If you haven't noticed already, I don't post much on the weekend. My husband distracts me. Plus it's hard for me to write sitting next to someone. I get self-conscious. Like they're reading and secretly hating every word I type out. It's paralyzing.
Also, the beginning of the week was spent in Ohio. My friend Savina was home in Findlay from Hawaii for a week. I don't get many opportunities to spend time with Savina anymore, so I jumped at the opportunity to see her. Here is Marlo and Savina taking a break from their deep conversation.
Am I excused?
Will pizza make up for my disappearance? How about pizza and a new Marlo feature presentation.
I made this pizza last week. It's really fun and satisfying to make your own pizza from scratch. While I don't think it necessarily tastes a whole lot better than our favorite pizza shop in town, it feels better. What I mean by that is, it feels good knowing that I know every ingredient and have control over everything so the pizza comes out exactly how I want it.
Tomato & Pesto Pizza
Start off earlier in the afternoon making the dough for the crust. The website I got the recipe from, Brown Eyed Baker, gives directions for making the dough using either a food processor, a stand mixer, or by hand. Please visit the link if you don't have a food processor and need directions for the other two methods. I of course used my beloved new food processor.
Makes enough for 2 medium pizzas.
We find the food processor is the best tool for making pizza dough. However, only a food processor with a capacity of at least 11 cups can handle this much dough. You can also knead this dough by hand or in a standing mixer (see the variations that follow). Unbleached all-purpose flour can be used in a pinch, but the resulting crust will be less crisp. If you want to make pizza dough in the morning and let it rise on the counter all day, decrease the yeast to 1/2 teaspoon and let the covered dough rise at cool room temperature (about 68 degrees) until doubled in size, about 8 hours. You can prolong the rising time even further by refrigerating the covered dough for up to 16 hours and then letting it rise on the counter until doubled in size, which will take 6 to 8 hours.
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl
1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
2. Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.
3. The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.I used just half of the dough for this pizza. It was the perfect amount of pizza to stuff both of us. I would use all the dough if you had 4 or so people to feed and double the following recipe to make two pizzas. Otherwise, divide the dough into two equal hunks and freeze the other half if not using.
1/2 of above pizza dough recipe
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. grated Asiago cheese (optional)
3 Tbsp. store -bought or homemade basil pesto
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded fontina
2 ripe plum tomatoes sliced thinly (I used the processor) and let to dry on paper towel
*you can really use whatever tomato you want - I used a hothouse tomato
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out dough to your desired thickness on a well floured surface. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2. Brush olive oil on the outer rim of dough. Sprinkle Asiago cheese over olive oil.
3. Evenly spread pesto in center of pizza dough. Use more or less according to your taste. Evenly sprinkle cheese over pesto and top cheese with tomato slices.
4. Slide pizza and parchment paper off of baking sheet directly on to the oven rack. Bake 9-12 minutes, rotating half way, until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing.
Adapted from Cuisinart
And now for our feature presentation...
Marlo's doing a handful of cute new things lately.
For the most part she's given up the unbecoming gremlin growl she's had for a good month and traded it in for a nice, feminine "La la", often in a pretty girly voice. "la la la la la" all the live long day here. Occasionally, she'll get fancy and throw in a "buh" and make a few "blah blahs" (these are often accompanied by rather large spit bubbles). The point is: the girl's learning to talk. While I think the only actual word she says associating to an actual object is "dada", I have high hopes that we'll make leaps and bounds the next few months. I'm curious what her first word will be outside of mama and dada. She doesn't have a blanket, nor does she have a bottle, so "baba" is kind of obsolete (unless she means "boob" - which is always possible). I have a feeling it might be some variation of puppy. She loves her puppy dogs.
While she's still working on her words, she's mastering body language. Hilariously, she's learned to shake her head "no". Unfortunately for her, her noggin is so large she about loses her balance when she gets carried away. See for yourself.