Wickwood's Kitchen ... Pizza
Everyone has their favorites, and it’s great fun to
experiment. You’ll be surprised what a little imagination and using
the best ingredients you can find will do for your homemade pizzas.
Our Pizza Dough
Some like to bake pizza in a coal-fired oven, others a wood
burning pizza oven, a traditional oven or a grill. Bake it on a grill, a
griddle, a pizza stone, screen, bakery sheet or a piastra. Whichever
you choose, you’ll get
your groove. Just do it - homemade is best!!
• 3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra
for dusting (or half whole wheat and half white flour)
• 2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 cup warm water
• ¼ cup dry white wine, at room temperature
• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1. In a large
bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar and mix well. Make a
well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the warm water,
wine and olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients
into the dry until the mixture is too stiff to stir, then mix with
your hands in the bowl until the dough comes together and pulls away
from the sides of the bowl.
2. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn the dough
out. Knead gently, dusting the work surface lightly with more flour
as necessary, for 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, elastic,
and only slightly sticky.
3. Oil a large clean bowl, add the dough, and turn to coat.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, set in a warm
part of the kitchen and let the dough rise until doubled in size,
about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400°F for one hour if you’re ready to
cook pizza, or prepare another heat source.
4. Punch the dough down, and divide the dough into 4 pieces
and shape each one into a ball. Let rest for 15 minutes, loosely
covered with a tea towel or plastic wrap.
5. Using a floured rolling pin or your hands, stretch each
ball into a 9-10 inch round. Don't fuss. We like it to look rustic.
6. Pre-bake pizza dough on a pizza pan, baking sheet, pizza
stone, or baker’s screen for 8-10 minutes. Place favorite toppings
atop and bake an additional 8-12 minutes, checking periodically
until desired crispy goodness is as you like it.
BASIL HAZELNUT PESTO
As Farmer’s Markets reap their harvest, large bouquets of cut basil
will appear. Take advantage of the season to make a stash of Basil
Hazelnut Pesto to last all winter long. We make huge batches of this, always using the mortar and pestle and it stays bright
green and fresh tasting all year long. We don’t add Parmigiano to
the pesto now, instead we add it when we're preparing a dish. This
yields ¾ cup, just multiply. A mortar and pestle makes all the
difference to the taste of this pesto.
½ teaspoon sea salt
6 large cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
½ cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (added by mistake one day – now
1 cup fresh basil, leaves only, torn 1/3 at a time
1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
"Trust your work. And never hope more
than you work."
1. Mix salt and garlic
in mortar crushing garlic with pestle. Add hazelnuts and crush.
2. Add 1/3 of basil along with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and
continue to gently pound the ingredients. Incorporate the next 1/3
cup of the basil.
3. With the final 1/3 of the basil, add the remaining ¼ cup olive
oil and mix thoroughly. Season with black pepper.
4. Place in plastic container and cover with a thin layer of olive
oil. You can store in refrigerator for up to 6 months, if after each
use you top with a film of olive oil.
NOTE: At our recent Italian Wine Weekend, we made batches of
this Pesto in our food processor and also by hand in a mortar and
pestle. We passed the tastes around and there was no question which
was the favorite!!!! Hands down, the classic technique won.
And, so while it takes a little more energy, just go into your Zen
mode and mash everything into a chunky paste in your mortar. One
taste and you’ll agree.
LE GRAND AIOLI AT WICKWOOD
To celebrate every stage of the wonderful heirloom vegetables
ripening at our local Farmer's Market recipes, we're celebrating
at Wickwood by
serving "le Grand Aioli", the infamous village supper held all
over Provence. It's a glorious way to begin every great evening.
The centerpiece of Le Grand Aioli, The Great Summer
Feast of Provence, often called “the sunshine of provence” and it is
the greenish gold garlicky mayonnaise made with a mortar and pestle.
That is it’s secret. Neither doctored store bought, nor blender
mayonnaise will do. It must be made in the traditional way for the
flavor to be truly superb. When combined with the Summer’s freshest
vegetables straight from the garden and some poached fish, it truly
becomes a feast from the heavens! We always like to have plenty of
Aioli and so you need to make two batches of the following recipe,
one at a time. It can be made ahead of time, but gets stronger over
time. Serves 12
• 8 garlic cloves, peeled
• 2 egg yolks, at room temperature, whisked juice of 1 lemon
• Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
• 1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil, not the greenest, nor strongest; or
half grapeseed (or sunflower) and half olive oil, to taste.
