Monday, March 24, 2014

Whole Wheat Pizza Recipe

Whole Wheat Pizza

 

So, your on a diet and feeling deprived. You are eating veggie burgers, tofu and salad but feeling like you want pizza.  I have had whole wheat pizzas before and thought that they were ok, but I always kind of knew that there had to be a way to make a whole wheat pizza even better.   So, you will not have to use up too many of those Weight Watcher's points and satisfy that inner pizza lover who wants to be set free.

Whole Wheat Pizza Recipe
My Whole Wheat Pizza - Margareta Style


I have seen Mario, a famous chef make pizzas before and he shares the same opinion that I do.   Most american pizzas have too much cheese.   I agree with him 100 percent!   So in my quest to make a lower calorie whole wheat pizza that is full of flavor and absolutely delicious, I took a few things into account:

  1. I would use less cheese.
  2. I would use Fresh Mozzarella, the fully fatted one, but much less of it.
  3. I would use some part skim shredded Mozzarella to round it out.
  4. I would use the very best quality ingredients I could find.
For one thing, I remember that many whole wheat breads, as they are good for you with all the bran  and other healthful stuff, tasted like I was eating sawdust.  I knew I didn't want that for my whole wheat pizza .

I found this flour at the local supermarket in the natural foods section.
Whole Wheat Flour For The Whole Wheat Pizza Recipe

Bob's Red Mill is a great company that makes excellent products.   I would highly recommend any of his products, as the company has integrity.

Armed with this white whole wheat flour, I decided to craft a whole wheat pizza dough using it.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of the Best Olive Oil you can find
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 cups of all purpose white flour
Directions for the whole wheat pizza dough recipe:

  •  Put the water, olive oil, sugar and salt in your mixer and mix it until all the sugar is dissolved. 
  • Add the yeast and gently mix it in to incorporate it.   Wait 10 Minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients.    Slowly pulse the mixer to wet the flour.
  • When the flour is wet, mix on slow using the dough hook on your mixer.
  • If the dough seems dry, add a little water and continue to mix until a dough is formed.
  • Turn up the speed and knead in the mixer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Take out the dough, cut into three equal sizes and bake three whole wheat pizza dough balls.
  • Coat the whole wheat pizza dough balls with a thin layer of olive oil and put into three separate containers or zip-lock bags.
  • Immediately refrigerate over night.


Once you have the whole wheat pizza dough made and aged for at least a day in your refrigerator, then you are ready to make a delicious whole wheat pizza.

Ingredients for Whole Wheat Pizza

  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
  • Organic Diced Tomatoes, one can
  • 2 cloves chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Romano Cheese
  • 1 Cup of Part Skim or Low Fat Shredded Mozzarella
  • 6 Ozs of Fresh Mozzarella  Cubed into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Sea Salt
 Directions to make Delicious Whole Wheat Pizza Recipe

To make this whole wheat pizza recipe, we are going to use the same techniques described in the New York Style Pizza post.   Please read that post fully before you get started.
  • Take a whole wheat pizza dough out of your refrigerator for at least a 1/2 hour to rest.
  • Preheat your stone as described in the NY Pizza post.
  • Place your Diced Tomatoes in  strainer and drain out the excess moisture.
  • Evenly flour your pizza dough for easy handling.
  • Form your dough by either hand tossing it or using a rolling pin and put it on a pizza screen or pan with holes in it.
  • Sprinkle the top of the whole wheat pizza dough with the garlic.
  • Spread the drained tomatoes across the top of the pizza evenly.
  • Sprinkle the Romano Cheese across the pizza evenly.
  • Now is the time for the cubes of Fresh Mozzarella.    Evenly distribute the cubes.   There will not be a lot of them, so dot them around the whole wheat pizza strategically.
  • Sprinkle the remaining shredded Mozzarella around the rest of the pizza.   There is about a third of the cheese on this whole wheat pizza, so spread it out evenly .
  • Grind some sea salt on top of the pizza.   Isn't it starting to look good?
  • Tear some fresh basil leaves and distribute across the top of the pizza.
  • Drizzle some Olive Oil on top sparingly.
Now that you have assembled your whole wheat pizza, now is the time to change the oven from the broiler, which was preheating your stone, making it extra hot, to bake at 400 F.    Remember that we were pre-heating the stone by using the broiler?  It is important not to forget to switch it to bake or you will have a very burnt pizza.

