Pizza for everybody

New words have captured my attention this week, including:

Bobby (Baaah Beeeeee, Bah Beee) . . I have no idea what this one means
Bzzzz and “Bee” (for both Bee and Mouse)
Pita Pita (Pizza)
MOMMMEEEEE (for Monkey) . . .this does not bode well for Mommy, does it?
Wassshh  Wasssh (Wash)
Yeh Lohw (yellow)  – though he has no idea what yellow means . . what a mimic

And to my dismay, little L has picked up some not so great words, like “butt” (learned in the context of me cleaning his bottom one morning) and he still carries on with the “No!” in exclamatory form. Think he picked this one up at school and who am I kidding? We do say it to him often, even though I try to tell him what to do and what not to do rather than just say, “No.”

Anyway, we got back from a great ten year reunion for me last weekend, where L met lots of new friends and new pets and I got to regroup with lots of my old friends from college. Afterwards was a nice week of regrouping, trying to clean my new veggie delivery from Suburban Organics and finding the time night by night to make some of David Lebovitz’s Vanilla Ice Cream, which I had the fortune of being able to churn the other day, as well as some fantastic but fallen-apart Banana Cream Pie and finishing off the egg whites with some Meringues (note to self: 1 cup of sugar to 3 egg whites is a little too heavy on the sugar). Forgive my caloric outburst, but at times the food gods call to me and tell me to cook, cook, cook!  As another side note I’m not sure how I completely feel about homemade ice creams; they are rich and lovely and delicious, but they have a habit of sticking to the tongue in a strange way when I first churn them.  After a few days in the freezer though it made a lovely frozen custard.

So anyway . . off to the task at hand: bread doughs.  In my cooking frenzy I made some pizzas as well, beginning with some lovely Olive oil dough from Presenting the pizzas I made last week, replete with recipes:

Not bad, huh? This recipe uses the Olive Oil Dough from Hertzberg and Francois’s Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I’d recommend letting your pizza dough sit in the fridge for a few days after the initial rise; the dough settles together nicely and then the pizza is a lot easier to roll out and stretch, but leave it in the fridge for more than 2-3 days (like I did with the massive amount of dough I had) and then it becomes a little more tough to roll.

Prepping your pizza crust:
1 “grapefruit sized chunk” of Pizza dough
semolina or white flour

  1. Set oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place pizza stone in oven, sprinkling it with cornmeal.  My stand-in for the pizza stone is a stainless steel sheet pan with silpat, sprinkled with cornmeal, on the bottom rack, but *make sure* your oven is not set above 450 degrees Fahrenheit or you will compromise the food safety of the Silpat.
  2. Roll out the dough on a cutting board that is sprinkled generously with flour, adding flour to the dough as needed to improve its pliability.  Stretch it and flatten it slightly in the middle, leaving a nice ridge around the dough.
  3. Transfer it quickly to the cookie sheet and add topics, or prepare the pizza on the cutting board quickly as below, then using wooden pizza board to transfer to the oven.

Zucchini pizza with bolognese sauce
1 zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
Your favorite bolognese sauce (I made a homemade turkey bolognese with san marzano tomatoes for this recipe)
1 Tbsp pine nuts
dried Oregano, salt, pepper, and basil
1/2 cup Grated cheese (I used shredded monterey jack)

  1. Brush zucchini pieces gently with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in oven (on silpat preferably to prevent sticking) at 425 degrees.  Bake till slightly browned, about 10-15 minutes, flipping once during cooking process. After baking allow to cool slighlty.
  2. Prepare pizza crust as above.
  3. Drizzle uncooked crust with small amount of olive oil and sprinkle lightly with cheese.
  4. Ladle and spread sauce over crust and sprinkle once more with cheese; then arrange zucchini pieces over sauce and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with pine nuts. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, oregano and basil to taste.

Apple-sweet potato pizza
1/2 apple, thinly sliced
1 tsp good quality balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon pine nuts
1/2 cup of my “scalded sweet potato smash”
1 ounce shaved manchego cheese
Olive oil to drizzle
Dried oregano and basil
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Prepare pizza crust as described above. and place on baking sheet.
  2. Spread sweet potato smash over crust, then arrange apple pieces over it with pine nuts and manchego sprinkled overtop.
  3. Drizzle lightly with balscamic vinegar and add spices and herbs to taste.
  4. Place baking sheet on the bottom rack of the preheated oven and cook for 8-13 minutes, until ingredients are nice and bubbly and crust is slightly browned.
  5. Remove from oven, place on cutting board.  Slice and serve immediately.  If you allow the pizzas to sit too long on the cutting board the steam will be trapped and will soften your pizza’s crust.
  6. Eat!!! Mmmmmm . . ..

Sorry for not placing the specific recipes for Hertzberg and Francois’s crust here, but I don’t want to create copyright issues.  Their pizza dough is pretty easy, though, and require a few minutes to prepare and 2 hours of rise time.  As far as my bolognese recipe goes, it is a work in progress and I do not have a set recipe, but any homemade red Italian-style tomato sauce or even store bought sauces will do.