Pizza!

My friend, Tiffany, shared this.

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 teaspoon white sugar (or Splenda®)
• 1-and-a-half cups warm water (about 110° F)
• 1 tablespoon/packet active dry yeast
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups whole wheat flour
• 1-and-a-half cups all-purpose flour
• one-half cup of cornmeal (My personal tweak — makes the crust better!)

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.

Stir olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the flour and cornmeal until dough starts to come together. Tip dough onto floured surface and knead until all the flour has been absorbed and the ball of dough becomes smooth. Place dough in an oiled bowl (I coat the sides of the mixing bowl I used, rather than dirty another bowl), cover with a kitchen towel, and let stand in a warm place until the dough doubles in size (about one hour).

Tip dough back out onto floured surface and divide into 2 halves for thin crust pizza, or leave whole for a deep-dish style pizza. Form into tight ball(s) and let rise for 45 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both fists and gently pull edges outward while slowly rotating the dough. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well-oiled pizza pan or screen. Spoon your favorite sauce (I make my own from canned tomato sauce, minced garlic, chopped onions, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper) onto the crust, then add toppings (meats, veggies, cheeses). I use cheese with 2% milk fat, for less saturated fat; it’s healthier, and better for one’s cholesterol numbers.

Bake for 15 – 25 minutes (depending on thickness, how fast your oven cooks, and how crispy you want your crust). Ideally, the crust should be crisp and golden at the edges, and cheeses should be nicely melted on top.

Enjoy!

Biscuits

This is about Southern breakfast biscuits, not the cookies that the United Kingdom thinks of when they hear the word.  I have been given instructions by one of my great-aunts and my grandmother.  One didn’t measure anything and the other used Bisquick.  My brother-in-law, Gary, makes excellent biscuits and he shared his recipe with me.

He uses self-rising flour and heavy cream.  Mix the 2 together to get the amount you want and bake ’em.   If you don’t have self rising flour you can make your own by combining 1 cup of flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt.  I think I would add ¼ teaspoon of xanthum gum to that if I was using GF flour.

The most important part, according to all 3, is not to handle the dough too much.  Mix the batter in a bowl until it is a sticky blob. How to know if you have too much of one or the other?  If it is too wet, it will try to spread out; if it is too dry, it won’t move at all.  Let it slump but hold together.  The advantage of Gary’s recipe is that you can add a little liquid or a little more flour without having to worry about the fat proportion getting off.

Dump the dough out onto the counter that has more flour sprinkled on it.  Sprinkle a little flour on top so that your hands or a rolling pin don’t stick to the dough and roll it out or pat it down to about half an inch tall.  You can cut the dough into squares or use cookie cutters and make shapes.  If you use a cookie cutter, or a juice glass like my grandmother did (she liked little biscuits.), be sure to cut straight down.  If you cut at an angle you will get a biscuit that looks like the Tower of Pisa.  This is the Voice of Experience.  Or you can just pinch off balls of dough and drop those onto your cookie sheet.   Those are called drop biscuits and are kind of lumpy looking, but still tasty.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F/175°C until golden brown,  usually 10-15 minutes, depending on how big you have made your biscuits..

Curry Leaf

Non-Indian cooks trying Indian recipes for the first time will see “curry leaves” in lists of ingredients.

This is what they look like.

Curry leaves

The stem isn’t edible, but the leaves are.  I love the flavor.  It is very much its own thing, not like anything else.

Curry leaves are available in the refrigerated sections of Indian groceries and are best kept in the refrigerator, but can be stored in the freezer if you aren’t going to use them up fairly quickly.

If they have had time to turn brown, just trash them.  In my experience, there is not enough flavor to do any good if they have dried out.