Oh Pizza, Wonderful Pizza….. March 31, 2012
Mmmmm… Pizza. Can you smell the bubbly cheese, the basil, the Italian sausage? If you can’t right now, then you will as soon as you make this Chicago Style Pizza from Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio. Every recipe in this book is “doable” for any cook from beginner to expert; just follow the recipes to cooking genius. This Chicago-style pizza does require some time for the pizza dough to rise, but you can do something else while the dough is rising since you don’t need to stand around watching it!
For this recipe you will need a deep dish pizza pan that is 14 inches diameter and at least 2 inches deep. The book says that you can substitute a cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet with 1-inch sides – I haven’t tried it, but if the book says it will work, go for it!
CHICAGO-STYLE PIZZA DOUGH
Makes dough for 1 (14-inch) pizza
1 cup warm water (100 to 110 Fahrenheit)
1 tsp. salt
½ C. cornmeal
2 (¼-ounce) pkg. active Rapid-rise yeast
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
3 ½ C. unbleached all-purpose flour
If you have a food processor, here is how to mix with it:
•Carefully insert the all-purpose blade into the bowl of a food processor.
•Add the water, yeast, sugar, flour, salt, cornmeal, and olive oil to the bowl of the food processor in that order. Close the lid and pulse the mixture until it comes together into one ball of dough. Turn off the processor.
•Carefully transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop or cutting board. Knead it a couple of times to make sure the dough is smooth. Now it is ready for a rest.
•Drizzle a small amount of olive oil into a large clean bowl and add it dough. Give the dough a few spins and turn it over to lightly coat it with the oil.
•Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and couple of heavy, clean kitchen towels. Place the dough in a warm draft-free spot where it can rise undisturbed for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
•Once the dough has risen, it is ready to bake into pizza.
If you are doing the dough by hand, here is how to mix it:
•Measure ½ of the warm water into a small bowl.
•Sprinkle the packages of yeast over the water and mix in the sugar. Give it a stir, and then cover the bowl with wax paper or plastic wrap.
•The water-and-yeast combination will need 10 minutes to become active. The yeast is active when soft bubbles appear on the surface of the water. If the bubbles do not appear, you’ll have to start over with a new package of yeast, sugar, and fresh water.
•Pour the flour into a large bowl. Add the slat and the cornmeal and mix well to blend the dry ingredients.
•With a spoon, make a well in the center of the flour. Add the yeast mixture, the 5 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt. Use a fork to mix the ingredients into a thick paste.
•Add the other ½ cup of warm water. Mix together until you have a soft dough.
•Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour on a clean work surface. Sprinkle some extra on your hands to keep the dough from sticking to them. Pull the dough from the bowl and place it on the work surface. Divide the dough in half. Cover one half with a clean kitchen towel while you knead the other half.
•Begin kneading by pressing the dough away from you with the palms of your hands and then folding it in half. Pick it up and five it a quarter turn to the right or left. Work the dough over and over for 5 to 6 minutes, repeating the same action. Be sure to keep turning the dough in the same direction. It may be sticky when you begin, but don’t worry.
•From time to time, give the dough a few punches to get the air out. Knead until it is smooth and springy. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes. Cover the dough. Knead the other half of dough following the same steps. Combine both halves.
•Drizzle a small amount of alive oil into a clean bowl and add the dough. Give the dough a few spins and turn it over to lightly coat it with the oil.
•Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and a couple of heavy, clean kitchen towels. Now it is ready for a rest.
•Place the dough in a warm, draft-free spot, where it can rise undisturbed for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until it doubles in size.
•Once the dough has fully risen, transfer it to a clean work surface. Give it a few punches to get the air out. Knead it for another 2 minutes. Now it is ready to bake into pizza!
CHICAGO-STYLE DEEP DISH PIZZA
Makes one 14-inch pizza
1 (28-ounce) can whole Italian-style tomatoes
1 small bunch fresh basil (optional)
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
10 oz. mozzarella
8 oz. sweet Italian sausage
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Chicago-style Pizza Dough (that you just made!)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I have used the pre-grated stuff to and it works just fine!)
- Thoroughly drain the tomatoes in a colander and discard the liquid. Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and crush them into chunks with your VERY CLEAN hands.
- Pre-heat the oven to 475 F with one rack on the lowest slot and one rack in the middle slot of your oven.
- Wash the basil (if using), shake to remove excess water, and dry by rolling in paper towels. Remove the leaves and discard the stems. Tear the leaves half, measure out 1/3 cup, and add to the tomatoes.
- Add the oregano, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.
- Slice the mozzarella into thin slices and set aside.
- Remove the casing from the sausages by placing the sausages on a cutting board. With the tip of a knife, cut a slit in each casing the length of the sausage.
- Peel away the casings and discard. Using the flat side of the knife spread the sausage meat across the surface of the cutting board. Chop the meat into small pieces. Set aside.
- Pour 1 Tbs. of the oil into a 10-inch skillet over medium heat and heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.
