Thursday, March 11, 2010

pizza crust/sauce experiments

WOW! What a day! 15 hour work day yesterday tough! It made my work day today really tough too since I was so tired. Did great on my making my water drinking goal yesterday, still haven't had time to get my digital pedometer configured, plan to do it this evening- or tomorrow at the latest! ;-) Today didn't do as well with water consumption, I was too tired to drink or eat anything. Tonight going to the Whole Foods market with a list in hand, so I will have some things that I am allowed to eat. Don't plan to lose 10 pounds by simply starving myself.

I purchased Alicia Silverstone's new book The Kind Diet book-- I never realized she was vegan. Have learned a wealth of information already- some I probably wish I hadn't learned! (like what they really do at slaughter houses and on some farms! yikes!)

Plan to go to the YMCA finally tomorrow- will be first time all week! No school tomorrow so I have NO excuse!

I want to catch you up on some more of the recipes I've been practicing for my upcoming kids classes at the Culinary Center-

Bill’s Neapolitan Sauce- who's Bill? I have no idea but I found the recipe here-

1 large can Furmano’s tomato puree (28 oz.)
1 T Sugar
1 ½ t Salt
1 t Basil
1 t Oregano
¾ t Black pepper
¾ t Garlic Powder
1 ½ T Olive Oil
½ t Dried Minced Onions

In a small saucepan, heat tomato puree over medium heat. After 5 minutes, the puree should darken. Add other ingredients and reduce heat to low. Simmer and stir for 5-10 minutes. Makes sauce for 2 12 inch pizzas or one large pan pizza.

MY COOKS TIPS:- My store didn't have this brand of tomato puree- I found the company online and they don't carry it out here- but hey if you are in Pennyslvania you are in luck and can try it! haha I just bought the brand that was stamped voted #1- yep, marketing sucked me in- that and it cost the most too. ha!
I would like to try it with San Marzano Tomato Paste as that is the brand The Exec. Chef at Lidia's in KC swears by. I know Costco sells it so I need to get a membership or find someone to take me one day for a little shopping!

FAMILY CRITIQUE- I made everyone taste it by spoon first before it was on the pizza and also on the pizza of course. Everyone except my 12 year old McKenzie enjoyed it alot. I must say however that she is on a NO sauce kick- none on pizza or pasta so I couldn't have pleased her anyway. I thought it was quite tasty for my first pizza sauce experience that wasn't pizza quick sauce out of the jar! :D
This sauce would be good with breadsticks too!

I don't have a picture of this except for it's on the pizza pictures- sorry- I was a slacker and forgot!

Thin Pizza Crust-
Crust will be firm and crispy

.25 oz pkt. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
3/4 cup 110 degree water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
pizza sauce - of your choice, as needed
shredded cheese - of your choice, as needed
toppings - of your choice, as needed

-Dissolve yeast and sugar in water; allow to rest for 8 minutes.
-In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt.
-Pour yeast mixture over flour mixture and mix well with a heavy spoon.
-Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes.
-Working from the edges to the center, press dough into a 12" circle. We've also found that holding the dough up, off the counter and stretching it works well, too (keep rotating the dough circle as you stretch to keep an even circle forming).
-Place dough on a lightly greased pizza pan and stretch dough to edges.
-Spread sauce over crust and top with cheese and desired toppings.
-Bake in a 500 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, or until edges are golden.

Notes: No, the dough does not have to rise - if it did, it wouldn't produce a thin crust. If you'd like to freeze the dough for later use, roll the dough into a ball, place in a sealable plastic bag (allow extra room, as the dough will rise a bit before it freezes completely), then thaw in the refrigerator completely before pressing out into a circle.

MY COOKS TIPS:- I always add a little fresh garlic and italian seasonings in our crust so feel free to throw a little in for extra flavor too. You could even do a little parmesan cheese.

I have made this crust a couple times in the past as my son Michael really likes the thin crispy crust. This is the first time I have made it when Scott was home tho. Scott ate it and said it was good for a "cracker crust" whatever that was supposed to mean. This crust is also good with making a dessert pizza, which I have done and will post today too. I just don't roll as thin for that. There are never any complaints when I make this crust, and I like it as it doesn't have to rise so it's a good basic easy crust I can use for teaching a kids class at the Culinary Center where we only have a couple hours for the entire class or when Michael says Mom make people and I want it NOW and not in an hour and a half!
speaking of which- here are two pics- these were made QUICKLY one of those nights recently,the circles aren't even circular all the way! haha One was a requested pepperoni and carmelized onion and the other is the ever popular BBQ chicken with carmelized onions and pineapple.

My family’s current favorite pizza crust dough:
actual title is
Jay's Signature Pizza Crust-

• 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
• 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
3. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza sauce and toppings.
4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F .If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone or pan; you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan to make a thick crust lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
5. Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

MY COOKS TIPS- My family also likes it when we add about 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasonings, 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder OR 2 or 3 minced cloves of fresh garlic into the mixture with the oil and salt) I also like to bake my crust on a preheated Pampered Chef stone (of course) for about 7 minutes and then add the toppings on top, as my family likes the crust a little crisper. I also slide the pizza right onto the rack and cook for a few minutes that way as well.

FAMILY CRITIQUE: I added the seasonings I mentioned in the cooks tips as I knew my family would say it would be boring if I didn't. I also used bread flour as I ran out of all purpose in the other pizza I made-- they preferred the bread flour, said it was better texture and fluffier which they liked alot. Made another BBQ chicken pizza (different day) for this crust too as that's what my two main pizza eaters love. On half I did sprinkle some hot sauce and red pepper flakes.

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