Place your whole wheat pizza that is on the pan (or screen) directly on the stone pan and all.   Bake it for about 15 minutes or until it looks nice and toasty brown.

Take the whole wheat pizza out of the oven when finished cooking to perfection and let it sit for about 4 minutes before transferring it to a pan without holes for cutting and devouring.

Now, you can enjoy your whole wheat pizza guilt free and with all the calories that you saved, you can enjoy a nice glass of Chianti or Pinot Noir with your delicious pizza.   It will be crisp on the bottom and well browned, but not burned.   It should look like the picture of the whole wheat pizza that I made on the top of this post.

So, I hope you have enjoyed making this awesome whole wheat pizza!   It satisfies the inner wild child in all of us when we are dieting.   It is so tasty, that you will want it even if you are not dieting.   In my opinion, pizza shouldn't have as much cheese on it anyway.   There is enough on this whole wheat pizza to satisfy the melty cravings, but not so much that you feel clogged after eating it.  

You will find that cooking like this is fun, healthy and delicious.   It is hard to believe, but kids even love this pizza!   Just don't tell them that it is whole wheat pizza and they will be more than willing to try it.  Enjoy this Italian Recipe and please give it a try.

Monday, March 10, 2014

DIY Herbal Acne Remedy

Herbal Acne Remedy


Acne has been a problem for so many people.   In fact, there are so many acne remedies on the market that many don’t know where to start.   There are commercials with celebrities endorsing acne medicines that are so costly, and from what people I know have told me, they only have marginal success.   Acne is painful and to many people suffer with it.

 
DIY Herbal Acne Remedy
Echinacea Purpurea Root Is Part Of This Acne Remedy


I developed this DIY Herbal Acne remedy with cooling in mind.   I have seen it work very well for people who have painful acne where they were not able to get results with other acne products.   In shamanistic terms, I would say that it is designed to “Put out the fire” for those who have infected acne and feel that their face is literally on fire.

Of course, all of this is according to herbal folklore, and you should always consult your doctor before taking any herbal or pharmaceutical medicine.

 
Herbs For Acne



The components of this remedy are Echinacea Purpurea root, Chamomile flowers and Stinging Nettles leaves.   As with anything, some folks are allergic to these herbs and if you are, you will need to find something else.   When in doubt, ask your doctor.  Echinacea and Chamomile are both part of the Asteraceae family.   If you are allergic to Asteraceae, don’t use this.

You will need a ¼ cup of each herb for my DIY Herbal Acne Remedy.

Here is my video on how to make this DIY Herbal Acne Remedy:

Directions

Take the Echinacea root and add it to a pot with 1 ½ cups of water.    Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

After the 30 Minutes, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Chamomile and Stinging Nettles.

Cover and let the mixture infuse for at least 4 hours, over night preferred.
The next morning, strain your Herbal Acne Remedy into a bowl, retaining the liquid.  I like to use a cheese cloth or jelly bag.    Then, squeeze every drop of your Acne Remedy out .

Compost the herbs and give thanks for their contribution to your herbal healing.

Now, the liquid will last up to 3 days.   You should have around a cup of liquid.   What I recommend is taking an Ice Cube tray and filling the tray half full with the Acne Remedy.   After freezing, remove the ice cube from the tray and store in a ziplock in your freezer.  Defrost one every three days, and you will be good to go for a longer period of time.

