Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pizza Party Pizza... Kids Favorite... JUST CHEESE, Please

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It was an interesting weekend in the Cul de Sac...

Our south Dakota cousins came to visit... Actually the adult cousins came to see a concert in the big city (Don't laugh, everything's up to date in Kansas City).  It was one of those all day festivals with several bands and late nights planned.  So "Fun" Aunt Jackie and "Mostly Pleasant" Uncle Dave agreed to watch the 7 (yes, SEVEN) kids ranging in age from 6 to 12 while the adults played.

Mostly "Mostly Pleasant" Uncle Dave spent the day in the kitchen.  Did you know kids expect to be fed every day???  Even worse, they want to be fed more than once every day! Who knew???

But it gave me a chance to try a few kid friendly items, like this Watermelon Pig (come back tomorrow to read about that) and a Fruit Flag on a Stick that I will blog about later in the week.

Meanwhile, "Fun" Aunt Jackie had a month's worth of activities planned for the weekend...

Not the least ambitious was to "Camp" in our backyard under the stars.  the boys of course being boys preferred to sleep on sofa cushions in front of the TV while the girls told stories, did each other's hair and partied like it was 1899 on the prairie.

All in all, I believe a good time was had by all...

Including PIZZA NIGHT!!!  Pizza night was the meal we served while the adult cousins were partying like Country Rock Stars.  I didn't want any fights over who likes what, so I decided to make 9 individual personal size pizzas.  The idea and meal was a big hit.

I had more than enough different ingredients, including Sausage, pepperoni, Hamburger... Lots of Veggies, from peppers and onions to Fennel... Spices and herbs, even some exotic ingredients like Canadian Bacon and Pineapple... I thought I was ready...

So, everyone got polled on their favorite...

Sure enough, thanks to all my advance planning and a well stocked fridge and pantry... I made 5 cheese pizzas for dinner... Sigh

But that still doesn't mean you can't make the best Pizzeria style pizza at home...

Pizzeria Pizza at Home...

A goal of mine (and an earlier blog post, double click the blue letters).  In that post I go into details about the best way to achieve the goal of a making a seemingly simple flat bread, topped with a sauce and cheese.  I have a never fail yeast pizza dough recipe, a deliciously fresh rich pizza sauce (from scratch) and a bit of history.

Once you learn the tricks of the trade, Pizzeria Pizza at home is simple and addictive.  My dough recipe makes 4 dough balls, so each time I make pizza I have 4 canvasses to create.  Generally I make a pizza Margherita (pictured to the right, sauce, cheese and basil).  The Margherita is recognized by many as the first and original version of the modern pizza.

My wife prefers the classic Pepperoni.

That leaves me two canvasses to create.  SO many options... different sauces, different toppings, different shapes, different... well, different whatever I want to try.

But Like I said...

Most of he kids wanted Cheese...
So, Homemade Sauce, Home made crust and fresh grated Mozzarella cheese.  Combined with a couple drizzles of Olive Oil, seasonings (Salt and Pepper and a few bits of dried Oregano and Thyme) and I made em a pretty good Cheese Pizza (everyone agreed except the one Niece who spent 15 minutes trying to pick off the "green stuff" before I noticed and remade one for her without the dried herbs).  After that, everyone was indeed THRILLED with Pizza night!

As to the recipe...

Only a couple of tips... be stingy on the sauce and cheese.  The best pizzas are simple, but the simple pizzas, ones with few (or no) ingredients needs to have a subtle mix... Only a couple TBS of sauce, NOT more than 1/4 cup.  And a thin layer of cheese. Any more of wither and you will have an unbalanced pizza.  Keep it Simple!

So, as to the recipes...Well, that is not really the point of the series.  It's just a chance to show variety, to make you ponder what you can do and if you have never, try it yourself.  there are plenty of recipes, tricks and techniques to get you started over at the Pizzeria Pizza at Home 101 Post.  Scratch sauce, Scratch Dough, history and LOTS of photo instructions to get started.

