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pizza

No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza This was a pizza waiting to be made and I’m not sure what took me so long to get here. It’s a summer pizza, or maybe spring if that’s the season you are in. Light, crisp airy crust, minimum sauce and happy toppings! I’ve had Jim Laheys No Knead pizza dough bookmarked for ages, and then one day I read a post on What Katie Ate and there she had the most inspirational food flooding her beautiful blog. It was time for No Knead Pizza with Buttermilk Chicken.No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza I’ve read only good stuff about Jim Laheys No Knead Pizza Dough and the temptation was too much a few days ago. How luxurious can a foodie feel if she has a slow rising dough sitting out on the counter, made kneaded stirred together the previous evening. I hopped out of bed and raced to see if had risen… and of course it had!No Knead Buttermilk Chicken PizzaInspiration came from Katies delicious blog. That buttermilk chicken pizza stayed in my head for a few days. After stirring the pizza dough, I dunked the chicken in the buttermilk mustard mix to enjoy a slow overnight marinade. Love make ahead bits of recipes!! No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza The rest happened the next morning. I stirred up a a quick pizza sauce, trying to keep it minimalistic, enough to perk the base and chicken but not too overpowering. Just chicken on top is good if you use a pizza sauce like in Katies recipe, but since I had no sour cream, watercress, walnuts etc, I added some bell peppers and onions  … cheese of course!No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza Nom Nom Nom! Mr PAB declared this was the best one yet, almost like a wood fire pizza we had a while ago, one which has always been the benchmark for comparison. Great thin crisp crust, beautiful blend of flavours, delicious subtle chicken. Did I forget to tell you I pickled some red & green chilies the other day? They went on top as well! Even the ‘now threatening to be quite terrible‘ preteen munched them up as they weren’t too hot!No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza The vegetable vendor had packed me a bag of red and green chilies the other day, knowing how much I love vibrant colours. Got home and looked at my now almost empty bottle of quick pickled cucumbers that I made for the DB Dutch Crunch Bread or Tijgerbrood … the chilies could would go in there.No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza Snipped with my kitchen scissors in a matter of minutes, they were soon submerged in the mix of white vinegar, a dash of sugar and salt. They sat in the fridge and two days later we enjoyed nice tangy peppers. Makes a nice addition to sandwiches and wraps, and a great topping for pizza. Nice and zingy, mildly hot too! I sometimes smash a clove or two of garlic and throw it in!

[print_this]Recipe: No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza
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Summary: Great thin crisp crust, beautiful blend of flavours, delicious subtle chicken... a wonderful light picnic pizza for spring/summer!

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus resting time
Ingredients:

  • Dough Adapted from Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough {yields 4  X 10-inch crusts}
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup gluten
  • 3/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 11/4 cups + 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Topping
  • Buttermilk Chicken {Buttermilk Chicken from What Katie Ate}
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of small half a lemon
  • 2 x 200g (average sized) chicken breasts
  • Bell peppers, onions, preserved chili peppers, fresh basil
  • Pizza Sauce
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes
  • 100ml tomato puree
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs
  • Red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive Oil

Method:

  • Dough
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, and salt. Add water and stir until blended (the dough will be very sticky). Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 12 to 24 hours in a warm spot, about 70 F /21C.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Shape the dough into 3 or 4 balls, depending on how thick you want the crust. Generously sprinkle a clean cotton towel with flour and cover the dough with it. Let the dough rise for 2 hours then use as required.
  • Buttermilk Chicken:
  • To make the marinade, add buttermilk, Dijon mustard and lemon juice into a medium-sized bowl, season with salt and pepper whisk together to combine. Remove excess fat from the chicken breasts and cut the chicken crossway into ½ cm thick strips.  Add the chicken to the marinade, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight
  • After chilling, cook chicken pieces on a hot griddle pan until almost cooked through. Keep warm.
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Saute onions, garlic, fried herbs and red chili flakes in olive oil till fragrant.
  • Blend the tomatoes and tomato puree together to a smooth sauce and add to above
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and pinch of sugar, season with salt and pepper and simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes till most of the liquid has evaporated and it yields a thick sauce.
  •  Cool and blend to a smooth puree. Adjust seasoning if required, add fresh basil and reserve until required . {Can be made a day or two ahead}
  • Pre heat oven to 250C
  • To assemble the pizzas
  • Roll out dough to your desired thickness and place on pizza stone or baking tray
  • Brush the bases with extra virgin olive oil and divide sauce evenly over both pizza bases and spread out leaving a 2cm border around the pizza edge {I like keeping the sauce to a bare minimum in summer}
  • Top pizzas with pre-cooked chicken strips, bell peppers, onions, preserved chillies, fresh basil. Top with grated mozzarella.
  • Bake until base is cooked through {20-25 minutes in my oven}.
  • Note: You can skip the chicken for a vegetarian version of the pizza. Mushrooms, sweet corn, cottage cheese cubes would work well.

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“I got the Sun in the Morning and the Moon at Night…”
Annie get Your Gun

Peter Reinharts Pizza Dough & Ergochef KnivesThe lyrics above from the musical, Annie get Your Gun which we performed in university, sum my post perfectly. I had everything I ever wanted that day! I had Peter Reinharts pizza dough risen and ready to be baked into pizza when the bell rang. It was the good old postman and he looked HAPPY! Was it the misplaced lens cap that I had ordered on ebay? He looked happier than ‘lens-cap happy’, and impatiently thrust a heavy parcel into my hands.It’s here!” he announced as if I had won the first prize…Ergo Chef Knives

ERGO was written boldly across the packaging. I had completely forgotten that the pro knife folk at Ergo had asked me if I would be interested in reviewing their range of knives. YES please! They sent me 2 knives from their pro-series range – a 7″ Santuko Hollow ground edge and a 3.5″ pairing knife, in my opinion 2 knives that are a must have in every kitchen!

