Amazing Pizza From Scratch

Produce on Parade: Amazing Pizza From Scratch

This pizza is so easy. If you’re still buying pre-made pizza crust from the store and pizza sauce from a jar, you’re really missing out. Nothing compares to just makin’ it yourself. And why not? It’s easy, cheap and fairly quick too! This dough requires just a handful of ingredients and it only takes 40 minutes to rise. in addition it’s a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, so you know it’s going to be good. Same goes with the sauce. Super duper easy and super duper good. Everything goes in the blender, and voila. Donezo. Pizza from scratch is the way to go. People will envy your domestic and culinary superiority, though it’s really not about that. It’ll make you feel all rustic and wholesome. I love that feeling, especially in our digital age.

Produce on Parade: Amazing Pizza From Scratch To me, there’s an immense importance in having the ability to cultivate a life filled with real and healthy cooking, a respect for nature, gardening, reading, friendship and the ability to repair things as opposed to giving up. All these ideas seem so far away in many of our lives, maybe not all the time, but sometimes. And I feel it too. I must confess, I have a sewing machine. I’ve used it twice. One day when we have more space, I hope to use it a lot more. I want to make things. Also, my garden is very small indeed, but I’m working it. And yes, my “book” happens to be a Kindle Fire, but that doesn’t mean I don’t read the same words as in a paper book. And though my friends are very few, they are of the highest caliber. Just the way I like it. So you see, I’m not as “down-to-Earth” as I ultimately hope to be but I’m getting there. A little is better than none at all.

So, back to pizza and how awesome it feels to make your own dough and sauce from scratch! Todd and my favorite piece of pizza involves cheese, black olives, Italian sausage, and sliced tomatoes. We add the on tomatoes after pizza has finished baking. We also added some vegan salami for Todd because we couldn’t find vegan pepperoni! Feel free to try out our favored toppings or pick your own! The options are pretty much limitless.

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss something very important. Pizza stones. Pizza stones are truly amazing. If you’ve ever made a pizza who’s crust was limp and squishy and sad….it’s not your fault. You were missing a vital piece of the pie (hehe)…a pizza stone. This hero will ensure that your pizza crust is crunchy and firm and downright perfect.

If you do not have a pizza stone, I highly recommend purchasing one. I refuse to vouch for the amazingness of this pizza without the use of a pizza stone, dang nab it. So ask for one for Christmas or your birthday or something if you’re a Frugal Francine like myself, though they aren’t really expensive. Did you know that they shouldn’t be washed with water? Nope, just clean them with a metal scraper. It’s actually easier too. Water absorbs into the stone and can cause it to crack! Also, the black stains that occur over time are actually desired and it means that the stone is well seasoned. Who knew?

Okay back to business  I am not blind to the fact that if you’ve never made pizza from scratch before, it can be intimidating. I know how this may seem. It looks like a lot, but trust me when I tell you that it couldn’t be easier. You trust me right? It’s really very easy and simple and requires just minimal planning. I don’t understand why more people don’t do it. Anyways, hold my hand and here we go!

Amazing Pizza From Scratch 

Makes 2 large pizzas

  • For the Dough
  • 1 3/4 cups water divided, 1/2 cup warm, remaining at tap temperature
  • 1 envelope instant dry active yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • For the Sauce
  • 1 15oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 6oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 fresh basil leaves or 1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • pinch of salt
  • For the Toppings
  • 1 8oz. package of shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 1 vegan Italian sausage link, sliced
  • 4 slices of vegan salami or pepperoni, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced in segments

 

The first item of business is to ensure that your pizza stone is in your oven. Preheat the oven to 500 F. The stone needs to rest in the oven for at least 30 minutes at 500 F. This is important, don’t skip it.

Produce on Parade: Amazing Pizza From Scratch

For the Dough:

Add 1/4 cup of warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle in the instant yeast, give it a very gentle stir and then let it rest for about 5 minutes. Add another 1/4 cup of  warm water, plus 1 1/4 cups of tap water as well as the olive oil. Stir gently. In the meantime, add the flour and salt to the food processor and pulse to combine. Next, add the liquid ingredients, reserving about one tablespoon. Pulse. The dough should easily form into ball, however, if it doesn’t then it may then need a little more liquid. In this case, stop the processor and add the reserved liquid. Pulse again until a ball forms. Process the dough about 30 seconds more or until it’s satiny and smooth .

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface by hand. This should only take a few strokes or until it forms a smooth, round ball. Lightly spray or oil a medium/large bowl, place the dough ball inside and cover with a warm, damp cloth. Allow the dough to rise until it’s doubled in size (hey a rhyme!), or about 40 minutes, the longer, the better. Meanwhile make the sauce and prepare the toppings.