I recommend using this herbal medicine for acne by using it topically, as you would a toner.   Use a cotton ball and wet it with your homemade herbal acne medicine and put it on the infected area.   You can also mix it with some clay powder to make an herbal acne mask.  Please refer to my video for details.

I wish you the greatest success with this DIY herbal acne remedy.  Please take the time to teach these herbalism skills to your children and friends.  Sharing is caring.   Help and teach others how to heal themselves. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

New York Style Pizza

New York Style Pizza


It is no secret that New York style pizza is the most loved pizza in the world!  I have had lots of questions about pizza making from those wanting to learn how to make it in their own homes.   I have decided to write this post to share my New York Style Pizza making secrets with you and give you some tips to help you make the best pizza you ever had. 

Being a New Yorker, I always took pizza for granted.  Jersey and Connecticut also had great pizza, but it wasn't until I left the tri-state area for vacations and other trips did I realize how different pizza was in other areas.

In fact, once I was away on a business trip in Missouri and some of the folks that I met up with were raving about a great pizzeria a town away that had this amazing New York style pizza.   I was doubtful, but went along with the group and traveled on a lunch break to the restaurant. Sure enough, there were signs all over stating that the specialty of the pizzeria was Authentic New York Style Pizza.  So, we ordered a few pies and grabbed a table.

In NY, most pizzerias use Baker's Pride ovens that are lined with bricks on the floor of the oven.

Baker's Pride New York Style Pizza Oven
New York Style Pizza Oven
The oven in the Missouri Pizzeria was a really nice looking brick oven pizza with a fire in it.   I was like wow, I am going to be in for a treat.   But after what would seem to be an eternity to wait, we finally got our alleged New York Style Pizza pies.   I have to tell you that it was some of the worst pizza I ever had, yet the people I was with thought it was amazing.   The people I was with came from Missouri, Texas, Florida and Alabama.   I was the only actual New Yorker in the crew, so I guess they didn't have much to compare it to.

When I got back to New York, I talked my friend Johnny, who owned a pizzeria.   We were discussing pizza and what people are calling New York Style pizza in other states.  He told me that he believed it was the water in the NY Tri-State area that makes pizza much better here.  I was not quite convinced, though.

As an experiment, I tried to make a New York Style pizza using bottled spring water.   The pizza came out just fine, so it would only make sense that if the water wasn't good where you are, you can make pizza with spring water in the dough.   Logic would have it then that you can make New York style pizza anywhere.

I decided to help folks make authentic New York style pizza in their own homes.  I have made videos on how to make grandma pizza with my no knead dough, but when people think about pizza, they think about the standard Neapolitan round pizza.   For a round thin crust New York Style Pizza, I would recommend not using the no knead dough as it is too soft and will not stretch out easily.  Instead, use this NY Pizza Dough.

Once you have the correct dough and quality ingredients, you are off to a good start.   But, the one problem you face is that you don't have that Baker's Pride oven in your house!   That oven gets really hot, much hotter than a standard consumer oven that someone would have in their house.  So, how do we get around this issue and still have excellent results for our New York Style pizza?

The first thing you need is a bread stone.   Here are a few bread stones that I really like:

The reason I like those particular stones is that they are thicker than some of the other stones out there and hold the heat better. 

Another thing I would recommend getting is some pizza pans with hole in them, or pizza screens.  These are the ones that I recommend:

The reason for the holes is so that air and heat can get to the underside of the pizza and crisp up the crust on the bottom.   Sure, you can put the New York Style pizza directly on the stone, and that would work fine.   To do that, you would need a Pizza Peel.


But, using a screen or pan with holes will make your life much easier.   And yes, many NY Pizzerias use the screens, too.  I have seen people in pizzerias assemble the pizza on the screen and put the screen in the oven.   After the pizza is about half way cooked, they sometimes choose to remove the screen and place the pizza directly on the stone.   You can do that, too, although it is not necessary to make New York Style Pizza.

