Monday, April 29, 2013

Pizza Party

We recently hosted a pizza party for friends on a Saturday night. This was a kid-friendly event, specifically because I'd already spent a fortune on a babysitter the night before. 

With the farmer's market now in full swing, I got several items for the pizzas there. Some of it came from the cold frame, and the rest, friends brought. 

I made two batches of pizza dough the day before (it takes a day) and had that ready to go before the guests arrived. Ditto the prep on the veggies. I also made a batch of ricotta for one of the toppings. One friend is Gluten Free, and brought her own pizza crust. 

Here's what we did: 

Pizza Dough
Make one day in advance

7/12 cups all purpose flour, plus some extra
4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

Mix flour, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add three cups of warm water and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated. You may use your hands to make sure that the flour in the bottom gets added in. Cover bowl completely with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a draft-free place for at least 18 hours. 

After that time, the dough will look very bubbly and very voluminous. Punch it down to remove from the bowl and put in on a floured work surface. If it feels a little wet, sprinkle a little extra flour on it. Here, you will divide the dough into six portions of roughly the same size. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel for one hour (resting time) before baking. 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. 

Pizza Sauce
Make four hours in advance, or use jarred sauce

3 cans diced tomatoes in tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. majoram or thyme
1 Tbsp. olive oil (optional)

Open cans and put in a medium sized sauce pan over the lowest heat. Press the garlic, add the salt, and herbs, and stir every 1/2 hour or so. It should not come to a boil, but reduce over time. It can take three to four hours to start to thicken. Season to taste and use as sauce for pizza. 

Suggested Toppings

Spring green onions
Grape Tomatoes
Diced Bell Peppers
Pitted olives
Pepperoni or Salami
Queso Fresco
Ricotta Cheese

Participants were given a baking sheet and parchment to line it. Then, they did whatever moved them. Bake pizzas in the 500 degree oven for about 12-14 minutes until the crust is lightly brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and cut as you please. 

We did have toppings left over the following day, and I incorporated those into an egg strata for dinner that evening. 

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