Pizza My Heart [by Katy]

[For three weeks, Josh & Katy blogsit]

Do you get it? The title of the post, I mean? It’s “Pizza My Heart.” Like that Janis Joplin song? That’s funny, isn’t it? I made that up.

No. I didn’t make it up. It is the name of some Northern Californian pizza chain. I find it clever in the way that I find punny coffee shop names clever. You know, like Uncommon Grounds. Or Brewed Awakenings. Or Sentient Bean. (What a fun game. Who can think of more?)

I pretended to make up the title of this post for two reasons. First, I am a shameless liar, despite studying a subject in graduate school that would imply I don’t approve of lying. Second, I am a little worried that you all will realize soon I’m not as funny as the Amateur Gourmet. This isn’t my fault. This is because I’m a girl. Girls aren’t as funny.

But girls may well be better in the kitchen. So let’s go into the kitchen, shall we? My kitchen, circa last night…

Last night was Pizza Night at our house. We conduct Pizza Night once a week, as no doubt many of you out there do. However, while living in San Francisco during the Great Dot-Com Bust, we got in the habit of making our own pizza rather than ordering out. It is cheaper, and it makes us feel superior to those who order from big pizza chains.

Perhaps you would like to feel superior, too? My pizza crust is lovely! It is also easy to make. This is what you will need: a pizza stone, several hours before you need to eat, yeast, flour, salt, olive oil, brown sugar, rosemary.

First, you should mix up a little packet of yeast with one cup of warm tap water. I sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to get it started. Here’s me doing that.

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Then in a separate bowl, you mix up 3 1/2 cups flour. I prefer a whole wheat crust. All that fiber, you know. It’s good for the bowels, as the Amateur Gourmet would say. If you prefer that, too, you should mix part whole wheat flour and part white — I usually do 2 cups whole wheat, 1 1/2 cups white.

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Don’t forget that 1/2 teaspoon or so of salt. You know, it does make a difference. Even in chocolate chip cookies. But in pizza dough, too.

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And I throw in some handfuls of brown sugar. What can I say? I like things a touch sweet. I have never found that anyone has complained about a sweet wheat pizza crust.

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I chop up a little fresh rosemary and toss it in. This rosemary came from our herb garden. No. It came from Whole Foods. But we do have an herb garden, and it does have rosemary. We haven’t harvested any yet, though.

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Pour the yeast into the flour mixture — and make sure you get all that foamy stuff. That’s where the yeasty action is.

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Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then, if you have a KitchenAid mixer — and for your own sakes, I hope you do — combine it using the bread hook. If you don’t have one, you’re going to have to get kneading.

(But seriously, why don’t you have one? Are you seeing anybody right now? The reason I ask is that getting married or having a formal commitment ceremony is a very good path to acquiring a KitchenAid mixer. Consider taking it to the next level. For the sake of your kitchen.)

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Then it’s all nicely combined into a big lump of dough. You might have to add some water to make it less dry. My philosophy: do not be afraid of adding water. Why not have a sticky dough, since you don’t have to actually knead it if you have a KitchenAid mixer?

Grease a bowl, stick the lump of pizza dough in there, lay a wet paper towel over it and let it sit for, oh, 2 hours or so. Until it’s doubled in size.

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Then you just roll that baby out on a cornmeal-covered pizza paddle…

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Top it with your favorite toppings. In this case, carmelized onions, garlic, mushrooms, basil, mozzerella.

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And slide it into the oven onto your preheated (450 degrees) pizza stone …

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Now watch out for these pizza stones, dear readers. Our friend Kari was innocently making spanikopita one day when her pizza stone dramatically and explosively shattered. She avoided injury, but the spanikopita was not so lucky. The cause of the explosion was never determined, although it was thought to possibly have something to do with a cold pizza stone being put into an already hot oven. Moral of the story, maybe: let your pizza stone gradually heat up with your oven. Or stick with foods people can pronounce.

Ta-da, the finished product! After 12-15 minutes in the oven, Katy’s Whole Wheat Rosemary pizza.

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Now who can come up with the most clever pizza pun? Go. –katy

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