Pizza for when you can’t bother to make dough a day ahead (aka always)

Because everyone in the world can agree that pizza is the best, AND because it’s so easy to make at home, AND because I just cannot ever have the foresight to prep for tomorrow’s dinner the night before, this recipe is a godsend. It’s definitely the best homemade pizza I’ve made yet, and I have made a LOT of homemade pizza.

The dough only needs about 1ish hour from start to finish, which means you can totally come home from work and start it at around 6:30ish and have a pizza by like 8, which is not unreasonable. Plus these guys cook in under 10 minutes, so really most of the work is dough rising aka me drinking wine on the couch and watching old Friday Night Lights episodes.

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During the first part of the dough-rise down-time, and because I am a crazy person who went to the farmer’s market the other week and purchased 25 lbs of dry-farmed tomatoes and spent a frenzied night canning them whole, I made some sauce with one of my tomato jars that didn’t seal in the canning process. This sauce was REALLY EASY and REALLY GOOD and probably my favorite pizza sauce I’ve ever made. My secret is having anchovy paste in a tube ready to go in my fridge — no fussing with those greasy little fishes in the tin can thing. Anchovy paste can be added to almost anything to get a good salty touch, and it works wonders with just tomatoes and garlic here.

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As for toppings I went buffalo mozzarella and basil on one and pepperoni on the other with some cheap-y shredded mozz. Both were excellent, both sprinkled with a touch of parmigiano reggiano and chile flakes. We baked them on our **new** and highly-recommended baking steel. The one thing to know about baking steel, however, is that it weighs a literal (figurative) fucking ton. For some reason I thought it’d be lighter than a baking stone. It is not and I am not sure why I thought that. It is a slab of solid steel. I think it came from a battleship. I am unable to pick it up with one hand. But it WORKS, even in the middle this pizza was nice and crispy on bottom. We also got a pizza peel and I was surprised at how EASY it made prepping/throwing the pizza in the oven. A LOT EASIER than doing it on a cutting board and having it stick to the cutting board and ruining the pizza when you try to get it into the oven and being sad about it. Much.

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Homemade Pizza Dough
from Food52
Serves 8 (I halved this recipe for 2 2-people pizzas)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups of warm water (100 to 110º F)
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packets) of rapid rise yeast
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing bowl
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
6 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 200º F. Once the oven has preheated, immediately turn the oven off. Combine water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Gently stir to dissolve the yeast. Let the yeast bloom for 5 to 10 minutes (once the top of the mixture begins to get foamy from one side of the bowl to the other, I know it’s done). On the lowest speed, turn on the mixer and add olive oil and salt. Slowly add in the flour (I usually add half the flour, let it incorporate slightly, then pour in the other half.) Increase to medium speed and mix the dough until it begins to form a ball and wrap itself around the hook, this step should take about 2 minutes. Allow the mixer to knead the dough for another 5 to 8 minutes. Make sure the dough is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball and place into a large bowl coated with olive oil. Flip the dough in the oil a few times to make sure the dough is evenly coated. Cover the dough with a tea towel to discourage a skin forming on the dough. Let the dough rise for 1 hour in the warm oven.

Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, punch down and cut into 8 equal-sized pieces (or cut the dough in half for 2 large pizzas, which serves 6 to 8 people total.) Use the dough immediately or freeze up to 3 months.

To Freeze: Whenever the dough has finished rising, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces (each piece is 1 serving), wrap each piece in cling wrap and stack the covered pieces of dough into a labeled gallon-sized freezer bag. The dough will stay good for 3 months. When ready to use just take out however many individual balls of dough that you may need and let them come to room temperature for 2 to 3 hours on the counter.

Homemade Pizza Sauce
adapted from Food52 (read the original recipe if you want, the guy is hilarious and v v italian)

INGREDIENTS
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 clove garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
A good handful of basil (holding some leaves back to finish).
2 really good anchovy filets, salted or jar, just be sure they’re quality good (I used 1 tsp anchovy paste)
Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Make the sauce. Chop your cool-io anchovies into bits. Likewise with your garlic clove. Simmer the above (and onions) in 2 tablespoons hot but good olive oil, shimmering but not smoking. Carefully add the tomatoes. You can squish them by hand if you want to help the process move forward. Season with salt and pepper to your ownself taste. Keep it loose. Push it through the medium plate of a food mill and hold/refrigerate until ready to use. (I skipped the food mill because I don’t mind a chunky sauce)

ASSEMBLING A PIZZA
by Me

Once the dough has risen, stick your pizza stone/baking sheet/battleship slab into the oven (on a rack near the top) and turn the oven AS HIGH AS THAT MOTHER GOES. I could only get to 550F but if you can get higher, get it.

