Monday, September 26, 2011


I posted this over at our family recipe blog ( but thought some of you here may appreciate this as well. This is our new favorite pizza dough recipe and lots of topping suggestions. We eat pizza ALL the time. I used to buy pre-made crusts at HEB in Texas that were good and came with pizza sauce and were c-h-e-a-p. But moving to Massachusetts forced me to learn how to make pizza dough and I'm so glad I did. It's easy and delicious and even cheaper than HEB.

We made 3 pizzas last night and had 2 families over for dinner. It was the perfect meal for entertaining since it was clearly homemade, but also simple. Each pizza was different enough that everyone from the 2-year-olds to the adults had something they liked. You can also easily appeal to vegetarians (of which there are many in Massachusetts, unlike Texas...). Unfortunately, we're out of batteries, so I didn't take a picture of any of the pizzas, but maybe I will next week and add it back to this post so you can drool sufficiently at the beautifully browned masterpieces I churn out of my kitchen each week.

As a side note, how do you feel about cooking with alcohol? In general, I'm not too worried about it. I'm not going to eat a cake soaked in rum, but I don't have a problem with a sauce made with wine. And in this particular case, obviously, bread has alcohol content already because of the yeast, but I'm not sure how much more is left by using the wine. What are your thoughts?

And now, here's the post:

This dough is from smittenkitchen. I finally buckled and bought some cooking wine to try this recipe, and boy am I glad I did. Last night's pizza was the best I've eaten in a long time, and although I did have some great toppings (like Trader Joe's quattro formigia shredded cheese, fresh mozzerella, and basil I grew myself), I really think the crust was the deciding factor. The first measurements are for "one small thin crust." I quadrupled it to make 3 large (12 inch?) pizzas which fed 6 adults, 4 toddler/preschoolers, and a baby. Adjust as you will.

6 tablespoons warm water
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

1.5 C warm water
3 tsp yeast
2 tsp honey
½ C white wine
¼ C olive oil
6 C all-purpose flour
4 tsp salt

1. Dissolve yeast and honey in warm (100*) water. Let sit till frothy.
2. Measure out flour into large bowl and stir in salt. (I substituted one cup of white whole wheat flour in mine to no ill effect)
3. Add wine and olive oil to water. Add liquids to flour.
4. Use a spatula to stir it all up until it's clumpy, then use your hands to mash it all into a ball, making sure to incorporate all the floury bits.
5. Knead on a lightly floured counter/pizza peel until smooth and mostly uniform in consistency. (This shouldn't take long)
6. Oil the bowl your dough was in, roll the dough in it, and cover with plastic wrap.
7. Let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.
8. Lightly press the air out of the dough and let it sit for 15 minutes or so while you prep your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 500* with the pizza stone inside it.
9. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface/pizza peel. Fold one side over and sprinkle the surface with cornmeal, then do the other side.
10. Add your toppings, and bake 10 minutes or until everything's browned and bubbly.

Here are some of my favorite topping combos:

For a traditional, tomato sauce pizza, I like to herb my crust. First, I lightly rub it with olive oil. Then I sprinkle on garlic powder, oregano, thyme, and sometimes rosemary. Then, I just use jarred spaghetti sauce and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top of that rather than making or buying special pizza sauce.

Tomato sauce pizzas:

Fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, tomato slices, and bacon.

Fresh mozzarella, shredded sharp cheddar, bell peppers, red onions, olives, and pepperoni.

1/2 red sauce, half pesto, mozzarella, and italian meats.

White pizzas:

Alfredo, chicken, brocolli, or zucchini

olive oil, goat cheese, pear, caramelized onion. once you cook that, add fresh arugula, and candied pecans.

equal parts ricotta and sour cream, seasoned with salt and pepper, topped with bacon and caramelized onions

Other pizzas:

sour cream and salsa, topped with sharp cheddar cheese, grilled chicken, red onion, and grilled corn. once you cook that, add fresh cilantro and avocado slices

peanut satay sauce topped with mozzarella, grilled chicken, carrots, and onion. top with fresh cilantro.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

free schooling ebooks

My friend Danielle shared this deal with me. It's for $10 worth of free ebooks from Scholastic, and they're having a sale right now where many are only $1. I just searched for Pre-K books, but they have them up to grade 12. I'm downloading some pre-writing workbooks, science and weather poems to sing to common tunes, and printable mini-ABC books, among others.