Aspargus, Mushroom and Red Onion Pizza

asparagus, mushroom and red onion pizza - trust in kim I was lucky enough to be able to make this pizza in a brick oven that my Opa built decades ago.  I made a few pizzas using this crust and sauce recipe.  It’s a fabulous recipe, and the topping options are endless.  Here’s a vegetarian one that was particularly delicious.

What you need:

asparagus

mushrooms sliced

red onions, thinly sliced

mozzarella cheese, grated

pizza crust (see link above, use your own recipe, or buy some pizza dough if you can find it in the freezer section)

pizza sauce (see link above)

What you do:

1. Assuming you’ve already prepared your pizza dough and sauce, preheat your oven to 500-550F. If you are using a brick oven you’ll need to start preparing it hours earlier.

2. Form your dough and place it on a well-floured baking pan. Spread some tomato sauce over the crust.

3. Scatter the mushrooms and red onions, then place the asparagus on top.  Add some cheese and it’s ready to go into the oven – just don’t add too many toppings or you’ll have a soggy pizza.

4. Bake for 6-7 minutes – the cheese should be bubbling, and the crust should be crisp and golden.

Enjoy!

pizza- trust in kim

Brick Oven Pizza – Olive and Chorizo

brick oven pizza - trust in kim  brick oven - trust in kim

This beautiful pizza was baked in the brick oven that my Opa built decades ago at the family cabin that he loved so much.  It’s not a fancy place, and this oven is small, but it holds a lot of memories.  I spent many summers playing hide-and-seek in the woods and cards inside in the evening, fishing, and eating what we caught alongside Oma’s amazing bread. We never made pizza in the brick oven; that’s a tradition I started a few years ago when I visited the cabin with friends.  My grandparents are gone now, and my summer friends and I are all grown up and most of them have stopped going to the lake.  As far as I know nobody else uses the old brick oven, but baking in it makes me think about my grandparents and all the good times we spent in this place.

This is the best pizza I’ve ever made.  The crust takes a bit of planning ahead, but the sauce and toppings are easy. I found the recipe for the crust and sauce in A16 Food and Wine by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren.

This recipe makes enough for about 4 medium-sized pizzas with a thin crust.  I made a variety of toppings for mine.

What you need for the crust:

1/4 teaspoon yeast

1 & 1/2 cups warm water

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups “oo” flour or all-purpose (I used all-purpose)

What you need for the tomato sauce and toppings:

one 28-ounce can of tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find them)

1-2 teaspoons salt

1 link of cured chorizo sausage

small black olives

1/2 teaspoon anise seeds, bashed up a little with a mortar and pestle

about 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

What you do:

1. Begin preparing the dough a day before you want to make the pizza. You can do this by hand, but it’s just a bit more work. Pour the water into a mixer with a dough hook and then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Leave it for about 10 minutes and it should become foamy – if it doesn’t your water was the wrong temperature, or the yeast is dead.  Stir in the olive oil and salt.  Add the flour and mix on low for 2 minutes.  Knead on medium-low for about 10 minutes – it will pull away from the bowl and begin to look smoother.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rest for 5 minutes. Knead once more on medium-low for 10 minutes – it will be smooth and quite soft.  If it seems much too sticky you can add a little more flour.  Coat a bowl with a little olive oil and then coat both sides of the dough with olive oil, placing the dough in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge over night.

2. In the morning remove the  dough from the fridge and punch it down.  Fold the sides of the dough under and put it back in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it sit in a warm (not hot) place until about 2 hours before you need it.

3. Punch the dough down and divide it into 4 pieces.  Form them into balls and cover them with a damp towel for about 2 hours.  By this time the dough should have doubled in volume.  If it starts to get a skin on it you can spray it with a little water.

4. To prepare the sauce, just put the tomatoes and juice into a bowl and squish them into little bits with your hands.  Add the salt.

5. Cut the chorizo into thin slices and fry them briefly.  I like to do this to get a bit of the fat out, but it isn’t a necessary step.  Put the cut chorizo onto a paper towel to soak up excess fat.

6. Preheat the oven to 500-550 F.

7. To form the crusts, shape the dough into a disk with your hands.  Push down in the centre with your palm and pull the dough out gently with your other hand, rotating slightly until you have a crust that is about 10-12 inches/25-30 cm in diameter with a slightly raised edge. (I cheated a little in the beginning and used a rolling-pin.) Dust your baking pan generously and place the crust on it.  I don’t have a proper pizza stone or pan, but the cookie sheet I used worked just fine.

