What did you want to be when you “grew up”? The earliest I remember is wanting to be an archaeologist. I loved rocks, fossils and digging in the dirt. Then it was a teacher. Finally in middle school I decided I wanted to be a writer. Notebooks of stories, sheets of paper with ideas, poems, “novels” started, lots of pens, pencils and paper littered my room along with a typewriter and then an electric typewriter. That was my baby. It was the first thing I bought when I got my first real job at 17. Funny, but for some reason. I still preferred manually writing everything out on paper before typing it up. I promised my Mom and Dad that I would be a published writer someday. I guess my love of food and starting this blog made that promise a reality. Now what’s for dinner?
Speaking of pizza (see how I seamlessly changed the subject there?)….who doesn’t like pizza? With all the Pizza Huts, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, etc. out there you probably have a favorite pizza place. We love pizza but it can get pretty expensive. Why not make it at home? The reasons, $$, to do so add up quickly. It costs less, tastes better and you can top it any way you want (meaning extra, extra, extra cheese). I usually make 2 pizzas – one pepperoni for my green-eyed Irish guy and one for the rest of us which could be just cheese, BBQ chicken, BBQ pork or chicken caesar salad pizza. That last one was a girls favorite but the guys weren’t big fans of it. Roll up your sleeves, tie your apron strings and let’s make some pizza dough!
Homemade Pizza Crust
Makes two 12 or 14 inch crusts
One packet or 2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water, 110-115 degrees*
3 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
Add yeast, 1 Tbs. of the sugar and the warm water to a large bowl. Stir together to combine. Set aside for 8-10 minutes to let the yeast activate or bloom. It will bubble up and get a little foamy looking. It’s alive! Now stir in the other 2 Tbs. sugar and 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the flour. Make a small well in the flour and put the salt in it. You don’t want the salt to directly touch the yeast mixture. It kills it so it won’t rise. Mix together until it forms a ball. Sprinkle your counter with flour, place the dough ball on it and knead 5 -10 times. Turn oven on to 200 degrees. It doesn’t have to come up to temperature. It just has to be warm. Wipe your bowl out. Put a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the bowl. Place your dough ball in, turn it over, making sure to coat it all in oil. Wrap bowl with plastic wrap. Turn the oven off. Place the bowl of dough in the oven to rise for one hour or until doubled in size. After it’s risen, take bowl out of oven, cut in half. If you don’t want to use both halves, wrap in plastic wrap, seal in a zip top bag and refrigerate (or you could make bread sticks out of it). Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat dough into pans, spoon on sauce and add your favorite toppings and cheeses. Bake for 10-12 minutes for a 12 inch or 14-15 minutes for a 14 inch pizza. Enjoy!
* It’s very important that the water be at the right temperature. If it’s not, the yeast will not activate or will die. If you don’t have a thermometer, it should feel slightly hotter than comfortable to your hand.
Wishing you love, laughter and cake,