Archive for the ‘pizza’ Category

As regular readers know, a few months ago I was the fortunate recipient of some sourdough starter that’s older than most college students. Historically, sourdough starters were a precious family legacy, a means of making yeast-risen bread without relying on little store-bought packages. You can make starter yourself, but getting it from a friend makes it much easier! My friend sent my starter with three pages of instructions (including feeding it every single day), which I read thoroughly and then filed for safe keeping. (No, really, I know exactly where they are.) Then I started messing around with it, seeing how long I could go without feeding the starter (when the storms hit and work got too busy, I went close to 4 weeks without feeding it) and how many recipes I could modify to use it. (more…)

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My “track”:

Look closely; it’s there!  Yes, I ran yesterday.  Actually, I ran until the snow got too deep and I had to walk.  I got in 30 laps, until I looked like the Abominable Snowman.

My running buddy:

In fact, she shows up from the neighbors’ house, runs circles around me, begs to be petted, and then races off to chase deer, cats, birds . . . and then she catches back up with me and does it all over again.

The creek in snow:

Cold frames seems a particularly appropriate name today:

I’m not sure there’s still something growing under all that snow!

Is it delivery?

No, of course it isn’t delivery.  We can’t get delivery here in normal weather, much less when there’s almost a foot of snow on the ground.  If you missed the recipe earlier, it’s here.

So, the NWS claims we got 9-12 inches of snow.  Our thermometer read 1 degree F above zero this morning.  How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

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Previously I posted a recipe for a traditional pizza with a whole-grain crust.  Today’s recipe is a deep-dish pizza in a cast-iron fry pan, although you could use a standard pie pan if you want.  I was inspired to create this pizza after we got some great local shiitake mushrooms and some wonderful tomatoes for slicing along with really good raw milk cheddar.  The dough produces a consistence much more like bread than the previous recipe that I posted, thanks to more gluten and a little oil.

Begin by making the dough, so it can rise while you prep everything else.

The Dough

  • 1 tablespoon yeast (less, like a teaspoon, if you have all day for the dough to rise–if you want pizza in an hour or two, use the full amount)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons wheat gluten
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt and/or Cavender’s Greek Seasoning
  • optional:  dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, at about  bath-water temperature.  If it feels like good bath-water to you, the yeast will like the temperature too.  Let the yeast hang out in their bath for a few minutes and then add the remaining ingredients.  You can make this dough in no time if you use a food processor, but your hands will work fine too.  In a food processor, you know you’re done when the dough forms into a ball.  Do not over-process!  Now put the dough in a well-oiled bowl more than twice as big as the dough ball, cover lightly, and set aside until the dough is almost doubled.


  • Canadian bacon (we used nitrite-free turkey bacon), cut into quarters
  • thickly sliced shiitake mushrooms, 1-2 cups
  • thinly sliced tomatoes, at least 2 tomatoes–you could also use one can of good tomatoes, drained, whole so you can slice them yourself, otherwise the chunkier the better
  • mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese, about 2-3 ounces, shredded

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Clean and slice the shiitake mushrooms.  In a 10-inch cast iron skillet on the stove top, lightly brown the mushrooms in a little olive oil to release some of the mushrooms’ liquid.  Now remove the mushrooms, add a little more oil, and lay the tomato slices out evenly across the skillet.  Bake the tomatoes for 15-20 minutes to get them to release their liquid.  Turn off the oven if you want.  Now remove the skillet from the oven, set aside the tomatoes (drink any juice they leave!), re-oil the skillet, and let it cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, flatten out the dough ball on a lightly floured surface, until the dough is about ten or eleven inches around.  Let the dough rest and rise a bit more while the cast iron skillet cools so that you can comfortably touch it.  Now gently fold the dough in half and transfer it to the skillet and spread it to within a half inch or so from the edge. Preheat the oven to 450 degree F now while the dough rises in the skillet.  Once the dough is puffy again, put the skillet in the oven and let the dough bake by itself for about 15 minutes on the upper oven rack.

