Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Guest Pizzalish - Grilled Pizzas

Hey ya’ll, it’s finally summer here in Brooklyn, and summer = grilling no matter where you are.

My gracious friends threw a front patio grillout - ‘the envy of the block’ according to the landlord, featuring Grilled Pizza – it’s super easy! There’s no reason not to try it next time you’re busting out the coals.

Start with homemade crust. I love the herb crust in the CafĂ© Flora cookbook, but I think you can use just about any crust, as long as it’s relatively sturdy – I don’t think the chef boyaredee box crusts will hold up. You could also go to your local slice and ask them for a doughball. At the most, I’ve found it to be just a few dollars, but mostly they’re so confused they just give it to me. Pizzalicious! doesn’t recommend delivery for a doughball (see earlier delivery etiquette post).

So you’ve followed your dough recipe up to the point where you're going to put it in the oven, and the first crust is all stretched out into a rustic oval about 10" across and 1/4” thick. WARNING! Do not stack the rolled-out crusts! No matter how much flour you put between, they’ll stick. It happened to me!

The most important thing (as stressed by 101Cookbooks) is to have all your toppings ready to go before you put the crust on the grill - it goes REALLY quick! Don’t burn up your crust by not taking this advice.

When your coals have cooled a bit – you don’t want them too hot (after you’ve grilled your toppings, dessert pineapple and whathaveyou), put the raw crust straight onto the grill. Don’t be scared. Slap it on there. Put the top on for some oven action, give it a few minutes, and soon – 3-10 min depending on how hot the grill is – the bottom will be golden and the top will be puffy – so flip it over.

Now, put your sauce and toppings on the cooked top of the crust. For sauce, we used homemade spicy pesto.

Our toppings were: broccoli steamed on the grill with a bit of oil & spices and wrapped in foil, 2 grilled asparagus & a slice of summer squash, assorted cheese- fresh & cooked mozzarella, feta, and red pepper, scallions, olives, etc.

When you’re done topping it, put the lid back on (more oven action) so the cheese melts. When the cheese is sufficiently melted and the bottom is brownish, take it off the grill, cut it up & eat it! NOM! The crust we've been making is pretty sturdy, so we mostly did without a spatula just pulling it off with our hands. our hands. Manly!

Homemade pizza is great cheap party food because everyone can bring whatever toppings they like and take turns topping it with whatever they think is most delicious. Dough is cheap to make, so your main cost really is cheese. if you've got money to burn and the fine palate like these Virginia girls, you can certainly venture into wild mushroom, acorn-fed prosciutto, fig, gorgonzola & truffle territory.

Save us a slice.

PizzApps

Just look at all the pizza related apps At the Apple iTunes App Store! There are over 25 pizza related applications for reviewing, finding, and ordering pizza! Check it out!




































Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Snoop Dogg is Pizzalicious

Today, gossip blaaag TMZ repoted that Snoop Dogg and Stephen Marley traded some concert tickets for some pies at Big Louie's Pizzeria in Eureka, CA last week.
The performers and their crew racked up $900 worth of food but instead of the check, they were presented with a request for tickets.

Snoop forked over 12 tickets and some merch in exchange for 6lbs of barbecue ribs, hot wings, several vegetarian pies and "pesto chicken garlic extreme" pizzas.

Last week People Magazine reported that Lindsay Lohan picked up a pizza with her (ex-?) girlfriend Samantha Ronson. She and Ronson were there to pick up a pie for lunch on Lohan's birthday. They ordered take out from Tra di Noi in Malibu – a margarita pizza, salad and pasta. I wonder what Lindsay likes on her pie? I'm betting veg.

Gawker says: On Sunday, Anne Hathaway delivered pizza to fans waiting to see the finale of her New York stage debut stage debut in Twelfth Night in Central Park. This pizzalicious delivery was made at 3am on the day of the show. Anne Hathaway is definitely pizzalicous.



See guys, celebrities are just like you and me- Pizzalicious!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Veggie Pizza with Spelt Crust

Yesterday my friend Alex and I made a wheat-free pizza. Alex is currently partaking in a gluten-free diet. I used to do the G-F thing too. I never had any problems with spelt flour and Alex said he doesn't either.

However, The Internets tells me that while spelt does not closely resemble modern flour it is
related and some people who are allergic to wheat may not be able to tolerate it. Especially people with cileac disease. So be careful.

Our dough was a kind of weird one. The recipe doesn't call for any salt at all. This is something I have had problems with in the past. I even called Martha Stewart and asked her about salt in dough. I was weary of this recipe but I followed it according to plan because wheat-free baking is kinda sketchy when it comes to the chemistry of ingredients. This was a mistake. Alex and I both agreed that the dough could have used some salt.

As far a texture and consistency goes; the finished product was sturdy and tender. Spelt flour is more coarse than regular flour and isn't particularly soft when used in baking. The crust was, well, crusty and we could definitely taste the spelt. That is sort of weird you know when you are used to pizza made with nice .00 flour or even all -purpose flour.

