Today for the first time I hear Fall knocking on the door.
Pandora is serenading me – Patti Griffin, Joan Osborn, Cat Power, Stevie Nicks…
Toes toasty in fuzzy pink socks.
The extra large mug of tea on the desk still half full of milky warmth.
Absent 67 days.
A reminder to gather and store.
I want to eat like the season has already changed. Sink my teeth into something chewy, yeasty, and warm.
Let’s make pizza.
Warm water, bubbly yeast, flour, and salt. Mix it with your hands and let your warmth pass into the food.
It’s a cool day. Let the dough rise in the dryer after the towels have finished tumbling (no one else needs to know).
Stretch the puffed up ball into an amorphous shape on parchment paper. The wrinkles are just character lines after all.
Slide it into the hot oven. The heat will chase any whispers of chill lurking in the kitchen.
Don’t let it change color. Steal the dough away from the oven’s warmth and top it with bright reminders that summer has not yet faded.
Back in the oven the dough transitions from blond to brunette. Just as the sun hits the horizon changing the light from ambient to amber.
The mood inside is rich. Everything feels close, the clouds, the rain, the light, the air – Autumn.
It is nearly time to light candles. All eyes will follow the flames bouncing off crimson filled crystal.
We gather. We eat.
No-Knead Pizza Crust
From Joy the Baker recipe cut in half because, in our house, you actually can have too much of a good thing. Start this early in the day so it has at least 2 hours to get nice and puffed up.
Makes between 9 – 12 servings depending on how thin you stretch it and the size of your pieces
- 1 cup + 2 TB all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (not a full packet)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup warmest tap water
- olive oil for brushing
- In a medium to large bowl combine flours, yeast, salt, sugar, & water. Mix with a fork, finish with your hands if needed (kneaded ha!).
- Form the dough into a ball and replace in the bowl. Cover the bowl and leave it in a warm spot for two hours to rise.
- Once risen stretch dough to desired size and shape. If it gets stiff let it sit for 10 minutes to puff back up a bit. Pinch any tears to close them. Use a pastry brush to put a tiny layer of olive oil just around the outside edge that won’t be covered later.
- Preheat oven to 425 – Bake for 5-8 minutes until about half way cooked. The dough should still be pale and doughy looking.
- Remove from the oven. Layer on the toppings and return to the oven for another 8 – 10 minutes until it gets dark and crusty. To get it really crusty flip on the broiler for the last minute or two. The edges should be crisp and the middle nice and chewy.
Approximate nutrition information per 1/9 serving of crust (excludes oil): 86 calories, .1 fat, 18 g. carbs, 1.5 g. fiber, 2.7 g. protein, PP = 2
To make the pizza pictured:
Prepare all the ingredients while the dough is rising so you can get them on the pizza quickly and reduce the time out of the oven during baking.
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup Vegan Spinach Pesto
- 8 – 10 small tomatoes, sliced
- 4 – 5 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 links of turkey sausage – Italian, uncased and fulled cooked
- 1/2 cup of low moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 ounces of soft goat cheese
p.s. If candles and wine turn out to be a little too fussy for your dinner table, this pizza also goes great with beer and a movie. Just in case you were wondering.