Ergo Chef has a fabulous range of knives, ergonomic and stylish in design, forged from one piece of high-carbon German steel (type X50CrMoV15), so there’s no chance they’ll snap in two. They’re also precision heat-treated for long edge life to 56-58 RC. {That’s “Rockwell,” the hardness test for steel}. In layman’s terms, that’s a perfect hardness for long edge life.

Ergo Chef KnivesI’ve ALWAYS been maniacal about my favourite kitchen tools, especially good kitchen knives. I have an old Santuko which has seen its days and these gleaming Ergo-babies had me chopping in next to no time. The Ergo Chef knives feel good and sturdy to hold, have a razor S H A R P  edge, and a comfortable wonderful grip. Have you a ‘thing‘ about chef knives? Do you obsess about no one else getting near your fave kitchen knife or culinary possession?

The design is ergonomic {as reflective of the name ERGO CHEF} and chopping has seriously taken a whole new meaning since they arrived. Onion slices as thin as paper, herbs chopped fine like I love them, the characteristic hollow ground depressions that keep food from clinging to the knife … in my eyes perfect properties for a good knife. We were well on our way to PIZZA now… CHOP, CHOP, CHOP!!Peter Reinharts Pizza Dough & Ergochef KnivesThis pizza dough is touted by Heidi @ 101 Cookbooks as the best pizza dough ever, and she’s spot on! The last time I made Peter Reinhart’s pizza dough was for a DB challenge. I was far too  inexperienced and even though it made a great pizza, what I got this time was simply the best. It’s SO GOOD that I might never bother experimenting with any other recipe. It’s got many plus factors primarily the make in advance factor. That works for me like nothing else. I sleep best when I know I have dough in the fridge. In addition, the crust is light as can be, crisp on the edges, and the resting in the fridge gives it a mature deep flavour …Peter Reinharts Pizza Dough & Ergochef KnivesMaybe the dough was good because of the Thermomix {another kitchen ‘item’ I’m obsessive about; add to the list my microplaner … }, or probably the vital gluten that Suma from Bangalore was sweet enough to courier me. Mr PAB called it the best pizza we’ve had! Did I tell you that the dough had a wonderful roasted garlic flavour which came through with just the slightest tang of my pickled red chillies? Of course it had a generous helping of fresh herbs from my flourishing herb garden! Yes, this was the best pizza ever.Herbs from my gardenErgo Chef KnivesThe toppings were minimal as Heidi suggested and she was a 100% right again. I would have loved to just make it a plain Margarita, but I struggle to get nutrition into my troublesome teen so my toppings on a basic homemade red pizza sauce were finely sliced mushrooms {sauteed in EVOO, garlic and herbs till flavoursome}, and roasted bell peppers, topped with Himalayan buffalo mozarella, pickled red peppers and fresh oregano!! The base took well to the toppings and we really enjoyed this vegetarian pizza! {pardon the pictures of the pizza as it was night by the time I got organised}.Kitchen Tools

Tell me dear readers, do  you have a kitchen gadget/tool that you are possessive about ? What is your favourite pizza dough recipe?

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Peter Reinhart’s Napoletana Pizza Dough Recipe
Summary: Adapted from 101 cookbooks, this pizza dough is touted by Heidi @ 101 Cookbooks as the best pizza dough ever, and she’s spot on! It’s SO GOOD that I might never bother experimenting with any other recipe. It makes a light airy crust which is wonderfully crisp on the edges. The overnight rise  in the fridge gives it a mature deep flavour, enhanced by my addition of roasted garlic and pickled red peppers…

Prep Time: 40 minutes {plus overnight rest, and 2 hours rest at room temperature}
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Ingredients
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
4 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 tsp instant yeast
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 head garlic, roasted
1 tbsp preserved red chillies {optional}
1 3/4 cups chilled water

Preparation

1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn’t come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a tea- spoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50 to 55F.
2. Thermomix method for dough: Place all ingredients in TM bowl and mix at speed 6 for 8 seconds. Run for 2 minutes on interval mode. Turn prepared dough out and proceed to step 3.{Donot leave TM unattended while running on interval mode}
3. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment and misting the parchment with spray oil (or lightly oil the parchment). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas), You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it, Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag.
4. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. (Note: If you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.)
5. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Now let rest for 2 hours.
6. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a heavy duty spare sheet pan on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven as hot as possible. {If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan.}
7. Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift I piece of dough by getting under it with a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue shaping it. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss as shown on page 208. If you have trouble tossing the dough, or if the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes so the gluten can relax, and try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, though this isn’t as effective as the toss method.
8. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 9 to 12″ in diameter for a 6-ounce piece of dough), lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide. Lightly top it with sauce and then with your other top- pings, remembering that the best pizzas are topped with a less-is-more philosophy. The American “kitchen sink” approach is counterproductive, as it makes the crust more difficult to bake. A few, usually no more than 3 or 4 toppings, including sauce and cheese is sufficient.
9. Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake {Mine too about 15-18 minutes as the highest oven temperature is 250C}. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower self before the next round. if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone for subsequent bakes.
10. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set slightly.

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