Tag Archives: homemade pizza

Day to Day Life: Weeks 51 + 52

We are at the last week of December and 2014! How can that be? Here is a glimpse at the last couple weeks:

My husband played at the Applegate Lodge one night. This guy was carved into one of the lamps in the room we stayed in. So jolly! ;)

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Christmas Boy, sleeping under the Christmas tree.

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Homemade pizza with veggie chicken, herbed ricotta, goat cheese and mozzarella.

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Silas’s class had a Solstice party before going on winter break. Craig played “Here Comes the Sun” along with the kids.

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We had a dessert party with our new neighbors. I brought these whoopie pies as per request.

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A winter vacation tradition – water polo pick up game with alumni players.

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Our friends Janet and Ray gave us this piece of this Oregon-caught king salmon. Craig and I finally got to enjoy it, pan seared then topped with a little homemade barbeque sauce, and cabbage with microgreens tossed in a lemon garlic vinaigrette. SO DAMN GOOD!

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Silas is playing in a more competitive basketball league this year. He had his first pre-season game recently.

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Swoosh!

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This was a busy baking Cookie Monster kind of day…

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Crazy beautiful winter skies around here lately…

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Cuddle party of two while trying to figure out the kids’ early Christmas present — an XBox I and new TV to go with it.

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Family sugar cookie decorating can get a little iffy around here…

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For Christmas Eve-Eve, Silas asked if I would make pigs in a blanket… So that’s what we had, with veggie dogs and cheese stuffed in the crescent rolls. Baked beans and potato salad on the side. Classy. :)

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Christmas Eve featured homemade pizza. Green and red.

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We went with Nana and the kids to look at Christmas lights around Southern Oregon after dinner that night.

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There were forecasts for snow on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day… but alas, all we got was cold and rain. (That’s not a real complaint; I love cold and rain.)

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First one up on Christmas morning… enjoying the quiet.

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Of course I don’t wake up early unless there’s a reason. My reason was to make these from start to finish… A seven year tradition now.

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Apparently I forgot/simply didn’t take any pictures on Christmas day. Sometimes I think that’s a good sign. I did get this photo of the veggie shepherd’s pie and veggie chick’n pot pie we ate for Christmas dinner…

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My mother-in-law’s birthday is the day after Christmas. We took her out for brunch at Morning Glory here in Ashland, which was incredibly delicious!

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A Christmas Chicken!

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A second water polo pick up game…

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Yesterday we did a little bit of exploring up near Mt. Ashland. The view is breathtaking, always.

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It took approximately 15 tries before Silas and I got a “selfie” with both of us in the picture frame.

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Snow boys.

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Homemade Indian food tonight! Palak paneer, veggie chicken tikka masala with potatoes, cauliflower pakoras, homemade naan, and matar pulao (rice with peas).

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A boy and his dog.

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Meatless Monday: Mushroom Pizza with Homemade Pesto and a No-Knead Crust

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I posted a version of this pizza a couple months ago, but wanted to give it a revamping. Half the time when I make this pizza, I cannot decide what it is that works so well. Is the magic all about the sauce? The way the mushrooms don’t get overcooked, maintaining some texture? The crispness of the crust? I still don’t know. Perhaps it’s the combination of all these things that works so well.

Homemade pesto, especially this time of year, is delicious and simple to make. I’ve made various versions through the years, substituting different kinds of nuts, different oils, more, less, or no cheese, extra garlic, lemon juice, lime juice… I have hand chopped ingredients, relied on my food processor… Most recently however, I have found a love for the ease of making pesto in a blender. It takes all of 3-4 minutes, start to finish. While I almost always think about how any traditional pesto maker would likely slap me for the machine handling of all these ingredients, I do appreciate the ease.

This is probably the most requested pizza in our house on pizza night, by the kids and adults alike.  I encourage you to make the pesto rather than buy a store-version, as the flavor is uncomparable and adds much to this otherwise very simple pizza!

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Pesto Mushroom Pizza

Yields One 13×18-inch Pizza

Ingredients:

For the pesto:
6 tablespoons good quality olive oil
2 cups very packed fresh basil
1/2 cup raw pine nuts
1 lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

For the pizza:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
olive oil for pan

1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced into pieces about 1/8-inch thick
8 ounces part-skim mozzarella, shredded
1 ounce crumbled feta cheese

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Directions:

Make the dough: Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl. Add the water, then use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together until blended into a ball of dough (this should take no more than a few minutes).

Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. It may be slightly less than doubled in size.

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Make the pesto: In a blender, add (in order) of the ingredients for the pesto, beginning with the oil. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.

Pizza time: Preheat your oven to 500° F. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Generously oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet with a good quality olive oil. Gently place a ball of dough on the pan, stretching and pressing it out toward the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then continue. The dough is very thin. If it tears, simply pinch it back together.

