Friday, June 4, 2010

The NBA Finals Diet. Go Lakers! Bake Pizza!

It's NBA finals time again. Time to eat only blue food, not change your socks and always sit in the same chair while watching every game. Ok, I'm not exactly that superstitious but..close. Very, very close.
 Back in the 80's during a particularly nasty Celtics Lakers standoff, we broke our basketball-watching rules and went to someone elses' house for a final game. The Lakers lost that game and I vowed never to watch basketball at that persons' house again. Because it was their fault the Lakers lost that game. Of course it was.
  We've never had the pleasure of attending any Basketball Finals. Lakers Season tickets were pretty  much like Unobtanium when we were trying to get them. So we compromised on season tickets to the LA Opera, and The LA Clippers, one of the losingest teams in the NBA. Actually, the Clippers are the reason I never got a Fatburger. At the games, they would always  announce that if the Clippers won (ha!) everyone would be able to turn their ticket stubs in for a free Fatburger. Fat chance. Very smart marketing on the part of the Fatburger people. Tell a bunch of hungry basketball fans about Fatburger. Get it in their heads. Work on them. Promise them a free Fatburger and then sorry, the team loses. The Fan goes out and buys a Fatburger anyway. So why did I not get a Fatburger? Why didn't I just buy myself one? I wanted that Free Fatburger. The one that tasted like Victory!
   Had Fatburger made that offer at any Lakers game they would have gone out of business from all the free Fatburgers they would have had to give away.
  So what to cook to guarantee a Lakers victory against the Celtics? That is the question. Because of course everything I do in my kitchen on game day affects the mojo of the game. Didn't you know I had those powers? Every fan does.
  Alan and I conferenced and decided on pizza.  Patsy was very excited about our decision, and also hoping that in our excitement about the game many things would hit the floor and she'd get lucky. We are her Fatburger.

We invited some friends. I don't know whether they really came for the basketball or the pizza, or the beer, but as long as they ate quietly and didn't ask too many questions, they were welcome.

  I used to make pizza fairly often. One great thing about it  is that once the dough is made, it can very easily be frozen and kept for future pizza events. This cuts down on work and pizza waiting time.
 Recently however, I discovered an even easier way to do pizza dough. No knead pizza dough. No work, no mess, just as long as the dough is started the day before, you're good to go eat pizza.
  This dough is the famous NY Times Artisan Bread Dough recipe that's all over the interwebs. Since I've been baking quite a bit of artisan bread of late for Alans' personal use, I decided to give it a try as pizza dough. It worked astonishingly well. What a discovery! No more kneading and drizzling olive oil. This stuff almost makes itself. Here's how to do it.
   In a large bowl mix together:
 3 cups of all purpose flour
 1 tsp of kosher salt
 1/4 tsp of yeast
 1 and 1/2 cup of warm water.
  If you need to add a bit more water to make your dough stick together, feel free. It should be thick and sticky. Since you are not going to be touching it, who cares. You will not be getting your little paws dirty with this bread dough.
 Give it some stirs with a big wooden spoon. When it's all mixed well together and there are no dry parts, cover it with saran wrap and set it aside in a warm place to rise. I like to keep mine in the garage next to my Volvo. An unheated oven is another good place. After 18 to 24 hours, your dough is ready to make pizza. If you are planning on using it later than this, place the bowl in the fridge. It will keep there for up to two weeks. This big bowl of dough will make 2  nine inch pizzas.
   When you are ready to bake, scoop the sticky moist dough out of the bowl and turn it onto a floured surface.  Add more flour to the dough,  kneading it a bit so it is no longer sticky and tacky. This doesn't take too long. When you have a firmer sort of dough, divide it in half and set the  two lumps of dough out to rise a bit more...say another 40 minutes to an hour.
 Meanwhile place a pizza stone in the oven and pre-heat to 450 degrees. If you don't own a stone, you can use a metal pizza pan. The stone works a lot better but does require having a pizza peel or paddle.
  Sprinkle your pan or paddle with coarse corn meal.
  Now We're Ready To Make Pizza!
 Pick up the dough and begin to shape it into a circle. DO NOT ROLL IT! Place it on the paddle or in the pan and stretch it with your fingers and hands.

  I made two different types of pizza, both vegetarian. The classic Pizza Margherita and a Goat Cheese and Greens Pizza. Here are the recipes.
  Pizza Margherita
 Slice 10 oz of good mozzarella cheese into ovals and place them on the dough.

 On top of that lay about 1 lb of peeled Roma tomatoes cut into thin wedges.

