Week 16: Pizza Party
Is it just us or does it feel like the summer changed to fall in the blink of an eye? The summer’s dog days are over and we are all enjoying these cooler temperatures. We are quickly approaching the 2nd season of the 2020-2021 Moutoux CSA. You’ll notice that the farm table is starting to transition from summer to fall as well. The heat loving crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, are on their way out. And the cooler loving crops, such as greens and winter squash, are on their way in. It may have been a transition for our newer members to live without greens in the summer. But greens, as with everything grown in the fields, are seasonal too! Fall provides us with so many wonderful foods that load up our bodies with the vitamins and antioxidants in preparation for the winter months. It’s amazing how that works isn’t it!?
Take a look back at some of our old posts to get you excited for the fall bounty. We suggest 2019’s Week 14 and Week 20. One things that is always in season is PIZZA! Of course, pizza itself doesn’t grow in the ground. But it is one of those staples that can provide an awesome meal any season of the year. And even better - you’ll never have to twist the kids arms to eat it! Grab the family and enjoy a farm-focused Pizza Party!
HOMEMADE WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA CRUST
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Red Star Platinum yeast*
1.5 cups warm water (105-115F)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
3 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
olive oil for brushing crust
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine the sugar, yeast, and warm water. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast is foamy and dissolved. This is called "proofing" the yeast. If the yeast doesn't dissolve, your yeast is dead. Start again with active yeast. Add the olive oil, honey, and salt. Mix by hand with a whisk or with the dough hook on low speed for 30 seconds. Add 3 cups of whole wheat flour and mix with the dough hook on low speed or with a large rubber spatula until dough starts to come together. Note: You can do this by hand but a mixer is easier.
Once mixed, knead for 5 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface or with your dough hook on low-medium speed. If your dough is too wet, add up to 1/3 cup more whole wheat flour in small increments. After kneading, your dough should be smooth and elastic. Poke it with your finger - if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn it over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm environment (about 75F-80F).
For the warm environment, I heat up my oven to 200F. Then, I turn the oven off and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, I close the oven door to trap warmish air inside with the rising dough.
Depending on your type of yeast, your dough will have doubled in size in about 1 - 2 hours. Using Red Star Platinum it took 1 hour, 20 minutes. Punch the dough down to release the air. It will deflate.
Cut the dough into two.
Roll each half into a ball and let rest in two separate bowls lightly covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil for at least 20 minutes. You may freeze one of the dough balls at this point to use at a later time (directions in notes).
Preheat oven to 475F degrees. Allow to heat for at least 30 full minutes. Every inch of your oven needs to be very, very hot. Grease and dust 2 baking sheets or pizza pans with nonstick spray or with olive oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal (preferred for flavor and texture) or flour (not preferred). Please read above in the post for why cornmeal is preferred.
After 20 minutes, flatten each ball of dough one at a time on a lightly floured surface or directly onto your cornmeal lined pizza pan/baking sheet. Flatten into a 12-inch round circle, flattening and stretching the dough. If using a pizza stone, place the dough directly on baker's peels dusted with cornmeal.
Lift the edge of the dough up to create a lip around the edges. I simply pinched the edges up to create the lip. To prevent the filling from making your pizza crust soggy, brush the top lightly with olive oil. Using your fingers, push dents into the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Transfer dough to the pizza pan, baking sheet, or pizza stone. Be gentle with it.
Top with your favorite toppings.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
Slice hot pizza and serve immediately. Store leftover pizza covered tightly in the refrigerator and reheat as you prefer. Baked pizza slices may be frozen up to 1 month.
Notes: Makes two 12-inch pizzas. *You may substitute active dry yeast on an equal basis for the instant yeast but expect a 50% slower rise time. To freeze: After the pizza dough has risen and you divide the dough in half to form into two pizzas (step 6), you may freeze one of the balls of dough to make a pizza at a later time. Or you may simply freeze both balls of dough, separately. Lightly spray all sides of the dough ball(s) with nonstick spray or lightly coat all sides with olive oil. Place the dough ball(s) into individual zipped-top bag(s) and seal tightly, squeezing out all the air. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw: Put your frozen pizza dough ball(s) in the fridge overnight or for about 12 hours to thaw. When ready to make the pizza(s), remove the dough from the refrigerator and set out on the counter to rest for 30 minutes and come to room temperature. Continue with step 7.
BEET PESTO PIZZA WITH KALE AND GOAT CHEESE
1 lb pizza dough
1 cup beet pesto (recipe in 2020, Week 6)
2 cups kale, spines removed and leaves thinly sliced
1.5 cups mozzarella cheese grated
2 ounces goat cheese
Prepare the beet pesto and the pizza dough.
Preheat the oven to 415 degrees F.
Dust flour (or cornmeal) on a baking sheet and press or roll the dough to desired thickness.
Bake the dough for 5 to 7 minutes with no toppings
Remove the crust from the oven and spread the beet pesto over it. Add the kale leaves, followed by the goat cheese and mozzarella. Note: the kale will cook down in the oven
Bake pizza for 10-20 minutes (depending on your chosen crust) or to desired crispness.
Allow pizza to cool 5 minutes before serving.
