Thursday, October 30, 2008

Homemade pizza, bee food and tired Bacco

30 Ottobre
Happy Halloween everyone! Here in Italy we are entering the month of the dead, November, and noone gets married next month for that reason.
I helped out our neighbor, Luigi, with some olive harvesting today and he will reciprocate with our trees in the valley tomorrow. Our olive trees down below are of a later maturing variety, so they are now ready. We are saving 2 trees for our students to harvest and today I finished the massive "remodel" of Nascondiglio di Bacco in preparation of their visit. 15 beds are now singles and we have left a "master suite" for the tutor who will stay in room 9 by herself.
Today, I made a homemade pizza for lunch and thought I would pass on the recipe. Sure, you can buy Boboli pizza crust, but it is so much more satisfying to get out your grandmom's old rolling pin and make the dough yourself. I can't remember who I stole this from, but at this point with minor variations, it is my recipe. Homemade pizza crust costs about 15 cents I imagine.
Start with fresh yeast (or powdered) and mix with a tepid mixture of 4 oz of beer and 4 oz of water. Let sit a while-about 10 minutes and measure out 500 gms of all purpose or OO flour. I happen to sift mine, but who knows if that makes a difference' (I doubt it). Now add a pinch of salt (I always forget this part) . Stir in half of the yeasty liquid with a spoon and then the other half and knead a bit-I usually have to add about another 1 oz of warm water to get all the flour moist. Let this sit in a warm place covered for as long as it takes to do your daily errands-1-2 hours, although 1/2 hour will suffice. Squoosh the dough some more and if you have time, it will rise again a bit. Now pinch off a third to make a 12" pizza and on a floured surface, smash it flat and turn it over to coat the other side with flour. I turn it over and press it flat by hand a few times and then with my grandmom's rolling pin, I roll in all directions until I get my thin crust. I put the dough on a piece of baking paper on a baking pan and roll in the edges. Now coat the entire surface with olive oil and salt as desired. I use coarse salt myself, but be careful how much you use. Now put whatever you want on top. The pizza you see has leeks, red onions and a bit of dried hot pepper all sauteed in oil 1st for 5-10 minutes, thinly sliced cherry tomatoes, and fresh sausage that cooked with the pizza. I use 225 degrees Centigrade or max out your oven temp baking for about 12 minutes (more or less) depending on the the thickness crust. Watch it like a hawk or you may have a cracker instead of a pizza. I grated pecorino cheese on top right after removing from the oven. Good luck.
The other pictures show the bees or wasps enjoying the grapes which were smashed to oblivion to get the last drop of juice. I finally reached 36 liters from our passito grapes, but it took 2 days to get there. Bacco played with us in the olive grove this morning, so he was pooped.
Have a great weekend and be safe on a Friday Halloween!

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