Saturday, August 21, 2010

When the Moon Hits Your Eye...

Homemade Pizza BoldThe Healthy and Tasty Version of an American Staple

2 tsp yeast
3 tsp sugar
1/2 to 1 cup warm water
1/8 to 1/4 cup of olive oil
1 pinch salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 16 oz can pizza sauce
1 6 oz bag mozzarella cheese
1 3.5 oz tub of feta or goat cheese
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 roma tomato, chopped in thin slices
15 pieces pepperoni

Pour between one half and one cup warm water in a mixing bowl. [The more water you use, the more flour you use, so it depends on how thick you want the crust.]

Add yeast and sugar. Mix with whisk until bubbly or frothy. Let sit and mix occasionally for 5 or so minutes.

Add pinch of salt and oil. Pour in flour with a large spoon - or straight out of the bag - a little bit at a time. Mix with a large spoon. It will look globby and watery at first, but it will get thicker the more flour you add. When it becomes sticky and thick, put the spoon aside and kneed with your hands. Keep adding the flour until the mixture is smooth, cohesive and not too sticky. Cover, put in a cool and dark place, and let sit a half-hour to an hour.

In the meantime, chop up your vegetables - anything you want. After yeast has risen, roll it out on a cookie sheet - but I prefer a baking stone. Preheat your oven to 375 or so. If you use a cookie sheet, cover it with cooking spray first. If you use a stone, cover it lightly with the whole wheat flour so it doesn't stick. You can roll out with a pin, but I find it easiest to simply push the dough across with my hands. It's good exercise for your hands and arms, actually.

After the dough is in place, place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Remove when golden brown spots appear.

Remove dough from the oven, cover with pizza sauce (a spoon works well to spread) and add some spices. Then, add your chopped veggies and pepperoni (sausage is good too). Then the cheese - crumbled cheeses first, then the mozzarella. Finally, top with mozzarella and tomatoes on the very top.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, but you need to watch it because time may vary. Remove from the oven when golden spots appear and the cheese gels.

Let sit 5 minutes and slice with a roller.

Background My parents made this recipe frequently when I grew up. It was more basic then: usually tomato paste and hamburger meat. I've fine-tuned it to seem slightly gourmet. Either way, it tastes healthy but wonderful, which can't be said of many pizzas I've tried. It might take you a while to perfect, but once you do, it will become one of your favorites. People will be impressed that you can make dough from scratch. It might even inspire you to try bread sometime. :)

Nutrition info: Approximately 250-300 calories per slice

Cheers! Recommended drinks: Red wine goes well with pizza, but stick to white in the summer. Beer is always a good companion - I personally recommend Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

Toppings This is obviously up to you. I usually prefer the peppers and onion, with tomato and even a little jalapeno for those who dare. Pepperoni is my favorite, but spicy sausage is great too. My sister prefers pineapple and sometimes Canadian bacon. Make it your own.

This is not a difficult recipe, but it can take a while. The first few tries will be the hardest. Then, you're home free, and people will be impressed. Enjoy!

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