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Archive for May, 2009

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My sister-in-law, Carolyn, makes the best pizza dough.  Crispy and yet soft.  Here is her recipe with some updates:

4 1/2 C Bread Flour

1 t. salt

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/4 t. oregano

1 T. sugar

1 T. olive oil

3 T. Yeast (two packets)

2 C. warm water

1 jar Pizza Quick Traditional Sauce (not Homestyle)

mozzarella and toppings as desiresd

Bake at 450 for 15-18 minutes

DOUGH-I make this in a food processor which dictates that you add dry ingredients first then wet.  Mixing dough by hand you do the opposite:

In a large bowl (NOT PLASTIC) add 2 cups warm water (water has to be warm for dough to rise, too hot will kill it.  I use tap water and then microwave for 1 min. so that it is warm to the touch.)  When the water is warm measure 3 T. dry yeast-OR 2 packages of dry active yeast. Add 1 T. sugar and 1 T. Olive oil to the water/yeast mixture.  Stir to mix, allow the mixture to become frothy which assures that the yeast is OK.

To the yeast mixture add @ a cup at a time: 4 1/2 C. Bread flour mixed with 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp. oregano. Mix the flour with a spoon until the dough becomes too stiff to stir, then begin to mix the rest of the flour in by hand kneading the dough as you add more flour.  Knead for 5 minutes to for the flour to release the gluten.  Spread 1/2 tsp. olive oil in a large heatproof bowl and place the dough into the bowl, turning once to coat the dough with oil.  Cover with a clean damp cloth (towel) and let rise in a warm area while you make pizza toppings.  If it is very cold in your house, then you may want to turn the oven on to 200 degrees and then turn it off when has reached temperature and place bowl with the cloth covering in oven to be warm enough to rise.

OR YOU CAN USE A BOUGHT CRUST OR A REFRIGERATOR ROLL OUT CRUST FROM THE GROCERY STORE.

Toppings: For sauce I cheat and use: Ragu Pizza Quick Traditional Sauce in a jar.  Thinly sliced onions and green peppers, sliced black olives, pepperoni (regular or turkey for less fat), sliced mushrooms (I use baby bellas), sliced Roma tomatoes, canned pineapple tidbits well drained, grated mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese.  Be creative and add/delete toppings as you prefer.

Remove dough in bowl from oven if you have chosen that method, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Punch down dough and divide in half for large pizzas, or in quarters for individual pizzas.  Grease baking sheet or pie plate with a small amount  of olive oil.  Pat gently or roll with a rolling pin to make the dough fit the pan.  The dough will be elastic and stretch and shrink as you work with it, so it will take a few minutes to work it into shape. I spread the dough with sauce and then allow each person to add their own toppings ending with cheese.  Place the pizza in the oven (once it has reached 450) on the bottom rack, and bake for 15 minutes.  Transfer to the top rack for another 10 minutes or until done.  To make the crust crispier, remove from oven and let cool for 5  minutes, then transfer the pizza directly onto the oven rack for another 5 minutes.

Makes 2 large or 4 small pizzas

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Mint Lemonade

lemonade

Summer in the South offers all kinds of inspiration for cool refreshing drinks.  This is one we all love.

Juice of 3 lemons squeezed with pits removed

1/2 C. Honey

8-10 fresh mint leaves, crushed ( crush them with my fingers)

8 cups of water with ice

Pour juice of lemons into a 1/2 gallon (64 oz) pitcher

Place honey in a large measuring cup or microwavable bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Add 2 cups water and the crushed mint leaves.  Microwave for 2 minutes and stir to dissolve the honey.  Stir. Microwave another minute to allow the mint flavoring to infuse.  Pour honey/mint mixture into the lemon juice pitcher.  Stir.  Add water with ice to fill the pitcher, stir and refrigerate.  Can remove mint leaves before serving.

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pasta

I love pasta, but sometimes get tired of the traditional red spaghetti sauce.  This is a lighter dish, more geared for warmer weather. It looks fancy and yet is relatively easy to make.  You need:
1/4 c. butter/margarine

1 lg. clove garlic, minced

1 small onion finely chopped
2 tbsp. flour

2 (6 1/2 oz.) cans chopped clams

1/4 c. cream sherry

milk/soymilk

1/4 c. fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. dried basil OR 6 fresh basil leaves finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. fresh pasta, cooked and drained (I used small bow ties)

Melt butter in small saucepan. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Saute onion till soft and transparent.  Remove onions leaving remaining butter/margarine.  Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes on low heat, this is called making a roux.  Drain clams, reserving juice. Combine reserved clam juice and sherry. Add enough milk/soymilk to make 2 cups liquid. Add to flour mixture gradually, and cook until sauce thickens slightly. Add parsley, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer on low heat about 10 minutes. Add clams and heat through. Serve over hot, well drained pasta. Serves 4.

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