My friend Kathy P is a dedicated baker. Pies, cookies, brownies, German chocolate cake, whatever. That’s what she likes to do. I think she’s from Minnesota or someplace in that area. Something to do with Norwegians. To continue, she was always going on about her Kitchen Aid and how great it was for baking. Her rant fell on deaf ears though; I go comatose during any conversation involving the baking/dessert topic.
Early on in our marriage, after exhausting himself by hopefully showing me pictures of cakes, pies, cookies, etc. my husband took matters into his own hands and began to make these items for himself. A few Christmases back, after watching him mix, yet another, oil soaked, dis-gusting Betty Crocker/Duncan Hines/ Pillsbury box cake, I took pity on him and bought him a Kitchen Aid.
It’s mine now! I love this machine. I broke down and made muffins, cinnamon rolls and a pound cake for a brunch. Quick breads, pizza dough, meringues, whipped cream; hallelujah! This is not to say that I’ve changed my mind about baking and desserts but that when called upon to make something in this category, I’m a lot more gracious.
The other day I was talking to M. Parret about food; American vs French. You can imagine the conversation; M. Parret gives a 45 minute dissertation on the merits of French cuisine and the shortcomings of all others, especially American. After running out of breath and taking a fortifying sip of Epineuil, he admitted that he and Mme Parret occasionally order in a pizza from down the street.
Well! Many of you have traveled to France and know that, to the French, pizza is just a word. The pizza you get here has nothing to do with Italy, America nor even Pizza Hut; sauce, oregano and basil being optional! After my 45 minute dissertation and a fortifying sip of Epineuil, I vowed to show him!
2) Make a fresh, marinara sauce for the pizza. You can use canned tomatoes, that’s okay, but cook the sauce for at least 2 hours so that it’s so thick, it glops onto the pizza crust.
3) Sky’s the limit for toppings but do layer in this order: sauce, cheese, vegetables, more cheese, meats. We used mozzarella, Parmesan, black olives, mushrooms, red bell pepper and some random dry French sausage chopped (a concession to M. Parret).
Jade’s New York Style Pizza
2 large cans of peeled tomatoes
2 large onions, chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of red wine
1 teaspoon each rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the tomatoes, wine, herbs, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until sauce is very thick.
Make dough while sauce is cooking:
2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/3 cup of warm water
Pinch of sugar
4 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp of salt
Mix together the flour and salt. Dissolve the yeast in the water and add the pinch of sugar. When the yeast starts to clump and rise to the surface of the water, stir and add to the flour. Blend well.
Knead the dough with the kitchen aid dough hook for 5 minutes or by hand for an agonizing 10 minutes. Divide the dough in half and form two balls. Oil two bowls with the olive oil and put the dough balls inside, turning to coat with oil. Cover and let rise for 1 1/2 hour. Punch the balls flat, then form into balls again and wrap with saran wrap. Allow to rise again for 1 hour. Spray Pam or spread olive oil onto (2) 12 inch pizza pans. Flatten each dough ball onto the center of the pan and press the dough outward until it covers the pan.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover the pizza crusts first with sauce, then cheese, then any vegetable toppings, then cheese again and lastly any meat toppings. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Beverage suggestion: Beer, Chianti or Epineuil