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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pizza Night

Some weekends are so enjoyable you wish they would never end- and when Monday rolls around you wish Saturday was the day that followed. That sums up my sentiment at the moment. My brother flew into Columbus on Thursday to visit and we made the most of every meal and adventure. In fact the pizza night was a mixture of both from trying to find room to let the formed pizza dough rest to spilling an egg into the oven. If you're curious what it looks like to have dough resting on all open counters and inside the microwave or what egg smells like cooking on the door of an oven you should have been there. Well, minus the unpleasant egg smell.

Before he came up I planned a carnitas dinner and a pizza night since he is a big fan of both and to attempt better organization. Dawn had to work during the day while we had all the fun, which left the cooking and shopping responsibilities to me. And, as I told someone the other day, Columbus is a city of markets. From small chain grocery's and independent grocers to ethnic markets and corporate giants. If the ingredient is available in the country, for a population of just over three quarters of a million there is a good chance you can find it here.

Maybe it is due to the ingredient selection but I am an equal opportunity pizza topping guy. I am not going to gawk at people throwing something other than mozzarella and basil on a pie. I picked up some leeks, potatoes, and pepper bacon while at the market on Thursday. (It sounds more like the making of an Irish dinner than Italian, right?) Saturday I found some uber cool white sweet plums at the farmers market. In the fridge was a chunk of Romano cheese that goes well with a variety of pizza toppings. Throw in a few eggs that were mentioned in the earlier fiasco and in my book you have the making of a pretty darn good pizza night. Oh, and did I mention we watched Raging Bull while he was up too. You get the picture. It was an awesome weekend that I will remember for a long time.

Pizza Dough

3 C bread flour
1 C durum flour
1 T extra virgin olive oil plus more for coating the bowl
1 1/4 C filtered room temperature water (approximate, depending on humidity)
1 T honey
1 T active dry yeast

Dump all ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork until it forms a shaggy shaggy ball. With a mixer and dough hook or by hand, knead ten minutes or until dough is shiny and smooth. Splash a drop of olive oil into the bowl to coat the dough ball and the sides of the bowl to keep it moist and from sticking too bad. 

At this point the dough can be frozen for a week or kept in the refrigerator for a couple days. Just bring to room temperature and let dough relax. This make ahead version works in a pinch because the dough still rises some in the fridge or has to come to room temperature and rise for a good hour out of the freezer. I made the dough and let it rise covered on the counter for four hours.  Stretch to the preferred thickness and cover with pizza toppings. I split the dough into fourths and sprinkled a mist of cornmeal on parchment paper and on top to roll it out extra thin with a rolling pin so it cooks up nice and crisp. Form a small lip, also known as the cornichone, which will swell nicely on the heated baking stone.

Plum and Bacon Pizza

6 pieces thick cut pepper bacon 
1 to 2 small white plums or purple, halved and thinly sliced
romano cheese, parmigiano reggiano, or hard cheese of your choice

Preheat pizza stone in a 550 degree oven for an hour. Cook some of the fat out of the bacon but not until it is crisp or it will burn while the pizza is cooking. Leaving the bacon somewhat soft also allows the fat to cook into the plums. The good thing about Romano is it adds flavor without detracting from the ingredients or crust. Spread plum slices out in a single layer and top with diced bacon and then cheese. Slide pizza on parchment paper onto pizza stone and cook for 5 minutes then broil for one to two minutes to crisp and enjoy.

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Pizza

6 slices thick cut bacon
3 eggs
sprinkle of sel gris salt
romano cheese, parmigiano reggiano, or hard cheese of your choice

Preheat pizza stone in a 550 degree oven for an hour. Cook some of the fat out of the bacon but not until it is crisp or it will burn while the pizza is cooking. You can also cook the bacon crisp and sprinkle the bacon crumbles on top after cooking the pizza. Crack the eggs evenly out onto the pie, sprinkle diced bacon on top, and grate cheese on top. Slide pizza on parchment paper from peel onto baking stone. Cook for 4 minutes then broil for a little over a minute. Make sure not to cook too long or the yolks will become tough. Sprinkle salt on top and enjoy.

Leek and Potato Pizza

1 leek washed thoroughly and finely julienned, mostly white with some tender green
1 medium russet potato peeled and sliced thinly with mandoline
a few drops of extra virgin olive oil
sprinkle of coarse sea salt
romano cheese, parmigiano reggiano, or hard cheese of your choice

Preheat pizza stone in a 550 degree oven for an hour. Place potatoes evenly in a single layer on dough and sprinkle salt on top. Spread leek heavily on top of pizza and shake a few drops of olive oil for moisture. Grate cheese on top and slide pizza on parchment onto baking stone and cook five to six minutes. Broil for about two minutes or until cornichone is a deep walnut color and leek tips are just browned. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

I love pizza night!

Ana Powell said...

Pizza night! Why didn`t you call me?
Nice one ♥

Camala - CC Recipe said...

I absolutely heart pizza night, looks like these pizza's wouldn't disappoint. BTW, I have weekends like that ALL the time:)

Stella said...

Gosh, that plum and bacon combination looks and sounds so awesome. Ooh, I miss bacon! Hmm, I'm sure I can mimic it somehow (smile).
Glad you guys had a nice weekend. Good food is the start of all things wonderful. Well, almost...
p.s.-cute boys... Ooh, I mean 'men';)!!!

Drick said...

what dazzling photos and brilliant pizzas ... great choice...

Tracy said...

Pizza nights are the best. I'd be all over these. Especially the bacon and egg! The crusts look PERFECT.

RamblingTart said...

Oh wow!! What fabulous ingredients you chose. :-) The Plum and Bacon is inspired! :-)

Cook with Madin said...

All your pizza looks fabulous and delicious too. I would like to give a try on the plum and bacon pizza, interesting combination.

Rick said...

The leek and potato pizza is my fav. These all look so good! Pizza night is a good idea.

Indie.Tea said...

What delicious topping. I really must try the leek and potato...

denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

Wow! Those are some awesome pizzas - love thin crust! I would've loved the leek and potato combo but the plum and bacon really takes the cake, erm....pie, for originality ;)

pegasuslegend said...

fabulous photos would love some of all the above!

Anonymous said...

Awesome pizzas! I especially love the plum and bacon one!

Mary said...

That pizza looks delicious!!!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

jen cheung said...

holy moly.
look at all these interesting pizzas!!! sure is tempting eh? love to have some!!

Have a fabulous week!!
jen @

Julia @Mélanger said...

I have such a weakness for pizza. That base looks amazing!

Magic of Spice said...

Fantastic pizzas :)

Anonymous said...

I love pizza night. These look delicious!

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