flat bread veggie pizza

It’s what’s for dinner.

Making flat bread involves a couple more steps than the ones used to make a plain old pizza – but boy is it worth it! I started with the Plain Old Pizza Dough recipe and after letting it rise, I simply rolled it out as flat as I could and placed it on a greased baking sheet. Then, I pricked the surface with a fork – all over – and brushed on some olive oil.  After a sprinkling of garlic powder and sea salt, the flat bread went into the oven (preheated to 375 degrees) for about 15 minutes, or until the crust was lightly browned.

While it was baking, I chopped up and sauteed some onions, sweet red peppers, yellow crooked neck squash, fresh tomatoes, garlic and spinach. When the crust came out of the oven, the veggies got spread around on top and then lightly blanketed with slices of fresh mozzarella. I turned the oven onto Broil and popped the whole thing back in the oven for another five minutes or so, just until the cheese had melted and begun to bubble.

It was incredible.

Incredible, I say. The crust was thin and firm and the veggies were tasty mellow and the whole thing was garlicky and cheesy and yet rather healthy and quick, especially if you make the dough ahead of time. This meal is definitely going to be repeated in the near future!

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Pizza revisited

Howdy, folks…. As you may or may not know, I am a sales clerk by day, knitter/blogger by night and a food columnist every other week on Sundays. I usually use blog posts from the week cleaned up for the columns, and I thought I would repost this one on Pizza, since it tidied up rather decent-like 😉 Enjoy!

Pizza Love

I don’t think I’ve ever met a pizza I didn’t like, unless you are talking about the pizza-flavored food they served at my old elementary school. I think taking a surprise math test was preferable to Pizza Wednesdays.

Happily, I’ve been done with elementary school for some time now and have more than made up for my negative pizza memories with many happy ones. I’ve had enough good pizza to satisfy any rational person for a lifetime, but I am ever seeking another excellent pizza experience.

My latest pizza revelation came in my own kitchen, when I decided to buck up and make my own. You can insert your own dramatic background music, if you please. I’ve had everyone else’s pizza, but had no idea what my own might taste like, so the other night I got out my big baking sheet and mozzarella cheese and made pizza for the first time.

The Dough

In a bowl, put 1/4 cup of warm water. Add 2 teaspoons of dry yeast (or two packages, if you are using it pre-measured) and then let it ‘proof’ for five minutes, or until the yeast is bubbling a little bit.

Add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 cup more warm water. In another larger bowl, mix together 2 1/4 cups of flour with 1 teaspoon of salt. I like using half whole wheat and half all purpose white flour, but feel free to use all white or all wheat or whatever combination suits you.

Mound up the flour in your bowl and make an indentation in the middle, then pour the liquid into the mound. Using your fingers, or a strong spatula, begin to mix the flour into the liquid. It’s going to seem too dry, but mix a while longer then dump it onto a clean work surface and begin to knead. It will soon become a smooth and tidy ball of dough. Keep kneading until the dough is quite elastic – this is the bonus therapeutic aspect to pizza making, and then cover it with a piece of plastic and set it aside for 30 minutes so that it can rest and recuperate.

Take this time to decide what you want on your pizza. Are you are you a plain-Jane, classic, mozzarella and pepperoni type? Are you an eclectic, buffalo chicken with blue cheese sauce type? Or maybe you are a comfortable in-between, tomato slices with bits of bacon and sauteed onions. Whatever you have decided, prep it now while the dough is rising. I made two pizzas, one with three cheeses (parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella) and the other with sausage, onion and mozzarella. Oh my. The possibilities are so numerous, so enticing, I declare you could make pizza every night for a month and not exhaust the options, nor tire of pizza in general.

Now that you have decided how to decorate your pie and 30 minutes have run out, look at your lovely dough, all swollen and ready to be formed. This is the fun part, the part where children and spouses and next door neighbors appear out of thin air to try their hand at pizza tossing. With any luck, you will end up with a flattish piece of dough that looks something like a pizza. Perfect is not the goal – fun is. People who want symmetrical pizzas can get them in the freezer aisle – we are not those people. Freeform pizza *IS* the best pizza.

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees and grease a baking sheet with some olive oil. Place your formed dough on the sheet and then adorn it with deliciousness. Layer it up with sauces, meats, veggies, cheeses, fruit – anything your heart desires. There is no right or wrong way to do this, as a home chef you have the right to freedom in culinary pursuits.

