Dark Days week 2

I may have mentioned before that we are fairly religious followers of Pizza Friday.  I'm sure I did pizza night during last year's challenge, but repeat meals are fine by me, and pizza is so easy to vary.  In winter, the routine of pizza night is ultra easy:  pull a bag of tomato sauce out of the freezer, start some dough (or pull dough, as I often freeze extras of that too), and see what you've got for toppings.  We ate a lot of nearly all-local dinners this week, but decided on 'Za for our write-up, keeping it close to 100%

The dough:

I am down to using only two recipes for pizza crust.  The first is from Bread Baker's Apprentice, and is a mix-and-refrigerate dough that freezes well, and ends up with a thin, stretchy, crunchy crust that works well for thin pizza and for my stuffed pies.  But some nights I want a more rustic, chewy crust, and I've been making a recipe from the aforementioned Local Breads by Daniel Leader.  For both, I usually add a percentage of wheat flour, but for the challenge I upped this to 60/40 WW (local/organic soft wheat) to white.  In fact, the results were so good I may push it to 90/10 next time.  I know a ton of pizza recipes call for high gluten flours, but I generally prefer softer, all-purpose varieties. 

For me the key to whole wheat flours and rustic doughs is resting periods:  I start with a very wet dough: let it sit for 15 minutes after a brief first knead and it will absorb a LOT of water.  Knead some more, then rise, turn after about an hour, and rise for as long as you can stand (today was about 2 more hours).  I turn it out onto a floured surface, divide, and let rest for another 20-30 minutes.  This is a very slack dough, that I mostly just stretch into a basic oblong shape.  

The toppings:

Tomato sauce:  homegrown tomatoes/onions/garlic/herbs (frozen)
garlic scape pesto:  homegrown scapes, local parm, olive oil, salt (frozen)
Sundried tomato pesto:  homegrown tomatoes, olive oil, walnuts, local parm, balsamic vinegar.
Pecatonica Valley Bacon
Market onions (sauteed in that bacon grease)
sliced peppers (home grown, frozen)
Market potatoes, salted, then rinsed and tossed with OO and thyme
homegrown/dried herbs
Farmer John's Parmesan and Provonella cheese

The pies:

The potato/thyme 'za is from the new book Tartine which I had out of the library, so am working from memory.  You slice the potatoes thinly and salt to remove extra water, then after sitting in some oil with fresh or dried thyme and garlic, you layer it all on the dough.  After it comes out of the oven, add freshly grated or shaved parmesan.  The other pizzas were more traditionally American, with pesto and tomato sauce on the bottom, cheese and toppings on top.

Another snowstorm coming tonight, followed by frigid weather, and my husband keeps jokingly asking  "but what will we EAT?" if we are snowed in. My only impulse buy while running errands before the storm this afternoon was a bag of sugar to make grape jelly and cranberry sauce for Christmas presents.  Let it snow, I'll be canning :)

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  1. Title of your blog just made me smile. Nice to find you in blogger world.

  2. Thanks :) Looks like you have some great veggie recipes on your site, will have to try some out!


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