Learning about making your own pizza

I made my own pizza again lest night.  It’s not something I do on a regular basis but it’s not something novel either.  Pizza is close to being a favourite – a status it achieved through almost a month exploring Italy about 7 years ago.

I decided to try something different last night – I turned to Jim Lahey’s – yep, the same one who invented No Knead Bread – for pizza advice.  The results were stunning:

Learning about making your own pizza January

There were several things I learned from this recipe and it’s approach which challenged my past experiences making pizza:

  • He does not use a pizza stone – a baking tray will do.
  • No need for cornmeal or flour at the bottom of your cooking tray either, line it with olive oil.
  • No rolling pins, no tossing.  Hand stretch it in your pan.This created a few tears which were patched up – I worried these would cause the pizza to stick to the pan but that was a non issue with the oil.
  • The sauce is extremely liquid.  In fact it is a can of plum tomatoes (14.5 ounces of tomatoes and 2/4 cup of the juice) and some olive oil.  This flys in the face of commercial pizza “paste” and what I thought made sense.  The liquid sauce keeps things moist and does not reduce to to the sweeter side of things.
  • Avoid saucing the middle of your pizza.  This I realized previously but this recipe took this to new heights.  I “kissed” the middle with sauce and want heavy on the outside as it tends to cook first.  Common sense but this had alluded me previously.
  • Cook it hot and long.  Hot I knew – but I did not expect my Pizza to survive at 500 degrees for almost 30 minutes.  The instructions were to wait for the edges to pull back from the pan and become slightly charred.   I thought this effect was only produced in a pizza oven.

The crust was thin and crispy on the outside as it gave way to a wonderfully soft and chewy crust in the middle.

Any tricks out there from other pizza lovers?  We’d love to hear them.

Check your fruit – dehydrated cranberries

Craisins.  Beautiful, sweet and bitter all at the same time.  Great in salads, granola or just for eating as is.  I love them.  I couldn’t wait to get cranberries into the dehydrator.

Lesson learned: craisins are not dehydrated cranberries.  Our small, shrivelled bits are intriguing, bitter, and interesting.  Did I mention bitter?

Check your fruit   dehydrated cranberries Preserving Recipes January Cranberry [Read more...]

Cheap Tuesday Gourmet – Vegetarian Split Pea Soup


We have been fairly meat-heavy on Cheap Tuesday Gourmet.  Living in a winter clime produces an inversion of pricing in the markets seasonally – meat can be cheaper the veggies in the winter and seasonal veggies drop under the price of meat in the warmer months.

Cheap Tuesday Gourmet   Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Peas January Cooking Recipes Cheap Tuesday Gourmet [Read more...]

Dehydrating Lime and Lemon Zest

When we started canning, I was prepared for a long struggle in learning how to become proficient in a new skill.  It was a pleasant surprise to see how easy it was and how quick one could learn.  Success came from the first batch.

When we started dehydrating (4 batches ago at the end of December), I was ready for a short progression and instant gratification.  Place slices or whole fruit and veg in the magic box and pull out when dry.  Sounded easy.  I am learning that there is a bigger learning curve here than I thought.

Dehydrating Lime and Lemon Zest Preserving Recipes Lime Lemon January [Read more...]

Dehydrated Orange Slices

I have frequent memories of reading Mad Magazines and torn issues of Cracked as a child.  These were cartoony parodies, often cynical and often more cutting than the silly cover portrayed.

Although I have many general memories of these magazines (“What Me Worry?”, Spy Vs. Spy and movie parodies), I only have one specific memory of a particular item in the pages I once poured over.  The Magazine would often take common photos and add their own captions for humour.  They ran a piece on a motorcycle rally and had a photo of a woman driving a motorcycle with the caption “My boyfriend taught me how to drive his bike – I learn how to stop tomorrow!”  (When I read this I missed the obvious sexist undertones as I was young and tender :)).

Dehydrated Orange Slices Preserving Recipes Orange January [Read more...]

Food Porn – a few beautiful sites

It’s early on a Saturday morning.  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and flip through some of these sites – they are low on text and high on great photos.  Let your brain wake up slowly – get your hunger going faster:

Food Porn Daily
Food Gawker
Slashfood Flickr Pool
Food Porn Group on Flickr

Happy Saturday!

Fledgling Wine – drinking our way to others literacy

It was way back in May that we posted about Crushpad – a SanFrancisco based company that allowed people to make their own wine – at up to $10,000 a barrel.  Crushpad bills itself as a winery for hire – you buy a wine by the barrel and are involved in every step of the making of the wine, all guided by them.  They will also guide you through the process of selling your wine as well.  The grapes are grown or purchased from the best wineries in California and you are presented many options to create exactly what you want.

A founder of Twitter (Biz Stone), the founder of Crushpad (Michael Brill) and charity Room to Read (founded by John Wood) have teamed up to create Fledgling Wine – a wine company which donates $5 a bottle to Room to Read.  Mr. Brill claims this wine is identical to bottles which sell for $50 by big named wineries and that this project is retailing them (through prepurchase) for $20.

As you’ll see in the accompanying video, Room to Read is trying to reduce poverty through increasing Literacy in the 3rd world.  Their goal is to touch 10 million kids by the year 2020.

The following video introduces Fledling Wine in less than 2 minutes:

You can

Chef Lynn Crawford opening new restaurant in Leslieville (Toronto)

Although many are talking about Lynn Crawford coming to the east end, there doesn’t seem to be a lot written about it yet.  Being that her new restaurant will be closer than the distance we walk for four trips of laundry, we are a tad excited.

The many reasons you may recognize her name:

  • Former Executive Chef, Four Seasons, New York
  • Former Executive Chef, Four Seasons, Toronto
  • The only female executive chef in the four seasons (at the time) – in all of their 70 restaurants worldwide
  • Food Network Canada – Restaurant Makeover
  • Food Network – Iron Chef America (Battle Peanut with Bobby Flay.  She lost by 2 but beat him in the plating category)
  • She has been an executive chef since 1994.

She, along with Cherie Stinson (of Restaurant Makeover and renowned design firm Yabu Pushelberg) and Cherie’s husband Joey Skeir will manage the front of house.

Regular commenter of WellPreserved (and dear friend) Kerry heard an interview with Chef Crawford yesterday where she announced the name for the first time – Ruby Watchco (Watcjko?).  It is expected to open by March.

It’s an exciting prospect for the neighborhood.  It sounds like there will be a focus on local and seasonal – we are waiting with much excitement for more news and will share when we do.

Dehydrated Apple Slices – trying out the dehydrator

The first batch of dehydrating is complete.  I couldn’t resist starting with the simple apple – after all my earliest memories of eating dried food were apple chips.  This was a frequent snack while hiking in Boy Scouts.

Dehydrated Apple Slices   trying out the dehydrator Preserving Recipes January Apple [Read more...]

Cheap Tuesday Gourmet – Liver, Onions, Bacon, Mushrooms and brussel sprouts

First off, I promise a vegetarian option next week.

Liver and Onions was a meal I grew up on – it never excited me a whole lot to hear that it was cooking but my Father always did such an amazing job of it and I found myself loving it when I pushed myself to eat it.  It’s certainly not a daily dish (in fact it’s less than yearly) but it’s something few cook and it’s full of flavor and is actually a tasty, hearty meal.

Even after picking his brain tonight I didn’t live up to his legend but we came close…

Cheap Tuesday Gourmet   Liver, Onions, Bacon, Mushrooms and brussel sprouts Liver January Cooking Recipes Cheap Tuesday Gourmet [Read more...]