The pizza gets sent to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the crust has browned. Then – it’s time to eat, and I don’t think you’ll be needing me to tell you how to do that!  Enjoy!

finally, a post about pizza

Well, my threats weren’t so idle after all.

I’ve been threatening to make pizza for weeks now, and last night I finally did it. I made pizza.

Ta-Da!

How exciting. I love a good pizza pie, be it decorated with a garden of veggies or a simple smattering of greasy pepperoni. I like it hot and stringy *almost* as much as I like it cold and stiff the next morning. Yes, I am that “eating pizza for breakfast” person, and I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve enjoyed pizza with warm root beer and I’ve had it with a few sips of expensive red wine and I must say that it is one of those perfect foods that can hold its own in any meal-time situation.

Pizza has presented itself to me in many different outfits over the years, I’ve had BBQ pulled pork pizza, loaded baked potato pizza, white pizza, red pizza (this is starting to sound like a cheesy Dr. Seuss book…) bacon and red onion pizza, pizza with tomato sauce and pizza with seasoned sour cream – and I’ve loved them all. Funny, I never thought about it until just this moment – I really love pizza! Strange coming from the person who started life as a bizarre girl who would never eat the pizza served at class parties… what was wrong with me? Thank God we grow and change… I can’t say time has erased my tendency to be a bit bizarre, but I have grown into a more normal love of all things PIZZA.

Here they are, looking all good and ready to eat. I made two smallish sort of pies, one sausage and onion, the other topped with three cheeses; ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella.

Baking them was quite the trick in my little oven. The recipe said to preheat the oven to 475 degrees. That’s pretty hot and I honestly wondered if there was any chance the oven would simply combust from the pressure – but it didn’t. I had to improvise a little in order to bake them since I don’t have a stone, nor a baking sheet that is ‘useable’. My little baking tray, the only one we could find that fit in the funny oven, has been systematically destroyed over the last six months. I’m not sure how or why, but it’s warped and bucked and the finish is peeling off.

Strange.

So, I’ve been wrapping it in foil when I need a cookie sheet, and that seems to work pretty well. It did a more than satisfactory job baking these pizzas!

Pizza Dough

2 teaspoons dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water

2 1/4 cups flour (I used half whole wheat and half all purpose)

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil

I doubled the recipe and after it had been kneaded up and proofed, I split it and put half in the fridge for another day. It worked *fabulously*. I know it seems like a little thing, but it thrilled me to death to have the dough already worked up in the fridge, waiting for me to just roll it out and top it. Perfect!

The yeast gets proofed in 1/4 cup of the warm water until it has dissolved and started to bubble a bit. Then, sift together the flour and salt. Now you’re going to add all the rest of the ingredients, including the proofed yeast, to the flour and start mixing. The dough is going to seem dry at first – I checked and double checked my recipe – but that’s how it is supposed to be. Dump it out on your kneading surface and start kneading. It will quickly become a smooth, rather firm dough. Now you can form it however you like and add your toppings.

** This is the fun part, I might add. The part where my husband comes wandering into the kitchen from the living room where he has been working out (oh my), admires my handiwork then grabs a hunk of the dough and proceeds to try to ‘throw’ it like a professional pizza maker. Hilarity ensues. Have you ever seen the I Love Lucy episode when she tries to make pizzas? It was kind of like that.

Toppings

The sky really is the limit, folks. You can top your pizza with just about anything you desire – but I don’t have to tell you that! We did sausage and onions and cheese – but there’s no end to options. Any veggie under the sun would be a welcomed addition, as well as bacon, ham, pulled pork, chicken… you get the idea. I *insisted* that we buy a little ball of fresh mozzarella at the store so we could use it on our pizzas and boy was it worth it! I say that like it was wicked expensive, but it really wasn’t. It *tastes* wicked expensive!

For the sauce, I simply pureed some of the chunky spaghetti sauce I had made earlier in the week. I know they sell pizza sauce in the store ready made too, and you could probable get a pretty decent tasting one. OR – *or* just use some sliced tomatoes and fresh herbs – it will sauce itself right up and be *Rustic* which is awesome.

The pies bake at 475 degrees for 10-15 minutes and then they are ready to eat – YAY!

It took me a while to get around to it, but Pizza has been made.