Friday, January 16, 2015

Fabulous Friends and Finds Friday: Pizza and Wine

Welcome to the first edition of Fabulous Friends and Finds Friday!

There is nothing better then spending an evening with friends and family, especially if that evening includes never-ending handmade pizza and wine. Sure, you could order a pie or two from your favorite delivery place, but what do you do when you run out of pizza before the evening is over? And what if you wanted to have a truly unique pizza, say broccoli and kalamata olives, or shrimp with asparagus and feta?

Pizza Dough, a quick lesson
Making your own pizza at home starts with the basics. I like a slow-rising recipe for the best flavor.

Here is a super-simple recipe that I like:
- 5 cups bread flour
-1 Tbsp brown sugar
-1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 3/4 cup warm water
Combine water, yeast, sugar and salt to let yeast bloom (It will bubble and get frothy- that's how you know it is alive). Using the dough hook on a stand mixer, pour the yeast mixture into the flour to combine, then turn speed to medium for 3-5 more minutes for the mixer to knead the dough. Transfer to an oiled bowl to let rise until double in volume or store in oiled zip-lock bag in the refrigerator to store until use, if preparing the night before or morning of.
If you have prepared the dough in advance, you can let your dough rise in the fridge. One to two hours before you plan on serving, let the dough come to room temperature. Divide the dough into 4 balls on a floured board, and roll them taut. Cover with a floured tea towel for their second rise, then roll or stretch to shape the crust.

Of course, there is a thousand pizza dough recipes out there! Find the one that you like and perfect it!

Gluten Free - Fearless Dining has a great gluten-free, egg-free pizza crust recipe on her site!

Pizza Stone
To make a great pizza, your oven needs to be hot. For that crispy, puffy pizzeria pizza crust, set your oven to 450-500° degrees and place a pizza stone as close to the heating element as possible. Pizza stones can be found at most home and kitchen stores for a very reasonable price. I've even heard you can grab some flat terracotta bricks from the hardware store! Pizza stones do take a long time to heat evenly, so make sure to turn your oven on at least an hour before you expect to put the pizza in.

Pizza Peel
These genius tools make getting your pizzas in and out of the oven a snap! The trick is to generously sprinkle cornmeal on your pizza before you lay your dough down, and work quickly. I also like to sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on the pizza stone to prevent sticking, especially when your stone is new. The cornmeal acts as ball bearings and helps everything slide.

Pizza Cutter
Ok, you have your pizza made and baked and out of the oven, now you need to cut it. Knives tend to make the bubbling hot toppings slide around, which is not what you want. Make sure you have a pizza cutter to keep your edges clean and your cheese where it belongs (on the pizza, not on the knife!)

I love my OXO Good Grips pizza cutter! No, they aren't paying me to say that, I just love the feel of the grip, and how it cuts through the crust in one swipe. They even make one for cutting on non-stick surfaces

You can't have a great pizza night at my place without some great wines. Recently, I discovered This online wine retailer works directly with winemakers, to save you money and to keep the wine industry successful and approachable. The wines found on NakedWines are virtually all funded by investors, called Angels, and are made exclusively for the site. You do have to purchase wine in either a case of 6 or 12, but all the wines I have purchased through them have been excellent to date!

Randall Grahm Zinfandel 2013 - Excellent pizza wine!
Want to try out NakedWines for yourself? How about getting a voucher for $100 OFF any case ($160 or more)? Use this referral link here (affiliate link) and I get a little something extra!

Tell me, what are some of the memorable pizza topping combinations that you love?

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