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Seasonal Year-Round: Baking The Perfect Homemade Pizza Pie

We're into the coldest days of winter here in Indiana and this time of year eating fresh, local and seasonal ingredients can be especially difficult. Sure, there are still winter squash, winter greens, root vegetables and the like, and meats and cheeses, but many of us are already eagerly looking forward to spring and the new bounty it brings.

On the bright side, there are staple dishes like homemade pizza that, through your choice of toppings, can help you use what's available at the local winter farmer's market, or in your pantry, and still create a delicious homemade meal, even during the depths of winter.

That's what we've got for you on the podcast today: some background information and tips for making pizza at home, a recipe for pizza crust and then some topping inspiration to get your culinary creative juices flowing and get you into the kitchen.

How Pizza Stones Work

One of the great things about taping Earth Eats in a restaurant kitchen is the availability of all the commercial-grade kitchen gadgets. In this case, we're baking our pizza today with a $20,000 pizza oven.

I'm willing to bet most of you don't have a $20,000 pizza oven, but fortunately, you can get similar results in your own oven with a $5 pizza stone. We asked chemist Leigh Krietsch Boerner to explain why pizza stones produce such scrumptious crusts. Read more »

Pie Topping Inspiration

Baking The Perfect Homemade Pizza Pie

  1. Roll or stretch your dough out on a pizza peel (or the back of a cooking sheet).
  2. Brush a little olive oil onto the dough to prevent moisture seeping into the crust, then add your choice of toppings (take some inspiration from above, or just use whatever is seasonal and looks good in the garden or at the market. Remember less IS more!
  3. Sprinkle coarsely ground grains or cornmeal on a baking stone pre-heated in a 450-500 degree oven. Slide the pie off the peel or baking sheet and onto the stone with a jiggling motion.
  4. Bake one pizza at a time until the crust is browned or even lightly charred on the edges and crisp throughout (10-15 minutes).
  5. Consider adding a cold or room-temperature topping after the pies come out of the oven - arugula, smoked salmon, tuna sashimi, or fresh herbs.
  6. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil or other flavored oil and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper, sea salt and very roughly chopped Italian parsley.

Next Week

Recently Slow Food USA declared 2010 the year of the heirloom apple. Next week on the podcast, we'll hear about heirloom apple varieties from ethnobotanist and author Gary Nabhan with recipes for apple pie, apple butter and more.

Be sure to join us then, or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes to make sure you don't miss it!

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