Today I ended up doing some cooking. Yes I spent hours in the kitchen and yes I have a ton of dishes yet to do, but it was worth it!
So a few days ago Shain (my man) made a roasted red pepper pesto modeled after one he was served last week at the restaurant Brick Yard Cafe, in Bowling Green, KY. We decided this would be delicious on a homemade pizza. And so it starts. We love the pizza crust recipe from the book More Diners, Drive-Ins’, & Dives by Food Network’s Guy Fieri. This is from Pizzeria Luigi in San Deigo, CA.
1. Lightly olive oil 2 large bowls. Then in a medium bowl, place 1 1/2 cups of warm water and a pinch of sugar. Add 1/2 ounce of active dry yeast. Let the yeast activate for 2-5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and 2 cups of flour and stir until blended. (I prefer anything but All-Purpose Flour. There are so many more healthy choices like wheat, bread flour, or any combo like half wheat, half oat or spelt flour.) Stir in another 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 Cups of flour until the dough is too stiff to stir with a spoon.
2. Divide dough in half and knead about 7 times. Shape into round balls and place into the oiled bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (maybe microwave) until dough doubles in size–about 30-60 minutes. Put dough in refrigerator for 1 hour after it rises to gain elasticity.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. If you have a pizza (baking) stone, heat that as well. If not grease a pizza pan or baking sheet. **(If you do not have a baking stone, I highly recommend getting one. I use it ALL the time. You can purchase for under $20. It makes pizza dough crispy and is great for all kinds of bread and biscuits AND cookies, biscotti, etc.)
4. Get out 1 dough and press out air bubbles with your finger tips. Then roll out the dough with a rolling pin to get the desired size and thickness. Transfer to your pizza pan or to wooden pizza paddle (To slide pizza directly to stone).
5. Spread on sauce. (In our case it was the roasted red pepper pesto.) Add cheese and toppings. I went vegetarian by adding a beautiful orange/yellow heirloom tomato from whole foods market, banana peppers from my garden, and veggie shreds vegan mozzarella cheese. Cook about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Hot out of the oven…YUM!
So delicious pizza was eaten about 4pm. It was a random early dinner time, but actually perfect because I am attempting to stop eating carbs everyday by this time. (This of course does not happen because I then decide to make biscotti for the first time).
Pecan, Walnut, and Almond Biscotti
(loosely adapted from Southern Living’s Farmer’s Market Cookbook)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. (throw in that baking stone again if you’ve got one) In a large bowl, combine 1 3/4 Cups of Flour (again I use anything but all purpose. Today I used half white wheat and half oat flour), 1/2 Cup yellow cornmeal, 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder, (I just switched over to Rumford’s Aluminum-Free), 1/4 tsp iodized fine sea salt, & 1 1/2 Cups of chopped pecans, walnuts, and almonds, toasted.
2. In another bowl, stir together 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (cage free organic if you’ve got them. You could also probably use an egg substitute if you wanted to make this vegan). 3/4 Cup sugar (I used 1/2 Cup organic sugar and 1/4 c Maple sugar), 1/2 Cup oil (I used smart balance omega 3 vegetable oil), and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract. Gradually add to flour mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.
3. Divide dough in half. With lightly floured hands, shape each portion into 2 logs on your baking stone or greased cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool logs 10 minutes.
5. Cut logs diagonally into 3/4in thick slices CAREFULLY using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion. (I used a one of those big long bread knives.) Return slices cut side down to baking sheet.
6. Bake for 7 minutes. Turn biscotti over and bake 7 more minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yields 2 1/2 dozen.
So, the whole reason I even decided to make the biscotti was because I had these leftover pears from Farmer’s Market and figs from whole foods market and I wanted to cook them down and make something before they went bad. (And something different than a cobbler which I do lots of times).
So I rinsed, cut up and cooked a couple cups of figs, 4 small pears and a random old orange. I sprinkled lightly with organic sugar and put a tablespoon of smart balance butter spread and cooked them on the stovetop on low for 30min. I also added a Tablespoon of pectin to make it gel a bit and turned it into a poor man’s low sugar jam to put on my biscotti! Oh, if only I had some whipping cream…
And so goodnight–I still have a lot of dishes to do.