Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting



This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge is hosted by Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater with her Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting, as published on Bay Area Bites - full recipe HERE. There was also an optional challenge: Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111.

Co-hosting with Shuna are Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo), Jenny of Foray into Food, and for the gluten-free options, Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go.

I decided to use the caramels as a decoration for my cake, and although we haven't eaten ours yet, the cake smelled so good when it was baking that I was having to hold the kids back. Caramel is one of my husband's favorite things and he can't wait to get his fork on this one!


I think it went together really easily, the cake baked perfectly and the icing was a real pleasure to work with. I can tell you that the caramels themselves are delightful.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Philly Steve'steak Sandwich Recipe

What happens to everyone after high school? You know, the people you see every day during the school year but then suddenly lose contact with when graduation is over. The people you only ever see in old photos ... "Hey, whatever happened to that guy?" You know what I'm talking about.

Well, I've recently gotten back in contact with several old school pals at Facebook. No more wondering what everyone is doing! Good, bad and everything in-between, it's just plain good to be able to talk to them again.

This is another reason to find old friends - recipes. I've known Steve since grade school. He was a goofball then, and although he's mellowed a bit (haven't we all?) his sense of humor is still very much intact. He's lived one incredible life, too. I mean, he probably could write a book. He's rubbed shoulders with the likes of Thomas Kinkade and Arnold Schwarzenegger; lived in Hawaii, is former Navy intelligence and currently one of his jobs is diving at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The best part of his fascinating life is that he's still married to the same beautiful girl. That's saying something nowadays, isn't it?

All that and a recipe too - yeah, he cooks - and obviously very well. The only bad thing I can see about his life is that he's no longer able to get a real Philly Cheesesteak out there in California. No matter, he's adapted and shared the recipe with me. This is one good steak sandwich. I'd make it even if I could get the real deal right around the corner.

Philly Steve'steak Sandwich Recipe
Printable Recipe

Ground-rule: USE REAL USDA approved steak not steakum!

1 Serving:

Ingredients:
1 New York Strip Steak
4 Dill (not sweet) pickle round slices
1 can Paul Newman's Sockarooni Spaghetti Sauce
3 slices American Cheese
1 Steak Roll (Sourdough or Italian roll)l can be substituted.
Green bell pepper slices
Onion slices

How to cook:
First freeze the steak so it is easy to slice. You can slice it paper thin if it is frozen.



After slicing - brown the sliced steak in a skillet.



Pour a tablespoon of dill pickle juice on top of the steak as it browns. Let sizzle until brown.



Lay a mixture of green bell pepper and onions on top of the steak. Let sizzle for 3 minutes on low burner.



Place one tablespoon of Paul Newman's Sockarooni sauce on top and mix it into the steak and veggies.



Use a spatula to shape the meat and veggies into an "I" shape.



Place cheese on top. Wait until it starts to melt.

Open the roll and place it upside down on top of the cheese The bottom of the roll should be facing up. Let sit for 15-20 seconds. (Don't wait too long the roll will get soggy).



Squeeze the roll, with the meat inside and turn over quickly. Set on a plate and add four dill pickle slices to the top. I like to add a little more fresh Sockarooni sauce (like it's ketchup).


Bada-boom Bada-bing!!! Philly Steve'steak. Yummy. Whip up some real steak fries to go with it and watch an Eagles/Steelers game while you eat it (the game makes it taste more authentic ). I taught myself how to make these out here because no one out here knows how to make a real cheesesteak sandwich.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Apple Napoleons with Dulce de Leche


This past week's Top Chef challenge was to come up with "New American" cuisine to be served at Tom Colicchio's Craft restaurant in NYC. There seemed to be some confusion as to just what New American may mean, but my personal feeling is that New American is more fusion than anything else.

America has become such a melting pot (wasn't it always, though?) and expressing that through food really shouldn't be so complicated. I admit to patting myself on the back when Rhadika's dessert wontons were well-received, because I had just done similar a few weeks ago at Family.com, sans the mousse. While Carla's apple dessert was obviously well-liked, I can't help but think I'd have done it differently.

What would I have done? Well, I think the French Napoleon crossed with the classic American apple pie and a Mexican dulce de leche would be about perfect - and I have to say, they were!

