inspired edible++pesto pizza and raja tea
i suppose it started with a bread maker that was given to my parents (m&g) as a wedding gift.
now, most people are given bread makers which end up either gathering dust in the garage or are promptly re-gifted. (old school)
however, my mom and gundi actually asked for a bread maker and boy did we use it!
i remember many nights of pizza, xena and hercules.
yes, xena, warrior princess. we are nerds and proud of it.
and pesto. ah glorious pesto. an even older tradition of ours.
my mom has made pesto several times a week as far back as i can remember.
the way most families always have ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise in the fridge,
we always had pesto.
that being said, our pesto is quite different than what you may be used to.
it is accidentally vegan, much creamier and less oily.
also full of garlic.
note: don’t plan on kissing anyone who isn’t sharing your meal:)
it works beautifully in a number of dishes:
1. dip for crudites or fresh bread
2. tossed with pasta (warm or cold)
when planning the menu for our cook-craft-read-love event last sunday, i was thinking about my favorite foods and which would make good fingerish food and be relatively easy to prepare, and mushroom pesto pizza won!
now i do own a bread maker, but since discovering artisan bread in 5 minutes a day, i rarely use it since i almost always have a bowl of dough ready in the fridge.
(which i also used to make flatbread to serve with the spicy cilantro hummus i made, rae’s insanely tasty tapenade, some farmer’s market manchego,
(visit the french cheese guy at the weho monday farmer’s market on fountain & vista! his fromage is a million times tastier and lasts twice as long as that stuff you find in the supermarket)
alongside columbus salame, tj spanish olives, peperoncinis and tj bread and butter pickles.
1. no hard liquor. (this was for an afternoon party, and i didn’t want to get these ladies tanked).
2. a little sweet but not too much.
3. to look pretty in my lovely glass infuser from cost plus.
so i looked in the cupboard, looked in the fridge, and out came “raja tea”!
jasmine & lychee tea, lychees+juice, sake, clementine & a smidge of agave
we named it so because the main ingredient is jasmine tea.
raja is jamine’s pet tiger in aladdin.
light, floral and subtly sweet, it was a culinary experiment that happened to succeed. thank you cooking gods.
i used sake as the alcoholic component of this beverage, which is light, blends well with fruity flavors, and is really inexpensive! usually 8 bucks for a monster bottle. i keep one around and use it often in cooking as a replacement of wine.
and now come the recipes! my least favorite part i am sorry to say. i have the hardest time remembering what ingredients i added and how much i used!
but since i have made this pizza thousands of times, hopefully this won’t be too challenging:)
please let me know if you have any questions!
also a note: the pizza dough used here is a variation of a recipe from artisan bread in 5 minutes a day,
please check them, their blog and their cookbooks out! such an incredible concept and they are constantly posting new recipes!
i will most definitely be writing a post in the future dedicated entirely to them. i <3 artisan bread in 5.
mushroom and red onion pesto pizza
this recipe will make enough dough for 5-10 small pizzas. i keep it in the fridge to make pizza or fresh bread whenever i feel like it!
it lasts for a week or so refrigerated. the other night, i made incredible cinnamon apple buns in ten minutes, using this dough!
*you will need
- a large bowl with a non-airtight lid and space in the fridge
- a pizza stone (get one at ross for about 10 bucks)
- a pizza sheath or you can make do with a plastic flexible cutting board but be careful!
3 c warm water
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 1/2 c flour
combine the warm water with yeast and salt in a large bowl.
add flour slowly and combine but do not over mix.
cover bowl and allow to sit in a warm place for 2 hours.
the dough should be almost to the top and is supposed to be very wet.
at this point, if you were in a crunch, you could make the pizza, but if you have the time, the dough is much, much easier to work with when cold, so place it covered in the fridge for a few hours.
about 15 minutes before you are ready to begin, preheat your oven to 450 degrees, with the pizza stone on the top shelf.
bring the dough out of the fridge, and dust a thin layer of flour over the top of the dough, and flour your hands a bit to prevent sticking.
