Monday, December 18, 2006

Weekly Recipe: Pizza

It is that time again. This one looks, and tastes beautiful, but it is amazingly simple. As always, exact measurements are not to be expected. More important, in my opinion, is to know the ratios. This way you can make any amount required and not have to deal with a great deal of leftovers. Of course, left over pizza dough rarely lasts long in this household. The basic dough is really very easy.
Start with about a cup of warm water (80-100 degrees F) Into this will go one packet of dry yeast. Add a bit of sugars. Any will do though I usually use either brown or honey. Just a bit for the yeast to feed on. It likes sugars and warm water. Let that mix sit while you measure out four cups of flour and a pinch of salt. After the yeast has had about five minutes, mix in about another 3/4 cup water and two tablespoons OO. I never actually measure the oil, just add a decent amount. Mix the wet into the dry. I usually use a wisk but if you are one of those assholes with a kitchen aid then use that, by all means.
For you jerks with kitchen aids, this is even easier. It only takes about five minutes to make perfect dough. For the rest of us, it will take a bit of kneeding after the wets are mixed in. Kneed with a good amount of flour until the dough is just tacky. Form into a ball and oil. Let is sit for 90-120 minutes in a warm place until doubled in size. A trick that I use is to, after removing the dough from the mixing bowl, before kneeding, fill the bowl with hot water to soak. You'll need to do this to clean it anyway. Once the dough has come together on the board, rinse the bowl to remove those bits of flour and dry. This will create a warm place to leave the dough to rise and you don't have to dirty another bowl.
At this point, it is really a matter of taste. This one shown is one of our favorites, bbq chicken. Unfortunately, since it is winter in LA, stores no longer carry coals so the chicken had to be baked. Still turns out quite nice. A mix of bbq and tomato sauce forms the base and on top goes red onion, the chicken, mozzarella, cilantro, green onions, bacon, garlic, etc. etc. Really though, this is the place to be creative. Just put on whatever you like. Or use it as an excuse to clean out the fridge. Herbs and cheese, salami and artichoke hearts, or just fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella. Go nuts.

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