Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza, baguette, dahl and travel

Although I haven't been posting about it, we definitely have been cooking. Here's what I'm trying tonight...Cast Iron Skillet Pizza. I read about it here and here. Smart idea!! I decided to pre-heat the skillet in my oven, turned as high as it could go (500 degrees) for a good half hour. My issues with homemade pizza before is that the oven doesn't get hot enough for a good, crisp crust. Though this still won't be as hot as I desire, I'm not ready to trick out my oven, like Varasano, to achieve those results :)

btw--for those of you in Atlanta, Varasano's is an excellent pizza joint. Between his place and Antico, we're turning into a regular pizza town.

So, here are the results--raw dough with goat cheese, unsalted tomatoes, oregano and parmesan on my "peel" with corn grits underneath. (hey, the grits work pretty well...)
Baked! Crispy and hot in about 6 minutes--5 on bottom of oven, 1 under the broiler.
Char? Everyone shows these "char" shots but I ended up just dumping all the pizza toppings while trying to take this shot.
This is my second favorite $6 Chianti from Trader Joe's. (trust me, I've tried them all)

I didn't follow instructions directly, for a few reasons. It was suggested to heat the pan on the burner for 30 or so minutes, put the dough in, then put it under the broiler on High. Well...I have a glass top electric stove. I can just see myself banging that heavy cast iron pot down on super high heat and cracking the range. Crazy? Maybe. Plus, my broiler maxes out at 500, same as my oven. So, I figured that heating the pan on the non-breakable rack at 500 was sufficient.

Is this pizza any better than my normal cookie sheet? Yes--a bit crispier. Is it restaurant quality? Nope. But, it's better than Dominoes ;) I'd also like to try a Chicago deep dish style pizza in the cast iron--I'm betting that would work quite well. Lower heat and longer cooking time, of course.

We also have been eating dahl and I had waaaaaay too much of a delicious baguette.

Cheating and Probably Quite Inauthentic Dahl:
1.5 c. red lentils
6 c. water
1-2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
2-3 t. curry paste
2 vegetable boullion cubes
2 garlic cloves, crushed (or minced if you don't plan on pulling them out)
frozen peas

Place all, except bouillon cubes and peas, in pot. Bring to boil, add bouillon, reduce and simmer. After 30 minutes, add 1 cup or so of peas. Heat through and you're set!

Baguette--okay, I was surprised at how light and fluffy this was. Then I realized why--I was out of wheat flour. I always, always, always make white/wheat mix in pizza, bread, EVERYTHING. So, this was fluffy because it was all delicious White Lily Bread flour. Here's the recipe:

3/4 c. water
2 c. white bread flour
1 T. dry milk (I always use powdered creamer and never have had a problem)
1 1/2 honey
1 t. salt
1 T. butter
1 t. fast rise yeast

I baked half of that at 375 for around 15-20 minutes. Spritz the floor of your oven for a crispier crust. I've read about cooking at high heat, then lowering--but I was busy so I didn't mess around with the varying heat.

All right, guys--I'm headed to Baltimore for work this week. So excited!! I'm ready for a little vacation from work. Have a good week!


Jenn said...

Nicely done on the pizza. That a neat trick. A cast iron skillet is one thing I seriously need to invest in this year.

doggybloggy said...

I have a pizza stone and it works pretty good but I an going to try the skillet method - I have seen it a lot lately and your fantastic results have convinced me.

~~louise~~ said...

Oh I am so saving this post for Pizza Month!!! (right along side your XXX Pizza from the picnic:)

I never need an excuse to use my cast iron pan and too think I never thought to make PIZZA!!! in it. Thanks for this wonderful idea, Lini. Have a GREAT time in Baltimore!!!

Now if I could only get up enough nerve to bake Baguettes

buffalodick said...

Pizza looked amazing! Everything you did or didn't do was correct-from a physics point of view...I cook the same way!

Marjie said...

I have a pizza stone that I may get to try some day. The problem is that it's too small to feed the hungry hordes that follow me around. Your bread looks great! I don't generally put powdered milk in my French bread; I prefer to let the flavor of the honey and olive oil reign supreme.

Katherine Aucoin said...

I haven't treid the skillet method before but you have me inspired! Looks soooooooo good!

Michelle Ann said...

What a great idea with the cast iron...and dahl is one of my favorite Indian dishes

The Blonde Duck said...

Have you ever tried cast iron burgers? I've heard they're divine...