dust your pizza sheath with corn meal (i prefer blue cornmeal-tasty, beautiful and apparently quite healthy!) (this helps build a barrier between the dough and pizza stone and it is important to use cornmeal, not flour- flour isn’t dense enough to achieve this.
using a small knife, cut out a piece of dough about the size of a grapefruit.
quickly lift the ball of dough onto the sheath.
pull the dough into a pizza shape, but try to handle the dough as little as possible, as this will pop all the yeast bubbles and the crust will be dense and rock-like, instead of light and fluffy. i have definitely ended up with both:) it is perfectly ok if parts of the dough are uneven. i actually prefer it this way. stretch your dough out as much as you like- if you prefer a thinner crust, stretch it further- for a thicker crust, less.
next we will par-bake the dough- this step is extremely important!! if you just top the pizza on this wet of a crust, it will absolutely, without a doubt, stick to the pizza stone, which is so disappointing! bottom line, do not skip this step!
once you are happy with the dough (really don’t worry too much about the shape- mine are rarely symmetrical and i love that) and the oven is hot,
open the oven and quickly (carefully) slide the dough off the sheath and onto the pizza stone. try to move quickly as to not let any heat escape from the oven.
close the oven and let the dough bake for about 5 minutes or so- then pull it back onto the sheath and out of the oven. it should be soft to the touch but firm and not doughy- but not brown yet.
leave the oven on and the pizza stone in.
now for the toppings!
1 c nuts (i almost always use almonds. call me crazy but i don’t like pine nuts! you could also use walnuts if you like)
2 T olive oil
juice of 1 lemon or large lime
1-2 T soy sauce (to taste)
2-6 cloves of garlic (i really really really love my garlic. but you may not so you may want to start with 2 and work your way up- but the flavor does mellow when cooked)
1 jalapeno (serrano will also work, and this is flexible if you don’t love spicy like me.)
1/4-1/2 c water
optional/seasonal 1 c fresh herbs (basil, parsley, rosemary(a note on rosemary: use only the leaves of a tiny sprig!! this stuff is strong! it can ruin the whole batch so use really really really sparingly. when i was 12, i was making dinner for everyone and tried to make pesto using rosemary as the only herb because we had no basil. i used a lot of it. it was inedible. lesson: go very easy on the rosemary.) sometimes, if i don’t have them, i add no herbs at all. it is different, but equally delicious.
put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, adding water if necessary.
some people like chunkier pesto, but i prefer mine smooth-
i have two of these cuisinart mini preps plus, and i use them every single day.
on the water front, nuts absorb water relatively quickly- sometimes i will soak the almonds in the fridge overnight, which makes this creamier.
usually i will start with a little water and add it slowly as it blends- you don’t want your pesto to be too wet on a pizza or the crust will be soggy-
aim for a creamy texture similar to hummus-
taste it and adjust all the flavors to your liking but keep in mind that everything will mellow as it bakes.
the toppings (per pizza)
3-5 sliced mushrooms (button, cremini, oyster whatever you like!)
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1 c shredded mozzarella or sliced buffalo
optional: crushed red pepper
place par-baked pizza dough on pizza sheath and spread a 1/4 in thick layer of pesto on crust.
sprinkle mushrooms over the dough, then the mozzarella, then the red onions on top!
if using, sprinkle crushed red pepper over pizza-
carefully slide pizza off sheath, and back onto the pizza stone.
bake for 10-20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and brown but be careful not to burn the crust:)
i usually get my loose leaf teas in china town. great selection and prices.
1 teaball 2/3 loose leaf jasmine tea & 1/3 lychee tea
1/2 large bottle of sake
1 can lychee & their juice
1 clementine, thinly sliced
2 T agave
optional: club soda
brew 1 kettle of tea. let steep for 20-30 minutes or longer if you prefer a stronger flavor- let cool.
pour tea into dispenser and mix in agave and sake.
add clementine slices and lychee in their juices and mix well.
taste and add water or agave if needed.
chill overnight- should be served very cold.
optional: fill glasses 3/4 full with tea and 1/4 with club soda just before serving- garnish with lychee.
thank you for reading!
next up, propagating succulent gardens!
2 Responses to “inspired edible++pesto pizza and raja tea”