Monday, February 24, 2014

Snowbound

There is something delicious and decadent when a good storm comes and forces us to slow down and stay home. Of course, we can only appreciate being homebound if no one is hurt or stranded, the electricity is working, and there are staples in the larder. Thankfully our most recent Ice and Snowmageddon caught us with a full pantry and enough flour to make bread all weekend.

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits fortify a body between shoveling sessions, especially when the biscuits are warm and an extra pat of butter melts into the flaky crevices. Even when I've spent an hour outside in the snow my hands are too warm to make really decent pastry. I used the food processor to bring the dough together like a pie crust. Worked like a charm and the dough was gorgeous.

I love a good Neapolitan as much as anyone, but on a cold winter evening I crave a square slice of Detroit-style, that rare and beautiful pizza with a deep chewy crust and a buttery crisp exterior. I had all day Saturday for a slow-rise pizza dough, but our house is rather drafty. I wrapped my dough bowl in towels and placed it inside of a heating pad. Eight hours and two rises later I had a silky dough that pressed perfectly into a Detroit-style crust. Topped with zucchini, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and olives, the resulting pie reminded me of the Garden of Eatin', the Rocky Rococo specialty served in steamy rectangle boxes.

There was enough pizza dough leftover on Sunday afternoon for a small batch of pretzels. The dough had been rising for over 24 hours, and smelled hardy and yeasty. I rolled a few pretzels, dipped them in a bath of boiling water (5 cups of water plus 1/3 cup baking soda) until the pretzels floated (about 10 seconds). I placed each roll on parchment lined baking sheets and immediately sprinkled a bit of salt on top, then baked them in a 450 degree oven for 7 - 8 minutes, until they were golden. I borrowed a bottle of T's light beer and made a quick and light beer cheese soup, perfect for dipping our warm pretzels and a final satisfying meal on a cold cozy weekend.



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