You know what I am starting to miss? Being a renter! I want to go back in time to my former apartment-renter self and say, “Hey you! You know how on the weekends you like to sit on the couch and sip coffee while watching cooking shows and you won’t even have the slightest inkling that perhaps there’s something else you should be doing with your time? ENJOY THESE DAYS. Soon you’ll get out of bed and on the way to coffee machine be overwhelmed with projects that are left to be done and if you sit on the couch to watch 5 minutes of a show your subconscious will start to scream, “You’re falling behind!! The paint is peeling and the weeds are growing and dust is settling and you’re watching a TV show?? What is wrong with you?!?”
At least there is one room in the house where I finally feel like we are ahead of the game. Until a week ago I was coming home every day, resolute in the knowledge that I would once again be microwaving my dinner and staring longingly at photos from food blogs that were taking full advantage of their access to a functional kitchen. Although I’m over the moon with how it turned out, I won’t be volunteering to oversee anymore kitchen remodels in the near future. I also might very well start sleeping in the kitchen in an effort to avoid the rest of the house.
Since I’ve had my kitchen back, I’ve found myself wanting to cook nothing but my favorite stand-bys. This is the basic recipe I use whenever I’m craving pizza – obviously you can add any additional toppings that you like, but this sauce, crust and cheese will satisfy any craving you have. I’ve experimented with pizza dough for a while and finally found that the combination of bread flour & whole wheat flour give the dough just the right texture and flavor. Chewy with crisp edges, and a slight nuttiness without tasting like a complete whole wheat flour dough.
Classic Cheese Pizza
Makes (2) 12″ Pizzas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt & Pepper
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it begins to brown, then add the garlic. Saute 1 minute more before adding oregano and cooking an additional 30 seconds. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened up a bit (about 20 minutes).
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 packet dry active yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
16 oz fresh mozzarella in water, cubed. (8oz cheese per pizza)
Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow to sit 10 minutes in order for the yeast to activate (it should start to foam and bubble up). Whisk in the oil and honey before sifting in the bread flour & whole wheat flour. Mix together until combined.
Pour the dough out onto a well floured surface. Using the heel of your hand, knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes in order to stretch and develop the gluten. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth.** Place the bowl in a warm spot and allow to rise for at least one hour.
** You can also wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for up to one week. Before baking, remove the dough from the saran wrap and allow to rise in an oiled bowl as described above.
Split the dough into two pieces. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each dough out until it is about an 1/8 of an inch thick, or 12″ in diameter. Cover with sauce and mozzarella cheese and bake* at 475 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese has just started to turn brown.
* You can either bake the pizza on a regular baking sheet or a pizza stone. If you using a pizza stone, leave the stone in the oven while it preheats. Roll the dough out onto a pizza peel dusted in cornmeal and add the toppings, then slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone in the oven.