Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fool Proof Pan Pizza

I copied this recipe from Slice, a blog I link to on this site. Back in the pizza making mood and I do love cast iron skillets, I am thinking I might give this a shot. I had published a recipe for Nonna's Pizza earlier that has the same premise of a dough that is not kneaded, and then spread and cooked in an obscene amount of olive oil to basically 'fry' the crust. This looks similar. Now my lovely bride is not a big fan of pepperoni. In fact she likes the burger pizza the best but this calls for a lighter hand so perhaps some Sopressata or other salami.  Link is below:



 Fool Proof Pan Pizza


  • 400 grams (14 ounces, about 2 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 10 grams (.35 ounces, about 2 teaspoons) kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 4 grams (.15 ounces, about 1/2 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 275 grams (9.5 ounces, about 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) water
  • 8 grams (.25 ounces, about 2 teaspoons) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to coat pans and drizzle
  • 1 1/2 cups pizza sauce, such as our New York-style pizza sauce
  • 12 ounces grated full-fat, dry mozzarella cheese (see note above)
  • Toppings as desired
  • Small handful torn fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 2 ounces grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese (optional)


  1. 1
    Combine flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil in a large bowl. Mix with hands or a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains. The bowl should be at least 4 to 6 times to volume of the dough to account for rising.
  2. 2
    Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, making sure that edges are well-sealed, then let rest on the countertop for at least 8 hours and up to 24. Dough should rise dramatically and fill bowl.
  3. 3
    Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour, then transfer it to a well-floured work surface. Divide dough into two pieces and form each into a ball by holding it with well-floured hands and tucking the dough underneath itself, rotating it until it forms a tight ball.
  4. 4
    Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of two 10-inch cast iron skillet or round cake pans. (See note above). Place 1 ball of dough in each pan and turn to coat evenly with oil. Using a flat palm, press the dough around the pan, flattening it slightly and spreading oil around the entire bottom and edges of the pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough sit at room temperature for two hours. After the first hour, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 550°F.
  5. 5
    After two hours, dough should be mostly filling in the pan up to the edges. Use your fingertips to press it around until it fills in every corner, popping any large bubbles that appear. Lift up one edge of the dough to let any air bubbles underneath escape and repeat, moving around the dough until there are no air bubbles left underneath and the dough is evenly spread around the pan.
  6. 6
    Top each round of dough with 3/4 cup sauce, spreading the sauce with the back of a spoon into every corner. Spread evenly with mozzarella cheese, letting the cheese go all the way to the edges. Season with salt. Add other toppings as desired. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter a few basil leaves over the top (if desired)
  7. 7
    Transfer pan to oven and bak until top is golden brown and bubbly and bottom is golden brown and crisp when you lift it with a thin spatula, 12 to 15 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese. Using a thin spatula, loosen pizza and peek underneath. If bottom is not as crisp as desired, place pan over a burner and cook on medium heat, moving the pan around to cook evenly until it is crisp, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the pizzas and transfer to to a cutting board. Cut each one into six slices and serve immediately.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Home for the Holidays

We had various shifts and schedules to work around this year but it all seemed to work out for this best and we had a grand time no matter how little time we had.

The dinner was our usual NY Strip roast with Gene's potatoes and green beans. Simple yet filling. I made some rolls and a few beef sauces and we were in business. The hardest part was waiting for everyone to show. Since dinner was at 5, Brenda and I took in as show in the afternoon along with all the other old folks who were obviously empty nesters.

Genes potatoes are on the blog already and the Strip roast was just roasted at 400 with a salt crust. Didn't take long about 2 hours.

The rolls were a spin on "Lunch Lady Rolls" from Pinterest. I didn't have all the ingredients so I made it up as I went along and it was a chance to use my new Kitchen Aid.

2 cups of warm milk
4 T butter
1 egg
1 t salt
3 T sugar
1 cup warm water
2T yeast
6-7 cups flour

I made a soft dough and let it double. Punched down and rolled 1/4 inch thick rectangle. I cut the rectangle into 2 inch strips and cut the strips in half across the middle. I rolled them up and placed them seam side down on a greased pan. Rise again then bake 350 till golden.

Golden brown and light.

Here is the table scape of the day. Not bad.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Prepping for the weekend after Christmas

Now this does not usually happen to me but I had an epic fail last night. I was making stromboli's for the upcoming weekend. I had purchased pizza dough from Trader Joe's and planned to use it to make a few stromboli as well as the Rhodes Frozen Bread dough I had taken out of the freezer.

