My version of Sicilian pizza

I went to wine tasting years ago and I tried a slice of Sicilian pizza and I loved it. Sicilian pizza dough is thick and chewey, simple toppings of cheese, a vegetable and herbs, maybe slices of sausage or pepperoni. At the wine tasting I asked the guy about the pizza and then I did some research and then I started to make my own pizza with various toppings and this was the combination I liked most. I also brought this version to my workplace potluck.

For the dough

1 1/2 cups of warm water
4 cups all−purpose flour
1 tablespoon of salt
2 teaspoons ground flax seeds
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar

For toppings

300 ml passata (strained tomatoes)
2 ripe tomatoes sliced
1 large red bell pepper sliced
2 cloves of garlic slivered
1 sprig fresh rosemary
10 leaves fresh basil torn
400 gr mozzarella cheese grated
50 gr Pecorino Romano cheese grated
1 teaspoon fennel seeds crushed
Pinch sea salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
Olive oil
100 gr deli pepperoni sliced (optional)

Put the warm water in a bowl with the brown sugar and dissolve, add the yeast, allow it to sit for about ten minutes in order for the yeast to foam.
In another large bowl combine the flour, salt and flax seeds and mix. Make a well in the flour add olive oil and stir in the foamed yeast water, mix well and turn dough on a floured surface and begin kneading for about 7-10 minutes until a soft dough forms. Put dough in another oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel, let it rise for at least one hour.

Punch down dough and allow to sit covered again while you prepare the toppings. In a small pot warm a bit of olive oil and sauté the garlic add the passata, rosemary, fennel seeds and simmer on low heat for about ten minutes, remove from heat and allow sauce to cool down before spreading on dough. Preheats oven at 450*. Stretch dough out to fit a 12 x 20″ cookie sheet using a rolling pin, oil cookie sheet and dust with corn meal. Lay out dough on cookie sheet and using your fingers, try to develop a thicker edge. Spoon sauce all over pizza dough, add basil and cheese, top off with the peppers, tomato slices and pepperoni. Put pizza in oven and use convection if available. Cook pizza for about 18-25 minutes. Ovens vary so check under crust after 15 minutes for doness. I hope you try this one out and again please comment below.

Pinot noir was great with this pizza

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Salmon Bruschetta

This was a recipe I’ve been thinking about for a while, then I decided to try it out with my best buddy Ian. You will be amazed at how tender and juicy the salmon will be. Don’t cut corners on the garlic, this is what it’s all about.

4 portions salmon fillet about 3oz each
4 cloves garlic minced
2-3 large tomatoes diced
Olive oil
2 sprigs fresh basil chopped
Pinch dried oregano
One lemon
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
One bunch asparagus

Heat oven on high broil and make sure rack is about six inches from the broil element. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. In a bowl add three quarters of the garlic with the tomatoes, some basil, oregano, salt, pepper and about a 1/4 cup of olive oil and mix altogether bruschetta. Cut the tough stem end off the asparagus and add two tbsp olive oil and remaining garlic. Preheat an oven safe casserole pan large enough to hold the salmon and asparagus together in the oven for about 5 minutes. Spoon bruschetta mix on top of each piece of salmon and carefully put the fish in the heated casserole pan skin side down,
add in the asparagus and cook in broil for about 8 minutes. If salmon is a thick cut may need a few more minutes cooking time. When salmon is ready plate each fillet with asparagus side and squeezes of lemon on fish and asparagus.

Serve with crusty bread or pita and drink with Pinot Noir or any dry white wine will work well.

Enjoy and please comment.

Thank you

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Bruschetta Sandwich

Tomatoes are in season right now, as everyone is getting the last ones off their garden vines. Bruschetta is awesome and very good for you, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil… WOW simply amazing, sweet, acidic tomato, garlic and earthy fruity olive oil and herbs inside whole grain bread and maybe a grating of cheese. You could also throw in same mescaline mix or salad greens.

Ingredients:

2 ripe medium size tomatoes
1 garlic clove sliced
4-5 leaves fresh basil torn or chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
3 tbls extra virgin olive oil
Couple drops balsamic vinegar (optional)
Grain bread or whole wheat buns
Grated cheese: Parmesan, mozzarella

Cut tomatoes in half and then slice or dice as to your preference, put in a bowl with remaining ingredients except for bread and cheese, mix well. Spoon tomato mixture on top of a slice of bread or in between buns open face sandwich, grate cheese on top and toast sandwiches in oven for 5 minutes.