Take out the skillet and add the toppings, starting with the meat, then a tiny bit of cheese, then the mushrooms, then most of the cheese, then the tomatoes, then the rest of the cheese and Italian herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil). Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F and bake the pizza for about 15 minutes on the top rack again, until the top is browned.  Check for overly juicy tomatoes periodically.  Should the tomatoes still be producing juice, you can lift the edge of the pizza to let the tomato juice drain underneath.  It will start to bake off as soon as the juice hits the hot skillet, and it’ll give your crust a nice flavor too. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes to help the cheese set up, and then cut the pizzainto wedges using a bread knife or pizza wheel–or both, as we did, using a wheel for the middle and the bread knife for the edges.  Eat and enjoy!

Of course, you can choose any toppings that you want, but we think heartier toppings work best with such a thick crust.  Some of the Chicago pizzerias where deep dish originated use a whole disk of cooked sausage as the base of toppings.  You can even get seafood in a garlicky white sauce with few or no tomatoes.

Do you make deep-dish pizza at home?  What are your favorite toppings?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please ask for permission to use photographs.

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A few weeks ago, a reader asked me to post my whole-wheat pizza recipe.  Truth is, I don’t have a single recipe.  I have several. You see, we live where no pizza place will deliver, so if we want pizza, we have to make it. Today I’m going to share with you a recipe for a crisper-crust pizza. This will make a round about 13 inches.  I also ordinarily use my home-canned marinara sauce on my pizzas, but you’ll have to wait for summer to get that recipe, so I’m going to give you an alternative sauce.  This pizza has really traditional toppings, so it should have familiar tastes for a family that is transitioning to healthier, homemade food.  You can get all of the ingredients for this pizza as organic products or at least those produced without chemicals.

makes 8 generous slices

The Dough

  • 1 tablespoon yeast (less, like a teaspoon, if you have all day for the dough to rise–if you want pizza in an hour or two, use the full amount)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 scant cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon wheat gluten
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt and/or Cavender’s Greek Seasoning

Put the water and yeast in a food processor.  Pulse to combine.  Add the flour and other dry ingredients.  Process just until the dough pulls into a ball.  You can easily make this dough without a food processor.  Just work in the flour with your hands and knead for about ten minutes. Put in a bowl coated with olive oil, turn dough over to coat with oil, and put in a warm place to rise.  When it’s doubled in size and an indentation you make with your finger  no longer refills quickly, it’s ready.

The Toppings

  • 1 small can tomato paste (you’ll have a few tablespoons left)
  • 1 tablespoon total dried oregano, rosemary, and thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
  • about 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 spicy Italian sausages (we use chicken), cooked whole and then thinly sliced
  • 8 large portobellini mushrooms, sliced and lightly sauteed in olive oil to release their liquid
  • 8 good pitted black olives, sliced in half
  • 1 ounce (about 1-inch cube) real parmesan cheese, grated finely

Heat the oven to 450 degrees, and put your pizza pan in the oven. (Yes, a pizza stone works really well for this recipe.  Unfortunately, my largest, narrow-rimmed cast iron fry pan is only 12 inches, so the dough would be thick on it.)  Punch down the dough and then gently work it to the 13-inch size on a bread board sprinkled with corn meal.  Now take the hot pizza stone out of the oven, sprinkle it with corn meal, and transfer the shaped dough to it.

Spread all but a couple of tablespoons of the tomato paste on the dough (lightly, not too much!) and sprinkle on the herbs and fennel seed. Cut the mozzarella in slices and place around the pizza evenly.

Now lay down  the sausage, followed by the mushrooms and olive halves. Now use a fine grater to cover everything with the parmesan cheese.If you use a really fine grater, a  single ounce of cheese goes a long, long way. Pop the pizza stone in the hot oven (450 degrees F) and bake for 10-12 minutes, more or less depending on the consistency of your oven.  When the pizza is getting brown on top, take it out. Let it sit a couple of minutes and then slice it.   Eat.  Enjoy.

Does this pizza look good to you?  Are you interested in more pizza recipes?  Try one of my deep-dish, whole-grain pizzas baked in a cast-iron skillet!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts and tweets with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use the photographs.

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I’ll concede from the start:  pineapple is not local to Arkansas.  At least I use organic pineapple.  Pineapple is a treat food, one of those things I buy infrequently and then relish.  And it was available, in canned form, when my grandparents were kids.  Now that we’ve gotten the question of whether pineapple is seasonal, organic, old-school, and local out of the way, let’s talk cake.

