Saturday, May 29, 2010

Scotty Karate's Pizza Dough...the uprising

Now I mixed in an additional 1.75 cups of flour, an additional teaspoon of yeast, teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of honey.

I ended up adding more flour in order to reach the desired consistency of dough that was not clearing the bottom of the mixing bowl but clearing the sides.  This was probably another cup of flour, which in a high humidity place like my kitchen, was not unreasonable.  But it was definitely sticky.

Turn into an oiled bowl, let rise for 1.5 hrs...I followed that instruction, then when I removed the plastic wrap, it was so bubbly and sticky that it seemed to have risen too long.  Extra flour was needed in order for it to be manageable enough for the final fold into 2 pizza dough piles that would rise another 1.5 hrs and then be shaped, topped, and popped into the oven.

So we lead into the next chapter...

Abundant Fail:
This is a photo of the terrible mess that came out of the oven for the first round of dough.  I let the last rise go too long, probably 2 hrs instead of 1.5.  This is blamed on Taste Tester, and his distraction of me with cool bottled beverages. But I think Scott would say the humidity didn't help.  I shaped the dough and it kept tearing, I then tried more flour and a roller, then toppings...into a 500 degree oven, cornmeal on the bottom to get it onto the preheated pizza stone, and...mostly awful.  The dough definitely has great oven spring, and the toppings surprisingly tasted good together (gorgonzola, rosemary, and pepperoni over a light red sauce).

The 2nd pizza there is no photo for, as it was utterly atrocious and had to be thrown out due to its dough being, well...still dough.

We're still cleaning up the mess I made in the kitchen, but I'm determined to keep trying.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Scotty Karate's Famous Amazing Pizza Dough Recipe

Our friends Scott and Shelby made us some out-of-this-world good pizza earlier in the fall, and Scott shared his recipe.  I was previously making pizza dough from one mix with 2 rises, but his starts with a poolish--a mix of flour, water, and yeast allowed to pre-ferment for hours.  The benefit of a pre-ferment like this poolish is to improve the extensibility of the dough, or its ability to be stretched.  The Italian version of poolish is called biga.

The poolish is:
1.5 cups bread floud
1 1/3 cups water
1 tsp active dry yeast
This is stirred up and left covered with plastic wrap for 4-5 hours, and it will be the base of the dough. 

Now we back in the afternoon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rosemary Gorgonzola Pasta (Ruby June's Favorite)

This dish, and this flavor combination, have to be one of my top all time favorites.  There's this aromatic earthiness to a quality gorgonzola cheese that just pairs perfectly with rosemary's intense, nearly piney flavor, and garlic and red onions round out the ideal palette--on a pizza, on a pasta, on top of a chicken breast...I'd put this into a smoothie if I thought I could survive the morning after drinking it.

When I worked in the restaurant where I learned this heavenly duo, we got weekly deliveries of huge wheels of gorgonzola, and all the guys in the kitchen knew to leave it to my shift to do the work of breaking the gorg into manageable chunks for our mise en place.  After that was done, I would --away from the view of any patrons--lick my paws clean with very little shame.

The rosemary in my garden was your basic culinary herb from the nursery, but I'm addicted to its unique scent, it reminds me of chocolate when I smell it.  I ate a bite tonight with a piece of dark chocolate, and that's going to be a whole 'nother post for dessert ideas...I'm imagining a rosemary creme brulee.

Anyway, this dish is pretty simple once you've prepped your chopped rosemary, crushed garlic, and sliced red onions:

1 tbsp chopped rosemary (peel the leaves from the woody stem first)
1/2 large red onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic
4 cups fusilli pasta cooked al dente (8 minutes boiled, then drained and cooled under cold or icy water so it stops cooking) .  The fusilli is important because it captures more of the bold, creamy sauce.  My dish looks too colorful, I would have preferred non-colored fusilli if it was all about looks.  Unfortunately it's all about what the store I was at had on sale.
2 small precooked chicken breasts, sliced thinly
1.5 cups half and half
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese
First, saute the garlic and onions at low heat (with butter or oil), then stop them from burning by adding the half and half.  Add rosemary, cheese, and chicken, and heat until cheese incorporates into sauce.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Add in the pasta, then heat at a low simmer for 1 more minute.  Serve and sprinkle a teeny bit of rosemary on top.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Camping and Kayaking

We camped, kayaked, and ate like kings on the Guadalupe River with these views. Gracie joined us. What a beautiful weekend.  The Hobitent survived a storm that dumped 3 inches on us, and we stayed dry, then had a great Saturday of perfect weather.
On the last kayak voyage, we let the current take us slowly downriver, but upon turning back to paddle up, the current was immediately faster and the river level had risen about 3 feet.  That was quite a workout to get back to camp.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Funny Gardening Advice From the Interwebs

I think I've got snails in the garden, but I know the birds are visiting.  Because I only caught a cardinal in there, I decided as a goodwill gesture that I would not scare him off. But there are about 8 baby tomatoes that I can only imagine look mighty tasty to him, so I started researching these 2 problems.

Here's the interesting advice on the intertubes:
1) Get something shiny

2) Get something that looks like it could hurt a bird

3) Snails are electrocuted by copper

And bizarrely enough, I had all those things in one masterful solution hanging in the TajMaShed.

Refrigerator coil art, by Mom. 1)Shiny 2)Looks Like A Snake 3)Copper. 

Hair soaks up oil spills