Monday, August 30, 2010

Meatless Monday - Big Daddy's Cheese Pizza

There was a period while growing up when my awesome dad (known to my children as Big Daddy) was responsible for dinner one night of the week. We (my siblings and I) looked forward to that night because we knew we would have one of three things: Little Cesar's $5 pizza, homemade cheese enchiladas, or Dad's cheese pizza. I am my father's daughter in many ways, some that aren't as detrimental to my health as our shared love for anything doughy, only to be made better by adding cheese. And that's where we land with today's Meatless Monday meal: my dad's amazing cheese pizza. I never said Meatless Mondays had to be healthy! I guess you could add some chopped veggies, but I would always choose plain cheese pizza over anything else. Call me crazy. I'd never personally made Dad's pizza, so I emailed him asking for the recipe. My dad is one of my heroes, and not just because he makes incredible cheese pizza! To let you in on the full cheese pizza experience, I'm posting his instructions as he wrote them to me.

In a large mixing bowl add 1 ½ cups luke warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 packets (2 tablespoons) dry active yeast.
Let stand for 5 minutes.
Mix in 3 tablespoons oil, 4 cups flour (whatever kind Mom usually buys?). I mix everything with a fork until it is all a good doughy consistency but not sticky (add more flour if it is), then kneed it with my hands for a minute or two.
Cover the bowl with oil, put the dough in a ball, cover with a dish towel, put in a warm place to rise for one hour.
Cut the dough in half or thirds (depending on how thick you want your crust) to make two or three good size pizza doughs.
Fold the dough over on itself 10-12 times, then sprinkle with flour and roll out on one of those tupperware things that you roll stuff out on.
Sprinkle corn meal on the pizza board (if you have one). If you don’t you really need one or it’s hard to get the dough onto the pizza stone in the oven. I don't have a pizza board, but I used the back side of my largest cookie sheet and it worked well. After you put the rolled out dough on the sprinkled corn meal, give it a little shake before adding sauce and cheese. It helps keep the dough from sticking to the "board".
Oh, by the way, you need to preheat the pizza stone at 400 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
Mix together – one 8 oz. can tomato sauce, one 6 oz. can tomato paste, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic salt, ½ teaspoon onion salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon oregano until you like the consistency.
Add whatever other toppings you want and bake the pizza at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is cooked to your liking.
For a variation try doing everything with only your left hand.
Stick leftovers in the fridge and eat cold for breakfast the next morning. (and he would)
I love you.
I love you too, Dad.

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