So my ambitious plan was to make a new stromboli with Italian sausage and salami and cheese. Sadly the dough was much less than  cooperative and the sandwich refused to roll up neatly and tore in several spots. Frustrated I simply threw it on a pan and baked it as is.  Tasty yet unsightly.

The second pizza dough fared better but I didn't roll it out so thinly and made a Muffletta stromboli with ham, cheese and green olives. Now this one looks pretty tasty.

Lastly, I had placed a beef roast in the crock pot before we left for church. A Yankee Pot Roast needs popovers or a Yorkshire pudding at least. I have a beautiful popover pan that I get a rare chance to use so I made popovers for dinner with the beef. Delish.


1 cup warm milk
2 eggs
2 T butter melted
1 t salt
1 cup AP flour

Preheat oven 400. Place popover pan in oven to heat with a teaspoon of butter in each pan.

Place warm milk, eggs and salt in a bowl and whisk till blended.  Add flour and butter, whisk till just combined. Pour into hot popover cups and bake for about 35-40 minutes.

Now, what to do with a leftover popover? They are dense and compact after a night in the fridge. Cut them in half, add a bit of butter and nuke them for 30 seconds. Kinda like scrambled eggs in a muffin. Tasty also.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Posting shortage

I got nothing. We are cooking but just ordinary things and nothing particularly new. Lots of small trips to the store and braving the cold weather.

Mackenzie sent me this photo after a session she had with Emily testing their skills in the odd light and wintry conditions of the day's snow storm. The picture is just fantastic and I have it as my screen saver at work.  It just makes my heart ache that our babies have grown into adults with their own lives and they gradually pull away from us. The time seemed to go so fast but seemed to last forever when they were little. Its amazing how they have prospered and developed careers. Mackenzie now a homeowner, Nicholas considering a move to Kansas to further his education in Anesthesia at KU. Benjamin trying to decide on a path within the scope of his career as a nurse. Realizing their dreams and making things happen and having the smarts to get it all done. Makes me want to start over and do it right this time but I am tired and feeling every year I have endured so far and looking forward to retirement that might never come.

We  decorated the mantle this year under the influence of Pinterest. Not sure how this little app has affected your life but it seems to dictate our style now, at least suggests things outside our wheel house.

Potluck Breasts

That title sounds so...nasty. In reality we are having a Potluck at work as we very frequently do and this time its for 'healthy' foods. We are making wraps so I volunteered to bring some meat in the form of turkey but not that deli stuff full of sodium and poison preservatives. I decided fresh meat would be best. Yay me?

It so happens that the local store had breasts for 79 cents a pound so I purchased 2  8 pounders, brined and roasted them rather quickly last night, sliced them thinly and it yielded about 10 pounds or better of cooked meat.  Just your basic brine of salt and sugar (hey, wait a minute, I suppose now they are full of sodium and sugar?) overnight with a bit of rosemary and peppercorns. So tasty (we had a bit last night)

Look at those perfectly crispy browned birds. No one to share them with but they are quite moist and tender and sliced beautifully. I packed them carefully in gallon bags and hauled them to work for the party. Lets hope everyone likes them.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spatchcocking the Bird

I read a lot about turkey prep this year. A lot. Brining wet or dry, brining at all? What to do with so many choices and ideas and divergent views. One poster swore that the wet brine diluted the flavor of the bird and should be avoided. I had a whole bird about 10 pounds and a breast about 9 pounds. I wet brined the bird and dry brined the breast.

I also read about the way of cooking to ensure the thighs and breast were at the proper temperature on the same bird. The breast needs to be about 150 to 165 while the thighs need a higher temp to be done. The poster suggested spatchcocking the bird  to ensure an even cooking in much less time. He was right on the money. I let the breast come to 145-150 while the thighs reached 165. Removal form the oven and covered, the temps climbed and additional 10 degrees or more. So how to spatchcock a bird?
Spatchcocked bird. I later placed it on a rack before roasting at 400 for about 60 minutes. Use a thermometer. The timer never popped (a good thing)

Remove its backbone, arrange it's legs and press down the breast till a satisfying crack is heard. Done. Super easy with a set of shears, just snip out the backbone.

The wet brined bird was by far juicier and tasty. The dry brined bird was also tasty but not quite so juicy but not dry at all. I am sticking with the wet brine but I sacrifice the crispy skin I could have if I had not soaked the bird in water for hours. Oh well, the skin is fleeting but the meat endures.

The brine this year? Salt, sugar, rosemary and an orange I had squeezed for the cranberries. Pretty simply, 24 hours. Juicy meat, seasoned well with a hint of sweetness. 


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