Apple Napoleons with Dulce de Leche
Makes 6 pastries
Printable Recipe

2 sheets puff pastry cut into 3 inch squares - 18 total
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large apples peeled, cored and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dulce de leche
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Bake pastry squares according to package directions until golden brown. Set aside.
Melt butter in a skillet and add apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook until apples are soft and lightly caramelized - about 10 minutes. Heat dulce de leche and keep warm. Add powdered sugar to cream and beat until stiff peaks form.

Lay out 6 pastry squares and top each with whipped cream, apples and dulce de leche. Repeat a second layer for each. Top each with a pastry square, whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Gourmet Dipped Apples


Have you seen these? They are offered on every upscale gourmet website and in every posh overpriced catalog imaginable. The average price for these beauties is $10 each. I am of the, "Why buy it when you can make it?" camp and I can imagine that my Scottish ancestors would rise up and haunt me if I actually paid for one.

I knew I could do it, and so I did - and I only paid $2.50 for each one. If I don't go into business for myself, I think these would make lovely gifts this Christmas, and I may just give a few away.

I've made them with homemade caramel and wrapped caramels and covered in nuts or sprinkles. I even made a design with nut halves and dragees on one. I think they're pretty no matter how you make them and they disappear so quickly there's no doubt about how delicious they are.





Caramel and Chocolate Dipped Apples
Makes 2
Printable Recipe

2 very large Fuji or Granny Smith (I prefer these) apples - washed, dried and at room temperature
1/2 pound dark chocolate coating
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted nuts or small candy sprinkles

Caramel:

1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup dark brown sugar

OR

40 wrapped caramels melted smooth in the microwave

Mix all three together well in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Clip on a candy thermometer and cook over low heat, stirring very often, until the temperature reaches the 'soft ball' stage - or 235 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir continuously for several minutes until the caramel beings to cool and thicken.

Dip each apple - using the stem - into the caramel as far as it will go. Use a spoon to cover the top half of the apple, making sure it is well coated and there are no bare spots. Set on parchment or waxed paper to cool. Dip other apple likewise.

When they caramel is set, it's time to dip in chocolate.

Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. When fully melted, dip each apple the same way they were dipped for the caramel, coating all sides well.

As soon as they are dipped, roll to coat in 1/2 cup chopped nuts or sprinkles. Let stand in a cold spot until well set. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat and consume within one week of dipping.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lava Cakes with Cherries


Lava cakes are absolutely nothing new. But they sure are good. A couple cherries added to the center make them even better; if that's possible.

Lava Cakes with Cherries
Makes 4
Printable Recipe

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
8 maraschino cherries - well drained

Grease 4 custard cups - 3/4 cup capacity and pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Melt butter and chocolate together and stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Beat eggs and yolk with vanilla; add to cooled chocolate and blend well. Stir in flour. Divide evenly between custard cups. Gently push 2 maraschino cherries into the center of each cake. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes. Loosen gently with a thin knife and upturn onto a plate. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies

Who doesn't love Whoopie Pies? While the chocolate version are definitely my favorite, these pumpkin cakes are perfect for this time of year.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies
Makes 12 pies
Printable Recipe

Cakes:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter - melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:

1/2 stick butter
4 oz. cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix together melted butter, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, pie spice, pumpkin puree and eggs until smooth. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well until a thick batter forms. Drop by spoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheets. You need 24 cakes for 12 pies. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 - 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean. Cool completely and make filling.

Blend softened butter and cream cheese with vanilla. Add powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread on 12 cakes and top each with another cake.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kitchen Keepers

Everyone has products they use in their daily lives that they would not be without. For the most part, I'm not what I would call a "brand loyal" type; except for a few things.

Two of those things that I prefer over any other are Bounty paper towels and Dawn dish liquid.



While I try as hard as I can to keep my carbon footprint small through recycling (and many other actions), I don't see the value in using a cheaper paper towel - especially when I could use an entire roll for a couple spills. I admit to using rags for nearly all spills, but there are some that just need a throw-away.

I think Bounty Select-A-Size are the best choice for those. Not only can I choose which size towel I want, I am also able to rinse them out and use them again. There is no other paper towel I have used that has those properties. I wrote over a year ago about these at Short Order Mom, and my opinion hasn't changed one bit.



