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How To Make Pizza - A Step By Step Guide To Show You How To Make Pizza By Kalpagam Swaminathan

So you want to learn how to make pizza yourself? Making pizzas is quite easy when you know the steps involved. Follow this step by step guide to making your own pizzas at home, and delight everyone with the flavor of your hands.

Step 1. Preparing your tomato pizza sauce
Melt the butter with the olive oil and slowly but completely sauté the garlic and onion in a skillet.
Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and puree. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for two hours. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes with a potato masher.
Continue to mash, stir, and simmer partially covered until the sauce reaches the consistency of a rich soup.
Step 2 Making Pizza Dough
Making your own pizza dough by hand is both challenging and satisfying. Home made pizza dough, "from scratch," is without a doubt the single most defining factor that differentiates a great pizza from any other pizza that you will ever have. And, the personal gratification that comes of successfully making pizza at home for yourself, your loved-ones and your friends makes it all the more worthwhile.
Step 3 Panning the Prepared Pizza Dough
Panning the dough is the step where you use a rolling pin or machines to create the pizza base with your dough. There are machines that help you sheet and pan the pizza dough, or you can use the hand tossing method or the rolling pin if you want to do it yourself.
Depending on the style, size, composition and number of pizzas you choose to make, the methods of sizing, shaping, trimming, and ultimately, panning the pizza dough, will vary.
step 4 Topping the Pizza
First, spread the pizza sauce evenly over the surface of the dough. Spoon the sauce out to the edge of the dough sheet, leaving "un-sauced" about 3/4" to 1" of the dough crust.
Next, layer the shredded cheese creating an evenly distributed bed of cheese on which to arrange your toppings. (You will use another cup of cheese for finishing off the top of the pizza.)
From this point on, let your eyes, nose, creativity and taste buds take over to add other toppings to your pizza.
Some toppings, (fresh vegetables, certain cheeses and fatty meats), are higher in moisture and fat content and you have to take this into account when you use them, to ensure your pizza doesn't turn out soggy.
Step 5 Baking the Pizza
The final step is to bake to pizza. When you oven is at the right temperature place a prepped pizza in the center of the middle rack to allow for maximum air circulation around the pan.
Make adjustments to your baking process one at a time until you've found the perfect balance of rack position, temperature and baking time to suit your oven.
Signs to look for that the pizza is ready are:
- The cheese has melted on top and is beginning to brown,
- The crust edge has browned, from a medium to a golden brown, and,
- Carefully lift the edge of the pizza to inspect its bottom. The bottom dough should be evenly browned.
If these signs are evident, your pizza is done!


India - The Country Of Yogurt And Onions

July 31, 2006

Back a few year ago when I was on a trip to India, I noticed that many dishes were cooked in yogurt sauce and that sautéing of onions was one of the favorite ingredient in most recipes.

When I say "onions", I mean "LOTS of onions"... It seems that most of these Indian guys are fond of that, huh?

Anyway... let's get back to what I said earlier... :-)

Once onions were sautéed, yogurt and species were gradually added and then the meat - chicken or lamb is cooked in this sweet-scented mixture.

The meat will be as caramel-colored, not really browned, and the taste? Complex as those braised European dishes.

While the mixture is being cooked, you can start preparing everything else since it will take about 40 minutes to 1 hour for the chicken and lamb respectively.

Most of the spices use here will sweeten the taste of the mixture: cinnamon, cloves and ginger. In a dry skillet, you can mix together whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, seeds, coriander and cardamom until it you can smell their perfume and then just crush them.

Another option is to combine whole and ground spices, add also whole cardamoms pods, cloves and cinnamon. It all depends on you.

I also noticed that cooking with yogurt tends to break over heat. But this is not really a big problem. Here is what I recommend you to do...

Beat cornstarch with the yogurt before adding it to the pot and keep the heat low while the cooking last. This will not only keep the yogurt intact but will also thicken the sauce and make it more glorious.

Without doubt you'll want to eat it with plenty of rice. So don't forget to prepare that too. :-)

Lamb or Chicken in Onion-Yogurt Sauce

1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch chunks, or 4 whole chicken legs
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon minced ginger, or 1 teaspoon dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
10 cardamom pods
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups yogurt
2 large onions or 4 medium onions, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 cloves
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

In a large skillet or casserole, put butter and turn heat to medium-high. Add garlic, onions and a large pinch of salt.

Stir occasionally while cooking, until you see the onions become very soft and brown. This will take at least 15 minutes. Add and stir in spices and cook another minute or so. Add chicken or lamb and stir.

Whisk cornstarch with yogurt, in a bowl, until smooth. Stir it into the mixture. If you are using chicken add about 1/3 cup of water in it. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, then cover and turn heat to low.

Cook at least 40 minutes (by which time chicken will likely be tender) or longer, stirring occasionally, or until lamb is quite tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, then garnish with cilantro, and serve with basmati rice.

Yield: 4 servings.


Tips on Cooking in the Dorm Room

July 31, 2006

Tips on Cooking in the Dorm Room by S. Michael Windsor

For many students, especially freshmen in college,living in the dorm can be quite a change from what a student is normally used to. And as for meals, in many cases, you are at the mercy of the dorm cafeteria hours and whatever restaurant is open when you want it. The problem with the dorms is that there is obviously no kitchen in your dorm room in most cases and many students don't have a car at first. So what is a person to do?

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