Monday, November 08, 2004

experiment in pizza

So tonight after two shopping trips to Costco for meat and Ralphs for produce, Beckey & I decided to complete our saga of Thai Chicken Pizza, CPK style according to the recipe included below. The results were fantastic (you'll see a photo in the next post, shortly). Made two pizzas. The pizzas themselves cook up very quickly, and I am happy to report that the GE range that I have will heat comfortably up to 505 degrees F. and maintain it! The first pizza came out rather "crispy". I left it in for 9 minutes, and it was too much; at 500 degrees, 7-8 minutes was plenty.
Had to dig out the pizza peel and pizza stone, but it all came together in a tasty way. Some notes:

1. Be sparing on the sauce on the pizza, as it is very rich and rather filling. We used about 1/4 cup, and we could've used less...but maybe that's because the dough really didn't rise that much.
In any event, the pizza was so filling, Beckey & I each only ate half.

2. 2 cups shredded mozzarella is about 4-5 ounces of solid cheese, i.e., one small mozzarella cheese.

3. Four scallions listed may be too much, 2 would probably be sufficient, unless you really like green onions.

4. The dough didn't rise as expected. Even after the first rise at room temperature, the dough had barely increased in size by 10-15%. The water temp for dissolving the yeast was fine. I think it was because the yeast was cold (I left it in the refrigerator). So I'm making another batch of pizza dough tonight; except this time, I upped the yeast by 1/2 teaspoon, let the yeast "proof" for around 10 minutes until it was nice & bubbly. I also only kneaded the dough enough for it to come together & to absorb all the flour in the bowl, so it's not smooth; in fact, it still looks pretty rough. So we'll see what happens.

5. 10 ounces of chicken is about 1.5 chicken breasts. I cooked two, and I should have enough chicken left for a BBQ chicken pizza tomorrow. Next time, cook 3 breasts, that's enough for 4 pizzas.

6. If your oven really can hit 500 degrees and you're using a pizza stone, 9-10 minutes might be too much. Somewhere between about 7-9 minutes is the key. At 7 minutes, you should definitely check, and keep a keen eye on it from then on. 10 minutes yields a nice crispy dark crust, but also may lead to slightly burned cheese.

In any event, the pizza was very tasty, and we have 1-1/4 pizzas left over for dining tomorow. Pizza stone & high oven temperature yielded a nice crunchy crust. I will experiment more in the future with the dough recipe, perhaps adding a bit of wheat gluten to increase the chewiness.

On another note, I got my copy of Helen Chen's "Chinese Home Cooking" today. I think that pretty much completes it for my Asian cookbook purchasing. At this point I have a number of Asian cookbooks, mostly with a Chinese Cooking emphasis:

China Moon Cookbook by Barbara Tropp
Art of Chinese Cooking by Barbara Tropp
The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bey Miller
Time Life "Foods of The World" Series, "Art of Chinese Cooking" (out of print, but available on Ebay)
Chopstix Cookbook by Hugh Carpenter
Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su Huei
Chinese Cuising: Cantonese Style by Lee-Hwa Lin
Chinese Home Cooking by Helen Chen
Blue Ginger: East Meets West by Ming Tsai

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