If working with 2 pieces of dough, keep one under a kitchen towel while you form the other. Roll/stretch/form your pizza into a roughly 12″ circle (or however large you want them). Flour a pizza peel or a cutting board and set a dough circle on it. Lightly brush the edges of the curst with olive oil. Spread about 1/3 cup of sauce onto the dough. You want a LIGHT TOUCH with the sauce…otherwise, soggy pizza sad face. Sprinkle/spread your cheese (roughly 1/2-3/4 c or a ball of mozz), basil, pepperoni, and/or other toppings. Once your oven has preheated, transfer your pizza directly from the peel to the steel. Bake about 10 minutes or until your crust is golden brown and everything looks melty/gooey/bubbly. Repeat with 2nd dough (or do them at once if you have 2 baking stones). Sprinkle with a small handful of parm or some sharp cheese and a few chile flakes if desired. Let cool on a cutting board for a few minutes before devouring.

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Lettuce salad

I’m trying to think about what I can say about a salad called Lettuce Salad. It is not the most self-explanatory name of all time. And really salads usually ARE terrifically self-explanatory on menus, like I think the other day I ordered a This Salad Has 6 Beets 7 Walnuts and 1/4 cup of Goat Cheese Salad. But this salad is really not boring at all, and furthermore, I would argue it’s true that salad does not need lettuce to be a salad. Therefore calling out the lettuce is an appropriate clarification! HAVE I SAID SALAD ENOUGH??? SALAD.

So what IS this salad? Well it’s refreshing as hell, my friends. Like a negroni on a hot day (do people drink negronis on hot days? sometimes i just say things) The red endive (we used radicchio) is bitter, the radishes are spicy, and the capers are pungent. It’s a real trip around the taste bud world, at least the non-sweet side. It’s really good if you’re eating something rich, almost like a palette cleanser for anything fatty and meaty. (And remember that cabbage and onion torta from last post that I was waxing on about and you immediately went home and made? THIS is a great salad to go with that meal.)

This is ALSO a great place to use those homemade sun-dried tomatoes we made together the other week! The recipe calls for semi-dried tomatoes, but I did 1/2 sun-dried and 1/2 my homemade oven version. I found that to be very pleasing. If you don’t have 2 hours, I would just char some tomatoes quick in the oven and call that semi-dried tomatoes. I have not seen such a product in US stores and I don’t see the need to special order them. Now IF YOU WILL EXCUSE ME I have to go watch the presidential debate and make snarky comments like every other good American. Peace out.

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Lettuce Salad
from Plenty

INGREDIENTS:

1 head of gem lettuce (100g), leaves separated (we used butter lettuce)
½ head of curly lettuce (100g), leaves separated
1 red endive (red chicory), leaves separated (we used radicchio)
3 spring onions, green and white parts, sliced thinly on a sharp angle
20 radishes, trimmed and cut into 2mm thick slices (we used maybe 10 radishes…it was enough)
150g semi-dried tomatoes, whole or roughly torn (we used a combo of store-bought and homemade)
2 tbsp capers, whole if small or very roughly chopped

Dressing:
1 garlic clove, crushed
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
salt and black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add salad ingredients to a large bowl. In a small bowl or jar, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk/shake to combine. Dress salad, mix to combine, and eat.

Cabbage and onion torta

HOW can I get a cabbage-onion stuffed pie/calzone type thing to sound sexy to you? How?? This is the food equivalent of a peasant grandmother from eastern Europe. So how can I make this appealing to anyone who doesn’t looove cabbage (full disclosure: I love cabbage)?

How about ::jazz hands:: ANIMATION?!

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Did that work?? I am a regular modern lady, aren’t I? Hey kids, I’m down with the gifs. Maybe I could add this to my Snapchat story. Eh? Eh?

