In the ‘zone

As you know, Mike and I do love our pizza, and he makes it at home often. He’s been working on refining the dough recipe for his pizza stone version, weighing the finished dough and pinching off 7 to 8 ounces of it so the crust fits our peel better, and that has left us with a freezer full of little dough balls. Since opening the freezer door has become a bit of a hazard lately, what with the frozen dough and other items crammed inside often shifting and plummeting south toward unsuspecting toes, I decided to take action: I’d thaw some of those balls of dough and turn them into calzones.

I took two nice bunches of farmers’ market greens (one kale and one mustard, but any type of greens would probably work well here), stemmed and chopped them, and cooked them down with a good amount of olive oil and smashed garlic. When they were nicely wilted down but still bright green, I removed them from the heat and let them cool. I tipped a container of Narragansett Creamery ricotta into a big bowl, then added some salt, freshly ground pepper, an egg yolk, and a bit of grated parm, then mixed it all to combine. When my greens were cool enough to handle, I ran my knife through them again to chop them really fine, then squeezed out the excess liquid and added them to the cheese mix, stirring until the greens were evenly distributed.

Dinner: October 4, 2010

I made a bit of a mess with the dough at first – it was a little wet and kept sticking to my parchment, so I had to incorporate a bit more flour into it (getting it all over the counter, the floor, and myself in the process), but I finally got a couple of rounds I could work with. I mounded a big scoop of the filling on half of each round, folded them over, crimped the edges, brushed them with a bit of beaten egg white, cut a few slashes in the tops to help them vent steam, then I placed them on the pizza stone in a preheated 450 degree oven for about half an hour.

a peek inside

I served them up with a rich, winey tomato sauce (which also ended up all over me as I cooked it – not my finest hour in the kitchen that night), and some lightly dressed Arcadian Fields Teenage Lettuce Mix. My calzones are a work in progress, but I think we got off to a great start.

So long, September

Dinner: September 29, 2010

I’m incredibly grateful to put September behind us and move forward. Dietschtoberfest is nearly upon us after all – time to plan for happier days.

pizza

By the way, it’s National Pizza Month, too, and Mike is embarking on another round of tweaking recipes in the quest for his perfect pie. This one was pretty fabulous. Stay tuned for more.

Happy weekend, and I hope it’s full of delicious things.

Dinner and a Movie

So after our big day yesterday (which you can now get a sneak peek at on Projo.com), I was eager to tuck into one of my husband‘s homemade pizzas for dinner. After our meat-heavy weekend, we elected to go for a vegetarian pie topped with a few fresh, seasonal goodies.

Mike dressed his standard crust with a layer of Amanda Hesser’s deliciously jammy roasted cherry tomatoes (from this food52 recipe), a blend of cheeses (including our favorite fresh mozz from Narragansett Creamery), and thin mandolined slices of zucchini.

Dinner: September 7, 2010

I gave the pizza a shower of freshly grated Pecorino Romano when it came out of the oven, along with a sprinkle of fresh marjoram leaves and a drizzle of Sicilian olive oil. The roasted tomatoes made for a delicious “sauce”, melting down even further into little orbs bursting with concentrated tomato flavor, and we loved how the paper-thin zucchini crisped and melded into the cheese.

The marjoram, too, was a welcome change from basil, with a deeper, earthier flavor to complement the more concentrated flavor of the roasted tomato “sauce”, a gentle reminder a that cooler weather and heartier fare are not too far away.

No-sweat Cooking, Day 16

Dinner: August 11, 2010

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of pizza around here – oven-baked, grilled, deep dish, we love them all, but homemade pizza is generally a rather time-intensive proposition in our kitchen.

cheese + pepperoni

Though I sometimes pitch a fit and win the right to take on a pizza dinner, my husband is really the resident pizzaiolo. Mastering his best version of pizza in all forms is a project he’s been working on practically the entire time we’ve been together, so I was delighted when he showed such enthusiasm about the decidedly non-fussy Pepperoni Flatbreads recipe in Melissa Clark’s No-sweat Cooking piece.

the good stuff

One thing that I’m pretty certain got him on board was the fact that we had recently tasted some incredible artisanal pepperoni from Armandino Batali’s Salumi, newly available at our favorite spot in town for all things meaty and cheesy. Combine that delicious cured meat with some cheese (I used a blend of fresh mozz and some other grating cheeses – yes, I just have to put my own spin on things) and what was basically a vibrant salad of chopped fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil from our garden on a base of Olga’s pizza shells, and you have a real winner on your hands.

Get the Recipe: Pepperoni Flatbreads

On the Table

Dinner: April 28, 2010

I had higher hopes for cooking and blogging this week, but it became clear to me on Tuesday that what I had hoped was a raging case of seasonal allergies was actually the nasty bug that has been circulating at my office. I’ve gone through countless boxes of tissue and can barely smell or taste a thing, so I was grateful that Mike had already offered to make another one of his delicious pizzas last night.

If you’re new to the site it may seem like we eat a heck of a lot of pizza, mac & cheese, roast chicken, and the like, and I guess we do – or at least we have done so, of late – but I have to remind myself that at least we’re cooking real food at home most nights of the week. Despite illness or busy schedules, despite life throwing curveballs of all sorts, our meals have come to matter to us enough that the farmers’ market visit is a weekly (or more often, in summer) ritual, and that we’re more interested in spending money on sourcing out the best food we can buy than in owning a car, in taking vacations, in having new, shiny *stuff*.