Dawn dish liquid is also something I've written about before, but even prior to being offered samples, it's the only dish liquid I've ever bought. Nothing works as well on greasy plastics and I haven't found another that smells as good, either.

Dawn's newest version, Dawn PLUS Hand Renewal, feels so good on my hands I actually find myself wanting to wash dishes! I have the Pomegranate and Splash scent and can't wait to give the other two a try. Now my only dilemma at the store is which Dawn dish liquid to buy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Gathering of Friends


Entertaining for friends and family is one of my favorite things to do. There is nothing more satisfying to me than to be able to bring smiles to others' faces with the meals I make.

The Gathering of Friends focuses on just that; entertaining family and friends through food. This book is a real keepsake - beautifully bound and filled with gorgeous colorful photos. The recipes are not anything that the average home cook wouldn't be able to make. Each recipe is tried and true, many of them very familiar, but perfectly paired with others and presented in such a way that it makes each meal a memorable one.

There are fifteen gatherings presented in the book, from an Evening Gathering in chapter one to a Hero Shower in chapter fifteen. There is also a chapter devoted to ideas on creating the perfect gathering place - even when you think it's not possible.

Authored by Michelle Huxtable and Alyse Christensen with stunning photos by Matt Christensen, The Gathering of Friends, Volume One is a book you'll cherish for years to come.

You can purchase The Gathering of Friends, Volume One online at http://www.thegatheringoffriends.com/.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thanksgiving Day is Just Around the Corner

That is, if you live in the United States. Thanksgiving Day this year falls on the 27th of November. For the best Thanksgiving Day Recipe Round-Up check out what Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants has put together HERE. You really don't want to miss this!

If this is your first year cooking a turkey, or even if you've done it before and hit a snag or have a question, Foster Farms is available to rescue you!

From November 19 to December 1, including Thanksgiving Day, the Foster Farms Turkey Helpline may be accessed 24-hours a day, seven days a week by calling (800) 255-7227. The Turkey Helpline is staffed by live operators and provides consumers with tips to help make their turkey dinners a success. Prior to November 19 and after December 1, the Foster Farms Turkey Helpline is available Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. PST. Online self-help resources are available at www.fosterfarms.com year-round.


Foster Farms isn't only there for help - check out this recipe for Citrus Turkey:



Citrus Turkey

1 Foster Farms Whole Turkey
4 oranges
2 grapefruits
2 lemons
2 limes
2 tangelos or tangerines
1 sweet onion (maui or Vidalia)
1/8 cup honey
1 tablespoon pepper, divided
1/4 cup tequila or lime juice


Directions
1. Zest citrus, dice onion and blend together with honey, tequila (or lime juice) and 1/2 tablespoon of pepper. Cut the leftover citrus into wedges and reserve for stuffing.

2. Spread zest into mixture over the exterior of the bird. Rub remaining pepper into cavity of bird and then stuff with citrus wedges.

3. Tie legs together and then BBQ for best results. If cooking in the oven, baste the bird with drippings, or make extra zest to drip over it as it cooks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A New Blog

I adore soup, in fact, I think I could eat soup every day. I have so many of my own soup recipes and even more stored away that I decided to start sharing them. My newest blog venture is A Thousand Soups. Stop by and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veggie Wednesday: Earthbound Farm Launches Videos


It's no secret that I love Earthbound Farm. Myra Goodman's Food to Live By has quickly become one of my most treasured cookbooks and I don't think there's any better baby spinach available on the market. As if that wasn't enough, they've now launched videos featuring Myra Goodman herself.

You can access the videos HERE and see what Myra has to say about baby greens and watch the making of her famous (and delicious!) Maple Almond Granola. I've made this and it's so good, you don't want to miss this video.

In conjunction with the release of these wonderful videos, I also have a copy of Food to Live By to give away! Don't miss your chance to enter this giveaway - this cookbook is so wonderful, it's one you'll want to have in your collection.

