Archive | July, 2011

Deep-dish pizza

25 Jul

I really wanted a pizza with this topping. But I don’t have a pizza stone. I don’t have a big pizza dish. I didn’t want to bother with bread flour. I didn’t want to bother with much at all. So the first day I just used pre-made dough. Totally acceptable. Will use again. The second day, I felt compelled to try to make the dough myself.  I decided on this America’s Test Kitchen recipe- because it didn’t require special ingredients and it uses a small round pan (i’m not so into rectangular pizza).  I used a springform pan because that’s what I have.  I’ve heard that if you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use unglazed terracotta tiles. As I didn’t have those either, per  Test Kitchen, I used a rimless cookie sheet- upside down as a stone.  This recipe is a lot like focaccia bread– very thick and doughy. Enough dough for 2 pies. The second pie I made in an 8 inch square pan- as it turns out, square pizza still tastes good. If you have a slightly bigger pan, i’d probably recommend it- it would let the dough be a little less super thick.  Can also use this amount of dough- don’t divide in half- in a 14-inch deep dish pan- though I’m not sure who owns one of those.

Pizza dough:
1 medium baking potato (about 9 oz) peeled and quartered
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 3/4 salt
1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
6 tablespoons olive oil- more to coat bowl w.

Topping: arugula, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, fried egg
Other topping idea: ricotta (i used ricotta salata), mozzarella, red chili flakes

Bring 1 quart water and potato to a boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until potato is tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain potato and cool until can be handled.  Press through potato ricer or large holes of a box grater.  Measure 1 1/3 cups lightly packed potato; discard remaining potato.
Adjust one oven rack to the highest position and the other rack to the lowest position. Heat oven to 200 degrees, maintain heat for 10 minutes then turn off heat.
Combine flour, yeast, and salt in food processor.  With motor running, add the water and process until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball.  Add the potato and process for several seconds, then add 2 tablespoons of the oil and process several more seconds, until dough is smooth and slightly sticky.  Transfer the dough to lightly oiled medium bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  Place in the warmed oven until the dough is soft and spongy and doubled in size, 30-35 minutes.
Oil the bottom of two 10-inch cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each.  Turn the dough onto a clean, dry work surface and divide in half.  Pat each into a 9-inch round.  Transfer to the round to oiled pans, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest until the dough no longer resists shaping, about 10 minutes.
Place a pizza stone or rimless baking sheet on the lowest rack and preheat to 500 degrees.  Uncover the dough and pull it into the edges and up the sides of the pan to form 1-inch high lip.  Cover with the plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Uncover the dough and prick generously with fork.  Reduce oven temperature to 425 and bake on the heated stone or baking until the crust is dry and lightly browned, 5-10 minutes.
Add desired topping, bake until cheese is melted, another 10-15 minutes.  Move to top rack and bake another 5 minutes until cheese golden brown in some spots, about 5 minutes longer.  To make sure crust is done, use spatula to life up the crust- i should be nicely browned on the bottom.  Let cool  5 minutes.

Arugula tomato Mozzarella topping
In the Add topping stage- add halved cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. Melt.  After pizza is out of the oven, rinse arugula, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Fry egg and place on top, crack open runny yolk. Or- haven’t tried it- but Rach said you can crack the egg directly on the pizza and place back in the oven to barely bake- place cold arugula on top.

Mozzarella, ricotta salata, chili flakes
Drizzle with olive oil, mozzarella, ricotta, red chili flakes. Melt. Sprinkle with fresh ground sea salt and pepper.


Watermelon Feta Salad with a Balsamic Fig Crostini

12 Jul

This was an off-the-cuff experiment with my dear friend, and park slope neighbor for the summer, Miss beezy burgess. I started to make a balsamic glaze, originally intended for the watermelon salad.  On whim, I threw in some fresh figs I had just bought at the co-op. To my delight, this turned into a lovely balsamic fig compote. Spread with some goat cheese on a crostini (aka  little piece of bread toasted w. olive oil) this lovely hors d’oeuvre would be best enjoyed with a chilled glass of wine, on a porch, in the summertime [or as it was- on my fire escape – beer in hand.]

Watermelon Feta Salad
big bowl of watermelon- cut into chunks
fresh mint
lime (i subbed w. lemon once- but lime works way better)
splash of balsamic vinegar
sea salt
red chili flakes or maybe a serrano pepper (optional)
Take big bowl of watermelon. Squeeze fresh lime juice over. Sprinkle with some feta.  Chop a couple sprigs of fresh mint add (a little mint goes a long way with flavor.)  Add a splash of balsamic and a grinding of sea salt. Add hot pepper if you like. Mix up. Let sit for a minute for the flavors to combine.

Balsamic Fig Crostini
Fresh figs (dried might work too)
balsamic vinegar
goat cheese
Take a frying pan, add enough balsamic vinegar to cover bottom of the pan. Bring to boil on high heat [beware this lets off a very strong vinegar scent- keep your oven fan on]. Keep cooking down. After a few minutes, this  will thicken into a glaze. Add a few chopped fresh figs. Continue stirring to cook until thickens slightly more- coming together like a jam. Take off heat.  Preheat oven to broil. Cut baguette into slice 1/2 in thick. Lay on cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Broil for about 2 mins- keep an eye- as they go from toasty to burnt fast.  Spread goat cheese on toast. Spread compote.

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