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Feet upon feet of snow = time for baking

19.January 2009

Yesterday, inspired by deep-seated boredom and the approximately two feet of snow (and higher drifts) that have piled up around the house, I decided it was time to do away with some leftover bananas and a heavy dose of malaise by baking. I took another swipe at this banana bread recipe. This time, I used real eggs, a hand-me-down Kitchen Aid stand mixer (thanks mom!), more vanilla and twice as many bananas than the recipe called for, and walnuts. The results were very, very tasty. Banana bread having been accomplished, I decided I wasn’t satisfied yet. I decided to make pizzas for an early, delicious dinner. I used Joanne Weir’s recipe for crust (from Wine Country Cooking), which worked out DELICIOUSLY. I messed up the first step (the yeast/water/flour mixing part), but it worked beautifully anyway. Here’s the dough before shot:I was worried about how small the dough was before rising (it did NOT look like enough for two 10-11″ pizzas as I had been promised), but in an hour it had almost tripled in size! It was a light, fluffy, almost frothy dough, which resulted in puffy, crunchy, perfect crust. Crunchy under the sauce and toppings, but it had enough body that munching on the crusts afterward was pleasant. I wish I had reserved some sauce for dipping.

Speaking of sauce and toppings… while the dough was rising, I assembled toppings (with Dan’s able help).There you see (clockwise from top left), 1. the wine I was drinking, 2. green peppers and zucchini, 3. red sauce (I whipped this up from some canned crushed tomatoes, lots of rough-chopped garlic, dried thyme, salt and pepper, and a generous dose of cayenne for kick), 4. mushrooms, sauteed with salt and pepper to release the juices, 5. rough-chopped broccoli, 6. rosemary prociutto, chopped, 7. goat cheese, 8. fake pesto I made from that basil in a tube stuff (kind of gross, but effective), some garlic paste (ditto), salt, and pine nuts (whole), 9. Ricotta. We then assembled these toppings into these two pizzas:1. (top) Veggies with spicy red sauce (broccoli, zucchini, 1/3 of the mushrooms, and green peppers, dusted with shredded mozzarella, topped with lots of good pecorino romano).

2. (bottom) The piece of resistance (as Dan and I have started saying): Green Pizza. (fake pesto base, LOTS of mushrooms, rosemary prociutto, clumps of goat cheese, and dollops of ricotta). It was Ridiculously Tasty. I heartily recommend this recipe, but maybe with real pesto instead of the fake stuff. But keep the whole pine nuts. They’re delicious.

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