Twins in the City

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My twin sister visited, flew even, over the last week and we hung out in the middle of a heat wave. My goal was to convince her to move to Chicago, as she has been tossing the idea around for a little while, but given the heat wave, the city wasn’t looking it’s most glamorous. However, we did manage to have fun and to cook some. I miss her dearly already.

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A few days before she came though, I made a pizza from scratch. It is fun and easy.

For the dough:

1 Packet Yeast

3 T Honey

Warm Water As Needed

6 C Unbleached Flour

1/3 C Olive Oil

Salt

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F

I start the dough by getting the yeast going. I put the yeast, honey and s bit of body temperature water into the mixing bowl and give it a stir to start feeding the yeast. Then I leave it  in a warm spot (which isn’t hard in a heat wave) for like 20 minutes just to start it bubbling. Then I mix in the flour with a  dough hook. I add the oil (you can be a little heavier handed with the oil if you want). I also add some salt at this time. Do Not add it to the yeast mixture before you add flour. It will kill the yeast. Then you can keep mixing it in while you add some more warm water. You want the dough to be pulling away from the sides, not crumbly dry, not wet so it doesn’t hold it’s shape. Then you want to leave it mixing for about 7-10 minutes. It should be rather elastic when it is done. Then cover it in a bit more olive oil and cover the mixing bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for as long as it takes to double in volume.

Next, I punch the dough down. Divide enough for making the pizza to the size needed, then either freeze the rest or make something else with it like I did. I made garlic bread, but I should have made cinnamon bread with the remainder. So I rolled the dough out and spread it out on a greased pan. It tends to shrink back on the pan, so I let it rest a bit more then I roll it again until it stays in place. Once the dough cooperates, I dock the dough with a fork to keep it from bubbling too much.  Then I oil the surface a little and sprinkle a little salt around the edges. I prebaked the dough in the hot oven almost fully without coloring it too intensely before adding the tomato sauce cheese or toppings.

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For the sauce, I cheated. I am lazy when I have to work and cook a nice dinner, so I usually just take a can of fire roasted tomatoes, most of a small can of tomato paste, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, smoked paprika, a little red chile flake and a pinch of sugar and blend it all up.  Then I smear the cooked dough with the sauce. Then I grate some mozzarella cheese (I use whole fat) all over the pizza. I add my toppings. I use pepperoni and pickled jalapeños (Don’t judge me). Then I top all of that with a little bit of grated parmesan. I finish baking the pizza in the hot oven. It is done when the cheese is golden brown and the crust too.

For the garlic bread, I prepared a mix of equal parts butter to parmesan or similar grana cheese with some micro planed garlic (or finely minced) and some salt. Then I smeared it liberally on the dough.

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When Holly got here, we made chicken molé tamales with mexican rice.  The molé was from the batch that I made before, but froze just for this occasion. It was really fun teaching Holly how to do them and show off what I had learned. She was, of course, really good at making them, because she is a perfectionist.

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We also made cocktails with Izze Clementine Soda, Key Limes, Cazadores Tequila and some of the Agua de Jamaica that I made into a sorbet the day before. They were quite tasty in the hot weather.

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Before she left on Sunday… We both cried.

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About iliketocookthings

I was born and raised in West Michigan in a small suburban/farming community called Lowell. I grew up cooking. My family has always been centered around the kitchen. Growing up I tended to cook a lot of Italian-American food, seeing as how I am a whopping 25% Sicilian. When I got into high school I got really into Asian cuisine. I went to college at Central Michigan University, and quickly became homesick and insecure about my areas of study (Spanish and Art). I decided to return to the motherland and begin Culinary School after 2.5 years of moderate success in traditional college. Culinary school was a fun experience, and I learned a lot, but I didn't really fit the profile of my fellow classmates. When finished, I moved to Chicago to explore carreer options. My first place of employment outside of Michigan was Green Zebra, where I learned a lot, but quickly learned that I wasn't cut out for the cooks lifestyle. I stuck it out though, and continued working at both of Shawn McClain's restaurants, for about a year and a half. I now work for Whole Foods, and while it is a corporate environment, three of the biggest perks are access to ingredients, the employee discount, and the 8 hour days that allow me time to do what I really want. I am most happy when cooking in my own kitchen for people that I love. I now live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with my husband Eric and my cat child Fergus. View all posts by iliketocookthings

4 responses to “Twins in the City

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