Anyway, this is a delicious recipe, the fillings are lovely, and I do recommend it….just be ready to supplement it with a vinegary salad and some hot sauce. It is HEARTY.

Ok excuse me I need to go take the Pottermore patronus quiz again until I get an animal that I’m happy with. #coolkids

Onion and Cabbage Torta
from The NY Times

INGREDIENTS
475 grams all-purpose flour (4 cups)
60 grams whole wheat flour (1/2 cup)
12 grams kosher salt (about 2 1/2 teaspoons), more as needed
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
¼ cup olive oil, more as needed
1 large Spanish onion, halved and sliced (2 1/2 cups)
1 ½ pounds Savoy or regular cabbage (1 small head), cored and sliced
Black pepper, as needed
2 teaspoons cider vinegar, or to taste
⅓ cup dry bread crumbs
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons thyme leaves
8 ounces fontina cheese, grated (2 cups)
2 ounces diced smoked ham such as speck (optional)
1 large egg yolk

INSTRUCTIONS
To make the pastry, combine flours and 7 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut in butter until it forms coarse crumbs. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups very cold water, working it in a few tablespoons at a time, until mixture just comes together. Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon oil and stir in cabbage, a handful at a time, waiting for each addition to wilt slightly before adding more. Season with 5 grams (1 teaspoon) salt and some pepper. Cook until cabbage is tender and any liquid has evaporated, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar and cook until evaporated, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Taste and add more salt, vinegar or both, as needed.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and stir in bread crumbs, garlic and thyme. Cook until bread crumbs begin to color, about 1 minute. Scrape into a bowl.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Oil a large baking sheet.

On a floured surface, roll out dough into a 17-by-12-inch rectangle. Transfer to the baking sheet. With the long side facing you, spread half the bread crumbs evenly over right half of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with half the cheese, then cover cheese with half the cabbage mixture. Repeat layers. Sprinkle ham over the top if desired.

Dab edges of dough with water. Fold left half over filling and use the tines of a fork to seal edges. Brush crust with egg yolk. Using a knife, cut several slits in the center of the top crust. Transfer pie to oven and bake until crust is golden brown and firm, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve warm, or reheat before serving.

Not my favorite bagels

Why am I wasting your time with them? Well, because they were CLOSE, and with some adjustments (which I’ll include) they can be great. And if you live in not-NYC, you might need some recipes in your arsenal. Also, I will link to my still-favorite bagels. ALSO, I’ll break down the timing for this so you can prep it all and have bagels for a Sunday brunch. It’s NOT HARD GUYS. It starts on Friday night and the big production is Sunday morning, and in between it’s a lot of waiting.

Baron’s Bagels
from the NY Times

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon/3 grams active dry yeast
5 cups/600 grams bread flour
3 tablespoons/54 grams sea salt, divided
1 tablespoon/8 grams diastatic malt powder (I used this because I bought some, but you can sub brown sugar)
2 tablespoons/40 grams baking soda
¼ cup poppy seeds, optional
¼ cup sesame seeds, optional

FRIDAY NIGHT: Make the dough (this will take about 15 minutes)
Put the yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add 1 2/3 cups/ 365 grams lukewarm water and allow the yeast to activate, about 5 minutes. Add flour, 1 tablespoon/18 grams salt and malt powder and mix at low speed for 5 minutes using the dough hook. Cover the dough and allow to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. (I then put the dough in the fridge overnight)

SATURDAY MORNING/MID-DAY: Shape the bagels (this will take about 30 minutes)
Punch the dough down and shape into a rough rectangle about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, and about 2 times longer than it is wide. If you are having trouble forming the dough, stretch it, wait for the gluten to relax and re-form.

Cut the dough into 10 pieces of about 3 ounces each. Roll each into an 8-inch-long snakelike shape, tapering the dough at each end. Circle the dough around your hand, pinching the ends together and rolling under your palm once or twice to seal. Put the bagels on a Silpat or other nonstick baking sheet on top of a jellyroll pan. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 10 hours, or up to 24 hours.