Our friend Anita wrote a great post today in response to the Michael Ruhlman kerfuffle, and I think I’m going to play along with her. As Anita writes, “[w]e (by which I mean all of us who care about food, and health, and community) need to teach people to make good food in whatever time they have available, not heap scorn on those who think that 30-Minute Meals are the answer. I can make dinner — organic, local, balanced food — in 15 minutes if pressed. It may not be pretty, but it’s real and it’s delicious.” I think this will be a great opportunity to share and learn, and I look forward to seeing what results.

Slice of Life

kale blossoms

It all started with these – kale blossoms, they’re called, lovely slender green stalks with flowery ends, and the minute I laid eyes on the solitary bunch of them that remained at the NorthStar Farm table at last Saturday’s farmers’ market, I knew I’d be bringing them home. They looked so similar to broccoli rabe that I grabbed a package of sweet Italian sausage from Simmons Farm, too, figuring they would make a good pairing, and when we saw the limited edition “Pizza Mozzarella” at the Narragansett Creamery table, Tuesday night’s dinner was all but set.

Mike made his standard crust and sauce recipes while I was at work, then sauteed the crumbled sausage once I had arrived home. The kale blossoms got a brief saute, too, just a minute with a slick of extra virgin and a pinch of red chile flakes, until the blossoms were bright green but still crisp.

Sauce, cheese, sausage, and kale blossoms were layered on the crust and the assembled pie went onto a hot pizza stone. After a brief bake at 450, we pulled out our pie, added some chopped fresh oregano from Ledge Ends and a shower of finely grated Pecorino Romano, then once the risk of mouth-scorching had passed, we dug in.

Dinner: April 13, 2010

My guy’s got this pizza thing down.

The (Deep) Dish Redux

Too damn long ago, Jen and I wrote up my (then) latest recipe for iron-skillet pizza. When we posted the recipe, we included this note:

NOTE: The original recipe says this makes two 9-inch pizzas. We have a used a modification of this recipe several times in a 12-inch iron skillet and have finally decided that it’s too much dough, even for a 12-incher. When next we make this, we’ll reduce the flour from 4 cups to 3, and we’ll reduce the amounts of other ingredients accordingly. When we do, we’ll post the revised recipe.

Nearly two years later (I was tempted to wait for the actual anniversary, but my better angels won out), here it is. I’ve used this recipe a couple of times now, and I think it’s ready for prime time.

What I chose to do was to adapt my grilled or pizza-stone crust recipe and rework it with butter. The 2008 recipe also called for butter, and we like what it does to this kind of crust. When you have a deep dish pizza, it’s very good to have a flakier crust. Otherwise, the pizza can become too leaden in texture.

  • 3 c flour
  • 2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  1. Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl of standing mixer.
  2. Add water and butter.
  3. Combine well, using the paddle attachment on low speed.
  4. Knead, using a dough hook, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and crawls up the dough hook. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if dough is dry and not coming together. If dough is too wet, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour.
  5. Grease a medium bowl with olive oil and add dough to the bowl. Cover and let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk, about an hour. (Or, you can make the dough a day in advance and proof it in the fridge overnight, like I often do.)

Baking instructions follow roughly what’s in the original post. Prepare your toppings. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease up the skillet, pat or roll your dough out, and line the skillet with dough. You build the pizza the way you want and bake until your toppings brown appropriately.

This crust is versatile. We’ve used it with a veggie pie of spinach, mushrooms, tomato sauce and cheese, and we’ve also enjoyed a meaty sausage and onion pie.

Dinner:  February 3, 2010

deep dish

Dinner: Feb 9, 2010

Try it out and let me know how you like it!

Winner Winner, Smitten Dinner

artichokes + eggplants

It has looked a lot like the Smitten Kitchen here over the last couple of days, with two dinners in a row inspired by Deb’s dishes.

potatoes, sliced

I started on Monday with a potato tortilla, the first I’ve ever attempted at home. I used this recipe as a guide, but I did go the more traditional route of frying my potato slices – creamy beauties from Ledge Ends Produce, sliced thin on a mandoline slicer – low and slow in a good amount of olive oil. I used raw artichokes rather than marinated, since I had picked up some beauties from Wishing Stone Farm over the weekend, and included some of my own marinated grilled red peppers plus a little smoky pimenton.

potato tortilla, cooking

Mine didn’t come out nearly as pretty as Deb’s did, which I attribute to my choice to use our iron skillet rather than the recommended non-stick, but it still tasted delicious. The last of it made a great breakfast today, too.

crust, prepped and ready for the grill

Which brings us to the pizza.

eggplant, garlic, oil

provolone and olives

Now that Mike has mastered his grilled pizza recipe and technique, it was time to change things up a bit, so for last night’s version we went with the grilled eggplant and olive pie posted here.

grilled eggplant and olive pizza

Mike made me promise I’d include the phrase “Deb’s a genius” in this post, and how could I not? What a great combination of flavors this was. The grilled eggplant slices were tender and smoky, the olives provided deliciously briny bursts of flavor, and the melty provolone cheese was a winning counterpart to both.

sliced pie

Dinner:  August 26, 2009

Thanks for the inspiration, Deb!