Today’s cooking couldn’t have been easier. My Client requested three things and three things only: pizza, pizza crusts and calzone.
I baked two whole wheat pies for him, one plain and one with spinach. Both pies had a lite sauce. In addition to these, I also made My Client two buckwheat crust pizzas. These were rather rustic and will definitely hit the spot tomorrow when My Client fasts from grains. They were simple pies–olive oil, real salt, fresh basil, organic mozzarella, tomatoes, and pan seared eggplant on one and zucchini on the other. Since the oven was already fired up I threw in a pie for my family: fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and cherry tomatoes. Nothing fancy but both of my kids ate it and that is what counts at the end of the day.
When I was living in Philly I remember hearing an episode of The Splendid Table presented by American Public Media.
That episode was on the pursuit of baking the perfect homemade pizza pie–an often elusive pursuit. I have to say that Radharadhya out of Emmaus, PA definitely earns his “Dairy Bear” gang name with the pies he cranks out on his old range. But I barely knew Dairy Bear back then so this episode of The Splendid Table really helped me out.
Basically, on the home front, one shouldn’t shoot for anything much bigger than a pie 8″ in diameter. The oven should be hot–500 degrees. And a pizza stone should be used. My stone cracked spontaneously in the oven about a year back so I have been half baking my pizza on a hot baking sheet and then transferring it mid-bake directly onto the oven rack for a good crisping up. This technique gives the crust a nice grilled-pizza effect. And that is the other thing that is crucial to the success of the homemade pizza pie: bake time. The pie really shouldn’t be in the oven more than 8-10 minutes.
Rustic and grain-free: buckwheat pizzas
Whole wheat crust, red sauce and spinach
Our dinner. We also had long beans cooked in the cast iron skillet. Yum.
Half baked, by request.
The plain crusts I made My Client were in the oven about 4 minutes each, enough time that the yeast stops yeasting and the disc has enough form to it that it will freeze easily.
Calzones were also made in the 500 degree oven on the pizza stone and the results were fantastic. I made three varieties, all with a ricotta/mozzarella/fresh tomato and basil base. There was plain (just the aforementioned), vegan sausage and spinach. Of course, I just threw them all in the box and didn’t label which was which because I don’t want My Client to start taking me for granted. Or something like that.
The making of the calzone: I decided to roll the dough in crushed rosemary.
A hefty filling of mozzarella, ricotta, spinach and tomato.
Brush-a brush-a brush-a.
For my own fun, I made the most delicious hor devours using the yeasted whole wheat dough, astringent persimmon jam, fresh diced basil and mozzarella. When my client tasted it he declared them “awesome” and told me to remember how I made them. No problem. Here is the photo documentary to remind me.
Whole wheat dough, astringent persimmon jam, chopped basil and mozzarella. I have given up grating cheese. You may have noticed.
Now I have to focus on getting my shopping list together for My Client’s post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving. I am hitting the markets on Sunday to avoid the big rush. Hopefully that will give me plenty of time to get organized, both mentally and spatially. The best part about cooking for My Client this coming Friday is that my kids will be off from school yet my husband will be working.
Thankfully my kids are used to me being in the kitchen. I just hope there is not some cosmic shift that takes place this week, throwing my kid/kitchen alignment out of whack. If anyone out there would like to do a little babysitting in exchange for some gluten kabobs, please, do not hesitate to email me.
And if you do email me and I am not so comfortable with you watching my kids because you are, like, just some hungry stranger, please don’t be offended!