- Add the sausage and sauté with a large slotted spoon fir 4 to 5 minutes breaking up the sausage as it cooks. The sausage is done when the meat is not longer pink. Remove the sausage from the skillet with the slotted spoon, put into a small bowl, and set aside.
- Use 1 Tbs. of the oil to coat the bottom and sides of a 14-inch pizza pan, skillet, or baking sheet. Lay the dough in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, spread the dough across the baking pan.
- Pull the edges of the dough up and then fold over the form a ridge all around the sides.
- Using the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the dough at ½ inch intervals.
- Bake the dough on the lowest rack for 5 minutes. Set a timer so you don’t forget.
- Remove the dough from the oven.
- Brush the entire surface, including the sides and the top of the ridge, with another tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Evenly cover the top of the dough inside the ridge with the slices of mozzarella then evenly spoon the tomato mixture over the mozzarella.
- Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the tomatoes then evenly distribute the sausage pieces over the Parmesan.
- Lightly drizzle the remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil across the pizza.
- Return the pizza to the oven and bake on the middle rack for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crust in lightly browned and crispy.
To serve, slide the pizza out of the baking pan onto a cutting board. Cut into slices with a sharp knife and serve immediately.
Read a great review by one of our teens, Rachel Ott! Thanks, Rachel, for letting us know about this book!
The book is amazing its about a girl who is living in her moms timeline, meaning when she was three her mom gave her life for Kaylee she died in an accident. One day her reaper came up to her telling her shes on the death list, while doing everything in her power to accept it and to figure out what is wrong with her new teacher a good read. pick it up sometime at the library.
Just in! Math Help! March 6, 2012
Are you struggling with math or is there one particular area that you need help with? I had a link shared with me today that you should check out. Patrick JMT has a series of math tutorials for practically ANYONE who needs help or is “math impaired” like myself.
This is definitely worth your time!
Photo Edits with Gimp February 20, 2012
Have you always wanted to edit your photos in an extreme, or not so extreme, way but you just can’t afford Photoshop? Well! Have I got good news for you! The solution to your dilemma is GIMP! Gimp works in layers, much like Photoshop, and is able to handle most, if not all, of your editing needs. Gimp is easy to install and Gimp is absolutely free!
Just for fun, I did an extreme photo edit to show you how Gimp can work for you:
•••CLICK ON IMAGES TO SEE THEM LARGER•••
The first thing you are going to so is go to ‘file’ and open the image of your choice from your own pictures. I chose this one because I like the colors. Also, horizontal images work the best.
The second step is to go to ‘filters,’ then on the drop down menu you will select ‘noise.’ And this is when you get to hurl. Yes, hurl. To hurl correctly, you are going set your random seed at 10 and your randomization percentage at 56% and click on OK. Don’t do anything with the other settings.
Now you are going to add a motion blur. Go back to the filter tab and pick ‘blur’ from the drop down then ‘motion.’ In the pop-up, you are going to select ‘zoom’ and set the length to right around 130. You may have to center the zoom. Click OK.
At this point, you are going to need to duplicate the first photo layer. Click on the button that the arrow is pointing to in the photo. Voila! Duplicate layer!
Now we are going to add some twirl to the photos. Make sure that the top photo layer is highlighted then go up to the filter tab again. From the drop down, you are going to select ‘distorts’ then ‘whirl and pinch.’ In the pop-up, you are doing to set the whirl at a number from 75 – 90 without adjusting the other settings. Click okay.
Now you are going to highlight the bottom photo layer and follow the same steps with one exception – you are going to place a – in front of the number that you chose for the top layer.
We’re coming to the home stretch now! Go to your layers palette and select the top photo layer. We need to modify this layer to “overlay.”
You can now tweak the sharpening and saturation to your satisfaction.
Once you get the hang of this, it is very easy to make an impressive abstract photo. I would love it if you posted a link to yours in the comments so we can see how it turned out.
Hunger Games Review January 30, 2012
The Hunger Games is the first book in a series of three. This book is full of adventure, constantly throwing curveballs that leave you wondering what will happen next. The heroine has a strong protective instinct for her friends and family, which leads her into a dangerous situation where to survive, she must kill. Though slow-paced and predictable at times, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For those who want a little excitement in their reading, I would recommend this book.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Site January 28, 2012
While the title of this book is what attracted me to it first, the story is what drew me in.
Hadley has missed her flight by 4 minutes. What can happen in four minutes? In the space of that 4 minutes two sets eyes have met across a crowded room; Hadley and Oliver are inseparable during the next flight. The book takes place in a 24 hour time span and the events that happen during that time will keep you spellbound. The dialogue is fast paced and intelligent and the story is FABULOUS. The book has several emotional highs and lows, but it is still an uncomplicated read that satisfies with a happy ending.
The book leaves you pondering at the end, how many people really believe in love at first sight and wondering if you yourself are one of those people.