Home again. Thank God.

May 14, 2010

Bite me, Papa John's. I got yo' ass whipped. I'm just sayin'.

Hello, family. Hello, kitchen. Hello, blog. Hello, readers — if there are any of you left out there, in the wake of my hiatus. Been home three nights, cooked two of them, including this veritable masterpiece tonight.

Pretty thing, isn’t it? Last night was lasagna, which I will blog later this weekend, because I’m going to make it again, more of which later. But tonight, I for some reason had a jones going for perhaps the first time in 25 years for homemade pizza. And homemade pizza we had.
I’ve got to give a prop to the folks at Cooks Illustrated for their pizza dough recipe. It makes a good, thin, crispy crust, just the way I like it, and has a decent flavor to it (though it’ll be better later, once that half of the dough I didn’t use has a chance to mature in the fridge for a couple of days). Their recipe, as nearly as I can remember it without getting up to get the book:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup warm water (hot from tap)
  • 1 pkg. yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • another 1 1/2 cup water (room temp)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set it aside. Measure out the flour and the salt into the bowl of a FoPro, and whiz it a couple of times to mix. Once the yeast has started to do its yeasty thing (5 minutes or so), add the rest of the water and the olive oil to it and stir. Put all but a few tablespoons of the liquid into the FoPro and process until it forms a ball; if it doesn’t, add a little more liquid and try again.

Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until it’s nice and smooth and elastic (a couple of minutes). Then put it in an oiled bowl, covered with a towel, in a warm spot and let it rise.

I gave mine perhaps a 30-minute rise (it says until it’s doubled in size, and I didn’t measure, but it looked close). That makes enough dough for two 12-14 inch pizzas. You can refrigerate part of the dough, turning it until it’s well coated with oil and then dropping it into a good-sized ZipLoc with some, but not all, the air squeezed out. Pat out, stretch and/or toss the remaining dough until it’s as big as you want it.

Pizza purists would have you build your pizza on a wooden peel, and bake it on a stone. Not me. It goes in the pizza pan, and it likes it.

Tonight’s version had a half a can of tomato puree, some basil, a bunch of pepperoni, some sliced baby portobello mushrooms, some grated mozzarella and some grated pecorino romano. If the Farmers Market yields some good-looking tomatos tomorrow, I’ll do one with sliced fresh tomatos, herbs and maybe a little goat cheese.

Elsewhere in the universe as it relates to my small piece of it….

  • Temporary son from last summer arrives tomorrow to become permannt son. This will necessitate some adjustments in the kitchen. Or some adjustments in his taste buds.
  • I have promised lasagna to the kids Sunday. I made it Thursday night — fastest lasagna I ever made, too — for a meeting that always includes a pot-luck dinner, and it was my turn for the entree. Apparently everyone was hungry or it was really good, because they fell upon it like hungry wolves and there was nothing left but a few drops of sauce in the bottom of the pan. Kids were so disappointed when I came home with an empty pan, I promised ’em one. So I’ll take my time with that one, and photograph it in the assembly process.
  •  I still have lobster tails in the freezer. Got to figure out how I want to cook them.

I’m tired. I’ll visit with you and y’mama ‘n ’em some more tomorrow or Sunday.


One Response to “Home again. Thank God.”

  1. Len Cleavelin Says:

    Dammit, if you’d told me this was dinner I’d have made sure to be there!


    (No, not really; I realize you were picking up Stefan (sp?) today, so you wouldn’t have any room for visitors in the schedule this weekend. But dammit, that looks good. I may have to try it sometime.)

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