Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Whole Wheat Pizza


Pizza is one of my favorite food groups ... um, foods. I do my best to save it for special occasions, but find that special occasions calling for pizza crop up often. So, I've done my best to healthy up my pizza scene. Making my own crust means I add as much whole grain as I want. Then, I add the sauce and toppings I want, knowing that they'll be just as healthy as I make them. Here's the rather spectacular result.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

1 cup plus 2 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup "00" or pastry flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. active dry yeast

1 Tbs. cornmeal
2-4 Tbs. pizza sauce, tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, white sauce, or olive oil
2-3 Cups vegetable pizza toppings, onions, mushrooms, red peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, etc.
1/4-1/2 cup meat pizza toppings, sausage, ham, bacon, or prosciutto (optional)
1/2 cup fresh basil, spinach, or arugula (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan

Directions:

I make my pizza dough in a bread machine. It's the perfectly quick and easy way to get a wholesome product together. Just put the dough ingredients into the machine, turn on the dough cycle, and return to perfect dough 90 minutes later. Voila!

Preheat your oven to 425F, placing a pizza stone (if you're using one) in the oven to preheat at the same time. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Roll it into the shapes you'll be cooking it. This recipe makes enough dough to form two medium round pizzas or one large rectangular pizza. Today, I chose to use this much dough for one large round pizza, with the extra dough folded into a rustic edge. So, I just formed one ball and rolled it into one large round circle. If you're making two medium pizzas, divide the dough in half and roll it into two rounds, making each round a little larger than the cookware. If you're using a rectangular cookie sheet, roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 1 inch larger than your cookie sheet.

Let the dough rest while you prepare the toppings. Some toppings give off liquid when they cook. It's best to cook those toppings before they get added to the pizza. Cut your toppings into bite size pieces first, then  cook them I usually pre-cook onions, mushrooms, and red peppers. You can either cook them in the microwave, then drain the cooking liquid, or saute them until the pan is dry. Drain olives or artichoke hearts well. Cook sausage or bacon, and drain them before cutting them into bite size pieces. Grate your cheese or cheeses of choice.

When the oven has preheated and the toppings are prepared, remove the pizza stone from the oven. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a round cooking sheet or rectangular cookie sheet, just don't preheat it. Top the cookware with the cornmeal. Fold the rolled dough into quarters, them move it to the prepares pan. Spoon the pizza sauce onto the pizza crust, using enough to cover the dough, add your toppings, greens (if using), then cover with meat and cheese.

Place the pizzas on the top rack of the oven and bake for 18 to 25 minutes. Placing them on the top rack ensures that the bottom of the crust overcook while the top attains that perfect brown color.

Serves 4-8

Stealthy Cooking Tip: The amount of sauce, toppings, and cheese has a lot of leeway in this recipe. That's because a thin crust will make a lot more pizza than a thicker crust. Use the larger amounts of toppings when you make thinner crust pizzas, and the smaller amounts when you make a more rustic pizza like the one in today's photo.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Greek Salad Dressing

Use this dressing on any salad, but I find that it's especially delicious on Greek salads.

3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp minced fresh Greek oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix all ingredients together. Whisk to combine. Refrigerate and use within one week.

Serves 8

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Homemade salad dressings are easy to make, and more economical than the ones in your store. The best thing to me is that I know exactly what's in my dressing ... and if I don't prefer one ingredient, I can easily substitute another. For example, if you don't like oregano, use dill weed or parsley.