Monday, December 13, 2010

What's your guilty pleasure?

I'm not a favorite food person; I'm a food that fits the mood person.  And, since my moods swing high and free, on any given night, there is no telling what dinner might be.  Our house concentrates more on healthy balance than healthy eating; in short I make no excuses for our culinary guilty pleasures. Cheeseburgers with truffle oil, Heineken battered catfish or my ultimate weakness, pizza.  In Houston, Pinks Pizza is hands-down the best pizzeria.  Though I was once a weekly customer, I recently moved these creations in house and added a brick oven to my backyard wish list.  Thursday nights are devoted to our Italian creation that begins  with Dellallo's spicy garlic and pepper sauce, and adds pancetta, diced yellow tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and a generous handful of arugula.

This weekend I had an extra pizza dough ball, leftover bacon, and a hodge podge of vegetables from the farmers market. I give you autumn on a crust:

Fall Pizza:
Recipe Created by: Lori Pierce

1 pound prepared pizza dough (recipe below)
4 slices thick cut bacon, diced
1 leek thinly sliced
1 butternut squash, peeled, cubed and roasted until tender*
4 ounces smoked mozzarella, sliced
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
olive oil
sea salt
  1. Preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crispy.  Transfer to paper towels and let drain.
  3. Toss the butternut squash cubes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven until tender; about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside. 
  4. Heat a scant TB of olive oil in a medium skillet.  Sauté leeks until softened.  Add the butternut squash and stir to combine.  
  5. Spread the leek mixture atop the prepared pizza dough.  Top with mozzarellas and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. 
  6. Bake until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown, 10-12 minutes.  

Hosting a girl's night in, or perhaps a casual New Year's Eve? What better way to savor a night of gossip than with homemade junk food? 

Every pizza deserves a good crust.  I have tried at least five different recipes, and always return to this one courtesy of Food Network Magazine's May 2009 issue. I make a few batches at a time, slice the dough balls in half as directed and keep in the freezer for last minute indulgences.

Pizza Dough:
Recipe Created by: Food Network Magazine
3 3/4 cup AP flour
1 TB sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup warm water
1 package yeast
3 TB olive oil
  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a mixer fit with a dough hook.  Make a well and pour in yeast.  Add the water and let yeast bloom for 2-3 minutes.  
  2. Begin kneading dough with the dough hook adding olive oil as you mix.  
  3. Once the dough has come together, brush with olive oil and place in a large bowl.  Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled in size; approximately an hour and half.  (I use rapid rise yeast which reduces this time to about an hour)  
  4. Punch down dough and cut in half.  Form into two dough balls; each recipe utilizes one dough ball.   If you are going to use the dough right away, prepare as follows.  Otherwise, cover dough balls in plastic and place in the refrigerator or freezer. 
  5. Turn out dough on a well floured surface.  Roll into a circle and place on pan with 1-inch hanging over the side.  Roll the excess into a crust and brush entire dough with olive oil.  Prick all over with a fork and place in the oven until it just begins to brown; 5-7 minutes.  
  6. Remove from the oven, and top with favorite toppings.  Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes until well-browned and cheeses are melted.  Enjoy! 
So, I ask again.... what's your guilty pleasure??

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