This pineapple upside down cake is probably much lighter and considerably healthier than the ones you remember from childhood, but it is full of great flavor and texture.  I have reduced the sugar (the classic recipes are all cloyingly sweet) and used whole-grain pastry flour.  I’ve also used a pineapple juice and lime juice reduction to moisten the cake.  It’s still dessert, but you can feel a little bit better about serving a slice to your family, and chances are they won’t know it’s a light version.  My husband initially told me he just wanted a sliver.  Next thing I knew, he was returning for a big slice.

Don’t be off put by the ingredient list.  You can put this cake together in about ten minutes or less of active work.

As always, please use organic if you can.  I had organic ingredients on hand for everything.

For the bottom (which will become the top!)

  • 7-8 slices pineapple in natural juice  (See below for what to do with the rest of the can, including the juice!)
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • optional:  a few walnut or pecan pieces

The cake batter

  • 3 eggs (could use 1 egg and three egg whites)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or kefir
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • optional:  1 teaspoon lemon or orange extract

The glaze

  • the juice from the large can of pineapple
  • about 1/4 cup lime juice (more or less to taste)–Yes, you could use lemon juice instead.

The method.

Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees F.  Now heat a 10-inch cast iron frying pan on the stovetop.  (Yes, any stove and oven-proof pan in the 9 or 10-inch range should work, but the cast iron will give a really good caramel topping with the pineapple.) Add the butter and melt it. Now sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the surface, taking care to distribute it evenly as you put it down.  Don’t try to move it after you sprinkle it on, as you’ll likely lose it to the pan at the end of the process.  Turn off the burner (and remove the pan from the stove top if you use an electric range).  Put a single slice of pineapple in the very middle and then space the rest of the pineapple evenly around the central slice. If you want, add walnut or pecan pieces in the intervening spaces, including the pineapple slice holes.

In a small bowl or large measuring pitcher, beat the eggs lightly.  Add the sugar and buttermilk and stir.  Then quickly stir in the dry ingredients and the extracts.  Pour the cake batter on the pineapple in the frying pan and then pop the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the pineapple and lime juices, starting with less lime juice, in a small, heavy-bottomed pot.  (Corning is ideal for this application.) Taste the mixture.  Is it a good blend of sweet and sour, a bit more sour?  Excellent, because you’re about to reduce and intensify the flavor!  If you’re not happy with the flavor, add a bit more lime juice.  Now bring the mixture to boil, uncovered. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture is about 1/2 to 1/3 its original volume.  This glaze should be ready right about the time the cake comes out.

Has it been 30 minutes?  Take out the cake.  Let it sit for about 4 minutes–not much longer because it will stick if you leave it.  Then slide a knife around the edge to make sure none of the sugar is causing the cake to stick. Using two pot holders, invert the pan on a large, flat plate.  Now poke a few holes in the top with a toothpick and pour on the pineapple-lime glaze. Let the cake cool for at least a few minutes before serving. If you’ve made the cake in a round pan, cut it into wedges like pie slices.  Eat.  Enjoy.  Do what my husband did and cut yourself a second slice.

Nutritional information

Using the higher levels of butter and sugar, if you made 8 slices from this cake, each slice would have about 260 calories, including almost 6 grams of protein, 2.375 grams fiber, 8.4 grams fat, and 43 grams of sugar.  Go easy on it, though, and cut 16 slices, and each one will have just 130 calories, 3 grams protein, 4.2 grams fat, and 21.5 grams of sugar.  And if you go with the lesser suggestions on butter and sugar (and I can assure you you won’t miss them!), you’ll drop to less than 100 calories per thin slice.

What to do with the extra pineapple slices

You need a large can of pineapple to get enough slices for this pineapple upside down cake, but you won’t quite use the whole can.  We used our extra slices for homemade whole-grain pizza with (turkey, nitrite-free) Canadian bacon and pineapple.  By request of a reader in another post, I’ve started adding recipes for my homemade pizza.  It’s not pineapple pizza, but that one will be coming soon!

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