The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Pizza time!

August 20, 2014 , , , ,

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I’m trying really hard to win at summer right now. With most of July spent recovering from my training, summer has fled by. I’m trying to make up for some serious lost time. There has been lounging – combined with a few serious summertime naps. There are long walks to the train. Long mid-day walks around the park. Windows – open. Beach time – yes. Ice cream? Most definitely. Always.

And cooking! What have I been cooking you ask? Well mainly tomatoes, corn and zucchini all at once or separately and into every meal that I can. Oh and let’s not forget these little guys that I picked up last week. They were a fun cucumber like addition even though J kept calling them lizard eggs.

Sanditas!

Sanditas!

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This weekend I dived into my Jim Lahey and Rick Flaste’s “Pizza” cookbook for a bit of inspiration. I’ve taken to actually reading my cookbooks lately. Like, not just the recipes but the beginning part too. How often does that happen!?

I particularly like the section on “A Reverence for Ingredients.” He lays out specifically what we should be looking for in the most basic ingredients needed to make a great pie. Pizza is simple and what we put on it should be top notch to make the flavors shine through.

Below are the nuts and bolts.

Flour – Simple all purpose or bread flour. None of that fancy pizza dough crap. Keep it real.

Olive oil – Don’t be cheap. The best and freshest from the first press is necessary – not the leftovers from the first press. It should be smooth and buttery with a peppery finish. He says that Chile has the highest standards for production even though Italy has the richest culture for it. France and Spain are also nice. I keep a good stock from California Olive Ranch on hand always. After a particular informative wait at South Brooklyn Pizza I’ve started finishing all my pies with a good swirl of olive oil, a dose of Parmesan and a sprinkle of basil. It will change your life.

Cheese – It’s the main part of the pie so why skimp? The mozzarella should be fresh. Specifically he says “it should be creamy, slightly sour, and very wet with a fleshy texture.” Done and Done. Why would we do other wise?

Tomatoes Fresh is best – Same as the olive oil. Sensing a trend? When using canned, go for something out of Naples. Tomatoes from the base of Mount Vesuvius are particular popular touting that the rich volcanic soil does wonders for the taste.

San Marzano tomatoes are the most easily accessible tomatoes out of Mount Vesuvius and run about $3 a can in Brooklyn. If you have a chance to go to Eataly check out their extensive collection and splurge. I cracked open my final can from a recent semi regretful trip, 28oz. I got two pies from it and am making sauce tomorrow for at least two meals. It will be well worth it.

Have I mentioned I really love this book? Buy here. It’s so nice to have around the house.
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I ended up making two pies this week. I went a little nuts and made all white pizza dough – living on the edge I know. Trust me it’s a big, delicious departure from my usual half whole-wheat crust. And in my cast iron skillet? Holy delicious. You can see the basic recipe here. Play around with how much whole wheat you use. I’m not sure the taste is worth the health benefits.

Before I got started I sliced a bunch of mini zucchinis with my mandolin and salted in a colander to release the moisture.Let sit at least 20 minutes.

For the sauce, I took Lahey’s advice and crushed the tomatoes (28oz can) with my hands, mixing in two tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ tsp of fine sea salt.

I used fresh mozzarella and ricotta from Russo’s. I topped the cheese and sauce with fresh cut baby heirloom tomatoes and some zucchinis. I baked for 25 minutes, swirled with olive oil and Parmesan. Then I proceeded to burn my tongue because I couldn’t wait to eat.

The second pie, I repeated but added fresh corn because, why not? I have yet to taste this version but seeing as how J almost finished it by himself in 2 days, I’m not worried about it being bad.

How do you make your pizza?

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