Serving should make about 4 sandwiches

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Roasted red pepper feta dip

In Greek this dip has been referred to as kopanisti. This dip is simply amazing, I have made it for parties and people wanted to lick the bowl. The sweetness of the bell peppers, smokiness from the grill and the contrast with salty feta cheese and the spicy chilli pepper gives it a kick. I’ve given out the recipe to several friends, if you like it spicy add more chilli peppers alternatively you can use pickled pepperoncini or even pickled banana peppers for the heat, or just leave it out if you prefer without spice. The dip really can go well with crackers, pita bread, veggies or even chips or crisps.

Ingredients:

2 red, orange or yellow bell peppers
150g. Greek feta or goat feta cheese
1 small chile pepper
pinch dried Oregano
50ml extra virgin olive oil or more as needed, try and use Greek olive oil
handful of fresh basil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Put peppers on the grill or oven broil for about 10-15 minutes turning often to char the peppers all around. When done transfer to a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap while they are still piping hot- allow the peppers to steam for 15-20 minutes. When the peppers now have steamed and have cooled down enough to handle take off the stems scape out the seeds and peel off and discard the charred skin. If needed rinse the peeled peppers under cold water. Combine all inqredients in a food processor except olive oil and pulse until well combined. Transfer to a bowl stir in oil until desired consistency is achieved. Can store in the refrigerator for one week in a sealed container but I think once you taste it it won’t last the day.

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Calzone

I love calzone as much as I like pizza, it’s a pizza that’s filled, kinda like a pizza pocket or a closed pizza. Sometimes these are called a Panzarotti which is the kind that is sometimes deep fried. Make it yourself and you will be amazed how easy and fun, besides tasty. This is something that takes a bit of time, so it’s a good Saturday or Sunday afternoon fun, get the kids involved, they love rolling out the dough.

Ingredients:
For the Dough:
3 ½ cups of All Purpose unbleached Flour
1 cup fine semolina flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp of active dry yeast
Extra flour for rolling out dough

Note: if using whole wheat flour, add a tiny bit more salt and a bit more water.

Put the warm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and allow for yeast to foam for about 5-7 minutes. In a large bowl sift both flours, flax and salt, make a well in the flour and pour in the olive oil, foamy water and mix with a wooden spoon, or a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix dough until it comes together. Begin kneading the dough on a liberally floured surface. If dough is too wet keep adding flour until dough becomes soft and stretchy ( knead for about 10 min.). Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a wet tea towel or plastic wrap, allow dough to rise for at least one hour in a warm place. Prepare filling ingredients while dough is proofing.

Punch down dough on a floured surface, knead dough for few more minutes. Cut dough into four equal balls or three equal balls for three large calzones, put dough balls back in oiled bowl and cover again until ready to roll out.

Roll out dough ball one at a time on lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to about 10 inch diameter like pizza put filling as a topping only on half the pizza, (see below for filling suggestions) fold over other side to make a half moon, crimp the edges well to seal calzone. Using the point of a knife make a few holes in the top of calzone so steam can escape.

Heat pizza stone or tray to 400* and place calzone in centre of oven, cook for 15-20 minutes until dough is golden brown and remove from oven when done, allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving as it will be very hot. When ready to eat a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh parsley or basil is a good option.

Suggested combinations for filling:

One large tablespoon per item, maybe two tablespoons for dominant topping or your favourite ingredient, I think it’s better to overfill than to under fill as once it cooks it will puff up and may seem hallow if under filled.

Passata tomato sauce with pinch oregano, salt and olive oil
Sliced fresh mushrooms
Mozzarella cheese grated
Chopped pancetta or ham

Marinated artichokes
Pickled pepperoncini peppers
Drained capers
Pesto sauce
Goat cheese
Sundries tomatoes

Sliced tomatoes
Bocconcini cheese
Fresh basil
Roasted red peppers
Pitted Kalamata olives
Olive oil

Passata tomato sauce
Broccoli florets
Fresh spinach leaves
Minced garlic
Sliced zucchini
Feta cheese

Small can tuna drained
Chopped celery
Aged cheddar cheese
Fresh dill

You could have a party, double or triple dough recipe and put out variety of toppings and let people make there own.

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