Why You Need to Try Grilled Pizza

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I love pizza. I also have grown to love making it at home. Frozen pizza is good and a cheaper alternative to take away or delivery. My homemade efforts are improving with each pie that slides off the pizza peel. Now that summer has arrived, I fire up my Weber for grilled pizza. The charcoal heat gives it a smokey, charred touch you just can’t get via other methods.

Grilled Pizza Basics

The dough will require a bit of advanced planning if you make it from scratch (video here and another recipe here) OR you can get pre-made dough from groceries like Trader Joe’s (if you get it from TJ’s, add a bit of salt to the dough).

The better the ingredients, the better the results. Seems intuitive, but I’m usually (almost always) super cheap. Get some good meats like hot capicola if you like spicy food and fresh veggies. Rather than pay pizzeria prices for a smattering of toppings you can truly make it a meat lovers pizza for $3. Continue reading Why You Need to Try Grilled Pizza

Secrets to Homemade Pizza and Calzones

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I have been obsessed with pizza of late. Seemingly every day for the past week I have been making homemade pizza. The mission has been to perfect thin crust. Bon Appetit’s recipe for “grandmother dough” is my go-to for thicker, chewy crust. But sometimes you just want a quick, crispy crust.

With some free time, I have been experimenting and cooking a lot more. The result is a growing mid section. Each time I made homemade pizza, I ate it pretty quickly. Then, I’d make it again the next day. You know what they say, “Practice makes obesity.” Continue reading Secrets to Homemade Pizza and Calzones

Pie Five: First Tastes

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The contents in the manila folder changed each week in Mrs. T’s classroom. She would put a new mind bender problem in the folder. And each week, I would take the white sheet of paper and work toward finding a solution. Some of the sheets were easier than others. Many had logic problems where you’d have to make grids to figure out what color shirt Jim was wearing. Others were probability and permutation puzzles. At the bottom of every problem, Mrs. T. reminded us to show our work.

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Next to the folder pinned to the wall was a standings sheet listing the students with the most points. By attempting the problem, you could receive one point. If you arrived at the correct solution, you would tally two points. There was a greater goal than mere competition against your prepubescent peers. If you earned 50 points by the end of the year, you won a pizza party where you got your very own personal pan pizza, with whatever toppings you wanted.

As a kid, I loved pizza. What’s better than pizza? Free pizza. Continue reading Pie Five: First Tastes

Homemade Pizza Recipe that Will Change Your Life

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Name one of your friends that doesn’t love pizza.

Exactly.

If there is pizza, it will be eaten. Full disclosure: years ago I was told I’m sensitive to lactose. Not full-on intolerant, but I should proceed with caution before taking down the entire cheese wheel. That hasn’t stopped me from ingesting the Italian precursor to tostadas.

There was a dearth of holiday plans for NYE this year. So, my girlfriend and I invited friends to her casa for some drinks and dinner before going out. Grappling over what to make to feed our friends, we landed on homemade pizzas since we thought it would be the easiest and least time consuming.

The below pizzas–I don’t like calling them pies–were made off the dough recipe in Bon Appetit’s October issue. Their homemade pizza recipe and sauce is also a winner with anchovies as the secret flavor punch.

Life-Changing Pizza Dough from Bon Appetit

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.)
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ cup olive oil, plus more for bowl
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surface

I have long avoided making legit, homemade dough mostly because when I want pizza I can’t wait 4 hours or definitely not 24 hours for dough to rise. Having made this dough twice in the past 5 days, I can vouch that it is doable to make your own pizza and stop relying on delivery or a frozen pizza.

This dough does take a full day to develop its flavors, BUT it only takes about 15 minutes to make. The rest of the time it sits in the fridge. In that time, you could clear your freezer of frozen pizzas bought in moments of weakness. You can also make a double batch of dough and freeze one for a later date.

Tips

  • Use a Kitchen Aid if you have one. It makes this insanely easy.
  • Make a double batch.
  • Be sure to oil the bowl and coat the entire ball of dough before refrigeration (flip it over once the bottom is coated).
  • Get creative.
  • My pizzas only took about 15 minutes instead of the recommended 20-30. So, watch them closely.

Once the dough is done with its day spa in the cooler, you need to get it back to room temperature before trying to stretch it onto a pan. This took at least 30-45 minutes for my double batch of dough. From then on it’s up to you to twirl your mustache and top it with your favorite veggies and meats. I learned one thing when asking for input before topping: a lot of people hate mushrooms.

