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Posts Tagged ‘pizza’

Meatfree Recipe: Perfect Pizza Crust

People tend to not realize pizza’s versatility.  When it’s home-made, you can actually make sure it is quite healthy, including being low-fat and low-calorie.  It all comes down to what you put on it and what type of crust you make.  There’s red pizza (using marinara for sauce) white pizza (using olive oil and garlic for sauce) and pesto pizza (obviously using pesto for sauce).  You can put pretty much any veggie on top of pizza.  If it’s something that takes longer to cook, like broccoli, just quickly boil it for a couple of minutes to prep before slicing it up and putting it on the pizza.  Even carrots and potatoes can go on the pizza.  Just grate them up and put them on right after the sauce.  The super-thin slices couples with the sauce makes them cook by the time you take the pizza out of the oven.  Also, don’t be afraid to put beans on your pizza for extra protein!  I’ve put everything from chickpeas to black beans on mine.

It took much experimenting with many pizza crust recipes and a bit of tweaking on the one I finally found that was close to what I wanted.  The crust is the core of the pizza, so I present to you–the perfect pizza crust.

The Result:
A wonderful warm, slightly crunchy, slighty bready, tinged with rosemary crust that perfectly holds its own to however many or few toppings you want.  It works for thin or thick crust.  If you want thin crust, either roll it out super thin and use a large pizza pan or divide it into two and make two regular-sized pizzas.  For thicker crust, just roll it out to a regular pizza-size.

The Recipe:
1 cup warm water
1 packet yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
2 Tablespoons olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/8 cup white flour
More flour for rolling out the dough

Put the water in a large bowl.  Add the yeast and the sugar.  Allow the yeast to work for about a minute.

Add in olive oil, rosemary, whole wheat flour, and white flour.

Mix.  I use a hand-held electric dough hook, but it works by hand or with a real electric mixer too.  If you’re using a dough hook, the dough is ready when it starts to climb up the hook.  If you’re doing it by hand, it’s when the dough is no longer watery but still kind of sticky.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl in a warm location.  I use my microwave, personally.  Allow to rise for 30 to 45 minutes.  45 minutes is better, but if you’re pressed for time, 30 minutes is ok.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prep your toppings.

Spread out flour on a surface.  Flour your rolling pin.  Plop the dough on the surface.  Flip it a few times to spread out the flour.  Roll to your desired size.

Top with whatever toppings you want.

Cook for 15 to 25 minutes.  How long depends on how many toppings you put on/what your oven is like/what mood the dough is in.

Enjoy!

Source: Tweaked recipe from Emeril Lagasse

Friday Fun! (Nina’s Back, Refunds, and Gardening)

March 5, 2010 4 comments

This was a busy, but overall fun week for me.  One of my closest friends, Nina, was on a two month trip to Israel, and this week she returned home!  (She kept a blog of her trip, check it out!)  She and one of my other good friends came over Wednesday night, and we all cooked together.  Well, Nina and I did. E was the cheering squad. Also, she brought the chocolate.  Nina made tehini the way they do in Israel, and we had that with whole wheat bread for an appetizer.  It’s a lot like hummus, only more bitter.  For dinner we had whole wheat crust pizza topped with vodka sauce, marinated tempeh, shredded carrots, avocado, onions, spinach, and cheese.  You guys, vodka sauce lends such a nice sweetness to a pizza.  Swoon.  Also, Nina brought me a lovely tapestry from Israel.   I believe she said it was made by the tent dwelling Arabs, but I was also tipsy when she gave it to me, so I could totally be wrong about that.  Although it is many colors, it is predominantly a vibrant shade of red with hints of black, so it will go really well with my living room.  I’m so happy Nina is back, and she and E are going to be roommates, so I’ll be seeing much more of both of them.

In tidbits of news, my state refund came in, so there’ll be a bit of shopping this weekend.  I was going to get a Wii, but I think I’ll wait for my federal refund for that.  Instead, I’ll probably get a new tv, mostly so I can finally hitch up my mac to it and stream Netflix.  Also, what’s the point of having a Wii if you’re playing on an old tv?  (Don’t worry, budgeting types, some of the money will be going into savings and some into the terrifying undergrad debt).

I’ve decided (partly spurred on by my librarian friend, Kristi, check her blog out), that come hell or high water I will get some gardening done this year in spite of the fact that I have neither yard nor balcony and a kitty who is very determined not to share windowsills.  I found a windowbox that is a bit sturdier and fits on the windowsill better, so hopefully she won’t knock it off.  I’ve also got some other ideas up my sleeve (such as the topsy/turvy planting thing).  I’m planning on growing tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and strawberries.  I’m also considering potatoes via an indoor method Nina learned about in Israel.  I am, however, known to have a brown thumb, so hopefully this pursuit won’t be in vain.

