Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pizza Dough

It's been a while since we've been able to make pizza, but the other weekend we spent all of Saturday at the home of our friends AZ and D, and pizza was the result. I had fun shopping for toppings with the girls (D's daughter, her niece, and their live-in school buddy). The ham, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, mozzarella, and Parmesan pizza above is their creation (Thai kids actually like vegetables). The adults had anchovies and pepperoni.

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar, or honey, or molasses (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, or lard
  • 5-7 cups high protein flour
  • a handful of cornmeal
  • a big bowl
  • a damp cloth
  • someplace warm
  • a baking stone (or a baking sheet, if you're lame;)
1. Sprinkle the yeast and your sweetener of choice into the warm water. For a longer rise time (and a richer flavored crust) use only 1 tsp of yeast.
2. Let the yeast proof. If it's in good shape it should start to foam a bit after seven to ten minutes.
3. Add the salt.
4. Add your fat of choice. If using lard you might want to soften it a bit.
5. Mix in one cup of flour. Don't worry about lumps.
6. Begin mixing in the rest of the flour, use your hands once it begins to get stiff. The 5-7 cups is exactly approximate. Just make sure the dough is good and stiff before you start kneading.
7. Transfer your dough to a clean working surface, dusted with flour.
8. Knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour if the dough gets sticky. If you have kids around this is a great time to let them get their hands dirty.
9. Put the dough in a clean, oiled bowl, with plenty of head room. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and leave the dough in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Depending on how much yeast you used this should take 45 minute to 1 hr and 1/2.
10. Preheat your oven to 400˚ F or 205˚ C. If you're using a stone you should throw it in there.
10. Punch the dough down and knead it again for a minute or two. If I'm making pizza for just two people I usually cut it the dough in half at this point and freeze one of the halves.
11. Roll or throw the dough into your desired shape.
12. Sprinkle cornmeal onto your baking surface, and slide your dough on. I usually coat it with some olive oil at this point.
13. I hope you have toppings ready.
14. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust begins to brown.

Options: All by itself this dough makes great focaccia.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Easy Chocolate Pudding

I don't know where Jami found this pudding recipe, but it's easy and fast, and I like it just fine.

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix the dry ingredients.
2. Whisk in the milk.
3. Stir over very low heat until the pudding begins to thicken.
4. Add the vanilla extract.

Options: Try adding a little cinnamon.