Saturday, August 20, 2011

Monsters, Monarchs, Marinara, and Magic

While peering hopefully at my fig tree, hoping upon hope that some of  her (probably two or three hundred) figs will ripen, my husband spotted this MONSTER fig, showing a tiny tinge of purple:

Perhaps all my figs are going to achieve this huge size, and that's why they are still not ripening. Or, it could be the extra harsh winter we had, which may have killed some of the stem tissue. I'm hoping for the former.

While pruning my garden out front, I found this guy in my milkweed:
Monarch, munching.

And, I made my very first yeast dough and then, my first home made pizza last night:
My dough after rising.  

Traditional Pie with Cashew-Basil Ricotta (Use one full cup or more of packed basil leaves instead of the 1/4 cup called for in my recipe.  Pulse the cashews and garlic, then add the basil leaves with olive oil and pulse some more, like you are making a pesto, THEN add the tofu and other ingredients to the processor). It also has Daiya Mozzarella and Trader Joe's Marinara (spruced up a little with some extra herbs).  Totally vegan. My son said it was the best pizza ever :-). He helped make the dough!

My magic trick was that I used the smooth side of a double-burner cast iron griddle instead of a pizza stone.  They get nice and hot, heat very evenly, and don't crack like some pizza stones do.  I used a cookie sheet as the peel (same rectangular shape as the pan, so worked great). Plus you can use it as a griddle (the smooth side) or a grill (the bumpy side) the rest of the time and don't have to store a pizza stone somewhere just for making pizza.  I got it to make lots of pancakes at once, and also to double as a pizza stone.  I decided to try it for pizza right out of the box and am VERY happy with it.  It is made by Lodge Logic and comes pre-seasoned (I have another of their cast iron saute pans and I love it, use it all the time).  If you don't have any cast iron cookware, get over your fears and get some.  It's heavy as hell, but amazing stuff.  Magic.

<3 Dawn


  1. Nice looking pizza. I am going to have to check out that cast iron griddle.

  2. Anony, Go for it! Originally, I was going to get the cast iron pizza pan (which is 14 inches diameter) but I knew I could get a lot more use out of the griddle, which I needed for other things like making a lot of pancakes at once, so I figured I would try it, and it worked out great! Obviously, you have to make rectangular pizzas, but I'm fine with that. The double burner griddle is 10x20 inches, so it's a large rectangle. Good luck!