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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Veggie Pizza and Garlic Fingers


This is not the world's best pizza but it's not bad.  It disappears fast and it never gets thrown away.  I think the claim "world's best" is much too definitive for any food.  Whose world and whose taste are we talking about?  It's all about what your family likes anyway. 

I don't own a pizza stone and I probably never will.  I have pizza pans and they have served me well over the years.  If I was going to have fancy pizza equipment I should have had it when the boys were young and living at home.  Oh my, how many pizzas did I make then--hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions!  I should have had a commercial pizza oven not just a pizza stone, ha, ha.

We had pizza about once a week by the time the boys were teenagers.  Because there's five years between David and Peter I had many years of pizza making.  At home I'd make three pizzas and a pan of garlic fingers.  There would be just enough leftover for a slice each to go in the lunch boxes the next day.

Besides making pizza for the family there were parties and fundraisers where pizza was the main attraction at the table.  That might mean ten, twenty or even thirty pizzas to make at one time. Of course when making that many with just a kitchen stove, I'd partially bake the pizza shells beforehand and freeze them until needed.  

Now that Don and I are just a twosome, pizza and garlic fingers don't occur on the menu as often but we still like them very much.  I still make, pre-bake and freeze pizza shells for convenient meals. Sometimes I freeze them with the sauce already spread.  Nothing better than pulling a pizza crust from the freezer for a quick meal when one comes home hungry and tired.  A pizza or garlic fingers can be ready to pop in the oven in minutes.   The frozen crusts are almost thawed by the time the cheese and toppings are added.  

When the boys come home for a weekend, pizza is often on the menu especially if Benjamin, our grandson, is here.  He likes funny face pizzas which this Nanny is happy to make for him. 

Serve pizza with fries and a green salad for a good meal or if you don't want the extra grease from fries make a lovely fruit salad instead.  


Pizza and Garlic Finger Dough
1 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon instant rise yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
2½-2¾ cup all purpose flour (can use part whole wheat)

Place the lukewarm water, yeast, sugar, salt and oil in a mixing bowl.  Gradually add the flour until a soft dough is formed and it is no longer sticky.  Use just enough flour to keep it from being sticky.  Knead approximately 7 or 8 minutes by hand or use the dough hook on your mixer.  I always use the mixer.  

When kneaded, oil and cover and set aside to rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.  Cut into two equal portions and place on well greased 12-inch pizza pans.  Press from the centre out to stretch the dough to the rim of the pan. Build up an edge to hold in your fillings.  I find it easier to let the dough rest for a few minutes in between pressings.  

You may let the pizza shell rise for a few minutes and then fill with your favourite sauce, cheeses and toppings.  

Or you may bake the crust in a 425 degree preheated oven for 4 or 5 minutes.  Remove, cool, wrap and freeze.  If using in a day or two just refrigerate the pre-baked shells. 

Makes enough for two 12-inch pizzas, medium crust. 

For Veggie Pizza:
--Tomato/Pizza Sauce
--Mozzarella Cheese or your favourite (I like some Cheddar mixed in, too.)
--Parmesan Cheese
--All kinds of diced/sliced vegetables--onions, peppers, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, spinach leaves,etc.
--Pineapple tidbits
--Bacon bits
--Italian seasoning, optional

Spread pizza crust with your favourite sauce.  It shouldn't be too thickly spread.  Top with the amount of cheese you like.  Some like it spread sparingly and others like it heaped up.  Choose several toppings or leave it plain. Use about ¼ - ½ cup of toppings depending on how many you choose.  Bake a preheated 450 degree (425 degrees if shell has been pre-baked) oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is starting to blister and turn golden in spots.  The middle should not be wet or gooey.  Let sit a few minutes before cutting into wedges. 

For Garlic Fingers:
--Garlic butter or butter mixed with garlic powder or finely chopped garlic gently sautéed in butter
--Pesto, optional
--Mozzarella cheese
--Imitation bacon bits, optional (remember we're veg heads)

Spread pizza crust with your choice of garlic butter or pesto.  If I have fresh garlic I sauté one or two finely chopped garlic cloves in a tablespoon of butter. You just want a thin smear of the garlic butter.  Top with a thin even layer of Mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle lightly with the imitation bacon bits if you like them.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree (425 degrees if shell has been pre-baked) oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is starting to blister and turn golden in spots.  The middle should not be wet or gooey.  Let sit a few minutes before cutting into strips or fingers.  Serve with Donair Sauce if you wish (we always do).



The ingredients for the dough:  flour, water, oil, yeast, salt, sugar.


To make the dough combine the ingredients in the bowl of your mixer or in a large mixing bowl if kneading by hand.  Once the dough leaves the side of the bowl don't add any more flour.   Let the dough rest about 20-30 minutes.  It will rise a little and make spreading the dough much easier. 

To make Pizza:


The dough is on the pans.  Press from the middle out to the rim of the pan.  Make an edge around the dough to help keep in the filling.  Spread with sauce and top with cheese and your favourite toppings.  We love pineapple on pizza and have it almost every time.  


Ben loves pizza pie.  Here's a special pizza I made for him last time he came to visit Nanny and Poppy.  Let's see what the toppings are:  Cheese, mushroom eyes with olive centres, pineapple eyebrows, green pepper nose, olive mustache and red pepper mouth.

If you prefer a plain cheese pizza add the cheeses you like and skip any other toppings.  This one has Mozzarella, Cheddar and Parmesan.

This is what most of our pizzas look like.  
No mushrooms on this one but we do like mushrooms on pizza.


 Hot from the oven waiting to be cut into wedges.

To make Garlic Fingers:


If I have fresh garlic I like to sauté finely chopped garlic in butter.  Or sometimes I use butter and garlic powder.


To make garlic fingers spread the garlic butter over the pizza shell . . .


 Or use a good pesto with the garlic butter. YUM!

Top the garlic butter with Mozzarella cheese and bacon bits if you wish.

 Garlic fingers baked and ready to be cut into strips or fingers.  

Here are the Garlic Fingers with Donair Sauce for dipping.

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To pre-bake the crust

Make the dough and press in a well greased pizza pan.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 4 or 5 minutes.  You don't want the crust to brown.  Store the pre-baked crust in the refrigerator or in the freezer if not using in a day or two.  Remove cooled crust from pan and wrap in plastic wrap or use large freezer bags.  


When ready to use the pre-baked shells, remove from fridge or freezer and proceed as usual for making pizza or garlic fingers.  You can let the crust thaw or bake a couple of minutes longer if used frozen. 

 Mmmmm. . . good!  Crispy crust and golden cheese and veggies.

A family favourite: Pizza and Garlic Fingers
with a side of Donair Sauce for dipping.



2 comments:

  1. This my dear cousin is a very special blog given that my first memory of ever eating pizza was one you made for Heather and myself. It was the first but not the last of what has turned into one of my favorite food groups all in one. Love the blog but not as much as I love You.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Bob, you made me cry! We were a happy little crew back then. Love you, too.

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