But as with most recipes, the basics can be learned in minutes; mastering the art will take a lifetime (or at least 52 tries).  You can achieve success with my Pizzeria 101 Link, a cookie sheet, standard oven and items in most every kitchen.  But... eventually you will want to try the toys of the trade  So if you want to dig deeper, I recommend these books and items...

Enjoy your Pizza making... Let me know what pizzas you are making and be sure to come take a look next Sunday to see what I come up with this week!

I hope I did not make it sound complicated... it really only takes a few minutes if you are an experienced home pizza maker.  The pay off in beauty and taste is well worth the effort.  Plus, if you get in the habit of making pizza dough 4 balls at a time (as my recipe does), and you always have a jar of sauce laying around (since I make 8 jars at a time, this beauty is actually very affordable).  Your big cost is the toppings, but since mostly I use leftovers, pizza is about as affordable as it gets... As long as you are not buying a $20 pizza at the pizzeria when you CAN make em at home!

And of course... This is a MUST MAKE recipe for my new Page that eventually will be a guide to Italian Cooking (worth following). I will try to research the history, Italian name for the dish and most of all the authenticity (going to be hard not to monkey about with the recipes, but I at least promise to try).

So, Cin Cin indeed as I add Breakfast Pizza Uova e Pancetta Pizza) to my "52 Authentic Italian Recipes".

And if you like this dish and want to see more, be sure to take a minute and "Follow" me on Pinterest for all of the updates to come!!!

This is Pizza #10 in my list of 52 Pizza Party Pizzas...

Week #1 ...

A simple Salami Pizza (break free of the addiction to Pepperoni).  A classic example of the Italian belief that less is more... Allow a quality ingredient like the artisanal Dry cured sausage, the sauce and the cheese balance beautifully!
This Sausage pizza is Pizza #2 in my list of 52 Pizza Party Pizzas...

I made a fantastic HOT Sausage Pizza... Made with mini balls of sausage (there is a small trick) that also looks as dramatic as it is tasty!

Week #3

I was on the grill making a dessert or Appetizer FANTASTIC Honey - Goat Cheese - Arugula Pizza... Delicious and PERFECT if you want to WOW your friends with something unique on the GRILL!

Week #4

A Pizza from my youth, the (then) exotic sounding Canadian Bacon and Onion GRILLED pizza!  Loaded with color and the unique taste of the sweet juicy back bacon that became a legend back in Pekin, Illinois in the 70's.

Week #5

A fond memory of our time living in the islands... US Virgin Island, St Thomas had a fantastic little beach bar where you could get a Steak and Gorgonzola Pizza (and a bottle of wine) for just $25... one of the few bargains on the island and a darn fine PIZZA!

Week #6

We stayed out on the grill for a fun APPETIZER PIZZA of Goat Cheese, Honey and Walnuts!  Worked perfect to serve as guests arrive, the sweet honey, zippy goat cheese and the savory walnuts paired perfect for a fine welcome treat!

Week #7

HOW COOL IS THIS BREAKFAST PIZZA???  Ham and Eggs... Cheese and tomato sauce!  It is actually a classic Italian recipe for
Bacon and Egg Pizza (Uova e pancetta Pizza)And it is WONDERFUL!

Week #8

Was something really special for me, a chance to cook with another respected Food Blogger, Penny from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen, AND to use her open fireplace cooking grate to cook over a live fire and make a pizza topped with Ina Garten's Guacamole Salad!  Fruit, Vegges, Black Beans... Makes a FANTASTIC Pizza!

Week #9

My beloved Rotisserie Chicken gets dressed up with Taco seasonings to help create a Taco Chicken and Pickled Red Onion Pizza!  A wonderfully colorful and spicy pizza.  Something you would expect at a California fancy pizzeria... or now at home!

OK, be sure to come back next Sunday... I already have plans for next weeks' Za!

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