Friday, January 7, 2011

Chicago - Style Deep Dish Pizza

Our Take on a "Reverse Pizza"
You are going to be sooooooooo stuffed after eating a Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza. Drew and I became very accustomed to having an individual, personal sized, light, thin pizza in Italy, which I still prefer, to having this beast! Chicago-style deep dish pizza is it's own unique, special thing (for you Boca Mag people a #4). We have to accept that we cannot compare it to other pizzas. One key and essential item you must have to make this is a deep oven dish or deep dish pizza pan. Unfortunately, our deep dish pan is in Kentucky at the moment and we are in Florida, so I had to become a bit creative to find the perfect deep pan for this monster. I used an industrial sized, oven safe, deep skillet and I have to say it did the trick quite well. If you do not have one of these lying around in your kitchen you can use a deep roasting pan.


Pizza Dough: (Thick) - or if you aren't one to make dough you can cheat and buy fresh dough at the supermarket (Trader Joes, Publix, Wegmans etc.)

1.5 pkt or dry active yeast
1 ¼ cup warm water
1.5 tsp of salt
3 tbs of sugar
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
4-5 cups of flour

2 cups of Box of Pomi Tomato Puree (or if you are in Europe Pomito)
1 tbs Sugar
1 tsp dried Basil
1 tbs Garlic Powder
2 big pinches Mixed dried herbs
(I used Giada's Tuscan mixed herbs that I received at the South Beach Wine & Food Fest) which is made up of:
Rosemary, Sage, Bay Leaf, Basil, Marjoram, Thyme, Wild Fennel & Chili pepper.
1/4 tbs olive oil

Fresh mozzarella drained or mozzarella that is sold in a block (we wound up using Sorrento's new Fresh mozzarella pack - we were pretty pleased with it) - enough to make a layer covering your dough

2 Italian Sausages Hot or Mild - we used Hot...
1/2 Green Pepper
1/4 cup Purple Onion
2 cloves of garlic

Step 1: Yeast & Water
To create the dough (by hand) dissolve the packet and a half of yeast (hefe, lievito) in the 1 ¼ cup warm water inside a large glass bowl. Make sure the water is not too hot, nor too cold-this could kill the yeast. To know if the yeast is active, it should bubble when you stir the mixture. Let the yeast dissolve completely before adding any other ingredients.
Step 2: Dry ingredients
Once the yeast is dissolved, add 3 tbs of sugar, 1.5 tsp of salt, 1/2 cup of Vegetable oil and 1 tbs olive oil.
Step 3: Flour
Before adding the flour, make sure the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Add in the cups of flour in one cup increments, while mixing the dough mixture together in the interim. You may have a little too much or not enough...the dough should have good elasticity and not be toooooo sticky.
Step 4: Kneading (w/ TLC)
Knead the dough thoroughly but not too hard. Form your dough into a ball in the center of your bowl and cover it with either a very lightly dampened cloth or plastic wrap (I prefer the cloth).
Step 5: Rising
Let your dough rise for at least an hour and a half to two hours.
Step 6: Room Temperature
Make sure your dough is room temperature when you are getting ready to lay it out (this is especially important for those of you who decided to purchase you dough).
Step 7: Preheat your oven 
to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Step 8: Chop 
your Onion, Green Pepper, Garlic and make your Mozzarella cheese into 1/8 inch slices.
Step 9: Crumble and fry 
the Italian Sausage: Set aside.
Step 10: Mix
your sauce together, combining all ingredients...this sauce is to remain cool (do not use a cooked sauce).
Step 11: Roll out your dough 
into the shape of the pan you will be using
Step 12: Coat the pan
If you placed your dough in the pan to get the shape accurate, remove it. Coat the bottom of your pan with olive oil and corn meal - so that the dough will  be nice and crisp and not stick later when you want to serve it.
Step 13: Pan
Place your dough into the pan again.
Step 14: Important layering order of ingredients
(hence why we coined it the reverse pizza): The first layer to go on to the dough is the cheese. Layout the cheese evenly across the dough (I do not recommend shredded).
Step 15: Add the Sausage 
(fresh not dried aka Fresh Pork Wurst if you are in Germany :P and if you happen to be in Germany I recommend spicing up the Wurst when you crumble it with Italian flavors or better yet, buy fresh ground pork and add some fennel, paprika, sugar, garlic, black pepper, red pepper etc. )
Step 16: Sprinkle 
the chopped onion, garlic and green pepper on top of the sausage for the next layer of the pie.
Step 17: Pour the sauce 
over the top making it the final ingredient on top of your pizza before going into the oven.
Step 18: Bake the pizza 
in the pan (no pre-bake for this one) with all of its ingredients on top at 450 degrees for 25 minutes or until the top is a nice golden brown color.
Step 19: Remove from oven 
sprinkle some freshly grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan or Grana Padano - I am a Pecorino Romano Girl myself) over it, cut and serve.(Know your Cheeses:
Step 20: Don't feel bad if there are left overs. 
This is a monster of a Pizza!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Food to try out - Mei's Chilled Chinese Noodle Bowl

Mei's famous Chlled Chinese Noodle bowl (farthest to the left)
2010 has come to a close, but we would like to hold on to some of the dearest friendships and memories we have made while living abroad. In honor of the relationships we have formed with the Chinese Bukas, Drew and I are going to attempt to make Mei's famous Chinese Chilled Noodle bowl. Mei is from the Chinese province located within the Golden Triangle and I believe this dish is customary from where she lives. We appreciate her sharing this recipe with us and hopefully we are going to make it as delicious as she does. If any of you out there give this dish a try - I would love to hear from you! Let me know how it turns out!

200g Chinese noodles (can be bought in almost Asian stores; it looks like an Asian version spaghetti)

Fresh ginger, garlic, Chinese parsley, green onion; Sesame paste, olive oil, Chinese salted Tofu, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper oil.

1.   Boil some water in a deep pot and then put noodles in. Stir the noodles from time to time for 5 minutes (very similar like cooking spaghetti).  Don’t overcook the noodles to be too soft.
2.  Take noodles out of the pot and rinse them in cold water. 
3.  Put noodles in another bowl or pot and pour some olive oil in, and stir the noodles so that they don’t stick together (I often use hand to do this).
4.  Put noodles in fridge and cool it (the coolness will harden the noodles later chewy; Remember: harder noodles are always better than overcooked soft noodles for making cold noodles.)
5. Wash the fresh ingredients. 
6.  Cut parsley and green onion (you can decide what shape or size you like; for green onion smaller pieces mingle better with noodles so as to make the taste better.)
7.  Grind fresh ginger and garlic into paste and add some water (the smaller particle ginger and garlic are ground into, the easier for the noodles to absorb, so a better taste!  But this is a tough process when you don’t have any appropriate tools but your hands!)
8.  Making the sauce: blend sesame paste with warm water (mix with a spoon), until it dissolves totally into water; add the ginger garlic into the water followed by the rest ingredients except parsley and green onion; stir until they totally blend together (you can add small amount of everything at one time and taste it to see what is lacking or what you prefer, and then add more).  It is a fun process and you get to experience how sensitive our tongues can be and how easily in our daily meals we ignore them to the extent that we don’t really taste food but only eat it! -Mei)
9.  Sprinkle parsley and green onion on the cold noodles (remember, they may still be in the fridge!) 
10. Whenever the food is ready to serve, pour the sauce into noodles and stir adequately.  The bowl of cold noodles are ready to be served!
11.  If there are left overs, you can refrigerate them for another meal or you can always keep some of the sauce in the refrigerator of another time, boil and chill fresh noodles and serve.

Thank you Mei!!! We will see you in April!