Stove Top Pizza

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There is an Australian company called “The Chef’s Toolbox” that has an extraordinary line of culinary tools and kitchen gadget to make the home cook’s life a little easier. Their specialty line of cookware that is featured by the company is the Como Advanced™  line, which is touted as  exceptional cookware for serious cooking. The cookware come in a   a modern charcoal matte finish,  with a hard-anodized exterior and non-stick interior. The cookware is perfect for stovetop (including induction) and oven cooking.

The also have a collection of amazing recipe showing you how to use their tools bakeware and cookware  as well.

I found out about the company when  a friend shared a Chef’s Toolbox Video demonstrating the recipe for “Stove Top Pizza”, which was cooked in a specialized Como Advanced™ 28 cm saute pan as seen below.The pan sells for $235.00 AUD, which is about $182.00 U. S. Dollars. I have seen the Como Advanced line featured on Amazon.com, but I do not think the saute pan is widely available in the United States.

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Photo Credit: Chef’s Toolbox, 2015

I did not have a Como Advanced™ saute pan, but I do have a 12 inch cast iron skillet by Lodge  and a heavy glass lid, which worked out as perfectly in making this dish.

Here is the recipe and I hope that you will enjoy this one skillet meal that takes less than 25 minutes. It makes for on small pizza that is perfectly suited to serve two people.Making a freshly homemade  pizza on a stove top is much more  quicker than waiting via delivery or take out or even baking a frozen pizza in your oven. Trust me, you are going to love it.

Serve 2

Ingredients:
1/2 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour*
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast**
1 teaspoon honey
2/3 cup warm water, 110-115 Degrees F


For the Sauce:

1 can diced roma tomatoes, drained
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon good quality red wine


For the Toppings:
***
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 cooked Italian sausage links, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1/8 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup baby spinach, torn


Directions:

Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a 12-inch oven proof skillet with 1 tablespoon oil.

For the Sauce:Pulse drained tomatoes, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon olive oil  and the red wine together in a small food processor until coarsely ground. Remove from the processor and set aside.

To the skillet, add dry ingredients (self-rising flour, all-purpose flour, salt, yeast) and stir until combined. Add the honey and the water and stir until a stick dough forms. Spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the skillet.

Spread the sauce over dough, leaving ½-inch border at edge. Sprinkle most of the mozzarella evenly over sauce. Add sausage and spread it evenly on top. Scatter the shallots an sprinkle the basil and oregano evenly over the pizza. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Set skillet over medium heat and cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until outside edge of dough is set, pizza is lightly puffed, and bottom crust is starting to get cooked when gently lifted with spatula, about 4 to 6 minutes

Reduce the heat to low , rotate the skillet 180 degrees and continue to cook covered with a lid for another 10 minutes. When done, the cheese should be nicely melted. Carefully remove skillet from burner. With two  flat spatulas, carefully lift pizza out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Sprinkle with fresh torn spinach. Let pizza cool for a couple minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.
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Cook’s Notes:
In using quick rapid rise yeast, there are two very good brands to consider:

Red Star and Fleischmann’s, both which come in a jar and in individual packets.
The jars sell for about $5.00 and the individual sell for about $1.80 at most local grocery stores. I prefer buying it buy the jar, because I do bake a lot. Once the jar is opened, it must be refrigerated.

Fleischmann’s also offers a yeast specifically made to be used in pizza dough. I have not tried this product yet, but it does look promising.

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*SUBSTITUTION TIP: You can use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose white flour, if desired.

Also note that you desire a chewier crust, use bread flour. If you desire a  Neapolitan style pizza (made with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala Campana, cheese made with the milk from water buffalo) , use San Felice Tipo 00 Flour or  Anna Tipo “00” Extra Fine Flour which creates a light crust that is crisp on the outside but tender to the bite.

Tipo 0 or Tipo 00 denotes that it is a tender wheat flour.

When making authentic Neapolitan pizza, I prefer Anna Tipo “00” Extra Fine Flour,  because it an is an old world, authentic Naples-style flour that holds up to the high temperatures required for pizza making. It is finely milled with a soft texture, yielding a crispy crust every time. Anna Type “00” Flour is an excellent choice for any of your baking needs.It is also more widely available in most local grocery stores.