Crush the garlic cloves
in a mortar with a pinch of coarse sea salt until you get a paste.
Whisk in the egg yolks. Then drop by drop, drizzle in about ½ cup of
the oil, whisking continuously. Don’t rush it here. As the aioli
begins to thicken, the oil can be added in a thin, steady stream.
Whisk just until the aioli is stiff. Set aside.
These are strictly up to you. They depend on your taste, your
garden or the Farmer’s Market, and how long you want to feast.
For 12 people, I usually make:
• 24 small gold or red beets, roasted
• 24 Fingerling or 24 Red Potatoes, boiled
• 36-48 baby carrots, roasted
• 3 pounds of green beans, blanched
• 48-60 Heirloom Cherry/Pear Tomatoes
• 2 pounds zucchini, sliced
• 2 pounds broccoli or cauliflower, trimmed
• 2 pounds chickpeas, roasted
• 6 large red and yellow peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced
• 2 pounds of sugar snaps
• 12 small salmon or cod fillets, poached and chilled
• Assorted garlic sausages and carpaccio, thinly sliced.
Present all of the
vegetables in mounds, on a platter laden with dark green lettuce
leaves. Place the aioli in bowls of hollowed out vegetables, nestle
in the fish and meats and serve with plenty of napkins and rose.
LINGUINE WITH TOMATOES AND BASIL
When our heirloom tomatoes are at
their prime one of the first dishes we think of making is one that
we first tasted in Italy many many years ago. It’s perfect for those
lazy days of Summer when you don’t want to cook, but still want
something scrumptious. The secret ingredient is the Brie which melts,
creating an instant sauce! You can also use mozzarella and Roquefort,
St. Andre or l’Explorateur. It’s lovely. Serves 6-8
|• 8 large
ripe tomatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes, or loads of heirloom cherry
or pear shapes, cut in half
• 1 pound Brie, rind removed, cut into bite sized pieces
• 1 cup fresh basil, rinsed, dried, and cut into strips
• 3-6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced (to taste)
• ½ cup best-quality olive oil
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1 pound linguine
• Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. At least 2 hours before serving,
combine the tomatoes, Brie, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and
pepper in a large serving bowl.
2. At serving time, bring 6 quarts salted water to a boil in a large
pot. Add the linguine, and boil until tender but still firm, 8 to 10
3. Drain the pasta and immediately toss well with the tomato sauce.
Serve at once, passing the peppermill, and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Smell the sea breezes, even if you’re not near.
Capture the very essence of summer.
• 4 cups peeled, pitted, and
coarsely chopped fresh peaches
cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup sugar
• 5 tablespoons Amaretto
1. In a blender or food processor, puree the peaches. Add the
remaining ingredients. Pulse to combine, and refrigerate until
2. Place the mixture in an ice cream machine and freeze
according to the manufacturer’s directions.
VERY BERRY SORBET
A symphony of
summer berries, ripe together for a limited time.
• 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled
• 1 quart fresh raspberries
• 1 quart fresh blackberries
• 1 quart fresh blueberries
• 1 cup sugar
• ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
• ¾ cup fresh orange juice
• Mint leaves for garnish
1. Place berries in a large mixing bowl and toss well. Reserve
1 cup of mixed berries for garnish. Puree the fruit in batches
in a food processor or blender. Add the sugar and juices and
blend until smooth.
2. Strain the puree to remove seeds, and chill. Place the
chilled puree in an ice cream machine and freeze according to
the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 8
Cooks Notes ...
Favorite Toppings but anything goes ...
