Thursday, June 24, 2010

Food Revolution Friday: Pizza

Years ago when Hubs and I first met, every Friday we went to this amazing little Italian pizza joint in Richmond called Cronos. Hot, cheesy, gooey, loaded with veggies, it was the best pizza we had ever eaten.

Pizza has always been my favorite indulgence, next to chocolate. I LOVE pizza.

Where we currently live has one fantastic Italian restaurant that serves the best vegetarian or barbecue chicken pizzas and occasionally we indulge, but it can get kind of expensive so often I like to make pizza myself. It's so easy that you'll wonder why on earth you ever bothered to pay $15 for a medium sized one your teenager can eat all on his own.

In the spirit of Food Revolution Friday, I decided to educate myself a little about pizza. Is it really the super fattening, grease filled dietary no-no I hear about? Can't it be healthy with lots of veggies, a little low fat cheese, and a good crust? Full of questions about the how-to of pizza, I hit up the Jamie Oliver website and watched a few videos.

Pizza Dough Video 1

Pizza Dough Video 2

Pizza Toppings Video 1

Pizza Toppings Video 2

Wouldn't you love an oven like that?

Originally I was planning to make Jamie's pizza dough recipe, but then I realized I didn't have the right kind of flour and the very idea of hunting down specialty flour just wasn't appealing. So instead I decided to try this recipe over at A Peek Inside the Fishbowl. I changed it around a little, but YUM. It was great!

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Adapted From A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast (1 packet)
1 1/3 cups warm water (very warm)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus an extra 1/2-3/4 cup for dusting the counter and adding, if needed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano

Turn on the light in your oven.

In your mixing bowl, whisk together the yeast, whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups white flour, salt, sugar, basil, and oregano.

Mix the warm water and olive oil together and, with the mixer fitted with a dough hook slowly running, pour into the bowl with the flour mixture. Let it combine and form a ball, adding a little more flour or water if you need to.

I let mine run for a good 4 minutes or so. That way I didn't have to knead the bread so much. Turn it out onto a floured counter and give it a good knead though, just to make sure it's the consistency you want.

( If you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, just mix the water into the flour mixture and stir it well, then turn out onto a floured counter and knead about 10 minutes, until it's smooth and elastic.)

Here's where you get to make some decisions; you can make 1 really large, thick crusted pizza, 2 thin crust pizzas, or even freeze half. Your choice. If you want to freeze some for a later date, then now is the time to do it. Coat the part that you want to freeze with a little olive oil, plunk it in a Ziplock bag, and in the freezer it goes!

If you're making it to eat right away, give the inside of a large bowl a good coating of oil, then plunk you dough in, turning it over so the whole thing gets nicely coated. Cover the bowl with cling film. Now set your bowl in the oven and leave it, with the light on, for 90 minutes.

Riiiiise.....RIIIIISE! Feeling a little Frankenstien-ish?

Dust your counter with some flour and turn the dough out onto the counter. Punch it down to get the air bubbles out and knead it around a little bit. Grease the bottom of your pizza pan or stone (I don't have one-would love to try it!) , sprinkle some cornmeal on, and then fit your dough in there. Andrea recommends that you brush the dough with a little oil to keep it from getting soggy from your toppings. I never thought of that before!

Set the dough aside and let it rest while you prep your toppings. What was mine topped with? Hop on over to Recipes From the Cookie Jar to get the rest of the Veggie Pizza Recipe.

Have you taken a "fast food", and turned it into something healthy to eat at home? Let me know! (this post was also linked up to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays at Breastfeeding Moms Unite)

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