Leave a comment for me here WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS (U.S. Residents only) and I will announce a winner on December 12th. Good Luck!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bloggers Unite to Reconnect Families


Family dinner; it's just another night at the table, isn't it? My own family gathers each night to eat together and discuss our day. Sometimes it all goes rather smoothly and other times we have kids leaving the table in tears. As frustrating as that can be, I'd miss it terribly if it were taken from me.

For tens of millions of people across the globe, family dinner is a thing of the past and a thin thread clung to in the hopes that it will again happen some day. Those people are refugees.

What exactly is a refugee? A refugee is a person that flees to a foreign country to escape danger or persecution. Many people find themselves not only separated from their country, their home and their familiar surroundings, but also from their families. Many families flee together only to lose contact with one another and have nowhere to call home. Imagine yourself in this situation. What would you do? Where would you turn? Even if you found a place of refuge, how would you find your family?


BlogCatalog, in conjunction with Refugees United is getting the word out today; There is hope. Refugees United is a unique online forum - completely anonymous - that helps refugees to connect with family and friends. While they are not able to provide reunions of a physical nature, they do provide a way for refugees and their loved ones to get in touch.

From the website:

Refugees United provides refugees with an anonymous forum to reconnect with missing family. By registering with nick- names, scars, former locations and other markers only identifiable to family and close friends, everyone can remain 'invisible' to all but relatives.

  • All refugees are welcome, regardless of conflict, place or time.
  • Refugees United is an independent, non-political, non-religious NGO.
  • No third party is involved. No official papers need to be filled in.
  • The service is free of charge and easy to use.
  • Before you sit down with your family tonight, please take a moment to check out the Refugees United website to find out how you can help bring families together -- because everyone deserves to know where family is.

    Monday, November 03, 2008

    Supernoots - The Smart Way to Kid Nutrition


    Do you have mealtime struggles with your kids? Are they (and you) stuck in a rut of not-so-nutritious foods? I know my kids have all gone through this phase and it's one of the most difficult parts of parenting.

    Enter Supernoots! This totally unique method is a sure-fire solution to your mealtime woes. Don't take it from me, though, here's what Lori Liakonis, owner of Supernoots has to say about how this awesome program came to be:


    First of all, my name is Lori Liakonis, and I am a former teacher and now WAHM of a five-year old and two-year old twins.

    The idea for SuperNoots began with a struggle to get my son, Nicholas, to eat healthy food. Up until age 3 1/2, Nicholas had always eaten most of what I put in front of him. As he discovered the world of chicken nuggets, chips and mac and cheese, however, mealtime and snacktime turned into stressful events. For both of us!

    Since 'eating healthy' was not a battle I was prepared to lose, I came up with an idea and sketched it onto a paper napkin. My dear friend Victoria, who is an amazing graphic designer, breathed color and life into my pencil drawings, and SuperNoots was born.

    So, what is SuperNoots? Two things. First, an interactive shopping list, which is a dry-erase list of healthy foods that kids can use over and over again. Second, a magnetic food chart that helps kids keep track of their daily nutrition.

    THE BIG IDEA IS THAT KIDS USE THE SHOPPING LIST TO CHOOSE THEIR OWN FOODS, PARENTS BUY THE FOOD, THEN KIDS USE THEIR CHART AS NOT ONLY A GUIDE FOR WHAT TO EAT, BUT AS A FUN MOTIVATOR.

    The first time Nicholas made his own food choices on the shopping list, then saw his food in the refrigerator and pantry, he received an amazing boost of independence and empowerment. This is what truly makes SuperNoots special, because when kids associate eating with positive feelings at a young age, those feelings are likely to stay with them for years to come.

    What started out as a problem-solving solution has turned into an amazing passion project for me. I feel like this business is a dream come true, and meeting wonderful people like Anne, who share the vision of helping kids eat healthy, is just icing on the cake, so to speak :) Thank you for taking the time to read about SuperNoots!


    You can find Supernoots online at www.supernoots.com. Give it a look and see if you don't think this is the best idea for kids and nutrition ever.

    Sunday, November 02, 2008

    A Daringly Slow Baker

    One of the three pizzas I made. This one was brushed with garlic and herb olive oil in lieu of sauce and topped with goat cheese, red pepper and Nicoise olives.


    I'm not really a slow baker, more of a slow poster. This challenge should have been up by October 29th, but we all know how busy my life is, so I'm hoping everyone will understand. This month's challenge was hosted by Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums and I'm including her words here about why she is hosting single and also why I didn't want to miss out on posting this particular challenge:

    Originally, I was supposed to host this challenge together with Sher at http://www.whatdidyoueat.typepad.com (USA) and Glenna at http://www.afridgefulloffood.typepad.com (USA), but life’s sad events made me stride that horse alone…

    As you all know by now, Sherry passed away tragically on the 20th of July2008 after having been struck by a massive heart-attack. Glenna, on her side, has decided to quit The Daring Baker’s and to stop her baking adventure for personal reasons. So that’s why I am all alone on that challenge.

    Prior to her sudden death (9 days before), Sher had shared with me her recipe idea for the October challenge that she, Glenna and myself should have hosted together. When she died, it was clear for me that I would respect her choice and that I would still submit her recipe. This is my last ode to a very appreciated blogger, DB member, skilled baker and cook whom I miss a lot!


    ~ Sherry “Sher” Cermak 1948-2008 ~


    This is the challenge we were put to for this month:

    THE CHALLENGE: You have to use the tossing method (as explained below) for at least 2 Pizza Crusts. If you are not comfortable with it, then you can switch to the rolling method, but you HAVE to try the traditional method and exercise it, using at least two dough pieces. You should also capture the moment by either filming or photographing yourself while tossing the dough.

    **I didn't get a photo of this, but you can bet I did it! Not very well, I can see where it would take practice to get this part right, but I did give it a go on two of the three pizzas I made.


    ~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~
    Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

    Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

    Ingredients:

    4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled - FOR GF: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
    1 3/4 Tsp Salt
    1 Tsp Instant yeast - FOR GF use 2 tsp
    1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
    1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
    1 Tb sugar - FOR GF use agave syrup
    Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

    DAY ONE

    Method:
    1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

    2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

    NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
    The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

    Or

    2. FOR GF: Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.

    3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

    4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

    NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

    5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

    NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

    6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

    7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

    NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespoons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

    DAY TWO

    8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

    Or

    8. FOR GF: On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.

    9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

    NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

    10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

    Or

    10. FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).

    NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
    During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
    In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
    You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

    11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

    Or

    11. FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

    12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

    Or

    12. FOR GF: Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

    NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

    13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

    Or

    13. FOR GF: Follow the notes for this step.

    NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

    If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

    14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

    REMARKS:
    Tossing links: http://www.wikihow.com/Toss-Pizza-Dough, http://www.vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?f … D=35480534, http://www.ehow.com/how_2066953_toss-pizza-dough.html, http://www.classic-hand-tossed-pizza.bl … hands.html, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhcTKeslAmk, http://www.ask.yahoo.com/20050222.html

    ***************

    NOTE ON SAUCE: Your sauce (any) should not be too thick as it will thicken in the hot oven. Less is more but make the less truly more by using quality ingredients.

    SAUCE IDEAS: Pestos, white or brown sauce, tomato sauce, sour cream, thick cream, Bolognese sauce, etc…
    Check here for sauce recipes: http://www.tenspeedpress.com/page.php3?ftr=300

    ***************

    TOPPING IDEAS: Seafood, fish, meat (dry, cured, smoked or ground), cheeses (Gruy√®re, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Provolone, Ricotta, Maroille, Munster, etc…), nuts, tofu, veggies (tomatoes, bell peppers, artichokes, hearts of palm, zucchinis, pumpkin, red onions, etc…), herbs (mixes, fresh or dried), spices (garlic, gourmet salt, pepper, curry, berbere, ras-el-hanout, za’atar, etc…), nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashew nuts, Brasil nuts, macadamia nuts, etc…)….

    TOPPING LINKS: http://www.greatpartyrecipes.com/pizzatoppings.html, http://www.correllconcepts.com/Encyclop … ppings.htm.

    ***************

    GENERAL PIZZA LINKS: http://www.breadtopia.com/pizza-dough-recipe/

    ****************

    See how Peter Reinhardt’s “Napoletana Pizza Dough” recipe turned out: http://www.chubbyhubby.net/blog/?p=142, http://www.101cookbooks.com, http://www.ieatfood.net/?p=7.