EDF: Home Stretch and a Call for Pizza Night
If you’ve been following along since Sunday, you know that today is Day Six (of seven) of Eating Down the Fridge. For the diehard EDFers who haven’t stepped foot into a grocery store this week, today may be the most challenging day of all. Is that crisper compartment down to the last mangy thing that used to be a carrot? Is there nary a starch to pair up with the remaining six cans of black beans? Are the remaining ingredients so seemingly incompatible and so off-putting that you run the risk of alienating the rest of the family? (A writer for the Orlando Weekly titled her column yesterday "Eating Down the Frickin’ Fridge.")
I can’t say I’ve had that experience, but I do feel like tonight will an appropriately “eating down” denouement to this week-long eating adventure. Although I’ve got EDF ideas for Saturday (both lunch and dinner), tonight we’ll really be cleaning out the larder for pizza.
As I mentioned earlier this week, my friend Leslie lent me a bag of all-purpose flour, and in return, I’ve promised her pizza as well as an opportunity to collaborate from both fridges for toppings.
Here at the Casa, we’ve got about five slices of lip-smacking locally produced bacon, a slew of yellow onions which I plan to caramelize, a hunk of feta, pickled peppers in a jar, some good olives, a tiny bit of Parm, olive oil, a can of tomato puree (and some paste to help thicken it up) and yes! some leftover kale from the other night. There may even be some jarred anchovies in the mix. Oh, and rosemary in the front yard!
I have no doubt that this motley mix of staples will marry seamlessly atop pizza dough, their unique colors, textures and flavors coming together like a beautiful mural. If you’ve got three cups of flour and a wee bit of yeast in the house, I propose that Friday night be EDF Pizza Night and we share our pizza pie stories on Monday in the blog space or on the EDF Facebook Group Page throughout the weekend. Who's game? And how are you doing in the home stretch? Talk to me in the comments area.
Pizza Dough To Save Your EDF Behind
1 cup water
1 envelope active dry yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons from the jar)
Approximately 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cornmeal, for lining baking surface
Heat water until about 100 degrees -- THIS DOES NOT MEAN BOILING WATER! -- and pour into a small bowl. Sprinkle contents of yeast packet, sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour over the water. Stir until dissolved and cover bowl at room temperature, until mixture is slightly foamy, about 15 minutes.
In a larger bowl, add 1 cup flour, salt and olive oil, and stir to combine. Add yeast mixture and whisk until just combined. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and switch to a wooden spoon for stirring in between flour additions. You are looking for a soft, sticky dough that just clears the sides of the bowl. Depending on weather (humidity, heat), the amount of flour used will vary between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 cups total. It's unnecessary to use maximum amount.
Lightly dust work surface with flour and pour mixture out of bowl. Begin kneading dough in the following manner: punch (gently but firmly, but no black eyes, please), fold (in half) and turn (rotate 15 minutes on your imaginary clock, or 1/4 turn). Make this your mantra until your dough becomes a smooth, soft, springy ball, as smooth as a baby's bottom.
Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot, away from drafts. Let rise until doubled, about an hour.
At this point, risen dough may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated (or frozen) for later use. (Let chilled dough warm up at room temperature for about 45 minutes before rolling and shaping.) For two pizzas, cut ball in half and work with one half at a time.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. If using pizza stone, place in oven and preheat now.
Wipe work surface clean of dough scraps, then dry thoroughly before rolling out dough. Flour-dust work surface and rolling pin (or empty wine bottle). Gently pound on dough so that it begins to look like a disc. After every few motions, rotate dough 1/4 turn. Roll out dough from center, continuing to rotate, careful not to tear dough. Roll to desired thinness and shape.
Dust a pizza pan or bottom side of a baking sheet with cornmeal, for texture. Fold your dough circle in half and carefully lift onto baking surface. Adjust shape of dough and begin adding tomato puree and other toppings of your choice. A final addition of salt just before baking is recommended. (If using a pizza stone, transfer prepared dough onto stone; do not remove stone from oven.)
Bake until dough makes a hollow sound when you tap the crust and is golden in color. A 12-inch pie takes about 10-12 minutes, but varies by oven. Bottom of crust should be golden. Transfer pizza to cutting board and cut into slices with a serrated knife or pizza slicer.
Makes one larger, 16-inch-ish pie or two smaller, 10-12-inchers
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