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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pizza Crust and Tomato Sauce

Thanks to the beautiful snow, we did not have church this morning.

Naturally, I decided to spend the day in the kitchen, methodically measuring, mixing, and cooking my stresses away.

I've had a rough few weeks at work. Last week, I cried. At work. It was embarrassing and unprofessional, but it happened. Luckily it was brief and in the secrecy of my office (aside from my more-than-understanding coworker). So I needed a day like today, where cooking was all I needed to care about.

And, what better comfort food is there than pizza? The correct answer, my friends, is nothing. It has bread, cheese, and tomatoes - practically the 3 best things known to mankind.

I found this pizza crust recipe somewhere in the depths of the Internet some time ago. I have since made it several times, trying to find the perfect balance of whole wheat flour. And this is what I came up with. It is a wonderful base recipe - perfect for adding anything your creative mind can think of. In the summer, I like to add lots of fresh basil to the dough. Yum. I've been thinking about using this recipe to try to make some type of honey wheat crust, but I haven't quite gotten there yet.

Pizza Crust
1 package active dry yeast (quick rise is fine)
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. whole wheat flour
3 c. all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 c. room temperature water

First, mix the yeast with the warm water, then let sit for about 5 minutes.

Mix the flour and the salt together. 

Add the olive oil, additional water, and yeast mixture.

Combine until a dough forms.

This looks pretty good. It will form a little better once you start to knead it:

Knead the dough for approximately 7 minutes. You might want to dust your hands with flour. Once you're done kneading, place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel, and let rise for a few hours. Or, if you use quick rise yeast, less than that.

Here is the dough after it is done rising:

I like individual size pizzas, so I divide this into six individual crusts. Roll out, then bake in the oven at 425* for about 5-6 minutes. You will have to check it and poke the dough bubbles as it pokes.

Once they are pre-baked, add your desired toppings, and heat at 425-450* until the cheese is melted.


You may notice that there are only 4 crusts here, when I said I divided it into 6. That's because this dough is perfect for freezing. So two of the crusts went into the freezer for later. 

Now, onto the sauce. 

This sauce is amazingly easy. It is literally 3 ingredients and it's so delicious. I found the idea here but I made a little extra. Part of the sauce is for the pizza, and the other part is for this eggplant dish I'm going to fix later this week.

Pizza Sauce
3 cans basil, garlic, and oregano tomatoes
6 tbsp. butter
2 small onions, peeled and halved
Salt to taste


Pretty much, you just mix everything together and let it simmer.

Add the tomatoes to a pan.

Add the onion and butter, and let simmer for approximately 45 minutes.

That is literally it. Stir occasionally while it is simmering, breaking up the tomatoes. Remove the onion, and then you are done! Oh, and add salt as needed.

However, I don't like terribly chunky tomatoes, so I took some of this and pureed it in the food processor. 

Yum.

The deliciousness of the tomatoes really shines in this sauce. It would be even better made with fresh, homegrown, tomatoes. But alas, it's not quite yet summertime. Until then, this will have to do.

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