Saturday, September 25, 2010

Food For Thought

 In light of yesterday being my wonderful, terrific, splendid, incredible, fabulous, awesome, marvelous, most excellent husband's birthday, (Happy Birthday, Mr. Sensational!) this weekend's Food For Thought will be pizza!  But not just any pizza ... Brett's Famous Pizza!  As many of you know, my husband's family has had the long-standing tradition of having pizza on Saturday nights.  Marrying into this wonderful family means that this tradition has now become our tradition ... yeah!  Since the Saturday after our honeymoon, Brett has been in charge of the Saturday night cooking and has perfected his most delicious pizza.  I have enjoyed being the beneficiary of this scrumptious meal!

I remember early in our marriage (during the pre-kids era) enjoying our Saturday evenings in the kitchen:  Brett cooking, me just hanging out and both of us enjoying listening to Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion on the radio.  Speed forward about 10 years and we have an entire circus performing in our living room, I'm trying to keep the "helpers" out of the kitchen and we haven't heard any news from Lake Wobegon in ages ... hope they're all still alive! :)

I asked Brett if he would be willing to share his recipe for his perfect crust ... to which he replied, "Sure."  Aaron's response was better, "You'll be famous, Dad, on mom's blog."  Love that kid! :)  So, without further ado ...

Brett's Famous Pizza

3 cups flour (we use 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white)
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/3 cup hot water
2 Tbs olive oil
3-19 shakes of Italian seasoning
As much fresh garlic or garlic powder as you can stand :)

Here are Brett's specific directions for preparing the crust.  Ready?

Mix, knead & roll out.

Years of practice, I guess. :)

Brett likes to use our Pampered Chef pizza stone.  It is seasoned well and doesn't need any greasing.  He uses his hands to press the dough out on the stone into a circle and then lets it rise on the counter-top for about 2 1/2 hours.  You can let it rise for less if you want a thinner crust.  When the crust is to the desired thickness, Brett pops it into the oven at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.  This is the first baking time.

Next Brett puts on the sauce.  Here we used half tomato sauce and half pesto.  The tomato sauce is from Hunt's and is seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano.

That's the pesto from last week ... yum!

Then it's time for the toppings.  This week we had pepperoni and olive on the sauce side (a kid friendly pizza) and chicken, garden tomatoes and olives on the pesto side.

Such symmetry! :)

I thought I would share a few of our favorite pizza combinations:
  • Italian sausage & chopped red peppers,
  • Pineapple & ham (just buy ham from the deli ... cheaper than canadian bacon),
  • Grilled chicken, feta, spinach & tomatoes (sun-dried tomatoes are even better)
  • Supreme:  sausage, olives, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc., etc., etc. :)
  • Chicken, green onions, blue cheese and jalapenos with BBQ sauce (for the brave readers/eaters!)
Now it's time for the pizza to head back into the oven for 7 minutes.  Because our oven is hotter in the back, Brett turns the pizza around for even baking.

Now it time for the cheese!  We do love cheese on our pizza.  We typically use just plain shredded mozzarella.

Brett is generous with the mozzarella!

Brett's faithful companion loves this part of the pizza-making process.  He's always on the ready for any morsels that might come his way. :)

Just one little nibble?

The pizza is headed back into the oven for the third and final baking time.  This time Brett doesn't set the timer ... he just waits to see that the cheese is evenly melted.  While we wait for the pizza to be finished, we get out our favorite pizza dishes, courtesy of Nana & Auntie Allie following one of their many trips to DisneyLand.  

It's a set of six ... and always bring a smile!

By this time the kids have washed their hands, the table is set and we have placed some of our favorite pizza toppings on the table:  crushed red pepper (for me), ranch dressing and honey.  Now it's time to serve it up!


After asking God's blessing on the meal we all dive in.  It is an absolute delight to enjoy home-made pizza each week ... and not because I'm not making it!  Thank you, Brett, for treating us to your culinary expertise!

We hope that this has inspired you to try your hand at home-made pizza.  But ... not at the expense of missing out on your company!  We'd love to have you join us around the table.  So if it's Saturday and you're in town ... give us a call! :)

Here is a parting shot of a satisfied diner enjoying his crust dipped in honey:

Now you're famous, too, Aaron! :)

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