To see my New York Style Pizza secrets in action, watch this video:


The secret to making this New York Style Pizza in your oven at home is to get the stone hot enough.   That is where people mess up.   The Baker's Pride oven gets much hotter than your oven will bake.   How do we achieve that high temperature in your home oven?  By putting the stone on a high rack and pre-heating it with the broiler.   That will get your stone really hot, definitely higher than the 500 degrees that is probably your maximum baking temperature.

After pre-heating your stone with the broiler, shut off the broiler and switch over to baking at 450 degrees.   The stone will retain the heat at above 500, toasting the bottom of the pizza.  The pizza will have a nice crispy crust on the bottom, not soggy.  But it will not be like a cracker, either.

Another question I get asked a lot  is what kind of flour to use.   Simple All Purpose Flour!   Most of the pizzerias in New York get Pilsbury's Best All Purpose Flour.   Not bread flour, not cake flour.  Now, since I like to cook with organic ingredients, I get organic all purpose white flour when I can.  I have used standard white flour with great results, too.

Sauce is another place people go wrong.   Most of the time, the put too much.   Moisture is not a good thing when it comes to making pizza, so too much sauce can make a soggy pie.   People also put too much oregano or other spices in the sauce, too! 

Try this:  Get yourself a can of organic diced tomatoes and drain them in a colander to remove excess fluid.  Instead of sauce, put the tomatoes on the pizza. You don't have to cook them first, trust me!  Add some chopped garlic and fresh basil and you will have the best pizza you ever had.   Sprinkle some Parmesan or Romano cheese and some Mozzarella and forget about it!  You get the idea.

I hope that the tips that I presented here help you get awesome results making New York Style Pizza in your home, regardless of where you live.    If you watch the video and do what I did with quality ingredients, you will have great results, too!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Italian Monkey Bread - Delicious Olive Oil Rolls

Italian Monkey Bread


I know what you are saying... There is no such thing as a monkey from Italy.   Well, that may be true, but this bread will make you swing from the vines.   It is truly amazing.   

This bread was inspired by a man I saw on the subway in NYC.   He was playing an Accordion and had a monkey collecting tips.    Only in New York City!   I think it was the 1 Train, between 34th st. and 50th st. stations.  This bread is dedicated to that man and his monkey.

So first you will need to make some of the no knead dough.   This no knead dough is so great!  You don't need anything but a spoon and a container with a cover.


Sicilian Prince's Italian Monkey Bread
Sicilian Prince's Italian Monkey Bread


 
Ingredients


•    6 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour

•    2 ½ cups warm water
•    2 Tbsp organic sugar
•   
1/4 cup olive oil
•    1 Tbsp sea salt
•    1 packet of yeast
•    Extra Olive Oil and Sea Salt
 

Directions For Dough

Put all of the ingredients except the extra Olive Oil and Sea salt into the container and stir. ( Yes it is that easy )


Leave the container out for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, put it in the refrigerator overnight or longer (up to 2 weeks)

This is what the no knead dough looks like after 24 hrs
This is what the no knead dough looks like after 24 hrs
This is what the no knead dough looks like after 24 hrs
This is what the no knead dough looks like after 24 hrs
Here is the video to make Italian Monkey Bread:

 

Directions for Monkey Bread

Pour some olive oil into a baking dish.
Make some small balls of dough about 1 inch in diameter and place them in the dish on the olive oil.  Make them fit next to each other, so that when they rise, they will squish into each other .
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 to 3 hrs at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

After monkey bread has risen, remove plastic wrap and brush olive oil on top of the monkey bread.   Then, grind a little sea salt on top of the bread.   As an option, garlic powder sprinkled is always a good option.

Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

When you take it out of the over, immediately brush the tops of the bread with olive oil, again.

Let the bread cool and enjoy...

By the way, this is not a low carb food!  It is definitely not on the Paleo Diet.

It is very yummy, and I am not responsible for breaking your diet.

That is my Italian Monkey Bread.   I sure hope you enjoy making this amazing Italian Recipe.