**SUBSTITUTION TIP: If you don’t have instant or rapid rise yeast, use 1 teaspoon (instead of ¾ teaspoon) of active dry yeast and proof it first. Just dissolve it in a little warm (110 degrees) tap water and a pinch of sugar. Wait until it gets foamy, like a beer from the tap. When the mixture is foamy, add it to the flour mixture and proceed as normal.

***ABOUT THE TOPPINGS: You can use any toppings of your choice, as desired.


Crab and Avocado Salad

Avocados filled with crab salad

Photo Credit: Layla Pujol, Laylita’s Recipes ,www. laylitas.com, 2015

With Summer approaching, no one wants to stand in a hot kitchen over a stove. With that being said, here is a salad that requires a sharp knife, a large bowl , serving plates and a fork. Not only is this salad healthy for you and gluten-free, but it is refreshing as well. You can use any type of fresh crab meat. I prefer Dungeness crab meat, and you can easily substitute the crab for cooked peeled shrimp as well.

The basic ingredients for this classic dish from Ecuador is  prepared by filling ripe avocados with a a crab salad, red onion, bell pepper, cucumber, radishes, lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro.

Enjoy!

Courtesy of Layla Pujol of  Laylita’s Recipes, 2015

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 pound of cooked crab meat
½ red onion, finely chopped
½ red bell pepper, finely diced
½ green bell pepper, finely diced
½ cucumber, finely diced
4 radishes, finely diced
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4-5 ripe but firm avocados
½ lime

To garnish:
Iceberg Lettuce or salad greens
Fresh cilantro leaves
Sliced scallions
Sliced radishes

Directions:
To prepare the crab salad:
Mix the cooked crab meat with diced onions, diced bell peppers, diced cucumbers, diced radish, lime juice, olive oil, chopped cilantro, and salt and pepper. The salad can be prepared in advance and kept refrigerated until just ready to assemble the avocados.

Cut the avocados in half, remove the seeds and peel the avocados. Sprinkle each avocado half with a little lime juice to prevent the avocados from browning too quickly.

Fill the center of the avocados halves with the crab salad. Serve the crab stuffed avocados over lettuce leaves and garnished with scallions and radishes.


The Guacamole Gadget Guide

 

To make a great gaucamole, always start with the simple an freshest ingredients: ripe avocados, lime juice, white onions, cilantro and kosher salt. Salting is important for bringing out the flavors of the avocado and the lime juice.

A generous amount of lime juice keeps the gaucamole bright green and prevents browning,once it is served. Be sure to use lime juice just after cutting the avocados in half and right after cutting into cubes during the preparation.

Avocados and lime juice are just the beginning of making a great gaucamole. To take it to the next level, get creative with some other ingredients. Try adding raw corn kernels sliced directly off the cob or using diced radishes. Also try topping your gaucamole with cotija or feta cheese as a garnish before serving it to your guests. The possibilities are limitless.

And for the gadget loving cook, there are some tools to help you perfect your gaucamole recipe, including the centuries old molcajete (mortar) to the modern day avoloop.

All the tools and gadgets listed here are available at Williams-Sonoma.

Molcajete

Among the world’s oldest culinary tools, volcanic rock mortars and pestles like these have been used by great cooks for thousands of years. This  molcajete (mortar) and tejolete (pestle) are hand carved from a single piece of basalt rock, so every piece is unique. In addition to being a great prep tool, the molcajete makes an impressive serving dish for guacamole and other party favorites.

  • Perfect for crushing whole spices and making spice blends.
  • Ideal for blending and serving guacamole—or for making pesto and other rustic sauces.
  • Line with lettuce leaves to use as an all-purpose serving bowl.
  • Rough interior texture of mortar helps crush and grind ingredients.
  • Heavy pestle does the work for you, ensuring efficient grinding, blending and mixing.

