Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Margarita Pizza

I found this recipe from the Food Network website. It was good, but not the best--or anywhere close to that. It's really easy though, and tastes better than frozen margarita pizza's.

The Margarita Pizza is particularly interesting since it's a very basic pizza composed of tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. The history behind this pizza is that it was named after Margherita of Savoy in 1889 who loved this dish, which was previously considered a poor man's food. The pizza is supposed to be symbolic of the Italian flag in it's colors (red tomato, white mozzarella and green basil).

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to grease pan
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand crushed (recommended: San Marzano)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe fresh pizza dough, recipe follows
  • 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, water drained
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put a jelly roll pan or a half sheet pan in the oven.

Begin by making the tomato sauce. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the minced garlic, thyme and oregano. Cook until just fragrant then add the crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Lower the heat and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes to reduce and concentrate the flavor. Shut off the heat and set aside.

Take the preheated jelly roll pan out of the oven and drizzle some olive oil over the entire surface. Cut the dough into 2 pieces and reserve 1 piece for another use. Stretch the pizza dough out so it is just bigger than the pan, then lay it inside the pan, so the dough comes up the sides to form a crust on the rim. Smear with tomato sauce then tear up the mozzarella and scatter it evenly over the top of the pie. Tear the basil leaves, spread them over the top and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Give it a final season with salt and pepper, to taste, then bake in the hot oven until golden and bubbly, about 15 to 18 minutes

Remove from the oven, cut into slices and serve.

P.S. Pictures for all previous posts coming soon--my USB cord has been taken hostage.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pizza Dough

California Pizza Kitchen Pizza Dough

A few years back, California Pizza Kitchen shared their restaurant recipe's on their website. Luckily, a few smart people (including my dad) saved the recipe in fear that CPK would one day take down their recipe. Surely enough, with their rising popularity, CPK eventually took off their secret recipe.

1 Teaspoon active dry yeas
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water
1 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and let it proof for 5 to 10 minutes. The yeast should have a little island of fizz/bubbles before you start. (if you're using instant yeast dissolve it in the water and skip the proof).
  2. In a separate bowl mix all of the dry ingredients and create a little well in the middle. Dump your yeast mixture and the olive oil into the well and stir with either your fingers or a wooden spoon.
  3. Once a lumpy kind of dough forms lightly oil your hands and start to knead the ball. Knead it for at least 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth but slightly tacky.
  4. Lightly coat the ball in olive oil and place in an airtight container, allow to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. You can use the dough at this point, but for a finer texture and a nice, mellow sort of tang do the following: Deflate the dough, bunch it back up into a ball, put it back into the container, and stow it in your refrigerator overnight.
  6. About 2 hours before you're going to make your pizza remove the dough from the refrigerator, deflate again, and split into 2 equal portions. Roll both portions into balls, sealing any cracks as tightly as possible. Place the new dough balls on opposite sides of a shallow dish and cover with plastic wrap. Let them sit at room temperature for the aforementioned 2 hours (they'll be much easier to shape).
  7. After this just heat your pizza stone (or failing that, the floor of your oven with both racks taken out) to 500 degrees F, roll out your dough balls, top them, and slide them into the oven using a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel (or failing that, anything smooth and thin enough to maneuver, like a cutting board).
  8. Your pizzas will cook very quickly, so it's easier to just eyeball their progress than try to time them.
Recipe Source: Recipezaar

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

French Egg Custard

Ceufs Au Lait

Custard dates back to the Middle Ages where it was used as filling for pies and pastries. It wasn’t until the 1840’s that there was a distinction between American and European custard.

The recipe below is a basic egg custard with simple ingredients, directions and a great taste.

2 cups milk
4 tablespoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten

1. In a nonstick small pot, place milk, vanilla extract and sugar on medium heat.
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
3. Place 4 eggs in a medium bowl and lightly beat.
4. When the milk in the pot comes to a bowl, remove it from the stove.
5. Add the eggs to the milk, whisking constantly until an even texture forms.
6. Pour the custard into an oven friendly dish or ramekin and place it in a roasting dish halfway filled with hot water.
7. Bake in oven for 45 minutes.

Note: I had to bake it for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I would test the custard until it's custard like in texture. Not sure if it's a flaw in the recipe or my oven.

Recipe Source: I Know How to Cook

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