Deep Dish Pizza

In all my baking years, I've never made deep dish pizza. When we lived in Evanston, we used to frequent Giordano's for a sausage "topped" deep dish. These things are built upside down and are a hearty meal indeed. I used essentially Emeril's recipe with a few modifications. I didn't have any semolina flour on hand and left it out. I will repeat it including the semolina. But, duty calls, it's Friday night and the gang demands pizza. Also, my pizza sauce is much simpler and milder than the sauce of that wild man "Bamming!" everything in sight. He's a scary man.

water, cold, 200 g
olive oil, 25 g
salt, 5 g
honey, 5-10 g
unbleached white flour, 300 g
Fleischmann's instant active dry yeast, 2 t
Kneaded 5-6 minutes in my bread machine, rounded the dough and let sit in the fridge. I did this the night before we used it.

My Thick Sauce
Simmered "6-in-1" brand chopped tomatoes, a couple slivers garlic, olive oil (ca. 1-2 T), oregano, salt and pepper. There is always a stash of this in my freezer. I use a pretty thick brand of tomatoes and usually don't use paste. If the brand of tomatoes used is thin, just cook it down.

Assembly of Pizza
The oven was preheated to 450F (I always preheat excessively). The dough (about 500 g) was warmed about an hour. I punched it down and let it sit on the counter in a squat ca. 8" disc covered with a moist towel for about 20 minutes. It was then stretched to a 14-15" circle. I chose a heavy duty aluminum 10" diameter cake pan. Because of the high temperature and long duration baking (450F/30 minutes), I thought a dark pan would burn the crust; hence, the choice of shiny aluminum. The dough was draped over the pan and allowed to come over the edge a bit. I let it rest again for a few minutes and began topping in this order: sliced mozzarella, crumbled sweet Italian sausage (raw), tomato sauce and parmesan cheese and baked it in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. I originally intended to use 400 grams of dough per 10" pie but ended up using the full 500 grams. That resulted in the huge wave-like crust. Next time I might end the crust at the pan's edge.

I've been known to take freshly baked bread and launch it out the back door when I'm not pleased with the results. This was not one of those occasions. Trish, Frankie and I attacked this with a small salad on the side and there was some left over. I thought it was pretty awesome. Too much crust and all. Next time, I'll use less dough (like I mentioned earlier) and also use the semolina flour that was called for in the original recipe. I suspect that will result in a more appropriate crackly-crisp crust. But overall, a success. Wish you could've joined us.


Tofu "Meat"balls? - just say no!

Below is a proposed experiment. I won't use the term "miserable failure" because I'll just get more hits than I'm comfortable with but I think you get the gist. Tofu just doesn't have that fleshy, moldable feel like meat and all it did was crumble and never held together despite the milk and egg and cracked wheat. Oh well, cheap experiment. The turkey ones were made in short order so we could have something to eat during the week. Yum. Can't wait. And, neither can Frankie, they're her absolute favorite.

Original Post:
This is more of a note to myself than it is something you might find interesting (but just in case, here it is).

Cooking lately has been more for utility than show. However, I thought of something I have to try. Usually, recipes that try to substitute tofu for meat fail miserably (at least in my hands). That's the result I get when I've attempted some Moosewood preps. Texture just isn't right.

One of my recent modifications to the meatball was so good, I almost got a copyright for my site, I (and the gang here) liked them so much. Basically, I modified the mouthfeel of ground turkey with cracked wheat. And when I made them again more recently, I accidentally added more liquid than usual and had to add a ton of cracked wheat to get them to stick together. I was worried at the time but they turned out pretty awesome. You can't detect the presence of the cracked wheat yet they don't taste like ground turkey either. I made this modification because ground turkey is just too soft a protein and feels too, too . . . just can't describe it. Too tender and soft I guess. From the title of this post, I guess you know where this is going.

Here's my next recipe creation:
tofu, 1/2 lb, firm, crumbled
egg, 1
parsley, bunch, chopped
onion, 1/2 finely diced
milk, couple tablespoons
salt & pepper
enough cracked wheat to keep 'em together in golf ball-sized lumps

How will I cook them? Those who cook meatballs are in two camps: sear the exterior followed by braising and the lazy braisers. I'm a braiser. Just plop them in a basic tomato sauce and simmer for a couple hours. That's how I'll do these.

Why bother with this if I'm NOT a vegetarian? Curiosity mostly and I have this love/hate relationship with vegetarian cuisine. I find it challenging to get good flavors without the aid of meat. I'll let you know how they turn out.


Just Chips

Last night, I couldn't resist.

One strategy we've tried to calm the Frankster into sitting quietly at dinner (b'fast and lunch are no problem, dinner is nuts) is to give her a small quatity of something she really likes, an appetizer of sorts, to get her in the mood to eat (blackberries, Goldfish Crackers,, etc.). Last night, just before dinner, I attacked a russet with our mandoline slicer, plugged in the fry baby and tossed 'em in. They were tasty. Didn't quite work though. All she wanted was the chips. She ended the meal standing on her Learning Tower, eating a bowl of Chex. Hmmm, why does this seem familiar.

Anyway, it's amazing how wonderful a chip can taste when it's made with good oil, fried at the perfect temperature and actually tastes like a potato.


Deep Dish Help

The other night on FoodTV, I saw this episode of Unwrapped on Deep Dish Pizza. I was so salivating. I saw one prep by a pizza guy (business) in Chicago who built this pizza in the following order:

-dough in a cake-like pan slightly up the sides
-slices of mozzarella
-sausage raw!
-tomato sauce
-Reggiano with some oregano
-baked for 20 minutes (didn't say the temp - I'm guessing around 400F)

Two things have me baffled. The type of pan. It looked silver on the portion the pizza touched and blackened from use everywhere else => where do I get one of these? And, raw sausage?

Anyone have any good - tested - preps for Chicago-style deep dish pizza?

I got an itch and I'll be taking the plunge this weekend. Leave any assistance in the comments. Thanks. I'll save you a piece.