Friday, February 20, 2009

*Brick* oven style pizza

I just LOVE working with yeast!

One of the things that I wanted to make was pizza. I kept finding recipes that were for a bread dough style pizza and I was looking more for a brick oven style....something like you would get at Bertuccis. Since we aren't wealthy, the first problem was how would I make it. We don't have a wood fired oven and thought it would be impossible to even come close to even getting the product I was looking for! I read some bread maker blogs and then came across this one
and so far the recipe on that site has been a dream! The next thing I did was purchase a baking stone from King Arthur flour."
I originally tried to bake a pizza on the Pampered Chef stone, but because the stone needed to be heated for an hour at 500 degrees, I was afraid of breaking my beloved, well seasoned stone. Took two weeks for shipping, but when I got it, I planned to make pizza within the week.

Some things I have learned. I make my dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I found that by keeping it in the refrigerator for 3 days made working the dough much easier. It has rested and much easier to stretch. I wasn't too sure of instant yeast when I bought it from King Arthur. I had always used normal yeast, but I have had very good luck with the instant and I am very happy with my results. Use good olive oil and you will get amazing results. Also San Marzano tomatoes make really good pizza sauce. You really will be pleased with the flavor! When you make your own pizza, you know what goes into it and it's a food that even amateurs can be creative with. Just remember on a Neapolitan pizza, less is more. It doesn't mean you can't have fun, but this isn't a Chicago style pizza that you can just load up with the kitchen sink.

I have plans to make some different varieties pizzas as I go along...I have stayed with the classic of tomato, cheese and adding pepperoni and mushrooms.

We haven't had a pizza out in a few months!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The joy of cooking

I have been renewing my love lately of cooking for my husband and family. Many people find it hard to understand but for me it's a very passionate thing. For me, it's like creating great art. I use it as stress relief. A recipe for me is only a guide.....I change things around often.

I am one of Ina Garten's biggest fans and I love to watch her in the afternoon on the Food Network. While I don't feel we necessarily cook alike mainly because most of the food she makes tends to be on a higher end of what the local supermarket handles, I love how at ease she is with food. I understand the feeling well because it's the way I feel.

My daughter and son in law came for breakfast today and I made biscuits. The following is the recipe.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups of flour
6 tablespoons of butter
1 cup and 1 teaspoon of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Sift the dry ingredients together. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the flour takes on the look of small peas. Add buttermilk gradually then kneed on a floured board, but do not overkneed. Cut out biscuits and bake on a stoneware sheet if you have on. If not, it will work on a buttered cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter if desired.

Here is what you will end up with!

Bon Appetit!!