Pizza sauce, mozzarella, arugula, basil, roasted tomatoes, Kalamata
olives, smoked Spanish paprika
• Swiss cheese, arugula, slice ham or proscuitto, basil, mozzarella
and marinated artichoke hearts
• Carmalized onions, nutmeg, garlic, arugula, mozzarella, toasted pine
nuts, lemon zest, golden raisins, fresh fig quarters, proscuitto
• Pizza sauce, garlic, soppressetta, mozzarella, arugula, Kalamata
olives, roasted tomatoes, parmigiano
• Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms, roasted garlic cloves, golden
raisins, walnuts, fresh mint, parsley, parmigiano
• Basil pesto, mozzarella, arugula, gorgonzola, roasted red pepper,
• Fennel sausage, carmalized onions, roasted garlic, roasted leeks,
mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano
• Lobster chunks, guanciale, presto and rapini
• Clams, pancetta, lemon thyme, olive oil and parmegiano
• Roasted tomatoes, Grana Padano cheese, mozzarella, green olives
• Puttanesca or Amatriciana sauce, cream and Parmigiano
Some of our
Favorite Pizza Joints
The Journeyman Café – Fennville, Michigan
• Spago – Beverly Hills, California
• Otto Enoteca Pizzeria – New York, New York
• Pizzeria Mozza – Los Angeles
• Pizzeria Bianco – Phoenix, Arizona
• Al Forno – Providence, Rhode Island
• Mezzaluna – New York, New York
• Spiaggia – Chicago, Illinois
• Apizza Scholls – Portland, Oregon
• Serious Pie – Seattle, Washington
• Pizzeria Delfina – San Francisco, California
• L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele – Naples, Italy
Fresh Herbs All Year
Collect as many fresh herbs as possible, wrap them in small
amounts with plastic wrap and lay them flat in the door of your
freezer. You’ll have fresh herbs to use in your cooking throughout the
“Pesto” means “to make a paste” and once Americans fell in love
with the classic pesto, we’ve all taken it to heart and let our imaginations
run wild! Using the traditional pounding method we often change the
ingredients, first using different herbs: basil, parsley, tarragon, mint,
oregano and arugula and spinach, then hazelnuts, macadamias, walnuts, or
sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds, vary the oils and cheeses, then
sometimes pushing the envelope even further to include, roasted tomatoes,
roasted red peppers, chipotle, artichokes, kalamata olives, sweet peas, or
ginger. There are no rules. Theses new pestos simply dazzle everything they
touch. You’ll feel like a very rich cook when you have a stash of pesto.
Garlic and Saints
Garlic in Provence is taken very seriously. Once a
year, at the height of Summer in mid-August, all of the small towns of
Provence celebrate their garlic harvest in a dramatic way. Each town
has its own patron saint, who is honored by a three day
festival-culminating with a Grand Aioli Feast for all of the village’s
citizens. The feast itself begins with Aperitifs, olives, handmade
potato chips, and then moves to Le Grand Aioli served with many,
baguettes, bottles of rose and pastries. It goes on for hours, with
dancing, boules, and fireworks far on into the night!!
A warm afternoon in
Cassis - Provence
In Provence, at Le Grand Aioli, two types
of Aioli are made, one with olive oil and one with sunflower oil. The
one with sunflower oil is less strong and is preferred by some. Not
me, but some.
The differences in taste between olive oils is considerable. Italian
olive oils are stronger and fruitier and those of Provence, milder.
Unless you truly love the deep fiery bite of olive oil, sometimes halving it
with grape seed or sunflower oil is a good idea.
A major factor in determining the taste of olive oil is the maturity
of the olives when they’re picked. Olives harvested when still
partially green will produce an oil that has a hot aftertaste, while
an oil made with fully mature, black olives will be mild and fruity,
almost buttery. Most Provencal olive oil is the latter.
Traditionally, the olives in Provence are harvested when they are
black, and consequently these are milder than those from Tuscany where
the olives are picked when still partially green.
There is only one
way to become familiar with olive oils and determine your favorite.
Taste, taste, taste them! Simply, with bread, on salads, in sauté, in
frying, baking and in slow cooking. Only then, will you know which you
like to cook with when. It’s your taste that’s important!!
This year treat yourself and taste a tomato with a past - next year
you’ll want to grow them. They’re sweeter, more flavorful than
you’ve tasted in years. Some of our favorites:
• Mortgage Lifter
• Cherokee Purple
Remember if you over-water you’ll get green foliage - but watery
tomatoes. Every few days is enough. Tomatoes want sunshine.
Heirloom seeds can be found at
www.seedsavers.com www.johnnyseeds.com www.tomatobob.com
www.rareseeds.com www.reneesgarden.com www.tomatofest.com
"The true meaning of
life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit"