I hate showing up at someone’s house empty-handed. I learned it from my mom. She would always show up at peoples’ houses with something to share: a box of mangoes she got on sale, a bulging bag of goodies from her garden, a tiny pepper plant, or freshly baked zucchini bread.
Sure, wine is a no brainer but we eat at my cousins’ houses often enough that I feel like I should contribute something more. However, impromptu weeknight dinners always pose a challenge: what can I prepare in the 30-45 minutes I have between getting home and heading over for dinner?
Last week, it was pizza bites inspired by Annie’s Eats. I made a batch of Bittman’s whole wheat pizza dough the night before. We took walnut-sized balls of dough, flattened them out and stuffed them with various combinations of mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, marinara and sun-dried tomato pesto. I put the balls seam-side-down, brushed the tops with olive oil, and sprinkled parmesan cheese and oregano on top. I baked them at 400F for about 20 minutes.
It is sort of a calzone but with an empanada-like filling! A new empanada place opened up in the Mission which inspired me to use leftover whole wheat pizza dough from the freezer (moved into the fridge the morning of) to make my own version. I had intended for them to be a bit smaller but they turned out closer to the size of a calzone than an empanada. Read more…
I usually buy spinach or mixed greens but when we were shopping for pizza toppings, I remembered a pizza I had at Pizzeria Delfina with arugula on top. I liked the simple vinaigrette and the fresh bitterness of the greens on top of my lovely thin crust pizza. We served the arugula salad on the side on pizza night and thought it was a great addition.
The following night, we made the same salad but topped it with some fresh burrata from the 24th Street Cheese Company, avocado from our CSA and heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market. Our coffee table picnic also included a loaf of fresh Acme bread, Fra’mani salami and some proscuitto. Meals like this remind me how much I love San Francisco.
I’ve been making pizza at home for several years now but have never been satisfied with my homemade dough recipe…until now! For a while, I used a NYTimes / Jeffrey Steingarten recipe which never seemed to rise and was difficult to roll out but tasted fine. Other times I cheated and bought dough from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. A few weeks ago, I took a “bread education” workshop about starters and dough technique hosted by Sour Flour. I learned how to feed a starter, how to develop a dough based on feel and different ways to knead my dough.
Rather than throwing away half of my starter (part of feeding it), I figured I would use some in place of yeast for pizza. As often happens, our planned pizza party doubled from 4 adults to 8 adults so I tripled Bittman’s recipe using half white flour, half whole wheat flour, 2 packets active dry yeast and a golf ball-sized wad of my starter (which I’m told originated in Costa Rica). I used the dough hook on my KitchenAid mixer and did a little hand kneading based on the techniques I learned at Sour Flour.
My dough actually rose!! I was able to form little balls which were so much easier to roll out than any dough we’ve used in the past. I don’t have any pictures of the pizzas we made, but the crust had the perfect combination of crispy and chewy that I like…we finally have a winning dough recipe! Read more…
We haven’t made pizza at home since the World Series so we finally used our giant pizza peel which TOTALLY makes getting pizzas in and out of the oven so much easier. Though I love all the pizzas we make, this is one of the tastier pizzas we’ve made with leftovers.
I was lazy and didn’t make the dough myself (whole wheat from Trader Joe’s). But I did use leftover poached chicken breast (the last of the khao man gai) mixed with BBQ sauce from a bottle as the base. We sprinkled an Italian cheese mix over the top with sauteed mushrooms and fresh tomatoes. After baking on our pizza stone for a while, we pulled it out and sprinkled the pizza with cilantro (khao man gai leftovers!) and diced pickles. So good…I love roasted tomatoes and the crunchy pickle surprise was a nice touch.
For dessert, we had fresh, self-picked cherries from DC’s Extraordinary Cherries:
Cherry season is too short…
Whole wheat crust, palak paneer from Trader Joe’s, chopped fresh tomatoes, random cheese from the fridge and finished off with parmesan cheese. So good!
This is the same whole wheat crust as the Argentinian pizza but quite a bit smaller (5-6 inches diameter at best). Small pizzas mean we can try a variety of flavors in the same night! We already had blue cheese and pears in the fridge, so I just picked up some prosciutto from the market and we were all set. Next time, I would go lighter on the blue cheese (it got kinda salty paired with the prosciutto which overshadowed the pears)…but I do love this flavor combination.
Tonight, we will finally make that Indian pizza (I think)!