Cooking at Home During Coronavirus Pandemic 2020
Starting Friday, March 13th we got word that it is best to stay at home and just go out for essential errands and work from home if possible. A few days earlier Austin’s SXSW festival was cancelled. Each day after that, more restrictions were put into place to try to keep people out of harm’s way.
We are so grateful for all of the hard-working people in our city and around the world that are keeping our grocery store shelves stocked (amidst super challenging conditions), providing medical care for coronavirus patients and everyone else (babies are being born and people are dying every day from other things), and all of the people working to keep communities safe in other ways.
Making Veggie Lover’s Pizza on Facebook Live!
Last week was the start of spring break, and we had to break it to my daughter that she’d actually be out of school for many weeks to avoid the spread of coronavirus in the community. And on top of that we had to explain we would be staying at home with no play dates or sleepovers. We are very grateful to be healthy and home together.
So we decided to do some lunchtime cooking videos live from our kitchen all last week, to be in community with friends from around the globe, and to share recipe ideas. When the going gets tough, we cook, using what we have, and don’t waste a thing! Hopefully we’ll be able to do some more live videos in coming weeks, check out my Facebook page for more info.
Pizza day was Izzy’s favorite, as you can see from the smiles. Below is a recording of the live video. It’s about 30 minutes long, so you might want to scroll through to see Nelson tossing the pizza in the air, cameos from our cats Gingersnap and Emma, and Izzy’s artful pizza making!
Veggie Lover’s Pizza Recipe
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 1 cup warm water (110° to 115° F)
- 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 3¼ cups organic unbleached bread or all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- cornmeal, for dusting pizza peel
- 1 cup seasoned tomato sauce or basil pesto
- 1 large or 2 small heads broccoli, cut into florets and steamed 1 minute
- 8-ounce package mushrooms, trimmed and sliced, sautéed in olive oil until golden brown
- 4 artichoke hearts, cut into quarters
- ½ cup olives (kalamata or Italian green olives), pitted and sliced
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, mix together sugar and warm water until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over the water and stir gently until dissolved. Let sit in a warm spot until it starts bubbling up and becomes foamy, about 5 minutes. If no foam appears, discard and start over with a fresh packet of yeast.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 3 cups of flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly add yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough just starts coming together. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook. If the dough feels too stiff, you can start mixing with your hands.
- Remove dough to a large cutting board or a clean, smooth counter top dusted with a little flour. Start to knead the dough by folding the top half over towards you and gently pushing down with the heel of your hand. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat. While kneading, add a little of the remaining ¼ cup of flour at a time, if needed so that dough is no longer sticky. Use a metal dough scraper to lift the dough up off the surface periodically as needed. This should take about 5 minutes. Continue kneading gently until dough is smooth, springy, and elastic, about 10-15 minutes more. Do not over-knead the dough as it will result in a tough crust.
- Cut the dough into two pieces, form into two slightly flattened rounds, and let rest on a clean, dry surface (cutting board or counter), covered with a clean towel, in a warm area. Let dough rise for 45 min for fast-rising yeast and up to 1½ hours for regular yeast.
- Meanwhile, prepare toppings and preheat oven to 450° F (it can take at least 15-20 min to preheat the oven). Place pizza stone in the oven (if you have one) or get out a metal pizza pan. If you have a pizza peel, have that ready. Otherwise, you can use a large spatula (perhaps one you use for grilling).
- Using a rolling pin, gently flatten out one piece of dough at a time. When you have rolled dough out to desired thickness, fold it in half and transfer to cornmeal dusted pizza peel or to metal pizza pan. Unfold dough so you have a round pizza crust. Place crust in the oven directly on the stone or oven rack. Keep dough right on the metal pizza pan if you don't have a stone. Bake crust 2-3 minutes then remove from the oven either with the pizza peel (if crust is directly on stone) or with oven mitts (if crust is on a metal pizza pan).
- Top pre-baked crust with thin layer tomato sauce or pesto, steamed broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, artichokes, olives, and fresh mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted and crust is starting to get crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven onto large cutting board, top with fresh parmesan, salt and pepper, slice, and serve immediately.
- While the first pizza is baking, prepare your second crust. Repeat steps above to make another pizza, varying the toppings as you wish.
A Variation on the Veggie Lover’s Pizza – Arugula Topped Pizza!
Here’s another variation we’ve made on the veggie lover’s pizza. After the pizza came out of the oven we put fresh arugula, thinly sliced onions, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Lots of love to you and your families. Please be in touch!