Pizza Pizza Pizza

by kellybakes in


Well, dear readers, I must apologize. I've been M.I.A. for the past few months. I promise you I've been baking and eating my way through Philly, I just haven't had a chance to post about it. If you'll recall, I'm a grad student in my last year, so this semester has been ridiculously busy. If I have to read another non-canonical nineteenth century text, my brain may just explode.

My huge capstone paper was due on Friday so as soon as it was done, I wanted to do nothing but bake and cook my way through the weekend. I've been pretty into cooking lately. It started around the last blog post (beef stew anyone?) and the itch hasn't left since. Unfortunately, in the process of trying to delve deeper into the world of savory cuisine, I discovered that like baking, I am also an emotional cook. When I'm happy, you can taste it in my food. If I like you and I'm making you dinner, chances are you'll want seconds. If I'm having a rough day or I'm angry at the world, you'll taste it for sure. Odi et amo - I hate and I love. It's a blessing and a curse.

I was feeling extra ambitious this weekend. Perhaps it was that on-top-of-the-world-Leo-in-Titanic-I-never-have-to-write-another-academic-paper-in-my-life feeling that had me feeling confident. Probably. If you remember from my cinnamon bun venture, I have a fear of yeast. Scares the pants off of me. Despite this, I set out to make pizza dough and, like my earlier academic triumph, my pizza making venture was a big fat win too. I guess sometimes it pays to face your fears!

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yeast bubbles

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yeast meets dry ingredients

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mixing

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kneading - so therapeutic!IMG_0558     

proofed and ready for toppings!

I used a recipe from Dean and DeLuca and followed it exactly. It was easy to follow and the dough was pretty cooperative. It also made a lot of dough so I thought I'd split it up into thirds and try a different kind of pizza every night.

The first night was inspired by a sale on mushrooms at the farmer's market - 99 cents a pound for any kind of mushroom (seriously?! It pays to go an hour before they close on their last day of the week!) I got shitake and portabella mushrooms for somewhere around 30 cents.

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I sauteed them in a little butter and then added some white wine, rosemary, garlic and thyme and then covered them with parmesan and mozzarella.

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Delicious.

Night two was a little more adventurous. I like to be inspired by recipes and meals I've eaten. When I was browsing the Epicurious app on my phone, I came across a pizza recipe that used goat cheese and it reminded me of an amazing pizza I had in Princeton, NJ. I wanted to make a fig, balsamic, panchetta and goat cheese pizza, but I could only get dried figs and had a pound of farm smoked bacon, so I substituted those instead.

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chevre cheese

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dried mission figs

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crispy smoked bacon

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mozzarella cheese

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a drizzle of balsamic vinegar

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lovely balance of crisp smoky bacon, sweet chewy figs, and the soft salty tang of chevre

Tonight was the final chapter of my pizzaventure (Casey, that one's for you). Inspired by Willington Pizza, an award-winning restaurant near my alma mater UConn (p.s. did you hear we're the National Champions this year? just checking :]). They're famous for some of their more unconventional pizzas like cheeseburger (complete with lettuce) and my personal favorite, red potato (chewy crust topped with red potatoes, sour cream, sharp cheddar and your choice of bacon, broccoli or both. In a word, it's heaven). Even though I'm making a trip up there for lunch on Thursday, I thought I'd give it a try. I figured if I botched the pizza, I'd get the real thing in two days.

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sliced new potatoes on olive-oiled dough

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chevre joins the party

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there's always room for bacon

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a thing of beauty.

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broccoli, to be nutritious

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mozzarella

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sort of like a Chicago-style deep dish except in Philly suburbs, without a deep dish

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sharp cheddar makes everything better

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out of the oven

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To sum up, life is good. Pizza is delicious. Blogging again is great. Winning a National Championship is fantastic. The feeling of never having to write another academic paper for the rest of my life is the absolute best.