Sunday, May 28, 2006

Weekend Indecision: Pecans, Pizza and Brillat Savarin

Some days we just can't decide what to have for dinner.

So, here's the scene. I'm in Golden Produce, wandering up and down the vegetable aisle. Eric's at Whole Foods...

How about homemade pizzas?
Homemade pizza is good.
Candied pecans...and...and...and... cheese...and olives and... and... BACON

So it is, that we find ourselves with four little dough balls rising on the stove, and neatly prepped possible toppings that include tomatoes, roasted garlic, sausage, bacon, olives, mozzarella, sauteed mushrooms and candied pecans.

Okay, so the candied pecans are just for munching. (Dang, they're good for munching.) Even if they were meant to go on the pizza, we'd be finished with them before the second rise of the dough. They are also ridiculously easy to make, and I'm sure would be yummy on salad, if there were any left.

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup pecan halves

Combine sugar and orange juice in a medium bowl; stir well. Add the pecans and toss gently to coat. Spread pecans in a buttered 15 x 10 x 1" jellyroll pan. Bake at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove pecans from pan and place on a piece of buttered aluminum foil. Let cool completely; break pecans apart, if necessary.

Of course you can't have munchies without having cheese. That's a rule. We try to resist the urge to smear the creamy unctuous Brillat-Savarin all over our bodies. This stuff is like eating butter, with a nice salty cheesy tang...

We cook up our toppings in between bites of cheese and pecans.

The dough for the pizza is Wolfgang Puck's recipe for those famous little California pizzas of his. I first had these wood-fired babies at Postrio. Really, really tasty. No, really. Even better than you imagine an arugula-prosciutto pizza would be. Really.


1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup of warm water
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cups AP flour
1 tsp. salt

a handful of cornmeal or coarse polenta
More olive oil for brushing
Toppings of choice

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the honey and let stand for 2-3 minutes. The liquid will begin to bubble and develop a foam on top. Add in the olive oil and stir well.

Add in the flour and salt and mix well. Knead it together until the dough starts to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured suface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. When pressed it should spring back slowly and it should NOT feel sticky.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and then cover with a damp towel and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled (30 minutes.)

Divide the dough into 4 pieces, and shape into balls, tucking the edges underneath so that the top of each ball is smooth. Cover with the damp towel again and let rise another 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500F.

Press the dough out onto a floured surface, forming a 8 inch circle or oval with a little bit of a rim.

Sprinkle rough cornmeal onto a baking sheet and then lay down the pizza dough. Brush with olive oil. Spread some cheese on the dough and then top as desired.

Bake the pizzas at 500 F for 10-12 minutes.

Eat them up. YUM.

Post prandial bliss on the couch of lounge.

No comments: