Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sir Chomp-a-lot: Pizza Crazy!

So this post will eventually be about pizza. Scroll on down if you want to just get straight to the dough recipe. Real easy. Casual times pizza night. You'll feel like a little genius in the kitchen.

What is your favourite food? Burgers? Cake? A fancy French dish? Pad Thai? a crunchy, sour pickle?

I feel like I have so many favourites. I like to break it down categorically: savoury and sweet.

Sweet: definitely ice cream. I love ice cream. I love ice cream cakes, BIG TIME. I love ice cream sundaes, I love vanilla soft serve billowing out of a machine onto a pale, almost-tasteless cone. I even love that almost-tasteless cone, and how soft serve fills its every last hollow crevice. Chomp chomp. I'm an ice cream maniac.

But I also love a beautiful slice of pie, with a buttery perfect crust, fruit and sugar caramelized inside, topped with... sure, a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Frozen yogurt? Bring it on. It was my dream when I was twelve years old to work at a frozen yogurt shop. I even had an interview, but because my parents only allowed me to work one day a week, the job went to another twelve year old eager beaver. Sad. Frozen yogurt pre-formed into icy blocks get unwrapped and placed into a machine, frozen fruit is thrown in... it mixes with the pull of a handle and out blobs swirls of perfection.

A perfect, rich with cocoa-powder and fudgey brownie? Yes please. But don't make it too cakey or I'll be realllly sad.

Annnnnd what about a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, crisp on the bottom with melty chocolate chips?

Yes, yes and yes again. I am nuts about treats. (I also like nuts - toasted almonds, walnuts in my salad, caramelized pecans, peanut butter out of the jar...)

I'm also nuts about savoury items.

Crunchy salty, thick ridged chips, or the kettle-cooked variety? Friggin' popcorn with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, melted butter and nutritional yeast (ok, and Sciracha hot sauce).

But perhaps one food that I can really go for again and again: PIZZA. Love it. Love the tang of the tomato sauce, the crispness/chewiness/burntness of a perfect crust. Cheese bubbling from a hot wood fired oven. Maybe some fresh arugula and basil thrown on top. I made a pretty good pizza the other day which I will share with you... the reason for this post... a nice and simple pizza that will shine even harder when crisp-baked on a pizza stone.

Super Simple As-You-Like-It Pizza

Place your pizza stone or pizza tile or pizza whatever in the oven. Blast the oven on to 500 degrees. Let stone heat up BIG TIME before you put your pizza on. Turn oven down to 425 when it's time to bake your pizza.

Easy tip: I roll out my pizza dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, which makes it super easy to transfer to the pizza stone - I just bake it on the paper too, on top of the stone. Still crisps up no problem.


1. In a bowl, combine 1.5 teaspoons of active yeast with 3/4 cups of warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Leave to hang out and mingle for ten minutes.

2. In a large bowl, mix to combine 2 cups of pizza flour (00 flour - or all purpose flour is fine too) and 1 teaspoon of salt .

3. Pour yeast mixture into the flour mixture with a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil. Form into a dough and knead for a good few minutes. Form into a ball and set bowl aside (covered with a damp tea-towel) to rise for 1 hour in a warm spot.

4. After 1 hour, knead again and let sit for another hour (if you have the time). If you're super hungry and feeling too impatient to re-knead, I've totally just rolled out my dough and dressed my pizza at this point - and if you're not type-A-pizza then you can go ahead and bake it!


San Marzano tomatoes, crushed up, with sea salt. You can find these canned at your grocery store, or a specialty Italian grocery.

Fresh balls of white mozzarella, sliced.

Basil leaves, torn and tossed right on.

Oven-dried cherry tomatoes. Set your oven to 325, slice cherry tomatoes in two and place on a parchment-paper covered baking sheet. Let dry for 1 hour in the oven (may as well do this while the pizza dough is rising!) These are so easy to make, and are total flavour blasts!

A sprinkle or some super-thin slices of salty parmigiano reggiano.

Arugula leaves, thrown right on top once the pizza comes out.

Toasted pine nuts! A total winner!

A typical pizza (duh) starts with tomatoes or tomato sauce (you can even use a can of store-bought pizza sauce), then throw on your toppings, and pop in the oven.

Bake your pizza at 425 degrees (turned down from the inital 500 degrees) for 7-10 minutes, watching closely to ensure it doesn't burn.

My pizza I made: tomato sauce, oven dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, sliced spicy veggie Tofurkey sausage, fresh basil leaves, blobs of goat cheese and a light sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano, fresh arugula added post-bake.

Chompity chomp chomp. Dinner was good. Pizza is easy. Until next time...! xo
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