Spread the pesto evenly over the dough, making sure to get it all the way to the outside edges as well. Place the mushrooms over the pesto, trying not to overlap them if you can. Sprinkle on the shredded mozzarella and then the feta. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are slightly charred. Cut the pizza into squares and serve.

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Meatless Monday: Morel Pizza with Leeks, Shallots and Goat Cheese

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I feel like I should apologize for sharing a pizza recipe with you… AGAIN… But really, I’m not that sorry. We have been eating a lot of homemade pizza recently. This recipe has changed our lives… It’s no lie that we have had pizza every week since its discovery.

The thing about homemade pizza people seem to get tripped up about is the supposed difficulty in working with yeast. As per my usual cooking technique, I have always approached homemade bread making and yeast with a gung-ho, what’s the worst that could happen attitude. The worst thing, your yeast doesn’t proof or the bread doesn’t rise. While disappointing, that’s not the end of the world. This dough doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for failure though, being that it’s so simple. Add the dough ingredients to a bowl, mix (no stand mixer, bread machine, or kneading required!) wait, wait, wait… press, top, bake, EAT.

I have found that a limited number of topping ingredients are part of the beauty in making a good pizza. Minimal, GOOD QUALITY ingredients, that is. Recently a friend gave us a handful of fresh Oregon morels he’d found while mushroom hunting. I had never tried morels before, as I am generally not a huge fan of mushrooms. I’ve tried to be more open minded about them recently and have actually enjoyed them. We decided to use these particular mushrooms on the following pizza, which was deliciously successful. If you’re unable to get your hands on fresh morels, I imagine fresh shiitake mushrooms would also work nicely since they too are somewhat “meaty” in consistency.

This pizza was incredible while still hot from the oven. Better yet, cooled almost to room temperature! And let’s not forget about reheating the next day in the toaster oven…

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Morel Pizza with Leeks, Shallots, and Goat Cheese

Yields one 13×18-inch pizza

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
olive oil for pan

For the pizza:
1 shallot, peeled and cut thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large leek, green parts removed then cut thinly
4-6 large morels, cleaned then sliced semi-thinly
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ball fresh mozzarella
2 ounces mild goat cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

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Directions:

Prepare the dough: Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl. Add the water, then use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together until blended into a ball of dough (this should take no more than a few minutes).

Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. It may be slightly less than doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Generously oil a 13×18-inch pan with olive oil. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Generously oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet with a good quality olive oil. Gently place a ball of dough on the pan, stretching and pressing it out toward the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then continue. The dough is very thin. If it tears, simply pinch it back together.

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Heat the oil and butter in a pan over medium-high heat until the butter melts completely. Add in the shallot, garlic, leeks and sliced morels, stirring to coat everything well. Saute until the leeks and shallot are tender (12-15 minutes). Spread the mixture over the prepared dough (including any residual oil/butter from the pan) , all the way out to the edges. Break the mozzarella into chunks and arrange it over the top, followed by the goat cheese, parmesan, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are slightly charred.

Let the pizza sit for 5 minutes before cutting into 12 squares. This pizza is also great at just above room temperature!

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Meatless Monday: Corn and Poblano Pizza with Cilantro Pesto

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It appears we are still obsessed. This pizza crust has taken over our weekly menus with a rampant force. For the last few weeks, we have eaten pizzas of various varieties all based on this amazingly easy, DELICIOUS pizza dough. Fear not! This isn’t a complaint. The truth is, I could happily eat these pies daily.

When we stayed in Berkeley a couple summers ago, we discovered The Cheese Board not far from our hotel. What we didn’t anticipate was the line that wrapped down the sidewalk for more than a block. We didn’t wait, as we had the kids and that would have just been asking for extensive whiny chaos, but I did tremendous amounts of research on this mysteriously well-loved pizza.

The Cheese Board menu changes daily, featuring one key pie that you can buy by the whole, half, or slice. When I saw numerous photos of a well loved pizza featuring cilantro, feta, corn and lime, I knew I’d experiment and make my own version. We do intend to make it to Cheese Board one day… but until then, I will just eat this pizza weekly. Enjoy!

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Corn and Poblano Pizza with Cilantro Pesto

Yields one 13 x 18 inch pizza.

Pizza dough recipe adapted from Tracy Shutterbean

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
olive oil for pan

For the cilantro pesto:
one large bunch of cilantro, yellowed parts removed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 a lime, juiced

For the pizza:
the above dough
the above pesto
8 ounces sweet corn (frozen or fresh)
2 poblano peppers
1/2 a small red onion, cut thinly
1 ball fresh mozzarella
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 ounces feta, crumbled

Directions:

Prepare the dough: Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl. Add the water, then use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together until blended into a ball of dough (this should take no more than a few minutes).

Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. It may be slightly less than doubled in size.