DOUGH
Ingredients:

* 2 cups light spelt flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 3 tablespoons olive oil or other cooking oil
* 2 teaspoon honey
* 2/3 cup warm water

*for the love of Pizza add some salt!

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400◦ F. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (including yeast). Then add water, honey and olive oil. mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a (spelt) floured surface. knead dough adding extra flour if necessary. The dough should not be sticky and should spring back when pressed gently with your thumb. In my experience spelt dough does not have the the same elasticity as dough made from conventional flour. So be aware of that.

Put the dough in a clean dry bowl and coat it with extra virgin olive oil. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let the dough rise for about an hour in a warm place. Punch the dough down and let it rise again for another hour. When you're ready to make the pizza par-bake the crust at 400◦ F for 5 minutes. You can double you recipe (but check the internet for the proper yeast measurements) and freeze half of the dough or keep it in the fridge for up to one week for another pie.

ALMOND PESTO
Ingredients:
*2 C fresh basil leaves
*1/3 C Almonds
*1/3 C Parmesan cheese
*1/4 C Extra virgin olive +/-
* 1 large clove of garlic
* salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Pulse ingredients in a blender or food processor until paste. Pesto is usually made with pine nuts, which for some can be an acquired taste. I think almonds make a nice substitute and really bring out the flavor of the Parmesan cheese. Just be sure to chop them up really well before adding them to the pesto or make sure they get ground up well in the blender or food processor. They are not such a great surprise to bite into on the pizza.


TOPPINGS:
For our spelt pizza we decided to go with some nice fresh veggies on top. Many of our veg came from from our garden* or the garden of friends**

*Basil* almond pesto
*yellow squash** thinly sliced
*Red ripe tomatoes* thinly sliced
*Button mushrooms sliced
*Kalamata olives chopped
*mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Bake the pizza at 400◦ F for about 15 minutes. Then let it cool for a few minutes and slice it up and serve it hot!

The pizza was delicious! I ate the leftovers for lunch today. Thanks to my sous chef Alex! Here's a pic of me with our beautiful pizza before it went into the oven.


104 years of Pizza in NYC

New York Magazine takes a look at the history of pizza in NYC starting in teh late 1800/early 1900 with Lombardi's first pizza parlor all the way up to 2009- a time when pizzaiolos offer pizza making workshops to foodies for $4K. I think this list is definitely missing a few important dates. Like the beginning of the Slice Blog and the recent fire at Totonno's.

It is also the 20th anniversary of the Spike Lee joint Do the Right Thing a powerful film about racial issues in Bedstuy, Brookly in which Lee plays a pizza delivery guy for a notoriously racist pizza parlor. I think that should definitely have been on the list of NYC pizza history.

Dear New York Magazine, Do the right thing and update your pizza history list!


Highlights:

1905: Gennaro Lombardi’s grocery store at 53 1/2 Spring St. becomes first licensed pizzeria in America. Eventually recruits pizzaioli Anthony “Totonno” Pero, John Sasso, and Pasquale “Patsy” Lancieri. Cost of pie: a nickel.


1964: Robert F. Kennedy, already being tagged “carpetbagger” as he runs for the Senate as a New Yorker, reportedly asks for a fork when presented with a pizza on the campaign trail. Aides deny the story.

1994: Seventy-nine people are arrested for operating an international drug ring out of a midtown Famous Original Ray’s.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Deviation - Fried Green Tomatoes


This post isn't so pizzalicious. Fried green tomatoes are NOT pizza... but consider this: all the components are there- grain, tomato, cheese, basil...yeah!

Yesterday my friend Alex and I made fried green tomatoes for lunch! They were pretty darn good. I think this is a recipe that I'll spend some time perfecting this Summer. There are a few kinks to work out but I think we're off to a good start!

We used tomatoes that some friends and I grew in our garden in Varina, VA. The plants weer already loaded with big beautiful tomatoes and we just couldn't resist picking a few early to fry up in this famous southern dish. Of course, we put our gourmet spin on it.

Here's our menu for two:
-Fried green tomatoes with pesto
-Red, ripe Tomatoes with pesto
-Cottage cheese
-A tall glass of sweet iced tea

We just chopped up some beautiful ripe heritage tomatoes (Grandma's Little Girls, maybe, I'm not sure.) to eat with our FGT because they were beautiful and tasty. The texture is so different than the fried green tomatoes. We also really loved looking at the various stages of growth exhibited in the green tomatoes. It was crazy to cut them open and see this brainy looking mass of seeds and hollow spaces.

We served up our tomatoes and pesto with some nice, cold, cottage cheese. It was a really nice contrast in flavor and texture to both kinds of tomatoes. It also looked really appealing on the plate. I'm not sure if cottage cheese is the normal side for fried green tomatoes, but it really was a delightful combination.



Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients:

* two large green tomatoes
* salt and pepper
* cornflour
* milk
* peanut oil or vegetable oil

Preparation:

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 - 1/2-inch slices. Salt and pepper them to taste. Soak the slices in milk and then coat with corn flour. fry in hot oil for about 3 minutes or until golden on bottom. Gently turn and fry the other side. The tomatoes should be firm cooked through. We discovered that they have a little bit of a meaty texture to them actually.


Pesto

This is a rather unconventional pesto recipe as it is missing pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Still, it was nice to taste the fresh basil and garlic. Certainly this recipe would be great with your favorite pesto recipe. Our pesto was a little runny, but I think that worked in out favor. It looked nice anyways.

Ingredients:

* 1 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves +/-
* salt and pepper to taste
* extra virgin olive oil
* 1 large clove of garlic

Preparation:

Roughly chop the garlic and basil and toss it into the food processor or blender with the salt and pepper. Add olive oil in about 2T increments and pulse until the pesto is smooth. You may have to squish down the basil leaves if you're using a blender.


TOWANDA!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cheeseless in DC

A great blog in DC called The 42 Bus did a pizzalicious series about vegan pizzas in our nations capital. Check it out: Pizza Wars!

Eating a cheeseless pizza is really great actually especially if you love good veggies. It has a really different taste with out cheese.

Search my blog for other vegan and cheese-free pies using the search menu on the right hand side of window.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pizza Delivery Etiquette!


Do not be like Allison and Robbie! Always use proper pizza delivery etiquette when ordering a pizza, especially late at night. I have read on a few different websites that being a delivery driver is actually pretty dangerous and the Bureau of Labor statistics lists driving as one of the most dangerous professions. I'm always reading in the news about pizza delivery drivers that have been assaulted, harassed, killed and much worse. Jeez!

Here are my tips for pizza delivery etiquette

-Know what you want before you order. It is cool to ask about specials but don't ask someone to read you a menu over the phone.

-Have your credit card ready when ordering, or the cash ready before the driver arrives. Don't make them watch you pick through receipts and old tissues in your purse or wallet.

- If you're ordering a ton of pies, give them some time or order far enough in advance.

- Put the porch light on, and if you live in the middle of nowhere give a few hints on how to find the darn place when you order.

- Please answer the door with clothes on... depending on who you are and what you look like, the driver may disagree with this one... err on the side of good judgment and at least wear a robe. ha ha.

- Keep barking dogs and scrappy cats at bay.

- Don't be creepy or try to play creepy practical jokes, this person is working at their job. How would you feel if someone opened the door to your office holding a butcher cleaver and wearing a hockey mask? Do not want!

- TIP! Unless the delivery driver hands you an ice-cold, verticle pizza, there is no reason not to tip. They are using their own car for this job usually so at least give them something. Lots of places make you tip on a credit card WHEN YOU ORDER and don't allow you to write it in at the door. Stop pretending that the driver didn't tell you that the last time you ordered. Acceptable non-cash tips I've read about include: beer, weed, cigarettes, baked goods, breasts, etc. ha ha. Once again, err on the side of good judgment.

Here are some of my favorite pizza delivery blogs and more on pizza delivery etiquette and tipping from Tip the Pizza Guy.

Diary of a Pizza Girl
Diary of a Pizza Boy
Deliverage
Pizza Delivery Stories
The Streets of Pizza
Tales from the Road
Turn On Your Lights
Sex and Pizza

Piccola's - Richmond, VA

Yesterday was a pretty gray, rainy day so Mom and I headed over to Piccola's for a pizza after running some errands. It has been a while since I've had a pie from Piccola's and it was as wonderful as I remembered it being.





We ordered the Piccola's special - pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, green peppers and onion- but we substituted olives for onions. It was delicious. The crust was just right and the sauce was nice and sweet- though I would have liked a little more sauce. There was tons of cheese and I love how at Piccola's they have slices of sausage instead of little meatballs.



Saturday, July 4, 2009

Andy Murray is Pizzalicious

Here is a totally pizzalicious story from the Telegraph .

Photo: Ken Lennox

Andy Murray has been immortalised in dough at his favourite pizza restaurant. The life-sized sculpture stands in the foyer of the Pizza Express restaurant where the 22-year-old recently persuaded staff to serve him a Margherita despite the kitchens being shut.

The head-and-shoulders bust of Murray - complete with racquet - was designed by a local artist and created by the pizzeria's staff in Wimbledon village, close to the venue of the All England Club.

Weighing 20 kilos, it is packed with enough dough to make more than 100 of Andy's favourite pizzas, and took a fortnight to mould.

The firm has also promised him free pizza for six months if he becomes Britain's first men's champion since 1936.

Anton Gjoni, the manager, said: "It's just a bit of fun.

"We didn't mind working the extra hours for him. If we can give him the fuel to triumph at Wimbledon, we are happy to oblige."

The bust was made by Dane Swart and fellow chef Lua Stifani.

When it comes to real dough, Andy will be the undisputed winner if he makes it to the men's final on Sunday.