Category Archives: pizza

Cast iron pizza

I received a long-wished-for bread machine for Christmas this year. I crossed my fingers that I would not be one of the many people who has a bread machine and lets it collect dust for years before deciding to craigslist it. Let’s just call that my new years resolution to not be a lets-her-bread-machine-collect-dust-until-it-goes-in-the-craigslist-pile person. So far, new years resolution is going strong! Not the best for my carb intake, but at least it’s good bread.

I’ll post about making bread another time, but for now, let’s talk pizza. I’ve been a wee bit busy with the wee one, so sometimes it’s hard to put together a well thought out dinner. On the nights that I just don’t know what else to do, we usually make pizza. We always keep mozzarella, tomato sauce and pepperoni in the house. Sometimes we also have bell peppers or mushrooms to add, but if not, we at least can have pepperoni.

Around Christmas time, some friends came to visit us Quentin from Seattle. We agreed to keep it simple and make pizza, and they were sweet enough to pick up the fixings for it. When they arrived, I needed to nurse Quentin, get his purees ready for his dinner, get him bathed and ready for bed, etc. Luckily, we have been friends since college and used to routinely cook in each others kitchens. So, just like the college days, our friends (C & M) set out to learn my kitchen and get dinner going. M started prepping veggies and C asked where my cast iron pan was.

Me: Umm…cast iron pan? What are you going to use that for? I mean, you’re welcome to use it, but why?
C: We’re going to use it to make pizza. You’ve never had cast iron pizza before? It’s awesome.
Me: Strange, but go on…

Once the babe had gone to bed and C and M had already made their first few pizzas (which I tasted…awesome indeed!), I had a chance to observe the magic. C taught me his secrets and we’ve pretty much only used this method since that day. It’s so much better than using a pizza pan, and not much more work. I will now share the secret with you.

First, move your oven rack to the top 3rd part of the oven. Not right at the top, but higher than the middle. Turn your oven on broil and put the cast iron pan in. Also, turn the stove on medium.
This is basically to keep the cast iron pan hot because it’s going to be going in and out of the oven. Now cut your dough into 3 chunks (more or less, depending on your dough recipe. If using store bought dough, I’d probably cut it in half).

Start to flatten your first chunk of dough.

Roll out the dough. I like mine pretty flat.

Take the cast iron pan out of the oven and put a splash of olive oil in it. Spread it with a metal spatula. Then put the flattened dough on. Return the cast iron pan to the oven and set your timer for 2 minutes.
Remove the cast iron from the oven and flip the dough.

Add your ingredients. Whatever you want, really. Here I’m making a pepperoni pizza with some oregano sprinkled on top. You can definitely get crazier than that, though. We were feeling a “pizza and beer” night, though, and in my opinion pepperoni pizza + beer is a perfect combo.

Now the whole thing goes back in the oven. Set your timer for 5 minutes. Check your pizza to see if it’s done. It should be nicely browned. It might need another minute or 2 but it depends on your broiler.
Out comes the pizza!

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Pesto, heirloom tomato, pepperoni & zucchini pizza

I think I pretty much gave the recipe away in the title of this post. Pretty basic pizza, but don’t let that boring word “basic” fool you. Sometimes the simplest meals are the best. You really can’t go wrong when you choose ingredients at the peak of seasonality, make your dough from scratch… oh and the pepperoni was from an artisan “charcutier” at the San Pedro Square Farmer’s Market in San Jose. I have to say, it was pretty delicious. For more specific “sub-recipes”…the dough recipe can be found here, and my pesto recipe is here. And the rest is pretty independently obvious. Have fun coming up with your own pizza creations!

And since this was such a short post, you get another pizza picture! Enjoy!

Guest Post – Pepperoni & Bell Pepper Pizza


Today’s recipe is a guest post by my hubby, Trevor. He is helping me out and supplementing my meager number of posts during my busy finals. Thank you, honey!

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For this, my first food blog post, I thought I’d write about a food that’s very near to my heart: Pizza!!! Like many Americans, I was practically raised on pizza. From birthday parties to end-of-the-season little league events to last-minute dinners; I probably ate enough pizza to satisfy a small army.

I know it’s not the healthiest food choice, but it’s usually quick and easy. And, it is possible to make this dish slightly healthier by making it yourself and choosing your own ingredients. This pizza recipe promises to be easy, and both cheaper and healthier than Round Table.

One of the nice things about pizza is that you can put practically anything you want on it. I tend to like hearty pizzas with a lot of different toppings, but for this post the pizza is pretty simple (pepperoni, red bell peppers, Italian seasoning).

Ingredients:
For the dough:
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/4 cups warm water
3-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

For the toppings:
3-4 spoonfuls of pizza sauce (we like Trader Joe’s brand)
7-10 oz. mozzarella cheese
2-4 oz. parmesan cheese
1 sliced red bell pepper
10-15 pepperoni slices
Italian seasoning to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

My wife usually makes the dough, and uses a food processor to make this recipe even simpler. However, I imagine that you can just as easily make this in an electric stand mixer, using a dough hook.

In a liquid measuring cup, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Using a dough blade, mix together the flour, salt and 2 teaspoons olive oil.

With machine running on dough speed, pour the yeast mixture through the small feed tube as fast as the flour will absorb it. Process until the sides of the food processor bowl are clean and the dough forms a ball. Continue processing for 30 seconds to knead the dough. The dough should be slightly sticky. Coat it evenly with 2 teaspoons olive oil; transfer to a plastic food storage bag and seal the top. Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. While dough is rising, prepare any pizza toppings.

The dough recipe makes enough for 2 separate 14” pizzas. Cut the dough in half and place it on a lightly floured surface and punch down. Roll it into your desired crust size.

Once dough is rolled, place it on an oiled pizza pan. Spread pizza sauce (however much you want). Add mozzarella cheese, bell peppers, and pepperoni. Then top with parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning to taste.

Place your pizza in the center of the oven and bake it for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown. Take out the pizza to let cool slightly, then slice up and serve.

These are great for all occasions, including manly events such as football games and poker nights…or just family movie nights. Enjoy!