Recipe: Thin Crust Pan Pizza

~ This is Day 30 ~

I haven’t owned a conventional oven since I moved into my current apartment, which was 5.5 years ago. Not a huge difference for my cooking needs but it would be nice to have one. I just have a large toaster oven, which can fit quite a lot of large poultry, but a regular sized pizza pan/stone it cannot. So I always make thin crust pan pizzas and broil them in my toaster oven with the door ajar because my pan doesn’t fit all the way in either.

*Side note, I’ve had my eyes on June ever since it came out… (it would be a great housewarming present) just saying!*

The pizza dough that I make is really easy – almost no knead and all you do is wait. I always make the same pizza at home because I just love the following set: spicy tomato sauce (with the addition of red pepper flakes), ham, bacon, pineapple, and mozzarella. I’ll sometimes add some baby spinach in there if I have some. If I run out of ham, I’ll substitute shrimp. And YES, I am part of that group who LOVES pineapple on their pizzas!

Makes 4-5 personal sized pizzas.

  • 1 cup water, lukewarm
  • ¼ oz. yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2¼ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

Don’t have bread flour? AP flour is fine.

Pour 1 cup of lukewarm water into a medium sized bowl. Add in the yeast and sugar, and stir. Sit for 5 minutes until it gets foamy. Add in the EVOO and salt, then slowly add in the flour and mix (with chopsticks or wooden spoon) until water is fully incorporated. Dough will be dry; once there is no more water, knead until smooth (only a few minutes). 

In the same bowl, Pam spray/oil it, leave it covered for 45 minutes in a warm place. Punch the dough down and continue letting it rest for another 30 minutes. 

Divide into 4-5 portions and roll. Allow to rest for 15 minutes if you have trouble rolling it.

You can store the remaining portions/dough in the fridge for up to 1 week, keeping it covered and greased in the same bowl. Temper it out before you roll it.

Some tips:

  • I poke holes in the dough after I roll it to prevent bubbles of air to form when cooking.
  • I first cook the base in the pan by itself on medium heat, just to get some color on the bottom and then flip it to get the base of the pizza somewhat cooked before adding your sauces and toppings.
  • Layer/scatter your toppings, try to squeeze out as much moisture/water as possible.
  • Put a lid on your pizza in the pan while cooking.
  • I usually cook the toppings for 5+ minutes, then add the cheese, and cook for another 5+ minutes.
  • Before broiling it in the oven to get some color and to fully melt the cheese, I tilt the pan to remove excess moisture that got released from cooking. You don’t want your base to be soggy.

Recipe: Gougères

Gougères are essentially cream puffs without the cream and instead with cheese. They are the savory version of the pâte à choux. The cheese is commonly grated Gruyère, Comté, or Emmentaler. I used Gruyère in this.

In culinary school, I had to mix this by hand and that was exhausting. I have a stand mixer at home so making the choux was a piece of cake!

This recipe yields around 50 pieces.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 oz. butter
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups Gruyère, and extra for garnishing
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with SilPats or parchment paper, oiling them is not necessary. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter, and salt, and bring to a boil. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms. Stir over low heat until the dough dries out and pulls away from the pan, approximately 2 minutes.

Scrape the dough into a bowl of a stand mixer. Let it cool for a few minutes before beating in the eggs. On “stir”, using the paddle attachment, beat the eggs into the dough, one at a time, and beating thoroughly between each one. It is important to be sure that each egg is fully incorporated into the batter before adding the next. Don’t worry if the batter separates and looks curdled at first. Keep beating, and it will come together nicely. Add the cheese and season with black pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip and pipe tablespoon-size mounds onto the baking sheets. Sprinkle more cheese on top of each one and bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot/warm. I stuff them with duxelles, which is a finely chopped mixture of mushroom (chanterelles).

Kabocha Squash & Stracciatella

I will always love burrata but for me, burrata is “over”… For the past several years, I have been all about stracciatella. Stracciatella cheese is best known to be the gooey center of burrata!!! Stracciatella means “rag,” from the Italian word “strattore” (to stretch), and describes the action to make the cheese as well as how it looks.

That same day where I had seven of the same scallop crudo, I also had roasted squash with burrata cheese. It also hit me surprisingly. But in my version, I substituted burrata for stracciatella and garnished it with toasted pumpkin seeds, reduced Pedro Ximénez vinegar, and chives.

