/4 inch border. Arrange sausage in an even layer over sauce. It took me anywhere from 5 to 7 slices to cover the sauce in an even layer. Top evenly with peppers and onions. Sprinkle each calzone with 1/3 cup cheese. Fold unused half of the rectangle of dough over the filling, pressing edges of the dough together with a fork to seal. This part seems awkward at first, but after you make your first one, you’ll have a feel for how it goes, and you’ll be able to bang out the rest of your calzones no problem.

5. Place calzones on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat calzones with cooking spray. Bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes prior to serving. Cut calzones in half and serve with extra pizza sauce on the side for dipping. Makes 4 calzones, but 8 servings. They’ll be big calzones.

Whew…now for the second recipe, just as delicious, with much less prep…

Next Day Breakfast Frittata
Loosely adapted from Alton Brown

6 eggs
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1/3 cup parmesean cheese, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
leftover sausage, pepper, and onion mixture, chopped into bite size pieces.

1. Preheat broiler to high. Place a large skillet over medium heat on your stove.

2. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, parmesean cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Place leftover sausage mixture into your skillet, saute until warmed through. Pour eggs over sausage mixtue and give the pan a little shake so the eggs will fall between the sausage mixture and make contact with the bottom of the pan.

4. Using a rubber spatula, gently move eggs around the pan, allowing the runny top to move through to the bottom of the pan and make contact with the heat. When the eggs are almost set, with a small amount of runny still on top, sprinkle with a little extra parmesean cheese on top, and transfer to the broiler (make sure your skillet is heatproof before doing this). Broil for approximately 4 minutes until eggs are browned and puffy on top.

5. Remove from the oven, slide onto a cutting board, cut into six wedges, and serve immediately.