Thursday, January 21, 2010

Food: the results

I posted last week about some recipes I wanted to try, namely pizza and French Onion Soup (though not together).

First, the pizza dough: I usually make a whole wheat or half-half recipe, which is more healthy (I even put ground flax seeds in it, because I am a freak). It is really good, I can't complain... and yet there is something about regular white flour dough that is pretty tasty. There is a little pizza joint I love that makes awesome pizza and has really good crust so I was kind of looking for something similar (though it is hard to tell from a recipe or even the descriptions how it is going to turn out). I had found a recipe from the book American Pie by Peter Reinhart and decided to try it.

The interesting thing is that it goes against everything you thought you knew about yeast breads. There is no sugar, it is totally cold (chilled flour, ice water, and cold rise). I have seen cold rise recipes before, but always dissolving yeast in warm water/sugar first. It is pretty easy to mix together and then you just plop it in the fridge for 1-3 days. You let it sit on the counter for 2 hours before using it.

Let me tell you... I was very skeptical. It didn't rise at all, really, in the fridge and on the counter it just sat all lumpish. I thought for sure it was a no-go. I was thinking about plan B for dinner and hesitated to even prepare the pizza toppings. I kept looking at it thinking it wasn't going to work.

Well it did. You are supposed to stretch it over your fists to shape it, and toss it if you can, which I can't... but it just falls over the sides of your fists and stretches like silk. It was so cool!! It can go super thin, which was a problem with the kids pizza (traditional sauce, mozzerella, zuchini, corn, and black olives) the crust was too thin in the middle.

I worked it out better for the next one and the two the next day turned out good too (I divided the dough into 4).

So the first day I copied the pizza I love from the joint I mentioned above (cilantro pesto--which was easy to make, mozzerella, buffalo chicken, red onion, banana peppers and a sprinkle of blue cheese) It turned out really good.

Here it is:

It tasted really similar, but I think their crust is better... so I am still on the prowl for the perfect crust. It might be an equipment issue too. I don't have a pizza stone or anything fancy... maybe that is my next cooking purchase.... or not, I'm already thinking of something else to make... My new plan is to go beg them for their recipe.

The next day I made the pizza from P-dub's new cookbook (PW= Pioneer Woman). You rub the crust with olive oil and cover it with a layer of potatoes cut paper-thin. Then you cover the potatoes with a layer of fresh mozzerella, also sliced. You cook some bacon and then saute several leeks in the bacon grease and throw all that on, then you top it off with some crumbled goat cheese (Feta) some grated parmesan and some black pepper. It. is. to. DIE. for! Seriously, I would never lead you astray when it comes to food... either would P-dub. I have a friend who said it sounded gross... I was so elated to inform her that she was grossly mistaken and have promised to make it for her so that I have an excuse to make it again. Anyone else want some?

We decided it is that potatoes are so good with a good unhealthy animal fat. If you are vegetarian, it would probably be just as good with a little more olive oil and a a sprinkling of my tears of sorrow that there would be no bacon...

Here is that one:

So my last adventure was French Onion Soup. It turned out really good. I made it and a salad as a light supper, but I think it is better served in a smaller portion as a first course. Toward the end I was all onion-ed out...

My favorite part is the Gruyere covered croutons... so good... and it always makes me so proud that I have come such a long way from my "only cheddar" days.

I am not very good at food photography... I'll have to look up some tips.

Next on my want-to-make list... homemade fettucine and maybe ravioli... if only I can get my hands on a pasta maker (to roll it).


mosey along said...

Hmmm. My dinner invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.

You have inspired me to try pizza dough. And forget the French Onion soup, all I want is the gruyere-covered croutons.


Danielle said...

Oh my gosh! All the food looks super good! I want to make pizza now too! Your food photos are perfectly adequate. Thanks for the inspiration.

Phoenix said...

That pizza looks incredible - I keep hearing all about the Pioneer Woman's recipes so I know at some point I gotta look her up.

Also, for us cheesaholics out there - you made it sound like goat cheese is feta cheese, but it's not - they are two very different cheeses :)