8. Spread some tomato sauce onto the crust, then sprinkle with the anise seeds. Add some chorizo and olives, then toss on a little cheese.  Avoid over-topping your pizza, as it will end up soggy.

9. Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the crust is crisp and golden, and the top is bubbling. I made and baked the pizzas one at a time because the brick oven only fits one pan.  This was a great way to do it, as it allowed us to sample each pizza as it came out of the oven, then tend to the next one.

Wait just a minute before eating so you don’t burn your mouth, then dig in!

brick oven pizza - trust in kimMahood Lake - trust in kim

Oma’s Mennonite Bread

brinck oven bread - trust in Kim

brick oven - trust in kim

As I was planning a trip up to the family cabin at Mahood Lake I knew I had to make my Mennonite Oma’s Russian bread.  I love taking the opportunity to bake in that oven when I go up to the lake, because it’s the only place where I have access to one. and it is so much fun.  I usually just make pizza in there, but this time I wanted to branch out a little, so I thought of my Oma’s awesome dark-crusted bread.  My Oma was born in the Ukraine where they made this type of bread, and then she lived in Paraguay for 15 years where she also baked it in an outdoor oven.  In the early 1980’s my Opa built this great brick oven, in the style of the Paraguayan Mennonite  ovens.  My Oma always made this great bread – it was dark brown, almost black on the outside, with a thick crust, and tender inside.  Now, I’ve got the recipe, and I made a delicious loaf of bread, although I fully admit that it is nothing like my Oma’s bread.  I asked her in the past how she got that great crust on it, and she told me she just put all the ingredients together – so she had a magic touch that I can’t figure out.  Oma passed away a few weeks ago, so her secret it gone too.

You don’t need the brick oven to make this bread, it’ll work fine in a conventional oven.  I used a machine with a dough hook, but you could do it by hand if you’re feeling energetic.  This recipe makes 3-4 loaves.

If you’re using a brick oven you need to get a really good fire going so it’s smoking hot in there.  I pushed some of the coals to the back of the oven so it would retain heat for a full hour.

What you need:

1 medium-sized potato, scrubbed

2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon yeast

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup rye flour

1 cup bran

6 & 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (approximately)

What you do:

1. Boil the potato in about 3 cups of water until it is soft.  Place the potato, saving the liquid, in a 2 cup measuring cup.  Smash the potato up with the back of a fork, then add enough of the potato water to fill the measuring cup to 2 cups. Allow this to come to room temperature.

2. In a large mixer bowl add about 2 tablespoons of warm water and sprinkle the yeast top.  Wait until the yeast begins to bubble and is all dissolved (if it doesn’t your yeast may be dead).

3. Add the potato water and buttermilk to the yeast mixture.  With the machine running and using a dough hook, gradually add the flours, bran and salt.  Mix until you have a moist dough, using more or less flour to get this consistency.  Keep mixing until the dough begins to form a bit of a ball.

4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with a clean damp tea towel.  Let it rise to about double in volume; this will take about 1- 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is.

5. Punch the dough down, then turn it out onto a floured surface.  Give it a few kneads, then cut into 3-4 equal pieces.  Form a loaf with the seam in the bottom and place in loaf pans. Cover with the damp tea towel and let it rise, again to about double, which should take slightly less time than the first.

6. Heat the oven to 400F.  When the loaves have doubled in size, and they hold an indentation when you poke the dough lightly, they are ready to go in the oven.   If you want to get more of a crust on your bread, you can spray the inside of the oven with water just before the bread goes in.  Just try not to spray the light bulb, as it might shatter. Place the bread in the oven and bake for about 1 hour. 

7. You will know the loaves are ready when you tap on the bottom of the pan and it sounds hollow, so keep an eye on it in the last 10 minutes or so of baking to see if it’s looking done, and test it using this method.

8. Remove the bread from the pans and let it cool on wire racks.  Once it is mostly cool you can slice it up and then slather on some butter, but we just broke of satisfying chunks and ate some with butter,  and on some we added apricot jam.  Not quite like Oma made it, but delicious nonetheless.

bread with jam - trust in kim

My Oma -trust in kim
My Oma