Pizza and Appetizers

I made a new pizza last night. For a go-to appetizer I buy a container of pitted Kalamata olives from the olive bar, bring it home and drain the brine. Then I place them in a container (olive container or mason jar) and add garlic and herbs then cover with extra virgin olive oil and sit it out on the kitchen counter for at least a couple of days or in the frig for a few months. Make sure the olives are completely submerged in olive oil. Save the oil!

Caramelize a sweet onion or I used 1/2 of a large red onion, for the topping.

When you want to make one pizza (serves 2-3) use my regular dough recipe. Dry ingredients in food processor with steel blade include 1.5 c flour (I use Italian OO but AP is fine) and 1/2 t salt. Another thought to all-purpose is 1c AP and 1/2 c whole wheat. It’s better for you and will make it easier to roll out.

Wet ingredients include 1/2 c tepid water, 1/2 Tbsp yeast, pinch of sugar, pinch of reserved bench flour for later, and about 1t of the olive oil from the marinated olives. Mix until it makes a ball. I do 20x around, let sit five minutes, then 25x and roll it with your hands and place it in a bowl covered with a damp clean kitchen towel. It should neither be dry nor sticky. Add water by drops or flour depending upon the weather.

I place my dough in the microwave to keep it in a warm, draft-free place away from the dog and off my counter!

After 90 minutes in said bowl I knead it again with bench flour, roll it into a ball and cover it with the bowl (only one to clean) for 20 minutes, then roll out. Yesterday I used another tsp of the olive oil with a paintbrush (you don’t have to go to Williams Sonoma for these, local hardware store works for me). Just don’t let your significant other use it for woodworking or cars). I use a large cookie sheet for a thin crust. Regular cookie sheet works.

Now the fun begins. Take about a cup of olives out of your container and place them into a clean food processor bowl with a big handful of arugula and some roasted pine nuts, walnuts or hazelnuts (I used hazelnuts because they were in the freezer). I also added a few sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse and add s&p and as much olive oil as needed to make a paste. Not oily or watery. Add Parm to your taste and it’s done.

Roll out your dough and place it in a pan. Use another teaspoon olive oil to brush the top of the dough. Spread on the paste. Top with shredded mozzarella and caramelized onions. Cook at high temp. My oven can only be set to a max of 375 else a smoke detector will go off. I’m used to cooking at 450-500 degrees. Halfway through, I added four slices of proscuitto. Out of the oven I added a handful of watercress/arugula and dinner was done. My husband loved it! I may have gotten him off my signature Friday night pepperoni/mushroom pizza for a while.

With pizza one must be inventive with cheeses and toppings. We had a pizza party here one night with parents and their kids, age two and six. The older boy wanted cheese only. His little sister looked at the 19 toppings I had out on the counter, tasted some and made a creative pizza with amazingly sophisticated tastes and bravada. They rolled out their own dough I’d made earlier and made one themselves to take home. If you wish, check out caramelized onions, bbq chicken, spinach, roasted garlic, feta cheese, roasted butternut squash….. The sky’s the limit! Have your friends over. It’s a lot of prep work so count on friends to help in advance, and taste. Here’s to, cheers to… pizza! Dee

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One response to “Pizza and Appetizers

  1. Thank you Shameful Sheep. Have you ever seen Shaun the Sheep? It’s a BBC series. He’s inventive and makes some comic errors with the farmer and his dog, but never shameful! Cheers! Dee

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