Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Recipe: Crawford's Homemade Pizza

Kara and Cathy, here are the ingredients.
This pizza is for you and anyone else who is up for homemade pizza!

Time allocation

  • 2 or 2.50 hours from start to finish (beginners may need a little longer)


  • Feeds 4 hungry people

Pizza Dough

  • 1 tablespoon yeast (1 packet will do)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of warm water (not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 and 1/2 cups white flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped fine
  • (optional) 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablepoons olive oil

Lightly mix flour, onion, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt until evenly blended. Set aside. Add yeast and sugar to warm water. Stir. Within about 10 minutes, the mixture will get frothy. That means the yeast (which is alive) is working. Immediately add yeast mixture and olive oil to flour mixture. Stir to create a soft dough which holds together and is workable by hand. If more liquid is needed, add warm water, a little at a time. Knead for 5-10 minutes on floured surface until smooth.. Place dough in a warm (not hot) greased bowl; then turn dough over so that all sides are greased. Cover with a cloth and place in a warm area. Let rise until double. Push down. You are now ready to assemble the pizza.


Pizza Toppings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (sometimes we use pesto for a small section)
  • Ground turkey or beef
  • 1 cup mozarella or pizza cheese
  • Your favorite toppings (ours are: black olives, fresh peppers in assorted colors, onions, tomato; all are sliced thin)
  • Herbs (we use: rosemary, basil, marjoram, parsley, thyme, oregano; fresh in summer and dried in other seasons)

We get the toppings ready while the bread is rising. Brown meat (Richard usually adds a little rosemary and sage for a slight "sausage flavor"). Generously oil pizza pan or cookie sheet (baking sheet should have "lips", high sides, rims, whatever you call them). Our baking pan is 11x15". Optional: We sometime sprinkle cornmeal on bottom of baking sheet. Press dough evenly across baking sheet, creating high edges along sides so fillings do not spill over in oven. Brush 2 tablespoons of oil over dough. Pour tomato sauce evenly over dough inside the edges. We often put some pesto in one corner, instead of tomato sauce. Place your own toppings on pizza. We put cheese on next; otherwise it burns. Place remaining toppings with herbs last.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until done. We like a slower oven. We usually test the middle to make sure it is not doughy. When the middle is done, your pizza is done. Get ready for a feast. It is no longer "Crawford's Homemade Pizza"; it is now proudly your own. You can't buy these at the store!


Story behind the pizza:

When we first moved to Grand Forks in the mid 70s, we spent a lot of time with Bill and Michael Sheridan. Bill is an inspiring cook, one who deeply appreciates the culinary arts. I remember one occasion when Michael (Bill's son who was 11 at the time) stayed with us. Richard and I came home from work all beat out. You get the picture. I suggested we take the kids (Melanie was about 7 or 8) out to eat. "It would be a special treat." I proposed this to Michael, who had a cold at the time. He looked at me and said: "How about homemade pizza? I will give you the list of ingredients, you go to the store and buy them, and I will make the pizza." I think he changed our lives.

Over the years, we have made many homemade pizzas. In the early years, it was Michael's Pizza and after so many trials and modifications, it became ours. We have made pizza for Crawford family gatherings, birthday parties, just for fun, just because we wanted homemade pizza. We've shared the recipe and taught others to make it. We used to enjoy a pizza now and again at one of those lovely impersonal corporate places. But theirs can't hold a candle to this.

O.K. Now this is yours, if you choose to make it so. Get wild. Get crazy. Make it just as good as you would like for it to be!

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