We made three homemade pizzas on NYE with variations on the below toppings:

  • Onions
  • Red bell pepper
  • Italian Sausage
  • Pepperoni
  • Hot Capicola
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil

Endless possibilities await.

What are your favorite toppings?

Best Breakfast Pizza | Recipe

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We’ve all done it. No shame. We’ve eaten leftover pizza for breakfast. While this dish takes a bit more work than foraging in your fridge, you’ll be rewarded with a sensational and fresh breakfast.

Turn on your oven to 350 degrees.

To start, I made my own hash browns after frying up some bacon. You could also use frozen hash browns to cut down the prep time. To make your own, shred 3 potatoes. I recently purchased a KitchenAid Mandoline. That helps speed up the job. I found it tough to use the mandoline with the potatoes. It worked great on softer veggies, but struggled against firm potatoes.

Once the hash browns were cooked–about 15 minutes–I removed them from the pan and added onions and green pepper. Saute those for a few minutes and remove to a bowl. Then I whipped 4 eggs with a touch of water.

Return the taters to the skillet and add the eggs.

Return the veggies and bacon. Add tomatoes. Sprinkle in your favorite cheese. I had sliced american that I put on top.

Put the skillet in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Slice it up and enjoy.

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Pizza for the Procrastinator | Recipe & Story

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I like to believe that I’m unique, but there’s one thing I trust I share with most people: I procrastinate when it comes to food.

Most of my free time is spent watching cooking shows, reading recipes and cooking. I also nap more than a newborn. Planning meals is not listed in that rundown. I improvise in the kitchen and oftentimes it works out well. But certain food needs advanced thought, especially anything involving a dough.

If you stalk me or are just vigilant about reading my semi-occasional posts (I appreciate all my readers), you may recall that time I tried making pizza a few weeks ago. The toppings were a bit off and the pre-made dough needed salt. While sitting on the couch watching the World Cup, I found a blog post for tw0-ingredient pizza dough that didn’t require yeast or time to rest/rise/rest.

For the dough: 1 cup Greek yogurt and 1 – 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour.

I didn’t have self-rising flour, so you can add 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

BOOM! You are now one step closer to your own show on the DIY Network.

The story before the pizza:

My lady friend and I attended the Summer Lovin’ fundraiser for Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I had gone a few times in the past to sample the finest food the Windy City has to offer and the finest singles Chicago Magazine selects. I’m still waiting for the email or phone call, editors of Chicago Mag. This year was the first I went where I wasn’t single.

Singles events are like the World Cup. Take the corner kick. Everyone crowds the net waiting for the perfect opportunity to head the ball into the net. Every time someone passes by, you hope they stop or that you can engage them in some repartee. Or maybe you run around looking for the right opportunity.

But here’s my pearl of wisdom from dating the majority of women in the metropolitan area: free kicks are rare. You have to make your own opportunities, and I’ve found they don’t happen at singles events.

No one wants to go to a singles event solo. So they rally the army for a night out. Instead of having one-on-one interactions, you have the choice of 1-on-5, or, if you have some confident friends, 2-on-5. Oftentimes when you look around you’ll see one guy talking to two or three women. That takes confidence. Or drunkenness. Either way, you have to make the move and find a group that doesn’t look like they are discussing how to cure cancer.

The night and scotch reminded me of all the time and events I went to trying to meet an adventurous gal. As soon as the security guards started ushering the pretty people toward the exit, everyone suddenly was in a meaningful conversation. It’s like the referees had just added bonus time to the match.

After briefly checking out the after party and a short stroll around downtown, we headed back toward the ‘burbs.

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Saturday (aka PIZZA DAY)

The sun was out and all was right with the world. My lady friend and I went for a walk in a forest preserve. She didn’t kill me and leave me for dead. So there’s that.

After wandering around and not seeing the pretty parts of the trail, we eventually migrated to another walking path. This time by a river. We spotted four couples taking wedding photos. Apparently everyone wants to get married on the longest day of the year.

Ominous clouds crept in and we made it back to the car just before the downpour. We loaded up on extra foodstuffs at Trader Joe’s for the pizza and detoured around closed streets before firing up the oven for Pizza Night: Round 2.

Toppings:

  • Sauteed red onion and mushrooms
  • Kalamata olives
  • Salami
  • Shredded cheddar

Notes: The dough is incredibly sticky. The flavor is decent, it needs a teaspoon of salt. Next time we will try 1:1.5 cups ratio. The dough may not have been fully cooked in the center, so make sure you roll it out to an even, thin layer. But we nailed the toppings.

You know what they say about the third time? Stay tuned for Pizza Night: Round 3.

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