|Pancetta & Brussels Sprouts with Goat Cheese Pizza|
Recently, watching one of the Unique Eats shows on TV, someone was making pizza dough and all they really said was that it was made very simply, from flour, salt, yeast and water; the dough was formed into balls and refrigerated until needed. This sparked my curiosity, and I had been wanting to try this out. And then along came Peter Reinhart's book and there is a recipe for a very simple pizza dough that is formed into balls and kept refrigerated until needed. Serendipity, I'd say! So I made the dough a few days ago. The water called for is to be iced water, the dough is mixed and kneaded and formed into balls before refrigerating; check. The following day I got out two balls of dough and set them on the counter for the stipulated 2 hours before using them.
|Spinach Pizza: brush dough with EVOO, sprinkle with Parmesan, add spinach, top with Mozzarella|
|Spinach Pizza served|
That first day, I stretched the dough too far, making a slightly larger than 12-inch pizza. The book said 9 - 12 inches, but no more than that. The center of the dough was so thin you could read a paper through it, and there just wasn't enough dough there to support even the relatively scant toppings. Okay, it was my first time. I was overambitious with the stretching. On day 2 I kept a careful eye on the stretching, stopping at around 9 inches. I set this onto the pan (sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal) and gently lifted the edges, turning as I went and got the dough to a nice 12-inch circle. It had a bit more thickness in the center, as I was careful not to stretch that too much. The pizzas were far nicer and had a little more support. On day three I stretched the dough to about 11 inches total, and I liked the weight of those pizzas far more.
The baking was the other thing new. I had never, ever, set my oven so hot to make a pizza before. A temperature of 400 or 450 seemed too hot. Then again, my husband likes to plop all his pizza toppings toward the center of the pan, so that's a lot of thickness to get baked through. I don't use so many toppings on my pizza, generally, and I like to spread my toppings all the way to the edge. Still, the oven seemed too hot to bake the pizza through. With this new dough, and endeavoring to keep the toppings minimal, I set the oven to 500 on Convection (which is equivalent to 525 regular). The first night, with that very thin crust, I set the pan on the 2nd rack up from the bottom. The top of the pizza was definitely done, but on trying to cut, I found the center of the crust was still gummy and not quite done. On Day 2, I removed that 2nd shelf and set the pan on the lowest rack. At exactly 8 minutes the top was done. When I cut into the pizza the bottom crust was crisped. Success!
So, that is my pizza story. I am looking forward to doing this again, sometime soon. I am wondering how this pizza dough would perform if stretched only to about 8 or 9 inches and made on the grill? I love grilled pizza, so this is something I am looking forward to trying. In the meantime, I had been seeing various people on TV making pickled red onions. The recipes go all over the board from all white or cider vinegar and a LOT of sugar, to a very mild rice vinegar and only a tablespoon or so of sugar, to cooking them in the brine, to pouring the brine over raw onions - and on and on and on. I went a middle of the road route for my first effort. The red onions turn a beautiful bright pink. They keep their crunch but lose their "bite". They are excellent, and I ate some with my pizza last evening. Yum!
|Pickled Red Onions|
Pickled Red Onions
Makes 1 quart jar
2 red onions, sliced in 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick rings
4 cups boiling water
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 "true cinnamon" quill about 4-inches long
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
5 allspice berries
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 whole cloves
Place the sliced onions in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over, tossing to expose all the onions to the hot water; let stand two minutes and drain the onions in a colander. Pack the onions into a glass quart jar.
In a saucepan, combine the brine ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm before pouring over the onions in the jar. Seal the jar and refrigerate for at least a day before using.
|Red Onions: Raw - just brined - after 2 days|
My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.