Monday, May 24, 2010

44 Hour Pizza Dough (30 Minutes From Fridge To Plate)

I love homemade pizza (see exhibits A, B, C, and D), but it can be hard to find time to let the dough rise between assembly and baking. So, a recent New York Times article about allowing pizza dough to rest for 24 to 48 hours before baking appealed to me in terms of efficiency, rather than improved taste or texture.

I mixed up my dough on a Thursday evening (using my standard recipe from Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian), and then placed it in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. On Saturday afternoon, I came home, peeked into the fridge, and saw that the dough had risen nicely. The pizza was in the oven about 20 minutes later. Ten minutes after that, I was marveling at how much better a pizza crust that's rested for a couple of days really is. And not just because I was pleased to be eating a freshly-baked homemade pizza about a half-hour after I walked in the door (although that was nice, too).

The flavor and texture of the crust were lighter, even though it was the same recipe that I normally use. (The NYT used the word "nuanced" to describe the change in flavor, which sounds silly when applied to pizza crust but is, I think, accurate). The only downside is that I ate much more pizza than I normally would, because I kept wanting to "confirm" the difference.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spicy Lentil Stew (Mesir Wat) Part II

I am completely addicted to the spicy lentil stew I made a few weeks back. Turns out, it's even good for breakfast. And, it was one of the only things that made my head feel better during a recent cold/sinus infection.

The original recipe calls for four tablespoons of butter; two tablespoons of canola (or other vegetable) oil make a good substitute.

(Yes, the stew looks completely different in this photo than it did in the original post -- what can I say? -- the first photo was shabby.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Green Pizza (Pizza With Spinach, Mushrooms, and Garlic)

I've been experimenting with pizza toppings again. This combination includes a green sauce of pureed spinach, garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil, with mushrooms (and more garlic) and parmesan cheese on top.

Yes, I do like garlic. Why do you ask?

1 batch pizza dough
9-10 button mushrooms, washed and diced
16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
5 cloves of garlic, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
dash red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl, toss the diced mushrooms with 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

In a food processor, puree the frozen spinach with 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500F.

Lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil.

Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface, and transfer to the baking sheet.

Carefully spread the pureed spinach mixture over the pizza dough. Top with the mushrooms and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 500F for 6-12 minutes, monitoring carefully after the 6 minute mark.