Sponsored Post: Perfect Pizza at Home with Craftsy

finished pepperoni

This post is the next installment in my sponsored content partnership with Craftsy. This time, I took Peter Reinhart’s Perfect Pizza at Home course. It was amazing and changed my relationship with homemade pizza forever. Read on for more!

rising pizza dough

I’ve long been of the belief that even bad pizza can be good, if the circumstances are right. For instance, free pizza that appears in your workplace around lunchtime. It doesn’t have to be particularly excellent pizza in order for the ravaging hordes to descent and empty those boxes in record time.

risen dough

Also in this category is pizza eaten at the airport during a layover, pizza obtained in the late night hours after one too many drinks, and pizza provided by friends after you’ve helped them move.

And, until last week, this category included my own homemade pizza.

flattened dough

Years ago, I got myself a pizza stone and tried to up my homemade pizza game. However, every attempt yielded gummy, tough crusts and toppings that slide right off the slice with the first bite. I kept making it, because of my belief that even bad pizza could be good. In my heart, I knew it could be better, but I never took the time to make it so.

sauced pizza

Happily, it has all changed thanks to Peter Reinhart’s free Perfect Pizza at Home course. This is a class offered by Craftsy and it has totally changed my homemade pizza ways.

pepperoni pizza unbaked

The class is broken up into five sections. After a quick introduction, Peter goes into a primer on dough. I was interested to learn that you get far better dough incorporation if you use your mixer’s paddle rather than the kneading hook for the dough. I had always assumed that the hook was best.

sliced pepperoni pizza

I appreciated the variety of dough options that were offered in that section (hooray for the part whole wheat crust). I was also taken by instructions to pull and fold the dough every five minutes. It didn’t take any major kneading to create a light, perfectly chewy dough and I’ll be doing it this way from here on out.

bottom char

Next up was the segment on sauces and cheese. I’ll confess that I already have a favorite pizza sauce (the recipe is in Preserving by the Pint), but it was liberating to be told that a bit of cheddar cheese tossed with your mozzarella is perfectly acceptable.

mushroom pizza

I think I learned the most from the making and baking segment. There are so many good tips about shaping your dough into the pizza shape (make sure to let the dough rest in between stretching attempts, or it will keep bouncing back) and getting the pizza stone good and hot (crank the oven as high as it will go and heat the stone for much longer than you’d think).

mushroom crust

I was also encouraged by the gluten-free pizza unit. My sister can’t handle the gluten and I love the idea that I can still make her delicious, satisfying pizza.

If you want to take the Perfect Pizza at Home class, click here to register!

For more on my year-long partnership with Craftsy, head over to the first post in the series, all about my experience taking their free Knife Skills course.

Official disclosure statement: This post was sponsored by Craftsy. I was compensated for my time. However, all opinions remain entirely my own.

Comments { 4 }

Book Tour Notes + Remaining Atlanta Events

jars at Villagers

It might be early to make this declaration being as I’m only four days in, but this book tour is proving to be one of the better experiences of my life. It has been such a joy to meet so many of you and to share the new book. So far, I’ve been to Charlottesville, Asheville, and Atlanta.

The event at The Happy Cook in Charlottesville was such fun and I loved meeting folks like Becky and Melissa (she even let me stay in her guest room).

From there I drove to Asheville, where I did a jam making demo at Villagers (the best store ever for people who are into home-steady things. The wall of Weck jars [that's what's pictured above] will motivate many a jar enthusiast to head over there) and hung out with Ashley, Glenn, and Huxley. It was such a joy to meet them, especially because we’ve been online friends for about half a decade.

On Thursday, I found myself in Atlanta, giving a talk about canning to a large hall filled with canning enthused people (truly, there were over 150 people there. It was a thrilling!) and signing a whole mess of books at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

That brings us to today. I’m still here in Atlanta and will be doing a full day’s worth of events tomorrow. From 9 to 10:30, I’ll be at the farmers market at the Carter Center. From there, I’ll head to Piedmont Park where I’ll be demoing honey sweetened strawberry jam from 11 am to 1 pm. At 2 pm, I’m teaching a canning class. And after all that, I’ll go have dinner with Lyn from Preserving Now (and her very nice husband).

A very full and very good week, indeed!

Comments { 1 }

Tonight at The Happy Cook in Charlottesville!

Preserving by the Pint cover - Food in Jars

My Southern book tour starts today! In just a couple of hours, I’m climbing into my car and heading to Charlottesville, VA. I’ll be at The Happy Cook tonight, doing a canning demo and book signing. It’s a free event, but they are asking people to register in advance to ensure that they have enough chairs, so please do call them to sign up at 434-977-2665.

