Category Archives: Pizza

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We as a family love Indian food. My sister in law had come over to visit us and I was in a cooking spree. One of the things that she wanted to have before she left was an Indianized Pizza. So I made her a “Vegetable Pizza with Indian spices”. I made the pasta sauce using onion & tomatoes. To give it a little twist I added bell peppers and carrots too. It was a nice change to the usual sauce I’ve made so far. As you would know by now that I am not a big fan of Pizzas. My husband always says that “ only things that are prepared at home are my favorites” and since I don’t like pizzas they are never made in my kitchen:). lol!. The last time I made Pizza was a very long time back, here it is –Pizza Margherita.

The sauce was a very simple one but loaded with veggies,thus making it healthy. Similarly, I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with Whole wheat pastry flour to make it slightly healthy. I had picked up a canned tomato sauce(not the usual Heinz sauce/ketchup) from Trader Joe’s that came handy; it looked more like a paste though. It gave the sauce a nice red color and tasted great too. Everyone was happy with the pizza, it had the perfect crunchy base, loaded with veggies and not to forget the main ingredient Cheese. It was super cheesy and delicious!

VEGETABLE PIZZA WITH INDIAN SPICES

PIZZA BASE
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon yeast
2/3 cup warm milk plus as required
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1.5 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Make the dough – In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 2/3 cup warm milk and yeast. Set it aside for about 10 minutes. Add all the other ingredients and mix on low speed. Gradually add more milk if required to make a soft dough. Knead for about a minute. Transfer to a greased glass bowl, cover with plastic and let It rise for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until doubled in size.

PIZZA SAUCE
Ingredients:

1.5 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion chopped
1/3 cup bell pepper chopped
¼ cup carrot grated
½ cup tomato paste/sauce
½ teaspoon chili powder/ cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala/pav bhaji masala
Salt as per taste
Topping – Onions, bell pepper, corn, pineapple, spinach and mozzarella cheese
Blanch the tomatoes for about ten minutes. Peel the skin and mash it. Heat oil in a pan, add onions and sauté until light brown. Slowly add the paste and tomatoes. Mix in the bell pepper and carrot. Allow it to cook for a bit,until all the water evaporates. Lastly, add the salt, chili powder and garam masala. Mix and set it aside.

Base – When the dough has risen, knock it back and divide into six balls and roll out each onto a work surface. Spread the sauce over each pizza base and top with the vegetables (topping ingredients).
Preheat the oven at 400F. Bake the pizzas in the oven until the bases are crisp ; golden brown around the edges and cheese has melted.

Bon Apetite!

Nina

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We got our little one’s ears pierced when she turned one. Much to my surprise, it was rather a simple process that took less than a minute. She being asleep made the job even easier. Just when I thought that I had knocked off an important milestone in my daughter’s life, one of her earrings fell off in less than 2 weeks. We had to go through another round of ear piercing and this time the “ear piercer” assured us that he had done a thorough job!!

Well, that wasn’t the case! My daughter managed to lose her pair of earrings again. This time my husband wasn’t keen on getting it done again and argued saying that the decision to pierce her ears is entirely hers. Well the truth was he did not want to see his precious darling cry in pain. Last week we had been to Mall of America. While my husband was busy in his favorite apple store, I decided to take little A to Claire’s to get her ear’s pierced again. The lady at the shop did it so quickly even before li’l A realized it. I was glad I got it done when my husband wasn’t around. If not I would have to deal with two kids:).I hope the earrings stay in place at least for some time!

We got back home, and our quick fix dinner was Pizza. I have always been wanting to make it from scratch for a long time but somehow never got around it. They were never amongst my favorite and perhaps that kept me away from trying it out! As far as possible, I make things from scratch. So that’s how the pizza base happened. I adapted the recipe from my favorite author James Peterson’s book Baking.

Pizzas are the one of the most recognizable symbol of Italian food culture in the world. I believe many years back, Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of king Umberto I, Chef of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flagred(tomato),White(mozzarella) and green(basil).They named it after the Queen – Pizza Margherita.

PIZZA MARGHERITA
Makes two 11 inch Pizza crusts

Ingredients for the Pizza Dough

3 cups flour
¾ cup barely warm water
½ teaspoon active dry yeast proofed in 1 tablespoon barely warm water
¾ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon extra – virgin olive oil

For the Pizza

Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
Pizza dough ( recipe below)
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
6 large basil leaves

For the Dough – Mix the flour, water, and yeast in a bowl. Add the salt and mix, then add the oil. Knead the dough with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook on medium speed for about 7 minutes. Turn the mixer to high speed if needed to get the dough to slap against the sides of the bowl. You may also during this time, pull the dough off the hook a couple of times so that the dough is mixed evenly. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to double in volume at room temperature for about 4hours. Or at room temperature for 1 hour and then overnight in the refrigerator.

For the Pizza – Brush two – 11 inch Pizza pans with olive oil. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a ball, shaping the dough with your fingers, pressing and turning, until the dough is somewhat round. Put on ball on each of the pizza pans. Put the pans in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Shape the dough nby pressing on it and pressing on it and stretching it with your fingers or with a rolling pin until it covers the pizza pan. You may have to press and stretch the dough 2 or 3 times,with a 15 minute rest between each time to get the dough to cover the pizza pans. Press up the edges of the round from the inside to form a border. Brush the dough with olive oil.

Preheat oven to 500F. Coat the basil leaves with olive oil,roll them up,slice the roll so you end up with strips. Arrange the tomato slices and cheese slices in the pizza.Bake for about 15 minutes,or until the crust is brown. Just before the pizza is done,sprinkle the basil strips over the top,and bake until done.

I had already made the dough before I stepped out, so it was easy to bake once I got back. The pizza crust was crunchy and the topping fills you right up and you don’t feel too heavy. Simple topping yet truly delicious because its CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE:).

The second time I made this I didn’t follow all of the method above. Once the dough had risen, I simple rolled it over, placed it in a baking sheet(yeah not a pizza stone),spread the topping and baked it immediately. It still tasted the same. I guess this is an easy approach.

Bon Appetit!

Nina

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