Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Night Family Feast - 17 Years And Worth The Wait

So how many weeks in a row do you have to do something to make it a tradition?  I suppose more than two but you have to start somewhere right?  I find that when the weekend comes, my mind starts to wonder about what feast I will prepare come Monday.  Tonight, it was one I hadn't made for 17 years.  My husband and I are coming up on our 18th wedding anniversary (March 21) and I can remember way back when we were first married, I was obsessed with herbs.  The first thing I did in our rental home was plant an immense and intricate herb garden.  I then proceeded to research recipes for things to make with my herbs.  I made herbed butters and herb infused oils and herbal teas.  It was so much fun.  One of the recipes I made for my husband then was Herb Crust Pizza.  I decided tonight would be the night to resurrect it.

So the menu?...

Herb Crust Pizza
Home Grown Spinach Salad fresh from the garden
Homemade Rusty Pelican Honey Mustard Dressing
and for desert...Fresh Peach Sorbet

This was so delicious and even my husband, who really isn't a pizza fan, was blown away.

While the dough was rising we loaded up the wagon and went to the store to buy the cheese.

The pizzas are topped and ready to go in.


And here are the recipes:

Herb Crust Pizza
(Makes two 10 inch pizzas)

1 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar (I used honey)
1 C warm water
3 tbsp Herb-Infused Oil (I used basil oil)
3 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour (I used unbleached white flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram
20 fresh basil leaves
1/4 lb. fresh mozzarella, chunked
1/4 lb. fontina, chunked
1/2 pint each red and yellow pear tomatoes, cut in half (I used red grape tomatoes cut in half, sliced mushrooms, small yellow sweet peppers, and sliced red onion)
Freshly ground pepper (did not use)
Red Pepper flakes (optional) (did not use)

1. In a mixing bowl, stir yeast and sugar into the water.  Let stand until creamy and foamy, about 5 minutes.  Stir in oil.
2. Mix together 3 cups of the flour, the salt, and the chopped herbs.  Add half of the mixture to the yeast; mix until smooth.  Slowly add remaining flour mixture.  Add more flour as needed so that dough isn't sticky.
3. Using dough hook, knead dough on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Finish kneading by hand on a lightly floured surface.
4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in a warm place to rise  until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. Heat oven to 425.  Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead briefly. Divide into 2 pieces and form each into a ball.  Cover and set one ball aside. Let first ball rest for 5 minutes; stretch into a 1/4 inch thick circle with your hands.  Place on a wooden peel that has been dusted with flour.  Brush dough with additional oil, and let rise for 30 minutes  more. 
6. Arrange 6 basil leaves on dough and top with half the cheeses, tomatoes, and peppers.  Slide onto hot baking stone or baking pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crust is brown and cheese is bubbling.  Serve immediately, garnished with 4 shredded basil leaves and drizzled with olive oil.  Repeat entire procedure with remaining dough.

Anyone remember the Rusty Pelican restaurant?  It was all the rage when I was young growing up in South Florida and as far as I know, they invented honey mustard dressing.  It was practically the only reason we went there (well, that and the onion straws and the desert that came in little edible chocolate cups.)

Rusty Pelican Honey Mustard Dressing

5 oz. mayonnaise
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C honey
2 tbsp prepared mustard
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
MSG (yeah right!  I DID NOT use this)

Blend all ingredients in order listed.  Can be kept in refrigerator up to 7 days in a glass container.

Happy Feasting!