Friday, November 12, 2010

Pizza Man - Recipe #3

I am my family's cook.  Once in a while it feels like a chore, but mostly it is a pleasure.  However, that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy letting someone else do the work like a surprise pizza night several months ago.  On this night I had a little glimpse of what it must be like to come home after work  to a great home-cooked dinner, ready and waiting. I felt like Ward Cleaver (if the Cleavers were Italian).

Back in April, Deano was on vacation and the kids were on Spring Break but I was saving my vacation days for the summer.  I knew in April that I would be taking the summer completely off.  So I was marching upstairs to work everyday, toiling away behind my closed office door while the rest of the family goofed off and had a good time.

One night as I was wrapping up at work, I heard the promising sounds of dishes clanking in the kitchen and I walked downstairs to find my hubby tossing a pizza pie, schooling his children in the ways of a good Italian pizza maker.  It was so cute to see that I wouldn't have cared if the pizza had been terrible.  Luckily, it wasn't.

Hubby usually sticks to the basics when it comes to food, especially pizza.  He doesn't love condiments or uneccessarily complex cuisine.  He likes cheese pizza, plain hamburgers, pasta with just a dab of sauce, and so on.  You probably get the picture.  So I was very surprised to find that he was getting creative in the kitchen.  I was even more surprised to find that he had come up with a winning pizza topping combination.  We decided to call it "the Deano special" and you can make it too.  No dough-tossing necessary, though it does look cool if you can pull it off.

Jalapeno, Ham, and White Cheddar Pizza
One store-bought ball of fresh pizza dough
olive oil
salt and pepper
Shredded sharp white cheddar (something good, not the pre-shredded stuff)
Slices of pickled jalapeno
Diced deli ham (thin sliced so it crisps a little in the oven)

Toss or roll dough to desired thickness.  Spread a very thin layer of olive oil on the dough.  Sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Sprinkle cheddar all over.  Top with ham and as many jalapeno slices as you like.  Bake directly on a pizza stone if you have one in a 500 degree oven until cheese bubbles and begins to brown. Yum!

Drink with an icy cold beer on a Friday night and you'll never pick up the phone for [insert your favorite pizza delivery chain] again.


  1. another pizza dough recipe from Julia. use pizza stone for crispy crust.

    Classic Pizza Dough

    For two 16 inch disks

    Yeast mixture
    1 package dry-active yeast
    1/2 cup tepid water (not over 110F)
    1/4 tsp sugar

    Additions to the yeast mixture
    3/4 cup whole cold milk, plus more, if needed
    2 tablespoons olive oil

    Dry ingredients
    3 cups all-purpose flour (measure by scooping and leveling)
    1 1/2 teaspons salt

    Special equipment suggested:
    a food processor

    Mixing the dough: Whisk the yeast ingredients (yeast, water, sugar) in a measuring cup and let bubble up to 5 minutes or so to proof. Measure the dry ingredients into the bowl of the processor. Blend the 3/4 cup of whole milk into the ready yeast mixture. Turn on the machine and process in the yeast, then the oil, and droplets more of milk if needed, just until the dough masses on the blade of the processor. The dough will be very soft. Let it rest 5 minutes and it will develop enough body to be processed 2 seconds more in the machine. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.

    Knead 50 strokes by hand, give it a 2 minute rest, and knead 20 strokes more to make a soft smooth dough.

    Let the dough rise in a covered bowl in warm area until doubled in bulk. Turn it out onto work surface and knead another 50 strokes by hand. Return to the bowl and let rise again until double in size. Turn it out onto work surface again and it is ready to cut and form. Form dough gently with hands into smooth balls. Cover loosely and let rest 10 minutes before making pizza. (I never seem to have enough time to do this but it helps.) Shape with rolling pin or if you have the chops, spin it!

    Finish with desired toppings and bake in 450 degree oven (~15 min).

  2. Yummy addition, anonymous! Thank you. This will be beyond my "pizza man's" ambitions, but I am up for the challenge.