FRIDAY OPEN THREAD

WEEKEND, YO. I’d be doing some manner of Happy Dance if it didn’t look like this outside :

That’s not some kind of weird streaky artsy filter — it is POURING down the damn rain, which is making me so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. :(  Whatever, let’s talk about FOOD. (Because being tired also makes me hungry.)

YEAH MAN, that is red leaf lettuce topped with thin-sliced radishes, grilled red peppers, grilled pineapple rings (!!!) and a salmon fillet marinated in vinegar I infused with peppercorns and rosemary for a few days, plus soy sauce and lemon. Dressed with a soy / lemon / cilantro / pineapple juice / brown sugar / olive oil concoction, it was MAGNIFICENT and I strongly urge you to try it sometime.

ALSO, on Wednesday we wore pink made this :

It was both our BEST and ROUNDEST pizza to date! So at this point, I feel fairly confident in providing recipe and instructions (bear with me, this is a little long ‘n’ involved — just skip down if you don’t feel like learning how to make pizza dough).

WHAT YOU NEED

Good flour. The Boy is EXTREMELY SERIOUS about this, and about all things pizza-related, as is the rest of his [predominantly Italian] family. In fact, his brother runs a company that purveys DIY pizza equipment, which is the origin of this fancy Caputo 00 flour :

If you feel inclined to order flour from them, you should definitely mention that you’re friends with his brother’s chickadee and request that he draw a dong on your flour bag, as seen here, because THIS IS WHAT BOYS ARE LIKE. THEY NEVER AGE OUT OF IT.

ANYWAY. You’ll also need water, yeast (Fleichman’s instant active dry yeast is fine), regular table salt, and cornmeal.

NOW. We’ve done this like eight or so times now? And have figured out a few things that seem to help get to the desired outcome : dough that’s easy to shape and stretch, and bakes to a nice crispy-chewy texture when thin. So here’s the dope (doughpe?) on making crust for two medium-sized-ish thin-crust pizzas :

Put two cups of the flour in a good-sized mixing bowl and stir in 1 tsp salt. Dissolve 1/4 tsp of yeast in 3/4 cup of very warm water — just hottish tap water is fine, you don’t need to boil it or anything. Pour the yeast-water over your flour-salt mix and stir with a fork, mixing as well as you can. You’ll probably need to add between 1-2 extra tablespoons of water. When you’ve done as much as you can with the fork, start mixing/kneading by hand (in the bowl or on your counter), and continue for 5-8 minutes. You want allllll of the flour well combined and no dry crusty floury bits.

When you’re done, divide your dough in half, smack/roll each half into a smoothish ball, put it its own bowl (a large deep cereal bowl or similar is fine), cover with plastic wrap, and let them sit out on the counter for about two hours. It’ll approximately double (or slightly less than double) in size. Remove the cover, thump it a few times to pound some of the air bubbles out, replace the plastic wrap cover, and slam ’em in the fridge.

Now, a key point : LEAVE THEM IN THE FRIDGE FOR 3-4 DAYS. This “aging” period gave us a MUCH more flavorful and nicely-textured crust! When you’re ready to bake, key point #2 : TAKE THEM OUT OF THE FRIDGE A FEW HOURS BEFOREHAND. It’s a LOT easier to work with dough that’s at appx room temperature. When you’re ready to start, definitely throw a very light dusting of cornmeal on both your worksurface, and on the surface you’ll be baking on, if those aren’t the same thing.

To shape it, you can work it in a few different ways, always trying to keep it as round as possible. Give it a few smacks, flap it back and forth between your open palms, then gently grip the edges with both hands, hold vertically, run the edges through your fingertips like you’re feeding yarn/rope or laboriously rolling a wheel, and let the weight of the rest of the dough pull/stretch it down and outward. Then when it’s kinda big, flop it down on your cornmeal-ed work surface, and streeeeetch it from opposite sides, then at 90 degrees from opposite sides, then on the 45s. No, I am not capable of the fancy showmanship of the spinning aerial dough-toss, and early attempts have … not been promising. But this method works just fine, and also greatly decreases the likelihood of pizza crust that’s full of dirt and cat hair because you dropped it on the damn floor.

No cat hair here! Just motion blur because it’s an action shot! And that is indeed a … pizza-transferring-board thing, not a boat oar, as was my initial guess.

And that’s it! Except for the baking! Which, we use a pizza stone (of course) but I’m sure a regular baking sheet would also suffice. Note that when you’re ready to assemble and bake (at appx 400 degrees, for 10-15 minutes, depending on crust thickness, type and amount of toppings, and level of done-ness desired), WORK FAST. Spread your sauce, throw your toppings on, and go — if you let the wet sauce sit on your dough for too long, you can end up with a soggy mess.

Try it sometime! It’s VERY pleasing, if you enjoy both yeast smells and thumping soft stuff. Also, it makes pretty damn delicious pizza.

IN NON-FOOD NEWS, here’s a whole bunch of stuff we’ll be talking about soonish :

OOOO, colorful and exciting! Makeup and face glop and hair crap and ALL KINDS OF THINGS.

Your weekend! Tell me about it! We’re gonna make a salad (againnnnnn), and possibly dye someone’s (not mine) hair silver omg, have dranks, and MAYBE go to a crawfish boil on Sunday if we feel like it. <3