Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fun with pizza dough

Lately I haven't been feeling very creative when it comes to cooking. The theme of our nightly dinners has been "same old, same old." I think it's because winter produce leaves me a little cold...get it? :)

In order to put some fire back in the kitchen, I decided to have a "make your own pizza" party...something fun for the kids and grown-ups too. Nowadays it's easy to find fresh refrigerated pizza dough at almost any store, and it's a great way to use up leftovers.

The girlies topped their pizzas with the usual: pepperoni, sliced peppers, and pesto. But I decided to get a little fancy for the adult pizza. After scavenging through the fridge, I went with a combination of sliced red onion, smoked salmon, capers, goat cheese, and a hearty drizzle of olive oil. When it came out of the oven, I drizzled it with a little more olive oil, and added a few dollops of sour cream and some chopped arugula. It was really good, and the greens eliminated the need for the obligatory salad we usually eat with our pizza.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Second-best stromboli

Hopefully my husband will never end up on death row, but if he does become an ax murderer, at least he won't have to waste any time deliberating about his last meal. He has already decided that it will be stromboli from Your Place (known as "YP" among the locals) in Hershey, PA.

Since we live thousands of miles from YP, I've done my best to replicate his favorite stromboli at home. My husband does love my stromboli, but I've come to accept it will never be quite as good as the YP version--primarily because I've failed to achieve the perfect crispy, yet chewy dough texture. It would probably help if I had a wood-fired oven in my house.

So here is my own take on stromboli. I call it "second best stromboli" since that's basically what it is:


1 lb pizza dough (I've tried pre-made from a store, frozen, refrigerated, good old Pillsbury, and homemade...they all turn out about the same)
approx 1/2 lb sliced ham
approx 1/2 lb sliced salami
approx 1/2 lb sliced provolone
fresh basil
1 egg, beaten
mustard (I prefer Dijonnaise)
tomato sauce or pizza sauce (for dipping - optional)

Preheat oven to 375. On a slightly floured surface, roll out dough into about a 16 x 10 rectangle. Spread a thin layer of mustard on the dough and top with basil leaves. Then add one layer each of the ham, salami, and provolone, leaving a one-inch border on the edges. Spread the mustard and basil on top of the provolone, and add another layer of meats and cheeses.

Fold the sides of the dough into the center and pinch the dough to seal. Pinch the ends of the dough and fold under. Brush the stromboli with the beaten egg, and cut about 5 shallow slits crosswise on the top of the dough (this is an important step - I once forgot to "vent" the stromboli, and it made the inside steam and turned the dough to mush).

Gently move the stromboli to a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Serve with pizza sauce on the side for dipping.