Roast the poblano peppers while the dough rises: If you have a gas stove, this is easily done by toasting the peppers over an open flame (on high), using tongs to turn the peppers constantly. Once the peppers are nicely blackened on all sides, place them in a bowl and then tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. The trapped steam will soften the peppers and loosen their skins. After 15 minutes, pull the stems out of each pepper. Pull the skins off the pepper. I like to do this under running cold water, as it seems to help make the job quicker. You can also use a paper towel to rub off the loosened skins. Holding one end, squeeze the pepper length-wise, to remove the bulk of its seeds (leave them in for a spicier sauce). Dice the peppers into bite-sized pieces.

If you are using an oven, turn it on to the broiler setting. Brush each pepper with 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable, sunflower, or another high-smoke point oil. Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet, then place the sheet on the highest rack in your oven. Keeping a close eye on the peppers, remove them once dark, blackened spots appear. As with stove-top roasted peppers, place in a bowl and cover for 15 minutes. Follow the above directions for removing the skins and seeds.

Make the cilantro pesto: Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (4-5 minutes).

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Make your pizza: Preheat your oven to 500° F. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Generously oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet with a good quality olive oil. Gently place a ball of dough on the pan, stretching and pressing it out toward the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then continue. The dough is very thin. If it tears, simply pinch it back together.

Spread half of the cilantro sauce all over the dough, making sure to get it out towards the edges. Sprinkle on the corn, diced poblano peppers and red onion. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella evenly on the pizza. Next, tear pieces of the fresh mozzarella and scatter it over the pie, before sprinkling the crumbled feta over the top. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are slightly charred. Drizzle the remaining cilantro sauce over the baked pizza, then cut into squares and serve. This pizza is also great at just above room temperature!

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No-Knead Pizza Dough + Tomato Basil Pizza Recipes

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Last week, we started off the week with homemade pizza, made with my sourdough crust. We had leftover pizza the night after. The next day, there was this risotto. Thursday night, we had a spinach lasagna somewhat reminiscent of this one. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday? We ate the pizza I am going to share with you now. Not because there were leftovers… there weren’t leftovers. I made this pizza three days in a row because we are OBSESSED.

Seeing as we had pizza for five out of seven nights last week, I probably don’t need to tell you we like these sauced-up, cheese-topped, pies around here. I had seen Tracy Shutterbean‘s no-knead dough recipe over a year ago, but always told myself that in order to be a pizza enthusiast (is that a thing?), I had to make a damn good rolled, stretched, kneaded dough. So that’s what I did. Over and over again. But let’s be real. As often as I crave pizza, I don’t always have the extra time it takes to make a kneaded dough. Let’s be really real – it’s not even an issue of “extra time” – sometimes I just don’t want to mess with kneading, or yeast-proofing, or rolling dough.

The beauty of this dough is two fold. One, it’s RIDICULOUSLY easy. Throw things in a bowl, stir, cover, wait. Ta-da! DOUGH! And two, it’s DELICIOUS. One of our favorite pizza places in San Francisco is Golden Boy in North Beach. Their pizza is a foccacia type of crust, topped with minimal sauce and cheese (or pepperoni, garlic + clam, pesto veggie, or meat + veggie combo). It’s excellent for lunch, dinner, an alcohol-soaking-up-device when you’ve drank too much, or for any occasion.

This crust turns out thin, crispy, and absorbs just the right amount of sauce while it’s baking in the oven. I’m including an easy (and DAMN TASTY) cheese pizza recipe along with the dough. It’s the one I made all three nights. We found that while pizza is really good just out of the oven, this one is even better when its cooled to just slightly above room temperature… Enjoy and I hope you have more pizza restraint than we do! (But I fully encourage you not to!)

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No-Knead Pizza Dough

Yields enough dough for two pizzas baked in 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheets.

Recipe modified slightly from Tracy Shutterbean

Ingredients:
3 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water
olive oil for pan

Directions:
Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl. Add the water, then use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together until blended into a ball of dough (this should take no more than a few minutes).

Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. It may be slightly less than doubled in size.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut it in half. Oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet liberally with a good quality olive oil. Gently place a ball of dough on the pan, stretching and pressing it out toward the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then continue. The dough is very thin. If it tears, simply pinch it back together.

Moving on to pizza-making…

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Tomato Basil Pizza

Yields two 13×18 inch pizzas.

Recipe also slightly modified from Tracy Shutterbean

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups of your preferred tomato sauce (this is my go-to)
a few pinches of red pepper flakes
12-18 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped
24 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese for topping
optional 1 teaspoon dried oregano

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Directions:
Preheat your oven to 500° F.

Spread half of the tomato sauce evenly over each baking sheet of dough, going all the way to the edges. Be sure the sauce is spread evenly, so no sauce piles up in the center of the pie. Sprinkle with a few pinches of red pepper flakes, top each pie with the chopped basil, then tear pieces of the fresh mozzarella and scatter it over each pizza.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are slightly charred. Sprinkle with the oregano, extra basil and fresh parmesan cheese and serve hot or at room temperature.

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