One woman's foray into cooking for herself, for her family, and for her friends. It's not always picture-perfect, sometimes a little messy,
but it's always delicious. Join me in exploring new recipes, savoring the "résultats" and learning from the "erreurs".

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oaxaca Pizza

My Aunt Joanie is a good a GREAT cook! She never steers me wrong when it comes to recipes. And she didn't this time, either. She told me about this simple pizza she makes every Friday night. And while it may be simple to make, it's far from simple in flavor.

Does one need another pizza recipe?? Is there anything original anymore when it comes to pizza? I think so!! At least this was new to me. First, she puts a pint of grape tomatoes in a baking pan, drizzles them with olive oil and adds salt & pepper, puts them in a hot oven (450F - 500F) for 15 - 20 minutes, then sets them aside to cool.

To save herself time (and trouble), my aunt purchases ready-made pizza dough from Central Market (pizza parlors have been known to sell dough very inexpensively, as well). And seriously, I would have purchased pre-made dough as well, but I was house-bound (a self-imposed sentence), so I blitzed up a batch of dough (see recipe below) in my KitchenAid  mixer in less than 10 minutes. I divided the dough into thirds.

Once the dough has risen, place the dough on a piece of parchment and spread out. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the dough. Transfer the dough onto a pizza stone in a 500F. oven (a pizza peel makes short work of this), and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes.

Now here's the big difference between this pizza and any I've ever had before: oaxaco cheese (say wha-ha-ka).  This Mexican cheese grates similarly to mozzarella but is a bit saltier, more flavorful, which makes this pizza tastier! Spread the grated oaxaca cheese over the baked crust and dot the pizza with the roasted grape tomatoes. Sprinkle grated Parmigiana-Reggiano over the entire pizza and place back into the oven. Bake for about 5 - 8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Before serving, strew basil cut into a chiffonade over the pizza. It's beautiful and delicious! (I'm sure you noticed the lack of gorgeous greenery over my pizza... )

Really, those roasted grape tomatoes and that wonderful oaxaca cheese... now that's a pizza! Thanks, Aunt Joanie!!

Pizza Crust

4 cups flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (this really makes a difference in the texture of the dough)
2-1/4 teaspoons dried instant yeast
1-1/2 cup tepid water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Mix flour, vital wheat gluten, instant yeast, water and olive oil. If dough does not come together and form a ball, add a bit more water. Let dough rest 10 minutes. Add salt, mix well, and knead for 5 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in draft-free area to rise until double, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

P.S. I would have posted a few days earlier, but I was electronically stymied. The cord connecting my camera and computer was frayed almost in two! However, we are back in business! Thanks to all for your patience!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Where have you been, young lady?!

Good question. Wish I had a good answer...

I did have some medical issues that affected my eating. Which affected my desire to cook. Hence, no posts for over 6 months. BUT things are looking up. And I'm resolved to get cooking again!

I have done a little cooking. I actually baked a potato just the other day! (Let's hear a little woo-hoo from the peanut gallery!) And I've been making a quinoa-and-kale dish that's really good (seriously, it's REALLY good! No, I haven't turned 'treehugger', but I am trying to eat a little healthier...)

So, keep your fingers crossed. If all goes well, I may actually have a recipe post this weekend!!

Thanks to all who have emailed to check on me. Your kind gestures really meant a lot to me!

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