Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Momma, Me A Pizzeria!

Daring Bakers October challenge! This month's challenge was hosted by Rosa's Yummy Yums and the challenge was to make some basic pizza dough (see her blog for recipe), toss it (with pics/video to document it), and top with any flavors we desired but had to consist of sauce and toppings. Oh sure, pizza may seem old-hat but in the past I didn't want to even attempt tossing it because I can be a spaz when it comes to these sort of things. But surely rolling the pizza dough works just as well right?

Aside from my poor stage presence and bad form, I'd have to say I fulfilled that part of the challenge. This recipe makes 6 small pizzas and it was a good thing because I needed to have extra dough just to account for my mistakes (I actually doubled the dough recipe to account for that..). My first try ended up on the floor. Ewww. I tried another bit of dough and rolled it out instead. I was so disappointed with the lack of stretching and good shaping that was occuring so I decided to try tossing it again. I will say that it works best with dough that has been relaxed and sitting for a while, meaning, if I made a mistake and tried to work it back into a ball, it wouldn't relax enough for me to toss it. But if I made a mistake (huge gaping holes were common) then I would just ball it up again and let it sit and come back to it later and it'd be just fine.
Problem is though, with this kind of challenge there are so many possibilities that I had a very hard time narrowing down my final choices. My sweet little baby niece just had some major surgery for her hip dysplasia and came home in a half body cast and we had some family coming by to see how she was doing. We wanted to help out by providing food and so we made a big family luncheon out of this challenge. I decided on making 6 pizzas (I know, a lot) and with an audience of varying tastes and preferences, I thought that should be enough to satisfy all.

How did we fare you ask? We had 6 tasty thin crusted pizzas that were almost completely devoured by all. For the kids we did the basic red sauce/pepperoni/mozzerella. We did some basic red sauce/italian sausage/olive and a low fat Penzey's recipe using ground turkey and sausage seasonings plus mushrooms for the folks who just wanted it simple.

Now for the foodies, a Canadian bacon/mango/yellow tomato/brie pizza seemed like a good choice (no sauce on this one, only drizzled with olive oil). I will admit, I had high expectations for this one but it didn't quite meet it. I guess I was thinking there would be some fabulous mango flavor, like how pineapple tastes great on pizza, but it ended up being pretty dull. I suppose if you are in an area with access to super mangoes then you might want to try this. I guess the Midwest is not the place to shop for tropical fruits...

Everyone seemed to like this one: Neal had the idea to do a bbq chicken pizza and I came up with this awesome version, Emeril's smoked chicken bbq pizza with red onion, mozzerella, and basil. This recipe was terrific - it is at least worth it for the sauce recipe. The bbq sauce tastes like regular bbq but with a slight asian touch (uses sesame oil and fresh ginger) and while this recipe makes a ton of sauce, it can certainly be used for many other meals or as a good dipping sauce for your homemade chicken nuggets... Ah. Really, the sauce is thick and yummy! The chicken itself was rubbed in the homemade Emeril Essence Creole Seasoning (also included in the pizza recipe) and we cooked it on the grill prior to adding it to the pizza. Next time I would like to try grilling this particular pizza. Mmmm...

And then finally we made a pesto pizza with baby spinach, artichoke, red tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and crumbled goat cheese on top. This one seemed to be the winner of the group, closely followed by the bbq one, but unfortunately we were too eager to dig in that I didn't even get a picture of it. But really, this one was very flavorful and a fun option for the vegetarian craving you know you all have at one point or another!

And lets not forget the little lady, who, inspite of being in a cast and in a perpetual squat for the next month or so, continues to have a sweet smile for everyone. What a pleasant baby! I picked up this My Little Pony stuffed doll to match her pink cast and Neal chuckled as he said, "At least she can straddle it!" Hopefully it provides some cushion for her, poor girl!

We love you!


  1. AWESOME pizza tossing footage! I have got to show Mr. Fuji because he will be very impressed (especially after watching my pathetic attempts and total frustration). Girl, you got skillz!

  2. I hope your niece is okay. She is a doll. Nice pizza's and I love the footage.

  3. Good job tossing! It only took you like 3 tosses & it was ready! WOW! Good job gal! BTW, the offer to come be my personal chef still stands! :)

  4. Your tossing is fantastic. I hope your niece is ok. Your pizzas look delicious

  5. That pizza looks so yummy! I was really surprised by how fast it stretched! I think I'll stick to rolling mine out though :) Thanks for the pics of Daphne. She is soo cute. I love the pony pic- too funny. Okay so I'm really dying to see your costumes!!!!!!!

  6. Wow! I'm guessing your pizza dough was a bit stiffer than mine! It looks so good. Great form, no matter what you say. :)


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