Pizza: Round Two

It was so pretty until I slid it onto the pizza stone in the oven. Next time I’ll use more cornmeal on the pizza peel so that it slides off more easily. It was pretty darn tasty though!

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Valentine’s Day

Last night Alex and I continued our tradition of eating pizza to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In years past we’ve tried Gialina and Delfina in SF and Via Tribunali in Seattle. It’s hard to imagine that this was our seventh Valentine’s Day together. Instead of going out, we opted to make our own pizza. Well, Alex made it and I ate it. As you can see below, he did a great job!

It was a delicious concoction of taleggio cheese, garlic, parmesan cheese, white beans, and radicchio. The recipe was inspired from one we’d made in the past. Tonight I’m going to use up the rest of the dough and try to make a margherita pizza. Stay tuned for hideous photos…

For dessert, I made Nigella Lawson’s molten chocolate babycakes which are always a win. I added some fresh strawberries (no winter in California = strawberry season in February!) and vanilla ice cream and we were licking our bowls clean in minutes.

Recipe, courtesy of Nigella

  • 1/4 cup soft unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 12 ounces best dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 6 individual pudding moulds, buttered baking parchment
  1. Unless you are making these up in advance, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, putting in a baking sheet at the same time. Lay 3 of the molds on a sheet of doubled baking parchment. Draw round them, remove, and then cut out the discs as marked. Press them all into the base of the tins.
  2. Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly. Cream together the butter and sugar, and gradually beat in the eggs and salt, then the vanilla. Now add the flour, and when all is smoothly combined scrape in the cooled chocolate, blending it to a smooth batter.
  3. Divide the batter between the 6 moulds, quickly whip the baking sheet out of the oven, arrange the little tins on it and replace in the oven.
  4. Cook for 10-12 minutes (the extra 2 minutes will be needed if the puddings are fridge-cold when you start) and as soon as you take them out of the oven, tip out these luscious babycakes onto small plates or shallow bowls.
  5. Serve these with whipped double cream, the same unwhipped in a jug, creme fraiche, creme anglaise or vanilla ice cream.

Asparagus Pizza and Strawberry Gelato

More spring treats! For tonight’s pizza, I planned the toppings and Alex shaped the dough. We had friends over for dinner so I didn’t take any photos. It’s so much more fun to chat and eat than it is to spend five minutes taking a photo that isn’t all that great anyway. Instead, I’m including the photos from the websites where I found the original recipes. However, if I may say so myself, my own versions weren’t so ugly. Though my photography would have been!

Asparagus Pizza from Smitten Kitchen (Photo by Smitten Kitchen)

Strawberry Gelato from Martha Rose Shulman’s Recipes for Health section in the NYT (Photo by Andrew Scrivani for NYT)

The only changes we made were to use our own pizza dough recipe and to use fresh berries for the gelato. I served two scoops (hey, it did say recipes for “health”) over fresh berries. YUM.

Pretty Pizza

Alex made a gorgeous pizza tonight that I couldn’t resist sharing (in the photography sense, you better believe we ate the entire thing). How lucky am I?

Playing with pizza

Last night we brought out the pizza stone to experiment with pizza. Because we don’t make it often, we have never perfected the art of making one that actually *looks* like a pizza. Here is our “creation” back in 2007 when we first had a go at it:

The amoeba

The amoeba

3 years later…

The pizza

The pizza

Mine still look like the amoeba but Alex has clearly perfected the pizza shape.

Lucky for us, the dough is always delicious. (Big thank you to Rick and Deb.) You mix 3 cups flour, 1 cup warm water, 1 envelope rapid rise yeast, 2 TB olive oil, 1 TB honey, and 1 tsp salt and knead them in a mixer with a dough hook for a few minutes until everything comes together. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel for an hour to rise. This will yield 2 individual size pizzas.

We used the following two topping recipes and they were fantastic. I’ll definitely be making these again soon as I continue to attempt to make a normal looking pizza.

Spinach, White Bean, and Taleggio Pizza

1 ball of pizza dough (see recipe link above)
olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 to 5 ounces taleggio, sliced or pinched off into small bits
1/4 cup white beans
parmesan cheese
4 ounces fresh spinach (we used baby spinach leaves)

Spread a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over the dough, then evenly scatter the garlic, taleggio, and white beans. Grate a bit of parmesan over the pizza (you should need very little, about an ounce). Toss the spinach in a large bowl with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Because it’s hard to slide a heavy pizza off of a cookie sheet or peel, and because you’re going to have a mound of loose spinach leaves that tend to fly off when you shake it, transfer the pizza to the hot stone BEFORE adding the spinach.

Once you’ve transfered the pizza to the pizza stone, pull out the oven rack (if you haven’t already) and gently mound the spinach leaves in the center of the pizza. Close the oven and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the crust is brown on the edges and the spinach is wilted.

The second pizza was based off of a recipe from Bon Appetit. Instead of chanterelle mushrooms, radicchio, and pancetta, we used cremini mushrooms, endive, and pancetta which made for a very tasty pizza.