(So after making these I realized I like the other way of shaping the bagels: still divide into 10 or 12 pieces, but then roll into a ball and shape by bringing dough under to pinch in one spot. Then, poke your finger through the pinched area to create a hole and stick another finger in there and kinda roll them around until the hole is about 2 inches in diameter. I did 1 that way, you can see it middle row left. That was the best bagel imho)

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SUNDAY MORNING: Make the bagels! (This will take about an hour)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. If you have a baking stone or brick you use for baking, put it on a rack near the bottom of the oven; it will retain heat and produce a crisper bagel. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the remaining salt and the baking soda into the boiling water and remove the bagels from the refrigerator.

Carefully place just enough bagels into the pot to cover the surface of the water, making sure that there are no bagels resting on top of one another. Let them float on 1 side for 1 minute before flipping them to the other side for another minute or so. Remove the bagels and drain well on a cooling rack.

Pour poppy or sesame seeds into a bowl wider than the bagels. Working very quickly, remove the bagels one by one and dip them into the topping. Place them back on the Silpat-covered baking sheet, topping side down. (I did this step right after I removed them from the water)

Bake on the second to highest shelf of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Then flip the bagels, rotate the pan and continue baking for about 8 minutes, or until they are golden brown. (I had to bake mine longer. Eventually I just turned the temp up to 450 to get them to brown. I would say I baked mine close to 30 min total)

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THEN EAT HOMEMADE BAGELS YOU IMPRESSIVE CREATURE!

Grown-ass adult taco bowl

Did you used to be a child? Same. I used to eat tacos from the Old El Paso yellow packaging out of hard taco shells with little cut-up tomatoes and shredded iceberg lettuce and “mexican blend” cheese and it was good.

But now I’m a grown-ass lady. Additionally, my mom used to make those dinners because she worked full time and had 5 KIDS and probably honestly did not want to bother whipping up her own spice mix (I feel bad even mentioning these dinners because my mom is a fantastic cook and god knows if I had 5 kids I would just catapult mac&cheese into their gaping maws). I have zero kids (unless you count my husband BOOM burntown baby, population you) and I shop at Whole Foods and I’m pretty sure they do not sell the Old El Paso suite of products. But my husband-child asked me to make him a taco bowl for dinner the other night, so I did, and it. was. glorious.

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I stole one of my favorite dressings of all time from the Sprouted Kitchen, added it to some cabbage and red onions, and then piled on the beans, ground turkey, salsa, and cheese. I’m telling you, this was a revelation, and a very quick meal (aside from the dressing-making, which you can and should make in bulk and use on everything).

So if you are craving some hint of your childhood and are looking for a low-fuss dinner but don’t want to ingest the world’s supply of sodium, consider this alternative.

Grown-ass adult Taco Bowl

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb ground turkey (or beef if that’s your boat)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsps cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 can black beans (approx 15 oz)
1/2 head small cabbage, shredded
1/2 red onion, sliced finely
1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, etc or a combo)
1 cup pico de gallo salsa
optional: 1/2 avocado, sour cream, other fixins of your choice

FOR THE DRESSING
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
1 tsp. capers
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 larger bunch of cilantro
juice of two juicy limes
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar (I used honey)
2-3 Tbsp. mayonnaise or vegan alternative
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:
Make the dressing: In a food processor or blender, add the garlic, pepitas (you can sub in another nut!), capers and jalapeno and blitz until paste-y. Add the cilantro, lime juice, rice vinegar, agave, mayo, salt & pepper, and olive oil and blend until creamy and consistent.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage and the finely sliced red onion. Add dressing until everything is lightly coated (I would estimate I added 2/3 of the recipe). Mix and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest.

In a large frying pan on medium heat, add the oil. After about a minute, add the turkey, cumin, cayenne, paprika, and salt and mash/chop them all around with a wooden spoon until the turkey is in small chunks and the spices are spread around. Add more spices if desired. Cook until turkey is no longer pink, about 7-8 minutes. Turn off heat and cover with a lid.

While the turkey is cooking, add a small pot to the stove and pour the beans (drained) in. Mash them slightly and add a small amount of spices if desired (I did, but just pinches of each). Cook on medium-low until warm, about 5 minutes.

TO ASSEMBLE:
In a medium bowl, add some slaw, some beans, some turkey, topped with cheese, pico, and any other toppings you like. Drizzle with extra dressing. Eat!