Use & Care

  • Season the mortar before first use: grind raw rice inside the bowl until the rice turns gray; empty and repeat until the rice no longer turns gray; rinse with water and scrub with a brush.
  • Always place the molcajete on top of a cloth to avoid scratching the surface of your table or countertop.
  • Avoid drastic changes in temperature.
  • Hand-wash with running water, dish soap and a brush. Dry thoroughly.

 

Four in-One Avocado Tool

  Four-in-One Avocado Tool

Peeling, pitting and mashing an avocado is child’s play with this multitasking four in-one tool. A serrated edge cuts through the skin, a curved tip detaches the pit and a scoop removes the flesh. A slotted masher makes quick work of the flesh.

  • One end features a serrated edge with a curved tip and a scoop, all made of nylon; opposite end has a stainless-steel slotted masher.
  • Nylon handle provides a nonslip grip.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • A Williams-Sonoma exclusive.

Avocado Cuber

This tool is indispensable for cutting uniform-sized cubes of avocado for adding to salads, soups and other dishes, or simply prepping avocadoes for making guacamole.

  • Cuts and scoops out neat, even cubes of avocado in seconds.
  • Reduces waste by using all of the avocado flesh.
  • Easy to use: just align with an avocado half, push down, twist and lift.
  • Sturdy stainless-steel wires cut cleanly through avocado flesh.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • A Williams-Sonoma exclusive.

The Avoloop

Avoloop

When you’ve cut into a beautifully ripe avocado, you want to capture every last bit of the delicious treat. The Avoloop is ideally shaped to scoop out the flesh from an avocado half in one clean sweep. It also comes in handy for peeling and prepping other produce – everything from cucumber to melon.

  • Cleanly separates peel from skin, reducing food waste.
  • Flexible stainless-steel wire adapts to fruit or vegetable’s shape for scooping.
  • Birch wood handle.
  • Also works for peeling mango, papaya, baked potato, squash and melon.
  • Great for cleaning seeds from cucumbers, pumpkins, bell peppers, tomatoes.

Chef’n Citrus Juicer

Chef'n Citrus Juicer

Thanks to an inverted press, this tool quickly extracts every drop of juice from halved limes, lemons and small oranges for flavorful cocktails, baking and cooking.

  • Works with any halved small citrus.
  • Patented gear mechanism maximizes juicing efficiency.
  • Inverted strainer retains virtually all pulp.
  • Easy-to-squeeze nylon handles.

Vegetable Chop & Measure

Vegetable Chop & Measure

With a quick press of the hinged frame, this tool slices and dices hard and soft produce into a compartment underneath. The mini chopper (sold separately) is ideal for small vegetables like garlic, shallots, mushrooms and ginger.

  • Preps fruits and vegetables with a quick push of the lid, and the slices fall into a handy container.
  • The full-size cutter features four interchangeable cutters fitted with supersharp stainless-steel cutting grids; one grid makes slices and the three others produce 1/6″, 1/4″ or 1/2″ dice.
  • A clear plastic compartment below the full-size cutter measures up to 2 1/2 cups of cut produce.
  • The mini chopper slices on one grid and dices on the other.
  • Disassembles easily for cleaning.
  • Includes a reusable cleaning comb.
  • Frame and measuring compartment are dishwasher safe.
  • A Williams-Sonoma exclusive.

Chef’n Lime Juicer

Chef'n Lime Juicer

Thanks to an inverted press, this tool quickly extracts every drop of juice from halved limes for flavorful cocktails, baking and cooking.

  • Works with any halved small citrus.
  • Patented gear mechanism maximizes juicing efficiency.
  • Inverted strainer retains virtually all pulp.
  • Easy-to-squeeze nylon handles.

Avocado Saver

Avocado Saver

Keep halved avocados fresh longer with this handy gadget, which reduces oxidation and browning by protecting the exposed side from air. Simply align the pit over the indentation, then secure the avocado with the adjustable rubber strap, which creates a tight seal against the plastic base.

  • Reduces waste by preventing oxidation and discoloration.
  • Flat bottom stands easily on a refrigerator shelf.
  • Dishwasher safe (top rack).

Source: Williams-Sonoma, May 2015

Photo Credits: Williams-Sonoma, 2015


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