Once the dough has risen, cleave it in half and and form into two balls. Put one of the balls back into the bowl and cover again with the damp cloth until ready to use. Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten the dough ball into a disk with your hand. Starting at the center of the disc and using the ball of your palm, stretch the sides of the disc outward until the desired crust size is reached. Transfer the dough to the heated pizza stone and brush the top and edges of the dough very lightly with olive oil before the sauce and toppings go on.

For the Sauce:

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend it up! Divide the sauce in half and spread onto the uncooked pizza crust with a spatula. Well that was easy. Now isn’t that better than the stuff in the jar?

Produce on Parade: Amazing Pizza From Scratch

For the Toppings:

Split the toppings in half and layer the uncooked pizza crust with the sauce first, then the cheese, followed by your toppings. We like the tomatoes added after the pizza has been baked but it’s all personal preference so do what you like!

I assembled the pizza right on the stone but you don’t have to. It’s probably safer…but I live on the edge! Bake each pizza separately at 500 F for about 12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the crust begins to turn brown.

Produce on Parade: Amazing Pizza From Scratch

Dang, do you feel awesome or what?Produce on Parade: Amazing Pizza From Scratch

A slice just for you.

Spring Camping in Alaska

Yipes! It’s been a few days, but I promise I have some really great recipes to come! Todd and I spent our glorious Alaskan Memorial weekend camping with a few of my bestest buds at Eklutna Lake! It was much too beautiful to be inside. Todd and I spent the days we weren’t camping, just lazing about in sunshine at home.

A sunburn even made an appearance! I know, typically, a sunburn is not cause for celebration…unless you live in Alaska. I understand it may be difficult to comprehend the excitement surrounding a sunburn, but nevertheless, we celebrated. Today is supposed to be another scorcher. The all-time, record high today for southcentral Alaska is 82 F and today’s high is supposed to be 75 F! I see more sun soaking with Todd and Mr. B in my future. My very near future.

Back to camping though, we spent Sunday and Monday at Eklutna Lake campground. There was biking, hiking, veggie dog roasting and of course, corn on the cob! I really wanted to make s’mores but alas, Alaska does not offer vegan marshmallows. Sad face. I would have made my own but I didn’t have the necessary ingredients. Do you have any knowledge of store-bought vegan marshmallows or have your ever made your own?

corn

Can you spot the wild Todd? He climbed a tree to try to get a cluster of twigs for the fire. It wasn’t a very successful expedition. Though he is an exceptional tree climber. It must be an Ohio thing?

climbing

Bobbledore really enjoyed swimming in the still frozen-over Eklutna Lake. He loves swimming, though his husky fur isn’t very water repelling. Look at that tongue!

bobbers

Coop-da-Loop, Bobbledore’s BFF, enjoyed our walk to the ice cream stand a little over a mile away from the campground. He even found a dead Pootschki weed stem to drag along! Pronounced push-key, this weed is also known as Cow Parsnip. The sap and outer hairs contain the chemical furanocoumarin which can cause sensitivity to sunlight if handled, resulting in severe dermatitis. I’ve never experienced it myself, but I have seen it and it’s not very fun.

coop

We had a gorgeous, beautiful weekend spent outside in the sun. Even the leaves are almost completely out now! Now that’s a cause for celebration.

Delicious Dal

I make a lot of lentils. They’re so healthy and full of good nummy goodies.

Produce on Parade: Delicious Dal

Delicious Dal

Inspired by The Vegan Cookie Fairy

Serves 6

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. ground garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped small
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 7 cups vegetable broth (or 3 cups water, 4 cups broth)
  • 1 head of broccoli (use the stem too, don’t waste it!), chopped small and let rest for 10 minutes
  • 1 yellow summer squash, chopped small
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped small
  • 2 cups dry lentils (or 3 cups lentils and no peas)
  • 1 cup dry split peas
  • 4 handfuls of baby kale or spinach

 

In a large pot, heat the coconut oil and add the cumin seeds, garam masala and coriander . Stirring, allow them to sizzle for a minute or two and then add the chopped onions. By the way, I got super excited when I found out about this spice jar cap. It’s a freaking pop-top people! How cool is that?? I was ecstatic! Is that weird?

Saute until translucent, then add the garlic and saute another two minutes. Add the remaining ingredients excluding kale and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook, uncovered for about 45 minutes or until most of the liquid has absorbed, stirring occasionally.

 

Serve alone or with bread or even over rice or quinoa. Garnish with cilantro.

Produce on Parade: Delicious Dal