|Sausage and Broccoli Pizza|
|Canadian Bacon with Pepper Rings|
|Mock Caesar Salad with Homegrown Lettuce|
|Anginetti Italian Lemon OMG Cookies|
Yes, it has been a few months since I officially posted a Sunday Supper. I apologize, but life has been hectic. With the wedding, trip to Spain, holidays and an extraordinarily busy first quarter at Grant Design Collaborative and Canton City Council, I have not had a lot of time to cook. I have prepared some smaller suppers, but even then, I did not have time to write the blog. I took the occasion to take a small break from blogging, but I look forward to the summer bounty as the farmers markets come back in season. In addition, I have a very big project going on in Chicago through mid-June, so I am not sure how often I will be posting between now and then.
In keeping with recent patterns, this past weekend was filled with activity with the kick-off of downtown Canton's first First Friday of the season, and the turnout was epic. It was great seeing everyone out and about after the winter hibernation. Saturday was consumed with Derby Day at the Rock Barn, an annual fundraiser for the Cherokee County Historical Society. The event sold-out this year, and we had a great time with a lot of dear friends. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was completely exhausted and mentally drained, but I did make time to cook Sunday Supper. It is stressful times like these when I need to be in the kitchen, and Sunday was no exception. After all of the activity and fast moving deadlines at work, I longed for the comfort of scratch cooking. Moreover, I found myself baking which is slightly uncommon for me.
In reflection, I think this week's Sunday Supper originated from a primal need to immerse my hands in the simple tactile pleasures of dough. As with most of my meal ideas, I just get a thought in my head or wake up thinking about something, and I have to "cook it out of my system." This week, I woke up thinking about Neapolitan pizza. I think the idea came from a conversation I had with my friend, Joyce Swindell, at the Derby Day event on Saturday. We were talking about our experiences in Italy and how wonderful the pizza was there – anywhere you ordered it. Regardless of how good it is in the states, you just can't find pizza like that anywhere else in the world. However, I woke up thinking about it, and the challenge was real.
I have made homemade pizza before, including the crust, but it is very difficult to get a thin crust that defines a Neapolitan style pie. I did a bit of research and found countless different recipes for the dough. Some required 12 hours in the refrigerator. Some used honey to activate the yeast, while others used sugar. A few recipes wanted two rises on the dough before stretching it into a pizza shape. Other versions only used one rise and directed you to roll the dough into shape. After reading a couple of dozen versions, it became quite tedious. My research revealed that, regardless of the recipe, the pizza dough three primary ingredients: flour, yeast and water. Of course, the dough needs a bit of salt, and sugar is necessary to activate the yeast. I didn't want the crust to rise too much since I was going for a thinner crust, so I just added a pinch of sugar to the yeast mixture with good results. For the pizza sauce, I also decided "less is more" when it comes to the Neapolitan style, so I just pureed some canned Italian San Marzano tomatoes and combined them with some finely chopped basil and a little minced garlic. I simply let the sauce cook as the pizzas baked, and again, they turned out great. I made enough dough for three 14-16 inch pizzas, so I made three different kinds: Italian sausage, garlic and broccoli, margarita and Canadian bacon with sweet pepper rings. They were all delicious, and the crusts were thin and crispy, almost like in Italy with enough wine.
While the pizzas were baking, one at a time, I picked the last of our organic romaine lettuce from our raised garden and made a mock Caesar style salad. It is "mock" because I do not use mayo in my dressing, but it was tasty with lots of garlic and fresh lemon juice. Continuing with my baking diversion, I baked some Anginetti Italian Lemon Cookies for dessert. I may not be an accomplished baker, but those tasty morsels would rival the best bakeries around! With a refreshing lemon tang and silky sweet icing, they melted in your mouth. In fact, all but two out of twenty four melted in four of our mouths within minutes, but they were small, right?
So, back to work and another busy week. I will be traveling back and forth to Chicago in the weeks ahead, so I will have an opportunity to enjoy a different style of pizza, as well as other delicious food in the Windy City. However, there's no place like home and your own kitchen for cooking up comforting memories.
- Mock Caesar Salad with Homegrown Organic Lettuces
- Scratch Made Neapolitan Style Pizzas:
• Italian Sausage, Garlic and Broccoli
• Canadian Bacon with Sweet Pepper Rings
- Anginetti Italian Lemon Cookies
The Recipe – Sausage, Garlic and Broccoli Pizza
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water, around 100 degrees
1 teaspoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium mixing bowl, blend yeast, water, sugar and teaspoon of flour. Sit aside for 8-10 minutes until foam forms on the surface.
Blend in remaining 1 1/4 cups of flour and salt to form a smooth and slightly sticky dough (no more than 30 seconds). Then knead dough by hand for 5 minutes.
Form into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a cool place until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
30 minutes before baking, punch down the dough to let air out then knead a minute or two and form into a ball. Place back in bowl and cover.
1/2 cup finely chopped basil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
One 28-ounce can tomato San Marzano or Italian style tomatoes, pureed
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed
1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan Regianno, grated
Prepared pizza dough (above)
Combine the basil, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, salt and pureed tomatoes in a medium bowl. Mix well then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while making pizza dough, 2-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 500. Place a rack on the next to lowest level and use a pizza stone if you have one – preheat with oven.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the sausage. Cook for 6-7 minutes, breaking apart with a wooden spoon to form small pieces, then add broccoli florets and continue cooking until sausage is brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Dust a pizza pan or a large upside down rimmed baking sheet with flour. Gently stretch the pizza dough and place on the dusted pan. Roll or stretch out to 1/4-inch thick, leaving a little thicker around the edges.
Spread 1 - 1 1/2 cups of the sauce over the dough and top with the mozzarella slices. Spread the sausage and broccoli mixture and sliced garlic evenly over the crust and top with the Parmesan.
Place the pan on the next to bottom rack of oven, and bake until crust is nicely browned and top is golden, around 10-15 minutes (watch carefully). Move pan to middle or higher shelf, if necessary, to brown the top and melt the cheese if crust is getting to brown on bottom shelf.
Remove pizza from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
|Derby Day at the Rock Barn with Elaine Roberts and Jeff Brown|