Sunday, January 31, 2010

Farmhouse Brickoven Pizza

Our pizza dough comes from our Italian Farmhouse Cookbook, and I am very proud that we make our own dough for the brickoven pizzettes. They contain all the ingredients of Italy grown right here on our farm, including the wheat in the very near future! The mozzarella is the fresh one - not Bufala - cow from the Northeast markets. Less is more for toppings when you are making a brickoven pizza because all of the flavor of heirloom tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and the crust - are so pleasing that you will ruin it if it is smothered with anything else! Or you can make variations as pictured her - but minimal ingredients - like greens, and a different kind of cheese instead of red sauce - or meats salumi or pepperoni - but not too much. Don't try for one of those "everything on it" American pies!

Making the dough is done the day before we are to use it - proofing the dough to rise to twice it's original volume. For each dough ball - spring water is warmed - that is a key here - warm - not hot- 1 1/4 cup with 1 pkg. of yeast whisked with 1 tablespoon of unbleached sugar or honey. This activates the yeast. Use this once the mixture foams and looks active! Until we get a mixer I use the food processor.
Put in one cup of flour, than the yeast mixture and begin the blending process. As it is blending add another cup of flour (that is 2 so far) than add 1 tbsp. olive oil - than 1 tablsp. sea salt. Than add another cup of flour (that is 3 total) Than with the 4th cup add alittle at a time until a ball is formed. Stop the blender and turn out onto a floured surface. Form a ball that feels as soft as a baby's bottom. Too much flour and it is hardened. Too little and it is sticky. Very little flour is needed at this point.

Set in warm oven to rise or room temperature. Once it has doubled - punch down and form two balls with each dough recipe. Set aside to rise again.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quick Healthy Soups

Lately I have been making soups that begin with olive oil, saute red bell peppers, add kale, reconstituted shitake mushrooms and season with tumeric and other curry spices. Pour in spring water and simmer. Any variation of this will do as long as the components of hot and sweet peppers, dark leafy greens, and mushrooms are there along with the spices mentioned.

Health benefits of homemade soup may include stress reduction, ease of digestion, weight loss, detoxification, anti inflammatory properties, cold symptom relief, increased circulation, absorption of minererals, warming energy, and boosting vitamin C. Vegetables rich in vitamin C are in the soup - all darl leafy greens such as kale, and peppers!