Entries tagged with “Must Haves”.



First… Some Piz’za History

Piz’za (n) – A baked pie of Italian origin consisting of a shallow bread-like crust covered with seasoned tomato sauce, cheese, and often other toppings, such as sausage or olives.

The Origins of Pizza
Considered a peasant’s meal in Italy for centuries, modern pizza attributes itself to baker Raffaele Esposito of Napoli (Naples), who in 1889 created a special pizza for the visiting Italian King Umberto and Queen Margherita. The pizza, named after the queen, was patriotic in its resemblance to the Italian flag; red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella cheese), and green (basil). It received rave reviews, setting the standard by which today’s pizza evolved.

The idea of using bread as a plate came from the Greeks, who ate flat round bread (plankuntos) baked with an assortment of toppings. The tomato came to Italy from Mexico and Peru through Spain in the 16th century as an ornamental plant first thought to be poisonous. True mozzarella is made from the milk of the water buffalo imported from India to Campania in the 7th century. So, the Neopolitan baker, as the saying goes, put it all together. Also, in 1830 the world’s first true pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’ Alba in Naples, opened and is still in business today!

Pizza migrated to America with the Italians. Gennaro Lombardi opened the first U.S. pizzeria in 1895 in New York City at 53 1/3 Spring Street, but it wasn’t until after World War II when returning GI’s created a nationwide demand for the pizza they had eaten and loved in Italy that pizza went public. In the late 1950’s, Shakey’s and various other mass production pizza parlors appeared and further popularized pizza.

Pizza in this day and age is not limited to the flat round type. It’s also deep-dish pizza, stuffed pizza, pizza pockets, pizza turnovers, rolled pizza, pizza-on-a-stick, pizza strudel, etc., all with combinations of sauce, cheese, and toppings limited only by one’s inventiveness. However, the best pizza still comes from the individual pizzaiolo, a pizza baker, who prepares his yeast dough and ingredients daily and heats his oven for hours before baking the first pizza.

Chef Cali’s Pizza Sauce

Makes: 3 cups

INGREDIENTS
1 can (28-ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, in juice
2 tablespoons olive oil, to sauté
1 small white or sweet onion, finely diced and minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 to 4 fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch sea salt
Pinch fresh ground black pepper
Pinch sugar, optional

PROCEDURE
Empty the contents of the tomato can in a mixing bowl and coarsely crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands, leaving them just a little chunky.

In a heavy bottom 2-quart saucepot, add the olive oil, over a medium high flame and heat a little. Add the onions and sauté until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and sauté about a minute until golden. Quickly add the crushed tomatoes to the mix. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add the fresh basil and oregano.

You can add a touch of sugar if desired or if tomatoes are tart. Simmer on a low flame, stirring often for at least 15 minutes.

If not using right away, cool down and store in airtight container in the refrigerator, up to 1 week.

Chef Cali’s Pizza Dough

Makes:  2, 14” pizzas

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope active (not instant or rapid rise) dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons, a 4 oz. jar of yeast = 14 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups cold water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling the baking sheet

PROCEDURE
In a bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.

Add the yeast mixture, cold water, and oil. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for several minutes until dough is smooth. Allow dough to rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl and allow to rise at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Punch dough down, let rise another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place cookie sheets in oven (inverted). Form a 10 to 14-inch pizza crust and place on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with yellow cornmeal. Place topping on the crust and place the pizza, with the parchment paper, in the oven on hot inverted cookie sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes.

ABOUT YEAST … Yeast is a living, microscopic, single-cell organism that, as it grows, converts its food (through a process known as fermentation) carbon dioxide. This trait is what endears yeast to breadbakers. The art of breadmaking needs the carbon dioxide produced by yeast in order for certain doughs to rise. To multiply and grow, all yeast needs is the right environment, which includes moisture, food (in the form of sugar or starch) and a warm, nurturing temperature (70° to 85°F is best).

The breakdown of the yeast causes effervescence, the giving off of gasses which get trapped in the dough, and the lump of dough expands. As the bread is usually in a tin, the only way it can expand is upwards. A lump of dough not in a tin will expand sideways as well as upwards.

Chef Cali Bergold and Carson Pazdan on WGN

The Kids Feeding Kids Club was founded in 2008 by 5-year-old Carson Pazdan.

Inspired by his love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, Carson wanted to create his own cookbook featuring all of his recipes as well as those from other children. He dreamed of a cookbook designed by kids for kids. This idea evolved into a vision of creating a club for kids where they can directly impact the lives of other children and help stop hunger. The organization’s mission is to feed hungry youth through fundraising and volunteering, building awareness, compassion and a foundation of philanthropy that will last a lifetime. It is the organization’s belief that the earlier children are introduced to community service, volunteerism and charity work, the more likely they are to stay engaged in these activities into adulthood thus making the world a better place.

To learn more about the cookbook, and donor opportunities, please visit kidsfeedingkids.info

Worms and Eyeballs

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. bucatini pasta (hollow spaghetti)
1 sm. red bell pepper
1-1/2 lbs. ground chicken breast
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs ginger, chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbs hoiser sause (Chinese BBQ)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 cup preshredded carrots
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup snow pea pods (cut into pieces with scissor knife)
1/2 cup tamari

PROCEDURE
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cut off a quarter of the bell pepper and have your grown-up helper (GH) chop it finely. Slice the rest of the pepper yourself. Combine chicken, garlic, ginger, scallions, finely chopped peppers, hoisin sauce, salt and perpper in a bowl. Roll the mixture into meatballs the size of chicken eyeballs and place balls on a nonstick cookie sheet, coated lightly with 1 Tbs vegetable oil. Roast the chicken eyeballs for 10-12 minutes. When the past water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to directions. When the pasta is almost cooked through and the eyeballs are about 5 minutes away from coming out of the oven, start stir-frying the veggies. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat and add remaining 2 Tbs of vegetable oil. Stir the veggies for 1 minute. Have our GH drain the noodles and add the worms to the veggies. Pour in the tamari while the GH tosses the worms and veggies to coat. Transfer noodles to serving platter. Remove the eyeballs from the oven, roll them on top of the worms, then serve.

Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

10 medium garlic cloves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 pound beef tenderloin, sliced
¼ cup soy
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
10 oz. fresh spinach, cleaned

Accompaniment Ideas …
Steamed jasmine rice
Stir-fried noodles

PROCEDURE

Grind the garlic and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until mixture forms a rough paste. Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in a wok or sauté pan and add the garlic mixture. Sauté 30 seconds. Add the meat and toss until browned. Add the soy, sugar and fish sauce and toss 30 seconds. Add the spinach and toss until wilted. Serve at once with rice or noodles.

Note on Mortar and Pestles …

A mortar and pestle is a tool used to crush, grind, and mix substances. The pestle is a heavy stick whose end is used for pounding and grinding, and the mortar is a bowl. The substance is ground between the pestle and the mortar. Mortars are also used in cooking to prepare ingredients such as guacamole and pesto (which derives its name from the pestle pounding), as well as grinding spices into powder. Native American tribes used mortars carved into the bedrock to grind acorns and other nuts. Many such depressions can be found in their former territories. In Japan, very large mortars are used with wooden mallets to prepare mochi. A regular sized Japanese mortar and pestle are called a suribachi and surikogi, respectively. Granite mortars and pestles are used in Southeast Asia and India. In Malay, it is known as lesung. Traditional Mexican mortar and pestles, made of basalt, are known as molcajetes. Large stone mortars, with long (2-3 feet) wood pestles were also used in the Middle East to grind meat in order to prepare a type of meatloaf, or kibbeh, as well as the hummus variety known as masabcha.

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