Category: Recipes

Margherita Pan Pizza

This week I was reading the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated American Classics published by America’s Test Kitchen. What I love about America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated magazine is how the test cooks explain how and why certain recipes work and how to arrive at the best version of each. Better yet, they explain in a way that someone like me can duplicate the steps AND achieve the same results.

I’ve been making my own pizzas at home for a couple of years now with very satisfying results. In the issue I was reading, an article titled “Perfecting Pepperoni Pan Pizza” caught my eye. A thin crust baked on a pizza stone is usually my go-to homemade pizza of choice because pan pizzas are usually doughy and too greasy. But according to this article, their version of the recipe solved those problems.

I figured I’d give it the recipe a try – with some modifications. I’m a big fan of Craig Priebe‘s method of grilling pizza. One of my favorite recipes of his is The Margheritan. Rather than go with pepperoni, I decided to top my pan pizza Margheritan-style. Aside from the use of fresh mozzarella and fresh basil, I followed the Cook’s Illustrated recipes for Pepperoni Pan Pizza (minus the pepperoni) and Basic Pizza Sauce.

Shown here are my finished pizzas. They were DELICIOUS.

Pepperoni Pan Pizza

Pepperoni Pan Pizza

The recipe you choose for making dough is the key to a successfully baked pan pizza (or any pizza for that matter). With the recipe below, the finished pizza is airy, has the right amount of chewiness and great flavor. All without the greasiness you often experience with a pan pizza.

from America’s Test Kitchen, Episode: Pizza Party

Makes two 9-inch pizzas serving 4 to 6

1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup skim milk plus 2 additional tablespoons, warmed to 110 degrees
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for counter
1 package  instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 (3.5-ounce) package sliced pepperoni
1 1/3 cups tomato sauce (see related recipe, “Basic Pizza Sauce”)
3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Step-by-step instructions:

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Basic Pizza Sauce

Basic Pizza Sauce

I recommend this recipe for it’s simplicity and great taste.

from America’s Test Kitchen, Episode: Pizza Party

This recipe makes enough for four pan pizzas, so you will need only half when making Pepperoni Pan Pizza (see related recipe). Freeze the remaining sauce for future pizza making.

Makes 2 2/3 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic , minced
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

Cook oil and garlic in medium saucepan over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, increase heat to medium, and cook until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Toasted Almond and Dried Cherry Nougat

My Nougat Mission

The Christmas season is upon us and that means one thing. It’s time for nougat.

“Nougat, you say?”

Yes, nougat.

In recent years, I’ve become enamored with this strange confection. There are several reasons why.

First, I just like the sound of the word. It’s subtle, with a sense of whimsy and humor associated with it. In fact, I’ve heard David Letterman claim nougat is one of the top-ten funniest words in the English language. After banana and monkey, of course.

Next, I find it interesting how many people have no clue what nougat is. When you ask someone “Would you like some nougat?” and all you get back is a confused look, you know there’s an information gap that needs filling. I’ve tried to fill that gap with my website “What Is Nougat?“.

Finally, for those that are familiar with nougat, most think it’s the filling inside a Snickers candy bar. Although I do enjoy Snickers occasionally for it’s claimed nougatocity, it’s chewy peanut filling isn’t really nougat. At least not in the traditional sense. When you experience REAL nougat, you’ll understand why. It’s just good.

A Season for Sharing

It’s for these reasons I’ve made it one of my missions in life to spread the nougat message. In fact, you might even call me an Evangelizing Nougatologist.

In this Christmas season’s spirit of sharing and bringing joy to others, I share my recent batch of Toasted Almond and Dried Cherry Nougat.

The recipe I used (courtesy of Emeril Lagasse) follows.

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Homemade Frying-pan Pizza

If you’ve ever made pizza at home, you may have found that, for some reason, something is lacking. For the longest time I did as well. About a year ago, I came across Craig Priebe’s site on How to Grill Pizza. Talk about a pizza revelation. Craig shares his techniques and recipes for creating an awesome grilled pizzed from scratch. I’ve been using his homemade dough and tomato basil pizza sauce recipes for months now. With Craig’s recipes, a pizza stone and my old gas grill, I’ve been putting together some pretty tasty pizzas. It only takes a bit of effort and you will be amazed at how good this stuff tastes. Plus it’s fresh and homemade. How can you beat that?

Last week I picked up a copy of Mother Earth News (it’s a magazine about sustainable, self-reliant living). In the Country Lore section of the October/November 2008 issue, an article on Crusty Frying-pan Pizza caught my eye. In the article they describe how to make a homemade pizza using a cast-iron pan in the oven.

Well, I have a cast-iron Lodge frying pan. Why not see if the results I get from the frying pan match what I was getting from the grill? I figured I would continue to use Craig Priebe’s dough and sauce recipes instead of the pizza dough recipe in the magazine. I’m hooked on the whole wheat flour/corn meal dough, so why change?

Here’s what I ended up making last night:

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Looks good, huh? The pictures below show how I put it all together:

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Turkey crescent roll pocket

Turkey crescent roll pocket

Originally uploaded by flyingg
One of the better ways I’ve found to use all that leftover turkey you have after Thanksgiving. Basic ingredients: Pillsbury crescent rolls, cream cheese, milk, butter, green onions, salt & pepper and, of course…TURKEY.