  Scatter about 1 tbs of chopped fresh oregano over the tomatoes and cheese, and drizzle some fresh good quality olive oil over the whole thing.
 Place the pizza in the pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Take it our when the crust is crispy and the cheese bubbly.
 Now The Greens and Goat Cheese Pizza
  In  a skillet or kadhai heat a bit of olive oil.
When the oil is hot, toss in some finely choped garlic or shallot.
 When it starts to brown, add in about 12 oz of fresh spinach. Stir it around till it's coated with the oil and begins to wilt and cook.
  When the spinach is cooked, set it aside.
  Place the dough on a corn meal coated peel or  pan.  Stretch it into a circle gently and place a layer of shredded mozzarella in the center of the dough.
 On top of the mozzarella place the cooked spinach. You can also used kale or chard or a combo of greens.
 On top of the greens crumble some soft fresh goat cheese. I used one of the best new cheese out right now. Delice de la Vallee from my neighbor Sonoma Cheesemaker Sheana Davis. This cheese is a delightful combo of cow and goat milk. fresh and fragrant it works like gangbusters and is available at fine cheesemongers around the USA. Click on the cheese name and visit Sheanas' site they'll show you where to find it.
Brush the rim of the pizza with olive oil which contains a few red pepper flakes.
 Then bake.

The pizza was served with a variety of beers and a fresh mixed green salad dressed with oil and balsamic vinegar.
The pizza was great and the Lakers were even better. the next game in the schedule is on Sunday and I'm trying to figure out another good luck menu to serve because after all, the Championship is riding on my stove.
  About my Giveaway
 As I mentioned before, our 1st Blogiversary is approaching and the people at Early Morning Pottery have given me 2 of their wonderful ceramic Chicken Cookers, and 1 set of Game Hen Cookers to give away in celebration. The rules are simple:
 Rule 1
 On Your Blog:  Post about The Colors Of Indian Cooking and this contest on your blog
 On Twitter: Tweet about The Colors Of Indian Cooking. (Include @kathygori in your Tweet)
 On Facebook: Become a Fan of The Colors Of Indian Cooking Facebook Page here and talk about it on your Facebook status.
   Become a follower of The Colors Of Indian Cooking
  Follow @kathygori on Twitter
 Rule 2
  Leave a comment on this blog with a link to your activity.
  That's it.
 Winners will be chose at random on June 14th .
 Good luck!


  1. The Pizza Margherita has me swooning. Its really fabulous! I will definitely make this with a wheat crust!
    For the second pizza, what cheese do you recommend for those who cant get their hands on that lovely Delice de la vallee?
    Also, my second blog post about the giveaway -

  2. @Cool Lassi.
    any goat cheese will do. I used the delice because I happened to have a tub of it and Paula Wolfert had told me that it cooks amazingly. I'd just been eating it drizzled with rose petal jelly! I worked great on the pizza..but any goat cheese is a great second choice.

  3. @cool lassi
    you'll be entered twice.

  4. What fresh, healthy pizza. There was plenty of loud cheering happening at our house last night as the Lakers cruised to the first win (my husband is from L.A.)

  5. oh, wow, those both look wonderful! i love how plump they come out of the oven. yum! the look on Patsy's face is priceless, haha

  6. those are gorgeous pizza's!! I love goat cheese on anything but especially on pizza!~
    could use some right now while I watch my Flyers!!

  7. BE-U-TI-FUL! I want to be your neighbor.

    Hey, they didn't have the banana flower so I had to buy it canned. Hope it works.

  8. Tats a good hearty pizza...liked the spinach specially bcoz i never baked it in a pizza...too good.
    Came across ur blog thru fb...and liked every bit reading thru.
    Between m a cook (tats wat I like to myself, though m a trained chef) n a food blogger fm down under.
    Following u n will be bake for more of ur yummy treats.

  9. @janis
    I've never seen it canned I've been lucky enough to be able to get it fresh regularly at the South Asian market in Santa Rosa.
    You could come to our house but you'd have to root for the Lakers...

  10. @chef dennis
    ah yes, sports and pizza great combo. And thanks for the bread recipe your piece on artisan bread helped inspire me to try this.

  11. @Brie: le grande fromage
    Thanks so much! yes, Patsy was so hopeful she'd get a slice..she did get dog cookies!

  12. @cookin' canuck
    I'm with your husband. Even though I was born and raised in San Francisco, I lived in LA so long I'm a die hard Laker fan.

  13. Kathy!!! HAVE to root for the Lakers? I am from L.A. and went to a million Laker games. I am a HUGE fan even though I am stuck in New England.

  14. oh great looking pizza, I love the topping and the pics are wonderful


  15. I love that NYT dough recipe. I have been working on a few adjustments. I am excited about the pizza dough. I want to try and do pizza weekly, but I always forget.

  16. Awesome! Pizza is a great invention for any games!



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