From there, I go to Asheville, and then to Atlanta (please come to my talk at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. I’m a little bit nervous that I’m going to be talking to an empty room). Next week, I’ll be in Birmingham and Memphis. Here are the exact times and places.

See so many of you soon! I can’t wait!

Comments { 11 }

Links: Turnip Stems, Book Giveaways, and Winners

demo at farm food fest

It’s been quite a scramble around here getting ready to leave on this southern book tour of mine and so these links are now a full day late (so sorry to keep you guys waiting for the winners in the Cutco giveaway). I head out tomorrow morning and have come to the point where I’ve done all I can do before I hit the road. I will try to catch up with the rest later.

Oh! And thanks to everyone who came and picked up a book yesterday at the Philly Farm & Food Fest. It was such a treat to meet so many of you! Now, links!

And so many cookbook links!

Cutco small santoku 2

 

Thanks to all of you who took the time to enter the Cutco giveaway last week! Here are the winners.

Comments { 3 }

Flash Giveaway: Meals On Wheels Delaware Annual Meals from the Masters

Image courtesy of Meals on Wheels Delaware

Image courtesy of Meals on Wheels Delaware

I’ve got something a little bit out ordinary for you guys this weekend. The nice folks from Meals on Wheels Delaware asked me if I’d help spread the word about their annual Meals from the Masters weekend of events and so have given me some tickets to give way. It’s their premiere fundraiser and is an awesome way to support a really worthy cause while also getting to try some delicious food.

I have two tickets to Evening with the Masters ($150 value) on Friday, April 25 and two tickets to the Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch ($350 value) on Sunday, April 27 to giveaway.

Entrants need to be able to get themselves to Wilmington, DE for these events because travel is sadly not included. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you want to attend this event!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Monday, April 14, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted.
  3. Giveaway open to US residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Meals on Wheels Delaware is providing the tickets for this giveaway. They have not paid for placement.

Roasted Cashew and Coconut Butter

food swap goodies - Food in Jars

I went to a food swap on Tuesday night. Because of my nutty travel schedule, it was the first I’ve managed to be at in at least six months (we only have four swaps a year here in Philly, so it’s not as bad as it sounds) and so it was so fun to plot and plan what to bring with me.

I pulled out four half pints of the honey sweetened peach chutney* from last summer, baked up eight round loaves of honey oatmeal bread (I tripled this recipe and then divided the dough into eight portions. It meant I had six to swap, one to sample, and one to keep), and whirred up a bunch of roasted cashew and coconut butter.

roasted cashews - Food in Jars

The cashew butter happened for several reasons. I had a half gallon jar that was 3/4 full of cashews and they needed to be used. I also had some flaked coconut. And, I wanted to finally try making a nut butter in my Vitamix.

You see, I’ve taken something of a hiatus from homemade nut butters recently because my food processor just wasn’t cutting it (I wonder, is it possible to get a Cuisinart blade sharpened?). My machine originally belonged to my Great-Aunt Flora and is at least 35 years old (and it may well be even older). But I’d heard tell that making nut butters in a high speed blender was actually the better way to go and it was time to give it a whirl (literally).

roasted cashew coconut butter - Food in Jars

I roasted enough cashews for multiple batches (400 degrees F for about seven minutes). Once they were cool enough to handle, I combined 1 1/2 cups of the cashews with 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in the Vitamix container and got to work. I discovered that by working on a relatively low speed, using the tamper to help keep things moving, and occasionally stopping entirely to scrape down the sides, the cashew butter was done in all of three minutes.

I also learned that it is a very bad idea to ask a five year old Vitamix to try and process a double batch of nut butter. I overheated the motor and the machine shut itself down for a full hour until it was cool enough to function without doing damage.

cashew butter on bread - Food in Jars

Still, working in small batches and giving the machine a little time to mellow out between blending rounds, this was a far more pleasant nut butter experience than I’ve had in the past (though I do acknowledge that the relatively softness of the cashews and coconut might have something to do with it. They yield more willingly than peanuts or almonds. More testing is necessary!).

Once the machine reset itself, I ended up making enough for the swap in four batches and it was something of a hit. I have a few tablespoons left in my sample jar and I’ve been rationing it until I can get more cashews and make more.

For those of you with food processors and no high speed blender, I think this butter is still within your grasp. Ashley over at Edible Perspective (the undisputed queen of internet-based nut butter recipes) has a cake batter cashew butter made in a food processor. If my instructions aren’t cutting it, head over and read through her recipe for additional guidance.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 21 }