Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Party Success

I'm very late in updating you guys on Friday's dinner party, but I thought you'd want to know that it was a raging success.  My friends all got along famously, considering two of them hadn't met the other two, and the personality dynamic was super.  We sat there talking and laughing for several hours and then played some video games.  The food was also a triumph.  Everyone loved the pizza bar, and I think its something that anyone could successfully pull off for an easy and fun way to feed your guests.  First, you make all your pizza dough in advance, a batch or more depending on how many people you have coming.  FYI, you really only need to make enough for each person to have one pizza cause they're very filling.  Here's the dough I used (credit goes to FabulousFoods.com):

Mitch's Basic Pizza Dough
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

I always use a food processor.  To start, add the warm water honey and salt and mix together for just a few seconds.  Then you add your yeast and mix, allowing it to melt and activate.  Next, add one cup flour and mix for 15-30 seconds and then add the olive oil, again mixing for 15-30 seconds to get it all incorporated.  You can add any other ingredients that you want and this stage, and then you mix in the remaining flour a little at a time until the dough rolls up into a ball.  Next you must kneed the dough for 8-10 minutes to activate the yeast, and then you let it rise anywhere from 10 minutes to a half an hour.  After its done rising you can divide the dough into as many portions as you like.  I like to cut it in half to make two full thin pizzas, but for the party I cut it into five pieces and each one made a proper 6-8 inch pizza.  Top them with whatever you want and then back for 9 minutes in a 450 degree oven.  (FYI, to my dinner pizza I add a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and for dessert pizza I add the same measurements of cinnamon and sugar).

Our toppings were numerous.  We had tomato, alfredo, and olive oil sauces and several different meats like chicken, hamburger, bacon, sausage, and pepperoni.  Our vegetables were roma tomatoes, fresh basil, mushrooms, and fresh spinach.  For cheese we had mozzarella, parmigiana, gorgonzola, romano, and goat cheese.  For the dessert pizzas we brushed the dough with a mixture of melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar and topped it with apple pie filling and a crumble topping (1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, and 4 tablespoons of butter (though I can't quite remember that last measurement, its from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook).  That one I over estimated on and made too much dough for, we all only ate one dessert pizza between the 5 of us.  I had a ton of leftovers, but I've just been cooking it all into different things.  Chicken alfredo one night, spaghetti another, and yet another pizza the other night.  So if you plan to do this, make sure you estimate your food well so you don't end up with too much.

That's really all for tonight, sorry to sound so much like Martha Stewart...I'll be back to talking movies by tomorrow.  Take care for now and enjoy the weather.

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