Hi everyone! I promise I am officially back now. See, after baking constantly for almost 2 years and blogging for a few months I came to one conclusion: Having treats around all the time makes me fat! Even though I run (and bike and swim, while I was training for my tri), that wasn’t enough to save me. But I think I finally have come to happy medium, where food blogging will not negatively affect my health. (I wonder how other food bloggers do it?)
But I’ve been inspired by two things to get re-started on this – 1) my dear friend Vivi told me that she religiously checks this and is disappointed EVERY time she checks (which made me sad) and 2) I received an email from a brand-new cupcake company in Tennessee that has taken the same name as my blog. I’m unsure what to do about this.
The back story
I have had this name as of Cinco de Mayo 2010, when I created my Twitter account. (It took until December to get my blog set up cause I was clueless about blog languages.) In early 2010, I had had hopes to start a part-time cupcake company, catering parties and work events. Anyone who has talked with me knows the struggles I went through trying to get this started and, eventually, having to call it off thanks to Maryland’s stringent laws regarding the food industry and the nature of the cupcake business. Cupcaking is a volume-based industry, so if you’re baking for a few parties, buying supplies in small quantities, renting a commercial kitchen at a fixed price per hour (if you can even find one) and paying business insurance, it just not financially feasible – even at about $3/cupcake, the going price.
I have to say, most people I know who get a baking business started in my area end up breaking the law – they bake in their own, uncertified kitchen and sell their treats anyway. This was not OK with me. I don’t want to be a subversive baker. But many find this the ONLY way to get started. Why do states make it so hard? Baked goods are not (likely) to kill anyone and some states have started to recognize this with the introduction of “Cottage Food” laws. I see Maryland still listed as having one “pending,” but it has been pending since I started looking into creating a business – in early 2010. So we’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, I decided to share my creations with you.
In other foodie news
Earlier this summer, I ran across a mention of a new McSweeney’s publication called “Lucky Peach.” It’s a quarterly journal of food writing and the first issue was 174 pages. The unique part of this is it’s 174 ad-free pages. But this is what sold me on subscribing: “It is a creation of David Chang, chef/owner of Momofuku, writer Peter Meehan, and Zero Point Zero Production—producers of the Emmy Award–winning ‘Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.’” I haven’t been disappointed. It’s quirky and riveting. If you see it somewhere, check it out.
The recipe, finally
So it’s November already. My friends and I have come up with our traditionally crazy multi-course dinner plans for Thanksgiving. The leaves outside are at their peak and there’s a crispness in the air. Since it’s Sunday, I’m going for a savory recipe for you – an unusual pizza recipe, based on my favorite pizza dough made with beer. Here’s how to make it.
Beer Pizza Dough
(NOTE: This makes a dough for a 2 lb. loaf, so if your bread machine is smaller, divide recipe accordingly)
1 1/2 cups beer (any type; this is generally a regular-size bottle of beer)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
4 1/4 cups unbleached flour (not bread flour)
2 tablespoons dry milk
1 teaspoon granulated (or powdered) garlic
2 teaspoons dried, chopped rosemary (optional, and any herbs can work in this recipe, such as basil, oregano and/or thyme)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (this should be the amount in one packet; make sure it’s not expired)
Put everything into your bread maker in the order it prescribes (for instance, mine has liquids first, then dry ingredients) and use the dough setting. When it’s done, you can use immediately or refrigerate or freeze. If frozen, thaw in fridge before using and if cold, let dough come to room temperature again before using.
Butternut squash pizza
1/2 batch beer pizza dough (above)
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or dried if you don’t have fresh)
8 ounces goat cheese, chilled
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
handful of corn meal
1.) If using a pizza stone, put stone in oven on bottom shelf. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop butternut squash. Place squash in a bowl and toss to coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast squash in oven on a sheet of parchment paper at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Test to make sure squash is soft before removing.
2.) While squash is roasting, slice onion in long thin strips. Coat pan in 1 tablespoon olive oil and add 1 tablespoon butter. Heat on medium until butter is melted. Add onion and saute until onions are caramelized, slightly brown and soft. If onion is browning too quickly, turn down the heat.
3.) Chop cranberries, hazelnuts and rosemary while sauteeing the onions. Remove plastic from goat cheese log, but place back in the fridge when done.
4.) Once squash is removed, turn oven to 450 degrees. Move pizza stone to top shelf. Assemble toppings in bowl for easy application, except for goat cheese and rosemary. Do not remove goat cheese from fridge until you are ready to put it on the pizza.
5.) When dough cycle is done, punch down your dough (you probably only need half of the dough to make one large pizza, 1/4 dough for personal size pizzas). Very carefully take out the stone and throw a sprinkle of corn meal on the stone. It will start to toast. Flour your hands so they don’t stick to the dough and start to stretch your dough to the shape of your stone. Carefully place on stone. Using a pastry brush, coat the dough with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
6.) Add toppings to pizza, spreading evenly. Then remove goat cheese and place dollops all over the pizza. Sprinkle with rosemary.
7.) Place pizza stone back in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. If you want it a little more brown, broil for 1-2 minutes at end, but watch carefully.
8.) Let pizza cool for a couple of minutes, then slice and enjoy!