Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This ain't no Chuck E Cheese

So our house may be over run by large playful animals. And we may have more than our fair share of toys and games strewn about, but that is where the similarities end. Sure we like pizza. But we like real pizza. Thin slightly crispy crust, lightly sauced, covered with a light layer of cheese. Personally I like all pizza, even the bad stuff. That's just who I am, but Mr. Dog is a bit of a pizza snob. He likes my pizza, and that's about it. I'll take it as a compliment, even if that compliment means I have to actually do a fair amount of work in order to enjoy my pizza addiction.

Pizza Dough:
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups cake flour (not self rising)
4 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp salt

Mix together and let sit in a bowl coated with olive oil in a warm draft free place for at least 40 minutes. You can then punch it down and go for a second rise, or if you're impatient, like me, you can divide it into 4 balls and shape the dough for your crust. (I put two of them away in large freezer bags for later use. Just set them in the fridge the night before you want to make pizza and let them thaw. Shape them, top them and bake them. Easy!)

Preheat your oven to 500.

For toppings, you can use whatever you like.
What do we like? Aw, aren't you sweet for asking! Well last week we made two winners.
One was topped with Arugula Pesto and toasted Walnuts (yes my kids eat this, they scarf it right down!) and another with smoked salmon and capers.

Lemony Arugula Pesto
1 bag of arugula leaves (I'm real lazy so I get the prewashed kind at Trader Joe's, but if you're more into the labor of cooking, feel free to wash your own, just make sure it is dry before you get started with the pesto making)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp walnut oil (or you can just use more olive oil if you don't have it)
3 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnuts (put walnuts in a pan on the stove over medium heat until you can smell their walnutty goodness. It's that easy)

Put all of the ingredients into your food processor, or if you're a poor bastard like me who still only has a blender, then drop all the ingredients in there. Pulse until it is all pesto-y. If you need more oil, add it. Season with a bit of kosher salt.

This goes great on pizza, just top with a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, toss a few of your toasted walnuts on top and bake until it is browned and bubbly good.

The pesto goes great on sandwiches too, or is really nice just spread on a thick slice of country style bread. It keeps about 2 weeks in the fridge, just keep a little layer of oil over the top.

For the second pizza, I used a more traditional pizza sauce, tomato paste, olive oil, garlic and oregano. Topped it with cubes of wood-smoked local salmon and capers, covered that all over with mozzarella and baked it. Easy as, well, pizza.