POTATO PIZZA WITH SAUTEED ONIONS
½ lb pizza dough
2 medium potatoes yellow, peel and slice about an 1/8- 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped
3 medium onions sliced
2 ½ teaspoons paprika, divided
3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese or Pecorino Romano Cheese grated, divided
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
1 tomato, chopped (for garnish)
1 Tbsp grated cheese (for garnish)
Fennel fronds (for garnish)
Preheating oven to 500 °F. Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. When it’s time to bake the pizza, lower the heat to 450 °F.
With slightly oiled fingers, shape the pizza dough in a 10- 12 inch round pizza pan. Grease the pan with oil or butter before stretching the dough. Place plastic film or a tea towel over the top and set in a draft free place while the toppings are prepared.
Add about a tablespoon of salt to a large pot of water.
Bring the pot of water to a boil, add the potatoes and then lower the heat to a simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
Add the chopped garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.
Add the sliced onions and sauté until they become soft and begin to caramelize.
Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl in order to cool down quickly.
If the potatoes are fork tender, drain and allow to cool down before combining with the cooked onions.
In a large bowl combine the cooked potatoes with slightly caramelized onions. Next, add the paprika and the grated cheese. Combine thoroughly together.
Spread this potato mixture evenly across the top of the pizza dough.
Add the grated mozzarella along with a sprinkle of paprika.
Add another tablespoon or so of grated cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese or Pecorino Romano Cheese) as well as a sprinkle of paprika over the top.
Lower the heat to 450 °F and bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the bottom crust of the pizza is nicely browned. For extra color place under broiler for the last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking. Keep an eye on it.
Garnish pizza with chopped fresh tomatoes along with some grated cheese (1 tablespoon) and garnish with some fennel fronds.
Notes: This is a variation of Rome’s famous Italian potato pizza, also known as pizza con patate.
THE ROASTED GARLIC & PEPPER PIZZA
½ lb pizza dough (recipe above)
1 jar of basic tomato sauce (2020, Week 12)
2-3 red, yellow, orange or green bell peppers
1 head of garlic
Grated cheese (optional)
Make the pizza dough per recipe above, or use your favorite store bought brand.
Oven roast your bell peppers. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Lay peppers on their sides, stems pointing sideways. Put baking sheet in oven and allow peppers to roast for 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet. Using tongs, give the peppers a half turn, then place back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Check to make sure peppers have fully roasted. The skin should be charred and soft, and the peppers should look slightly collapsed. If they don't look ready, let them roast for a few more minutes. When they're done, remove baking sheet from oven. You can also use your oven broiler to roast the peppers, which is a faster process that chars them more than regular oven roasting. While it goes faster, you also have to watch it carefully, as the peppers will need frequent turning during the process. If you wish to broil the peppers, I suggest placing the rack in the upper third of the oven so there is 8-9 inches between the broiling element and the peppers. That way, the peppers will be able to soften as they char. When they're too close to the broiler, they will char before they're cooked, which means the flesh won't soften and they'll be harder to peel.
Steam your roasted bell peppers. Once you have roasted your peppers, you will need to steam them. This process will help you peel the tough skin from them more easily. There are a few ways to steam the peppers. I like to place the roasted peppers on a flat, smooth surface like a cutting board, then invert a large bowl over the top of them. The bowl traps the steam inside. Steam for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the peppers in a paper bag and seal the top by rolling it closed. I prefer using the bowl method. Whichever method you choose, steam the peppers for about 15 minutes.
Seed & peel peppers. Once you have roasted and steamed your peppers, you will need to seed and peel them. This is kind of a messy process, but it's well worth the effort. Slice the pepper vertically from top to bottom and lay the pepper open so it becomes one long strip. Pull the stem from the top of the pepper. The stem and a clump of seeds should loosen easily. Use a towel or paper towel to wipe off any loose seeds that remain inside the pepper. Flip the pepper over to reveal the skin side. Strip off the charred skin. If you want a more charred flavor, you can leave a few small blackened bits on the skin. Alternatively, you can seed and skin the pepper under running water, which will make it easier to get the pepper flesh clean. I prefer not to do this, because I feel the pepper loses some flavor in the process-- but if you're in a hurry and don't want to mess up your hands too much, it will speed things up. Once you've peeled and seeded your peppers, you'll end up with soft, sweet, tasty pepper flesh.
Roast garlic. Preheat your oven to 400°F. A toaster oven also works great for this. Peel and discard the papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlic. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Put garlic heads in baking pan/muffin tin or wrap loosely in foil. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, using your fingers to rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves. Cover the bulb with aluminum foil if using baking/muffin pan. Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 30-40 minutes, or until the cloves are lightly browned and feel soft when pressed. Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.
Spread roasted garlic all over the pizza dough round and top with roasted peppers.
Bake according to dough directions.
Notes: It is a good idea to do a large batch of roasted and have leftovers for future use, same with garlic. If you want to store the peppers short term, put them in a sterile glass jar and cover them with olive oil. Cap the jar tightly and refrigerate. If you don't plan on using them within a few days, pressure can them or freeze the roasted pepper strips in Ziploc bags. They hold up well to freezing and retain much of their flavor when thawed. Roasted garlic can be frozen in ice cube trays or in a Ziploc bag. https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roasted_garlic/