Saturday, November 22, 2008

Three Vegetarian Pizzas


This dough recipe makes 2 pizza crusts; for four, make two separate batches in the food processor. We didn't bother to buy a pizza peel--instead, find a rimless cookie sheet, and be careful about pulling the pizza off the stone, since the cookie sheet lacks a handle.

FOR THE DOUGH (loosely adapted from Cook's Illustrated, March 2007):
1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 cup water, room temperature
2 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. sugar
Cornmeal, for dusting

1) Whisk the yeast into the water until dissolved.
2) In a food processor, blend sugar, flour, and salt until combined, about 5 seconds.
3) With machine running, slowly add liquid through feed tube, processing until dough forms a sticky, satiny ball that clears the sides of the workbowl, about 2 minutes or less. If dough remains too dry, add 1-2 tbsp. extra water.
4) Divide dough in half and form into smooth, tight balls. Place on floured surface at least 3 inches apart, and cover loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with olive oil or nonstick cooking oil. Let rise until doubled in volume, approx. 1 hour.
5) Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position. Set a pizza stone (they're 20 bucks at Bed, Bath and Beyond) on the rack, and heat the oven to 500 degrees, allowing stone to heat through, at least 40 minutes.
6) When dough has doubled, dust with flour and move to smooth work surface dusted with the cornmeal. Press one ball into an 8-inch disc, then gently stretch it with flattened palms into a 12-inch circle. Sprinkle the rimless cookie sheet with more cornmeal and transfer dough circle to cookie sheet.
7) Add toppings of choice.
8) Slide pizza onto hot stone and bake until edges are crisp and brown, 12-18 minutes depending on your oven. Peek at them, and when they look right, remove from the oven with the cookie sheet and place on a breadboard to slice.


Pizza con Verdure:

1) Tomato sauce, simmered until relatively dry and spread thinly.
2) Four-cheese blend, sprinkled evenly.
3) Sliced red bell pepper.
4) Sliced sweet white onion.
5) Quartered fresh yellow cherry tomatoes.
6) Red pepper flake, to taste.
7) Sliced fresh basil, added after baking and just before slicing.

Pizza with Pumpkin, Shittake, and Thai Choo-Chee Sauce:

1) A cup of coconut milk, simmered with Thai Choo-Chee paste curry base (according to package or to taste). After curry paste is blended into coconut milk, add 1 tbsp. fish sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, and salt if necessary. Cook curry on low until it thickens into sauce consistency, and spread over pizza.
2) Sliced pumpkin, sauteed with butter until cooked through.
3) Sliced shittakes, sauteed with butter until wilted and tender.
4) Sliced green onion.
5) Chopped toasted peanuts.
6) Fresh beans sprouts, if desired.
7) Chopped fresh cilantro, added after baking.

Pizza with Pecans, Gorgonzola, Dates, and Rosemary:

1) 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.
2) 6 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese.
3) 6 ounces minced dates.
4) 3 springs of fresh rosemary, minced fine.
5) 2/3 cup toasted pecans, minced.
6) Fresh grated nutmeg.
7) Cracked sea salt.

Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager; Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron Malt Beverage; Elysian Bifrost Winter Ale

If you're cooking pizza, you best be drinking some beer.

Where to start? It was a party, so the usual tasting rules don't apply. The Krampus is a beautiful amber-colored, deep, hoppy lager, with 9% alcohol that you quite simply can't taste, this beer is so smooth. Strong grapefruit (not too bitter, though) caramel, and pine. The Palo Santo is a crazy rich, brown concoction with 12% abv. brewed in handmade Paruguayan Palo Santo wooden vessels--vanilla, dark malt, and toffee. Bifrost is a very drinkable winter brew, with a heavy body and a nice orange peel/coffee lingering bitterness. Tasty stuff. All three are good beers, and we drank them with pizza. No further pairing explanation necessary.

This here is Gabe and his co-worker Brady, testing the acidity of the tomato sauce (or something like that). And to their right is One-Punch Hernandez, alias DeathLisa, who can break your spine just by looking at it. Her fist really is that big compared to her face, by the way--you might think it's depth of field in this shot, but that's an optical illusion. Her fist is on an even plane with her jaw. She has hands the size of Les Grossman from Tropic Thunder, which she brought to the party to prove to us that she isn't the only one with meat paws of this heft. There are others.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These pizzas look FANTASTIC!
All the dishes look deeelish.
Both of you just crack me up with the comments about the beer, ect.
Lynds, especially the vacation that makes it hard to live in America made me cry I was laughing so hard.