Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dinner Last Night - Home Made Pizza!

Speck & Olive Pizza

We were at our friends' house a few months ago and they made the best pizza! (Thanks Steven & Carlos!!)  I found out the key was to get a Pizza Stone for the oven!!  I made pizza on the grill once at home and it was fun and turned out well, but never tried it again.  When I learn new techniques, I have to try it, so I dragged Hubby to Sur la Table and got a pizza stone and cutter.  I could have shopped around for a cheaper stone, but as my husband always says, I'm the queen of instant This is my third time making pizza at home and I'm still learning the ropes. They turn out differently each time, but all are very tasty! For this dinner I made a Neapolitan Style pizza with fresh tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella & Basil and another one with Speck, Olives de Provence, and firm Mozzarella.  Now I also have a Pizza Peel :o)

Dough Ready to Roll Out...

I make the pizza at the family's vacation house and I don't have a mixer or bread maker up there, so I make the dough by hand.  I've been using Emeril's recipe to make this...

I've been making a double batch and then freeze it for later use.  This time I used the frozen dough.  To freeze it...I form it into a ball then loosely cover it in plastic wrap then wrap it in foil and put it into a baggie then freeze it! To thaw it...I put it into the frig for 8+ hours then at room temp for 2 hours.  I can't toss the dough (I tried once and I ended up dropping it on the floor;o) so I roll it out with a rolling pin.

Pre-Baking Crust...

I heat the stone at 500 degrees for at least an hour to get it nice and hot. I like to pre-bake the crust, so it doesn't get soggy especially when I use fresh tomato sauce.  I bake it for about 3 mins.

Poking the Bubbles...

Ready to Chop...

Since I was making a Neapolitan style pizza I made the sauce with fresh tomatoes.  I par-boiled them to get the skin off and then squeezed out the seeds then chopped it all up.

I didn't want to use the immersion blender because I was afraid that the sauce would liquefy, so I chopped it up all by hand!  The only problem was I didn't realize how much tomato I would need to make two pizzas, so I didn't have enough sauce!  I bought 1 1/2 lbs of tomatoes, but with squeezing out the seeds and extracting the liquid it turned out to be barely nothing!  At least it was just enough for one pizza.  I think at the store, in the back of my mind, I was remembering seeing a recipe using 3 lbs of tomatoes, but of course I wasn't paying attention to my own This turned out to be a pretty pricey pizza because I shopped at an expensive grocery store and got imported Buffalo Mozzarella from cost for Neapolitan Pizza...$20!!  

There are two plus sides to this was amazingly good, but next time I wouldn't get imported cheese (or maybe I should be checking the price of things when I shop) and 2...I ran into a celebrity!  I'm not positive it was him, but I'm pretty sure it was...I didn't ASK him when I was talking to him.  I think I had a discussion about Citadelle Gin with Jerry O'Connell. He was asking me what the beautiful bottle in my cart was and then we had a nice conversation about gin!  As I was talking to him I was thinking, wow, he's tall, wow, he's really cute, OMG, I think he's Jerry O' He was so nice too, I even tried to find the bottle of gin with him, so he could buy one too, but it turned out that Hubby had taken the last bottle! I'm always entertained when I see celebrities :o)


I just put a little salt in the tomatoes then put it in a colander for the liquid to leach out for about an hour.

Liquid from Tomato

A lot of liquid comes out, Hubby was thinking we should make Bloody Mary's out of it ;o)

Buffalo Mozzarella, Firm Mozzarella & Parmesan Cheese

Speck & Olives de Provence

Speck is basically the same as Prosciutto, but to me,  it has a smokier flavor to it...

Neapolitan Style Pizza

This took about 5 mins to bake since I pre-baked the crust.  I should have sliced the Mozzarella cheese thinner and placed it on a paper towel before putting it on the pizza so the liquid wouldn't have oozed out on to the pizza.  I learn by mistakes;o)  This was delicious!!

Cooked Pizza Sauce

Since I ran out of the fresh sauce, I had to make another one.  This was at 9:30 pm!!  Luckily I did have canned tomatoes in the pantry.  It's basically a spaghetti sauce...  I sauteed onions & garlic and seasoned it with salt, pepper, Italian Seasonings & crushed peppers then threw in canned chopped tomatoes and cooked it for about 12 mins then mixed it up with an immersion blender.  Thankfully, it was easy to make!

Ready for the Oven...

It has the cooked tomato sauce, firm Mozzarella, Olives and it's topped off with Parmesan cheese.  It was in the oven for about 7 mins and when it came out I finished it with fresh basil.

Ready to Eat!

This one didn't seem as good because I think I put a little too much sauce on it, I was tired and I wasn't that hungry anymore;o)  I'm sure it will taste better as leftovers!!

If I can make a good pizza at home I'm not sure why most pizza places have sub-par pizza!  They usually need a better crust and a better sauce...

Tomato Water Bloody Mary!

Who would have thought to make a Bloody Mary out of leftover tomato water??  Apparently a lot of people because there are recipes on the web for it!  I better start saving all the tomato water when I make salsa too. Hubby makes the best Bloody Mary's! He just whipped it up now as I was writing my blog. There was enough only to make one, so we shared it;o) He put the tomato water, vodka, jalapeno juice, celery salt, lemon juice, W sauce etc. to make it...with the basil leaf for a little fragrance.  He said next time he would just use plain salt to rim the glass.


  1. Beautiful pizza!!!! I know, I actually learned the secret of pizza stone from my friend years ago, and ever since I'm recommending that to everyone! Even Costco croissants become like fresh one when you bake it in there... it's like magic. It's my 2nd one since I broke it a few years ago. Your pizza looks like it's from a gourmet Italian restaurant. Your pictures are all awesome! I love coming here... :-D

  2. Wow! your home-made pizzas look yummy! I LOVE cheesy pizzas with lota lota cheese(again!) although I'm not really a pizza person :D
    Btw, what's a pizza stone? So sorry for my ignorance :P

  3. Thank you Nami, your compliments mean a lot to mean since you have such an awesome blog with beautiful pictures! I keep thinking I want to bake bread on my pizza stone too, but I'm a terrible How in the world did you break a pizza stone..ouch! It works really well in re-heating the leftover pizza too!

  4. Hi Lyn, thank you too for your compliments :o) The pizza stone is a flat surface that you put in the oven and makes your regular oven work like a super hot brick oven. It's the round thing in the oven in my photo of pre-baking the crust. You can also use it to bake bread or as Nami said, just to re-heat store bought croissants! The stone is super hot, so it crisps whatever you put on it.

    Here's a link from Amazon...

  5. Oic.. I got what u meant! It works just like those deep water well-like big 'pot' that some use to 'bake' their breads etc.. I saw that on TV and in Johor Bahru, Malaysia when we ate the cheese&garlic roti prata there and it taste just like those thin, crispy crusted pizzas! :D
    Tks so much for your explanation and the link given! :D

  6. Homemade pizza is so family and I always make our own pizza.
    I have never baked my dough before putting the toppings on, I'll have to try that next time!
    Blesings, Catherine

  7. Catherine, I'm so glad I figured how to make good pizza at home too! Let me know what you think if you do try pre-baking the crust. Thanks for visiting my blog :o) Kay

  8. Yum! Your meals look mouth-watering! Did you make these on your own, or do you have a treasury of old family recipes to pull from? You must be a kitchen goddess. My mom once made a pizza on a grill and it had lots of cheese and bacon. It tasted like heaven!

    Nohemi Tutterrow