Stracciatella Crostini

I haven’t been posting as much as late because I’ve been very busy. Busy with work, busy with life, and my parents came to visit for three weeks… so life has been quite hectic lately and I am finally settling back down to my lonesome.

I would eat burrata everyday if I could afford it… $11.99 adds up… but as of two years ago, I have discovered stracciatella and I love stracciatella even more than I love burrata… as if that could ever happen! I hope I don’t sound crazy but as a cheese enthusiast, you don’t know what you’re missing if you haven’t tried stracciatella yet. The stretchiness of the stracciatella is amazing.

Anyway, my favorite way to eat stracciatella is on toasted bread with late spring/juicy sweet summer cherry tomatoes, Serrano jamón, and a simple salsa verde, and big flakes of sea salt. Perfection. Love it.

 

 

Burrata & Avocado Toast

When you think of avocado toast, do you think of those basic white girl Instagrams? Because I do, and whenever someone mentions avocado toast, you can hear how much I keep my loathing in silence.

Anyway, this is my version around that (annoying) fad: Avocado on Filone Toast with Burrata, Espelette, Crispy Quinoa and Radish Sprouts. And I only made this because I had avocado and burrata in excess.

Cheesecake with Citrus

This was the third and final course to my Friendmas dinner of 2017.

I originally wanted to make a new chocolate dessert but I do that too often. Then I thought about cheesecake. I had planned this to go with blood orange because it’s perfect for winter but none of the Whole Foods Markets in NYC had blood oranges the weekend of Christmas (I looked and I called) so I had to resort to Cara Cara navel oranges instead. Then, the Whole Foods that I did the majority of my Christmas shopping at was out POM pomegranate juice!!! Because I wanted to dye the juice with pomegranate juice. Argh, the struggles of shopping in NYC…

THEN, when I was making the honeycomb, I accidentally measured the glucose in milliliters instead of grams and that basically fucked up everything. I didn’t want to make it again because I was tired so boo hoo, no honeycomb. The cheesecake by itself was still delicious. The base had enough texture to balance out the creaminess and softness of the cheesecake so all was well.

Here is Cheesecake made of Mascarpone, Cream Cheese, Crème Fraîche, Orange Zest, Lemon Zest, and Grand Marnier, with Streusel on the bottom, and Orange Jelly on top, served with Citrus Sorbet.

Zucchini Ribbons with Ricotta & Green Goddess

More pumpernickel soil, you must be thinking… I just love using it because it adds great color contrast to a dish and texture!

Whenever I create a successful vegetarian dish, I’m impressed at myself because I really don’t think vegetables are my forte.

So here are Zucchini Ribbons with Housemade Ricotta, Fava Beans, Shaved Cherry Belle Radish, Radish Greens, Pumpernickel Soil, Mint Chiffonade, and a Green Goddess Vinaigrette.

Mushroom Duxelles Deviled Eggs with Mornay Sauce

With something so simple, the flavors are so intense. I love making mushroom duxelles and putting them into a vessel, such as deviled eggs. Duxelles is a finely minced/chopped mixture of mushrooms, often times cooked with shallots and thyme, sautéed in butter and reduced to a paste-like consistency.

Here we have Maitake Mushroom Duxelles in Deviled Eggs with Mornay Sauce. Mornay sauce is just Béchamel sauce with Gruyère cheese.

Burrata with Broccoli Rabe Pesto

I LOVE BURRATA!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE BURRATA!

Did I mention how much I love burrata? I LOVE BURRRRRRRATAAAAAA!!!!

I know other people love burrata too.

I served this dish right when spring began. This is fresh Burrata cheese from Murray’s Cheeses with a Broccoli Rabe Pesto over toasted Filone sourdough, Confetti Cherry Heirloom Tomatoes, Aged Apple Vinegar, and Micro Basil.

Crenshaw Melon Wrapped in Smoked Speck

Remember the melon salad I posted a couple of months ago? This is the downsized version, in amuse bouche format.

You can make anything into a one-bite piece of yummiliciousness.

So here we have Crenshaw Melon and Bayley Hazen Blue cheese wrapped in Smoked Speck, with Melon Vinaigrette, Black Olive Crumble, and Tangerine Frills.