Saturday, April 24, 2010

Birthday Pizza with friends

We had a great time last night! My BFF Cathy and her husband George are always fun and I hope they enjoyed the pizza as much as I enjoy making it! I checked face book this morning and laughed that one of Cathy's friends asked where the wood fired pizza place was that she went to on Friday night. The favorite word of the night was "skin huckster" and George and Karl will be trying to compete for the most Mustang horsepower for the rest of the summer. Cathy and George brought me a cool birthday wine glass and a bottle of wine to go with it for my birthday! The Martha Stewart birthday card was great but I am not going to be knitting my gray hair just yet! Sorry Martha I choose to color them...
I made the Mediterranean Pizza and it was pretty good although not what Karl likes. He still prefers a traditional pizza. The real hit was Apple Pizza for dessert, I took the Pampered Chef recipe with sugar cookie dough and made it wood fired. I really like the Balsamic glaze I used for the Mediterranean pizza and will try it again with chicken next time.
Here are the recipes and the next time I make Apple pizza I am going to use pizza dough and bake the toppings with the dough. I think it will be close to a Apple pie taste and I think a crumb topping would go well with it.

Carmel Apple Pizza

1 package (18 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 medium Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
I spread the dough on a greased cookie sheet and we baked it in the wood fired oven for about 5 min. or until it looked nice and golden. Mix the cream cheese, vanilla,brown sugar and peanut butter and spread over baked cookie dough. slice the apples and soak in 7up, layer across the peanut butter cream cheese mix, top with caramel topping and peanuts.

Mediterranean Pizza

Cherry tomatoes sauteed in olive oil
Spinach (I used canned)
Feta and goat cheese
Fresh basil leaves
Balsamic glaze ( you can make your own by boiling balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, I used store bought)

Brush dough with olive oil. Top with tomatoes,spinach and cheeses and basil. Dribble balsamic glaze over top. Bake in wood fired pizza oven.

Apple Pizza

Great night making pizza for my birthday! I tried two new recipes and they were a huge success!
The Apple dessert Pizza I took from a Pampered Chef Recipe I have made many times in a regular oven and it was even better in the wood fired oven. The Mediterranean Pizza I made up from lots of research on line. I really like the Balsamic glaze and can't wait to try it on some dessert pizzas and I think it would be excellent with chicken on pizza. Broccoli and Ricotta cheese pizza seems to be the favorite around here lately. Here are the recipes for you to try in your wood fired oven.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Dough

The dough can be the tricky part of making a good pizza. Today I am making dough for pizza to celebrate my birthday with a pizza party on Friday night. I thought you might enjoy some pictures and some recipes. I like the cold delayed fermentation technique used by Peter Reinhart in his book American Pie. In fact this book is my favorite for learning about pizza and dough.
The cold delayed fermentation technique calls for the dough to be made the day before and allowing the fermentation process to slow down in the refrigerator. There is a lot more chemistry to the process and the book explains it well and makes it interesting. The only thing I really care about is the flavor and the nice golden crust you get by doing this! You could take your favorite dough recipe and put it in the fridge over night and I promise the flavor and the way the crust looks will surprise you. I will also include a great dough recipe that you can mix up and serve in about 30 min. I hope you try the cold fermentation way of making dough, you will find you have a sweeter crisp crust without that yeast taste of the quick dough recipe. I usually make 15 balls of dough and keep a few to use up in a couple days in the fridge and then freeze the rest for another day.
The recipe!
Pizza Americana Dough from Peter Reinhart's book American Pie

5 cups unbleached bread flour
3 TBSP Honey
2 teas kosher salt
2 teas instant yeast (bread machine yeast)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup milk (whole or low fat)
3/4 cup room temperature water (70* f)

combine all ingredients in a electric mixer with a dough hook on low speed for 4 min.
let the dough rest for 5 min.
mix again for an additional 2 min.
divide dough in 4 equal pieces , coat with olive oil and place each ball in it's own zippered freezer bag. Let the dough balls sit at room temp for 15 min. and then place in refrigerator over night.
remove the balls 2 hours before you plan to roll them out. At this time you can freeze any dough balls you wont be using.

The book American Pie has a much more detailed description and tips about the dough. You really should buy the book!

Quick Pizza Dough given to me by my friend Sandy

2 pkgs. dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water

In warm water dissolve yeast, sugar and salt. Let sit 5 min. Add flour and blend into dough ball. Coat with olive oil and let sit another 20 min. roll out dough and add toppings. Bake.

I hope you enjoy the recipes and the pizza. This Friday I am creating a Mediterranean Pizza with spinach, sweet peppers and a balsamic glaze Mmmm....
If it is a success I will share the recipe!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The first night we baked pizza the oven was not even done. Amanda and all her college friends came over and we had a great time! It rained and we had no oven tools. Karl used welding gloves and grill tongs to bake the pizza. I used Wegmans pizza dough and made all kinds of topping. Wegmans pizza dough is actually pretty good. I had a hard time rolling it out but since then I have learned a lot about pizza dough. You have to let the dough come to room temperature before rolling out, about 2 hours. If the dough is still hard to roll out and keeps springing back just walk away for 5 minutes and let the dough rest. When you return it should roll out nicely. I usually make 2 pies for each package of dough. I still remember that as the best pizza we ever made. I am not sure it was, but after a few drinks with college kids any thing taste great! Here are the pictures of the finished oven and the first burnt pie!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Welcome to my two followers! I know a friend and a daughter as your two followers is not exactly being popular but I am thrilled to have them!( My son needs to follow my blog because his sister gained points by being first). Today I am going to skip the completion of our oven and the pictures of the first time making pizza to tell you about my day.
It was not a great day but it ended with wood fired steak so that makes up for everything!
I spent about 3 hours on Kinko's "print your own brochures" site. They really do make a nice presentation and it was easy to use until it was time to save it.... I could not get it to work, so all my work for nothing. I was very upset because last night I finished knitting my first sweater and wanted to learn to block it and sew together. Oh well! Pictures of the sweater another day! ( I know it is a pizza site but from time to time it will also be other things!).
O.k. now to the steak! Mmmm it is so good and so easy in the brick oven. Karl made a handy long handle steak grate. It allows him to cook the steak without getting burned.
First he sprays it with a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking to the steak. Today I used a McCormick Steak Rub to prepare the steak (T-Bones today) and wrapped pre microwaved potatoes in foil. I like to pre cook the potatoes a little because the steak is done in only six minutes!
We or should I say Karl gets a nice hot fire going to get the oven warm and then just allows the hot coals for the actual steak cooking. He puts the potatoes in and the steaks on the grate. Then he puts the tongs he used on the raw steak back in the fire to sterilize them. I was pretty impressed that he thought to do that! Then the steaks go in over the hot coals and Amanda (our daughter) times the steaks for 3 min. each side! And that is it that simple! Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed the steak!