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday Fun! (Me vs. Turnip Greens)

January 22, 2010 8 comments

Upon the realization that my budget went flying out the window in the last six months of 2009, I decided it was high time to get frugal again.  This of course was spurred on when I got my annual free credit report and saw my student debt all summarized in one place.  Anyway, to this budgeting end, I got two apps for my iTouch–Budget and SpendLite.  I used Budget to outline my monthly budget.  This left me with a set amount for food/necessities and one for fun.  I added those two numbers together, divided by four, and there you have my weekly fun/food/necessities allowance which I plugged into SpendLite.  I can add new expenses right on it as I go without having to save receipts and it automatically subtracts it for me.  A world where I have to do less math is a world I like.

Anyway, so to this end, I realized I need to go back to the creative cooking that I established in my super-poor student days.  I’m also attempting to eat more seasonally, as you guys know, because it’s cheaper and it exposes me to new foods.  This week when I was grocery shopping, I came armed with a list of seasonal veggies–sweet potatoes, turnips, butternut squash, and kale.  I quickly found the sweet potatoes and decided against butternut squash since I still had a backpile of frozen butternut squash ravivolis made last week.  The turnips were disturbingly pre-cut and individually shrink-wrapped. WTF?!  They looked like little deformed heads in shrinkwrap.  Kinda like the heads in Futurama only without all that fun water to bounce around in.

Defeated in the turnip arena, I decided to brave the leafy green land of kale.  One of my best friends loves kale and insists it’s easy enough to stir-fry up, so I approached the leafy green portion of the produce aisle that I usually give the evil eye to as I walk by.  The problem with my grocery store is that it sticks labels of what the leafy greens are on the top in a manner that seems to have zero bearing on the leafy greens down below.  You’d think that the lables would be in the same order as the leafy greens, but apparently not.  After much searching, I decided that I’d probably found the kale.  It was leafy.  It was green.  It looked fresh.  It had a produce number on it, which the signs unfortunately didn’t have, but this meant I could type in the produce number at the self-checkout and be sure.

Upon arrival at the self-checkout, I typed in the produce number, and it informs me that I just bought around $1.50 worth of turnip greens.

Turnip greens?! What the fuck is a turnip green?!

However, the practical and very cheap portion of my mind reminded me that turnips are in season so probably the greens are too, and did I notice that this was only costing me $1.50?  So I bought it.  Plus removing things you’ve already keyed in at self-checkout is just annoying.

Using my mad librarian skizzillz, I discovered that most greens are cooked pretty similarly and that on the bitterness scale (what kind of veggie *needs* a bitterness scale?!) it is more bitter than spinach.  Erm, ok.  The next night, I had already determined to make pizza for dinner.  The only veggies I had to put on it were sweet potatoes, black beans, turnip greens, and red potatoes.  I learned from Vegan with a Vengeance that you can put potato on pizza if you thinly slice it and place give it enough oil to soak up to keep from being crunchy.  I’d done that before, and it was amazing.  Sweet potato, black beans, and cheese does not a filling pizza make, imho, so I pulled up info on cooking turnip greens on the interweb.  Apparently you can make greens less bitter by quickly boiling them for a few minutes prior to cooking them in whatever you want to cook them in.  Using copious amounts of garlic was also recommended.  The number one recommendation though was to add pork grease.  Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen, and I couldn’t help but wonder how bad these greens taste if you have to soak them in what essentially equals bacon grease.  But I soldiered on.

I took the huge leaves, ripped two in half, and put them to boiling.  Guys, turnip greens do not have a pleasant aroma when cooking.  It was like smelling armpits.  I drained them, stuck them on a cutting board, and soaked them with lemon juice.  I read somewhere that putting lemon juice on spinach draws out the iron, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt the turnip greens.  I then stood staring at them trying to determine the best method for the pizza.

Since the sweet potato slices have to be on the bottom of the white pizza to soak up the oil, I decided to do the herbs, garlic, and oil, then sweet potato, then ripped up bits of turnip greens topped with more garlic, followed by black beans and three kinds of cheese.  One thing the interwebs didn’t tell me is that turnip greens are kinda stringy.  I tossed the stems that extend up into the leaves ad infinitum and placed the pieces on the pizza.  I crossed my fingers after assembling and stuck the whole thing in the oven.

Surprise, surprise, the pizza was a success!  It was yummy and garlicky and the greens cooked to perfection sandwiched between sweet potatoes and garlic.  I’m still not sure how I feel about a veggie that smells like armpits when you cook it and that needs to be soaked in other things, like garlic, to taste good.  In any case, I still have about 10 leaves to use up somehow over the next week.

Happy weekend guys!