On top of it being almost Christmas I also have 4 birthdays to attend this month and as such, I don't really have too much time for photography at the moment. Thankfully I got a break from running around the other day and created this tasty little dinner.
If you liked that one, here's a list [photoblog.com] of all the recipes that I've posted.
The first step is always good pizza dough. I've only made pizza dough a couple of times and it's actually pretty easy to make. I like flat dough pizza's so that's what I used here. It's 4 cups of bread flour (you can use regular flour for a chewier crust), 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 envelope of instant yeast, 1 1/2 cups of warm (roughly 110F) water, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 2 - 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Simply put your dry ingredients into a mixer/bowl and as they mix add the water and the oil until a ball is formed. Once you get a ball, kneed the dough for a while until it becomes nice and smooth. Put it in a warm area to rise until it doubles. Take it out, and punch down. You can divide it into two pieces and let each piece rise again, under a wet towel, for 10 - 20 minutes.
Here's my dough when I'm done and it's been rolled out. Pizza dough is easy to make, but hard to work with. It's stretchy and it doesn't like to hold it's shape. I find it's easiest to get it “about right” and then plop it onto whatever greased sheet you're using. Once there the grease generally holds it in place and it becomes easier to get it to it's final shape. From what I've read, using a rolling pin (as I did above) is the wrong way to do it. Oh well, I guess I'll find a better way next time.
Here's the real flavor of your pizza - shiitake mushrooms, mozzarella, garlic, and olive oil. To make my sauce, I cut up garlic in large chunks, and cooked it (with some crushed red peppers) in extra virgin olive oil, on super low heat for about 30 minutes. I also added a couple of pieces of mushroom for some extra flavor. By cooking the garlic and mushrooms on low heat, you'r basically doing a quick infusion of the olive oil. Plus the garlic is being roasted so you get a savory sweet garlic flavor on your pizza. For the next one, I plan on roasting some garlic separately and adding that to the top of the pizza too.
When the sauce was done, I just poured it liberally on the dough, added cheese and the rest of my mushrooms and cooked it at 350F until the cheese melted and the crust was crispy. I think it took about 30 minutes tops.
As the final topping I put fresh baby spinach and a little bit of aged (nothing fancy, 6 years is all you need) balsamic vinegar.