Monday, March 2, 2009

pizza with roasted garlic, asparagus, turkey bacon & gouda

My husband Brad and I have decided to make 2009 a year of eating better. We were never horrible eaters...we ate what we thought was healthy because it claimed to be "lowfat" or "fat free". Then a few months ago Brad started reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. This book is incredibly eye opening regarding what we allow to go into our bodies under the disguise of "food". I won't go in to details, but it's definitely worth your while to read. Be forewarned though, it will radically change your views on food - you might be tempted to empty your pantry of all the crap calling itself food. So along with other books and websites and groups we're involved within our community (LEAF), we started changing our grocery list. It took a while to determine what "better" meant and we came up with the following guidelines:

To follow Michael Pollan's motto: "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
To shop locally at Nature's Bin
To eat locally in season foods whenever possible.
To buy organic dairy products
To either make homemade bread (in my bread machine) or to purchase bread from our local bakery, the Breadsmith

In our quest to eat better I realized we had to forgo one of our staples of quick and easy meals -the Betty Crocker pizza dough packets. They're less than a dollar a packet at the store and all you have to do is add water and let rise for 5 minutes and voila, pizza dough. While discussing this menu on my ride home from work with Brad today, I realized this fact. I suggested possibly just posting a recipe of homemade pizza dough while really using one of these packets, but was quickly convinced not to when he called me "Semi-Homemade with Sarah Marie".

Below are the fruits of our labor. It was very rewarding working together and spending time preparing the meal together - something so old fashioned about it. It tasted amazing.

Pizza Dough:

3/4 C warm water (105°F-115°F)
1 1/8 t. active dry yeast
1 3/4 C bread flour
1 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
1 t. wheat germ


1/2 C grated smoked gouda
1/2 C blanched asparagus
2 slices cooked turkey bacon
2-3 cloves roasted garlic
1 T. olive oil

To prepare the dough:

Pour warm water in large bowl of electric mixer. Sprinkle yeast in and let sit for 5 minutes until dissolved. If not dissolved after 5 minutes, stir to completely dissolve

Mix in the olive oil, flour, salt, sugar and wheat germ on low speed for about a minute. Remove the mixing paddle and replace with a dough hook. Knead using the mixer and dough hook, on low to medium speed, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, you can mix and knead by hand.

Place ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place (75-85°F) until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If you don't have a warm spot in the house you can heat the oven to 150 degrees, and then turn off the oven. Place the bowl of dough in this warmed oven to rise.

Preparing the Pizza:

Place a pizza stone on a low rack in your oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the plastic cover from the dough and punch the dough down so it deflates a bit.

On a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough with your hands. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter - 10 to 12 inches. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker.

Brush the top of the dough with olive oil , squeeze garlic out of its skin and brush evenly across dough

Remove pizza stone from oven, transfer dough onto stone

Sprinkle gouda, asparagus & turkey bacon on dough

Bake for 10-15 minutes until dough is browned and cheese is melted.

(recipe adapted from


Brad said...

I want to stress how much better the homemade pizza dough is than the crappy old packet. Perhaps that's a no brainer, but I kept asking Sarah during dinner, "How did we ever think those packets tasted good?" It's a conversation we've had about a lot of foods recently...

Hazel's mom said...

We just order Pizza Hut online. I'm feeling a little guilty about that now. The best pizza I ever had was made by Jenna - I think it was the cheese that made it so good. I can't even remember now what was on it - I just remember it being very tasty. Glad to see good pizza is in the Liptak (and Hutchison) genes.