Monday, April 17, 2006

A Book Bonanza
Orange County Library came through with a bevy of books from my request list. I quickly made my way through Jonathan Kellerman's new Alex Delaware saga, Gone. An entertaining fun, fast read. Another thoroughly enjoyable quick read is Tess Gerristen's The Apprentice, the follow up novel to her bold mystery novel, The Surgeon. This physician turned author delivers great plot and interesting characters combined with a solid foundation of medical facts producing an intriguing psychological mystery. I'm planning to zip through her entire oeuvre.
Abide With Me, Elizabeth Strout's new offering, was savored a little more slowly, but is definitely a page turner as was her previous best seller, Amy & Isabelle. I also devoured May Sarto's tiny book with a big message, As We Are Now, the story of an old woman trying to stay alive in a nursing home. This story was written in the early 70's, yet the intelligence, wit, dignity and fire revealed in the sparse pages, are not unique to that era but apply to all of us as we approach our final years.
And then, lest my mind grow rusty with fluff and floss, I'm wending my way, chapter by chapter through Kevin Phillips new offering on "the peril and politics of radical religion, oil and borrowed money in the 21st century," American Theocracy. This well documented, heavily referenced work delivers in-depth examples of the precarious position in which we now find ourselves - dependent on oil, with unprecedented levels of public and private debt while being swept along in a surge of politics based on fundamentalism that is shaping policies both here and abroad. This is not a quick read but it certainly is a must read.
And as man cannot live by books about a little pizza?
I've been enjoying homemade pizza many Friday evenings and several friends have asked for the ingredients. I usually make a batch of dough big enough to provide 4 crusts for 8" - 9" pies. Remember, I'm cooking for one. If you choose to make this, dividing the dough in half rather than fourths will produce a couple of 12" pies.
Pizza Crust
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water (105 - 115)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups all purpose unbleached flour (use additional 1/2 cup if needed)
5 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
Place all ingredients in bowl and combine.
If using electric mixer, use dough hook and allow to knead for approximately 5 min. If kneading by hand, place dough on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth - approx 5 to 8 minutes.
This dough must rise once (in a well oiled bowl covered with oiled plastic wrap). When doubled in size, punch down and form into a ball, divide into 2 or 4 portions. Roll out on lightly floured surface to desired thickness (I like it pretty thin). Drizzle dough with olive oil, cover with tomato and grated cheese. Bake in very hot oven, preferably on a pizza stone, but if no stone, bake on a heated cookie sheet. (use cornmeal on stone or cookie sheet to prevent sticking)
I heat the oven at 500 for one hour, then turn the temperature down to 450 to bake pie.
I place remaining balls of dough in individual plastic sandwich bags and freeze for later use.
Tomato Topping
1 19oz can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 TBS olive oil
1 shallot minced (or onion)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp oregano(dried) use 3 tsp if fresh
1 tsp basil (dried) use 3 tsp if fresh
Salt & pepper to taste
Saute the shallot and garlic in the olive oil. When wilted, add tomato and herbs and cook over medium heat until reduced to a thick consistency. 15 - 20 minutes. Spread sparingly over pizza crust, cover with grated mozzarella cheese, then drizzle with olive oil before placing in 450 oven for 12 - 15 minutes.
I freeze leftover tomato sauce for next batch.
If fresh basil is on hand, sprinkle hot pie with a chiffonade of basil before serving.
If you make it let me know...happy reading and good eats!

1 comment:

Greg said...

What?!?! No Ragu Pizza Quick Sauce?!?!

Just kidding - sounds yummy!