Homemade sun-dried tomatoes

Technically these are not sun-dried tomatoes, because I do not live in a beautiful old villa in Tuscany and spend all my time picking lavender and trying my neighbor’s homemade wine. Instead I live in a small apt with no outdoor space, encounter various sidewalk feces on a daily basis, and also the sun has not shone in San Francisco for 3 STRAIGHT MONTHS.

Anyway, these are oven-dried tomatoes. And they are easy and this is the time to make them, because tomatoes are v v v v flavorful right now and also this takes little to no effort. Also, they’re not as dry and tough as regular sun-dried tomatoes. They retain a bit of moisture and are mostly just concentrated tomato flavor. Like tomato paste in solid form.

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These are great on/in salads, but you can also put them in a jar of oil and keep them for a bit. I can also imagine them making a killer pizza or being eaten on top of some toast with ricotta. Or turn them into a sauce! Shit man, I don’t know, I just give you the bricks…you build whatever you want with them, internet.

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Homemade Sun-dried Tomatoes

2 large tasty tomatoes
sprinkle of salt

Heat oven to 250°F. Cut tomato in half and each half into sixths (depending on size). Place on a piece of parchment on a sheet pan. Sprinkle entire pan with a light dusting of salt. If you want a less acidic sun-dried tomato, sprinkle some sugar on there too! (Balsamic vinegar might be equally lovely)

Cook 3-4 hours…the more you cook, the drier they will be. I cooked the above for 3 and found them perfect.

Royal potato salad

Hello friends and let me tell you about this bomb ass potato salad.

This is a potato salad that can be your MAIN at dinner. I’m not even kidding. ::whispered gasps all around:: It’s got all the makings of a leading lady. When Ottolenghi calls it royal, he means it (actually it’s a reference to the type of potatoes he uses, but I really feel like it’s dual-purpose here because YASS KWEEEN etc etc).

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On its own, the loose-ish pesto you make as a sauce is fairly wonderful, and I can see it going with a wide variety of foods-that-are-sort-of-vehicles (pasta, I love you, but girl you know I am talking about you). In my opinion, two things elevate this recipe beyond a regular pesto-potato salad: mint (or sorrel if you follow the original recipe) and soft-boiled eggs.

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The eggs and their slightly-runny yolks blend into the sauce and make everything sorta creamy and wonderful. The mint and peas make this super refreshing and springy. I’m running a pretty large lady boner for this salad if you couldn’t tell. I’m not even a huge potato fan, but I’m pretty sure you should make this immediately.

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The added pleasure of this is that, because it comes from Ottolenghi’s cookbook, you get to read it all in a British accent. If that isn’t fun, well then I guess I just don’t know what fun is says the girl who forced her husband to come birdwatching with her last weekend.

Royal potato salad
from Plenty

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS
15 quail eggs (I used 4 normal eggs)
1 cup petite peas (frozen)
1 3/4 lbs new potatoes, such as Jersey Royals, washed but not scrubbed
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup parsley leaves, plus a little extra chopped to garnish
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 oz)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup oil
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
bunch sorrel or mint leaves (about 1/2 cup) finely shredded
salt and pepper

Place the quail eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for between 30 seconds (soft-boiled) and 2 minutes (hard-boiled), depending on how you like them cooked. Refresh in cold water, then peel. For normal eggs: lower into boiling water and cook 6-8 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl of ice and water for a few minutes, then peel.

Blanch the peas in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain and refresh (if you’re really good you can repurpose the egg water for this and not have to boil water twice!). Set aside.

In a separate pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are soft but not falling apart.

While the potatoes are cooking place the basil, parsley, pine nuts, parmesan, and garlic in a food processor and blitz to a paste. Add the oil and pulse until you get a runny pesto (note: I used 2/3 cup oil and found it to be plenty). Pour into a large serving bowl.

Drain the potatoes, then cut in two as soon as you can handle them (they will absorb more flavor when hot). Add tot he bowl and toss with the pesto, vinegar, sorrel or mint, and peas. Mix well, even crushing the potatoes slightly so all the flavors mix. Taste and adjust seasoning; be generous with pepper.

Cut the eggs in half (or quarters for normal eggs) and gently fold into the salad. Garnish with chopped parsley.