Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lazy Sunday...

Yesterday was warm, sunny -- a hint of what's coming -- the S----- word! (I hesitate to say it, for fear that Those Who Know will promptly sentence us to months more of ice and cold.)

True to form, we've got snow pouring out of the heavens, followed by a glimpse of sun, followed by snow...


Anyhow, it's a great time to snuggle with Dave and Think About Things. Like being thrilled about CRAZY QUILTS on the Amazon bestseller list. It's gone as high as #4, so far, on the Hobbies/Reference and Hobbies/Quilting list. But every time I get all pumped up about it, the numbers go down. Kind of God's way of slapping you upside the head and pasting the humility label on.

It's still doing great...still in the top 20!

Next is watching movies. Try "Premonition." This amazing Sandra Bullock movie suffered from bad reviews -- but it didn't deserve them. If you have ever sensed something before it actually happened, though, it is going to be an uncomfortable ride.

Homemade pizza is on the docket -- way better than purchased. And it's easy:

1 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
shake of salt
2 teaspoons sesame seeds (these are optional, but delicious)
2 teaspoons yeast
2 cups flour (use a spare handful of whole wheat, then white flour for the rest)

1 small can tomato sauce (or approx. 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons pizza spices (or sprinkle over oregano, basil, garlic and/or pepper flakes)
2 cups mozzarella cheese

possible toppings:
3 mushrooms, sliced thin (or 1 small can)
1/2 green pepper, sliced thin
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1 cup chopped ham
2 bratwurst or 4 breakfast sausages (I use leftovers from breakfast)
1/2 cup pepperoni slices
1 cup peeled/de-tailed shrimp
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Making the pizza dough:

mix the water, sugar, yeast and sesame seeds and let "proof" for 10 min. until bubbly.

Mix in enough flour to make a bread dough, then punch/mix it ("kneading") for a few minutes. (You may need a little more to keep the dough from being sticky while you knead it.) Wash your hands, wipe them dry, then drape the damp towel over the bowl with the dough.

Let rise for at least 1 hour, up to 4 hours. At this point, you can use the pizza dough, or punch down and let it rise all day.

Making the pizza:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Punch down the dough, knead it for a little bit, then divide in half. Using your palms to stretch the dough out, shape one dough ball into a circle on a greased pizza pan or a 9 x 13 pan. Bake this pan while you start stretching out the second ball of dough.

**This is the important difference between a crisp, chewy crust and a soggy one. Check the baking pizza crust after 5-7 min., when the crust is set and will stay in one piece when you slide it off the pan. While the crust is still hot, spread half of the tomato sauce, then put on whatever toppings your little heart desires. Sprinkle on the spices, top with half the cheese, then sprinkle more spices on.

Quick -- slide the pizza back onto one of your oven racks, and close the door. (Yes, you bake it directly on the oven rack.) Finish shaping the remaining dough on the hot pizza pan, and put it in the oven, as well. Repeat from ** for Pizza crust #2; by this time, Pizza #1 should be crisp and bubbly. Serve it up!

Makes 2 wonderfully crackly-crusted pizzas -- 16 slices -- enough for 4, with leftovers. (The Breakfast of Champions)

This recipe is great for using up leftover meats and raw veggies. For another great version, substitute cream cheese, sour cream or ranch dressing for the tomato sauce...substitute swiss, cheddar or pepperjack cheese...and use ham, green pepper, or even celery chunks. Parmesan cheese sprinkled over is also great.

Pizza dough also makes a terrific calzone -- you'll get about four from this batch. Separate into 4 balls, make circles and add pizza ingredients -- then fold each circle in half and press the edges with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees on a greased pan for 20-30 min. Serve with a side of pizza or tomato sauce -- Yum!

Time for a fire in the fireplace, a snuggle next to ma man, and a terrific movie. "Sneakers," maybe. Hope your Sunday is a peaceful one, too.

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