Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Filtering by Category: "Pizza"

Blackened Chicken Alfredo Pizza w/ Smoked Beer Crust

I have been very blessed to have been given the opportunity, through this blog, to work with some fantastic companies. With every opportunity, I feel like a kid in a candy store, getting home and seeing a package on the porch waiting for me to use. Working with a company like My Spice Sage is just another reason why I absolutely love my blog. 

When I first visited My Spice Sage, I was simply taken back by their enormous selection of unique spices. They have 500+ premium spices and only carry the highest grade quality spices, so you know you are getting the best. They also use a state of the art grinding method. Grinding their spices cryogenically at sub-zero temperatures to maintain 100% of their flavor. Other grinding techniques generate heat, resulting in a significant decrease in intensity and flavor. 

Another advantage for using My Spice Sage is that they cut out a lot of the middle men. When you buy from a brick and morder establishment the supply chain tends to go like this: Importer-Truck-Processor/Packed-Truck-Distribution Center-Truck-Retailer-You. With My Spice Sage it goes Importer-Truck-My Spice Sage-You. This process cuts out months to even years of processing time. Which, in turn, delivers a fresher product. 

Now lets talk prices. You might be thinking that since you are getting such a premium product, you will have to pay a premium price. I thought that as well, but when I saw the prices I was shocked. In my area, a bottle of McCormick's Smoked Paprika (1.62 oz) retails for $4.99. on My Spice Sage Smoked Paprika (4 oz) is $5.50. McCormicks is $3.08/oz and My Spice Sage is $1.38/oz....THAT'S A 44.8% DIFFERENCE!! WTF McCORMICKS?! Then you might saying "well you gotta pay for shipping." (You better sit down for this) My Spice Sage ships for free on all US orders...brain = blown. 

So, lets recap, you get a premium, high grade product for almost half the price of store bought spices that are delivered to your front door. If you buy another jar of McCormicks or any other extremely overpriced spice again, I will personally come punch you in the face (Not really though). 

Apple Pie Spice, Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt, Aged Balsamic Sea Salt, Canadian Steak Seasoning, Jalapeno Powder, Barbeque Seasoning, Black Lava Sea Salt, Black Truffle Sea Salt, Blackening Seasoning, Cayenne Pepper Salt, Chardonnay Smoked Fleur De Sel, Fire Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt, Jalapeno Salt, Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, Matcha Powder, Merlot Sea Salt, Spanish Rosemary Sea Salt, Sun Dried Tomato Sea Salt, Vanilla Bean Sea Salt, Wasabi Powder, Fried Chicken Seasoning, Mesquite Flour, Herbs De Provence & Bacon Hot Sauce!!!

In this recipe I will be utilizing the blackening seasoning and mesquite flour I received from My Spice Sage. The crust recipe is adapted from the Seattle Food Geek, and is the best and quickest pizza dough recipe ever. We are talking 25 min from start to finish. The secret ingredient that makes this such a quick dough is the use of microencapsulated leavener. Which essentially is baking soda that is coated at a microscopic level with Non-trans Palm lipid. They are just like tiny capsules of baking soda. The baking soda is then only released when you put it in the oven, the heat melts away the coating and your dough rises as it bakes. This basically cuts out hours of proofing time! I decided to use beer (Yuengling Lager) for the liquid in this recipe, which worked really really well. I like a yeasty flavor to my dough and the beer gave it that flavor, without having to wait for hours or even days for the dough to ferment. 

I am still absolutely in love with my Baking Steel! The best way to make a pizza in my eyes. With every use, I am definitely getting better results each time. I am still using the broiler method, which is where I set the Baking Steel on the top rack (Position: Second from the top). and then I crank the broiler on high for an hour to preheat the steel. I also leave the oven door open a crack with a metal utensil, to prevent the thermostat from kicking off the broiler. Slide the pizza on and should be done in about 3 minutes. Enjoy!


Hawaiian Pizza (Pineapple Marinara, Prosciutto & Sage)

It's safe to say that I have a deep seeded love for pizza. I mean, even as I write this post I'm chowing down on a Smart One pizza. Like the great Mel Brooks said "Sex is like pizza...even when it's bad, it's still pretty good." So when I was given the opportunity to make a better pizza at home, I jumped at the opportunity. In comes The Baking Steel

I have wrote before about the advantages of using metal when baking pizza and I am still set on that way. I am totally done with stoneware. The main difference between stoneware vs. steel is there ability to radiate heat. A pizza stone in a 550°F oven will stabilize around 500°F, where as the baking steel will stabilize around 450°F. Now you might be asking "The pizza stone is hotter, doesn't that make it better?" and the answer to this is no. The stoneware will retain heat, where the steel is constantly radiating heat, making it slightly cooler than the air around it. The main advantage here for the baking steel is its ability to TRANSFER energy. In this case, transferring heat energy to a pizza. This will, in turn, cook the pizza faster and make the crust crispier and give the crust those ideal char spots. With a preheated pizza stone in a 550°F oven, it will take about 7-8 minutes. On the baking steal, with the same settings, is about 6 minutes (If you use the broiler method you can finish a pizza in 3-4 minutes).

The technique I liked the most for the Baking Steel was the broiler method. Place the Baking Steel on an oven rack, second from the top (Basically so you have enough room to slide the pizza on the steel). Then, crank the oven broiler on high and preheat the Baking Steel for an hour. I was able to finish a pizza in about 3 minutes with this technique (Think about the pizza party you could throw, being able to whip out a variety of pizzas in 3 minutes!!) 

The Hawaiian pizza in the above photo, I will admit didn't come out as good as I wanted it to. The reason is because I made the crust to thick. Which, meant I left the pizza on the baking steel to long and caused the bottom to get a little over done. Still it was a decent pizza and the Pineapple Marinara was really awesome. I've never been a huge fan of Hawaiian pizzas, just because they are a little to sweet to me with the chunks of pineapple. But, since the pineapple was in the marinara, it wasn't overpowering and the prosciutto and sage really worked well together. 

Hawaiian Pizza Ingredients
  • Pizza Dough, fresh or store bought
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple Marinara
  • 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella, grated
  • 3-5 slices proscuitto
  • 2 Tbsp sage, chopped

Place your The Baking Steel on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat it for an hour at the highest oven temperature. (I didn't use the broiler method for this one)

Stretch out your dough to a 12-14 inch diameter circle. Dust your pizza peel with flour and place the prepared pizza dough on the pizza peel. Give it a few quick jerks, this will make sure the dough moves freely on the pizza peel. 

Top with sauce, cheese and prosciutto. Transfer to the heated Baking Steel and bake for 5-6 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Top with chopped sage and serve. 


Lets be honest, the crust defines the pizza. The toppings for the most part are consistent across the board, but the crust...the crust gives your pizza character. Neapolitan, New York, Chicago, Sicilian...chewy, crispy, a little bit of both...wheat, white, gluten free....fermented, no-knead, knead....All of these result in extremely different and complex crusts. I love experimenting with pizza, whether it be the toppings or with trying out different types of dough's. 

For this recipe, I went with a no-knead dough that I proofed for 24 hours. The extended proofing period gives the dough a really unique flavor since it has time to ferment more. It gives the dough a yeasty/sourdough flavor quality to it. The longer you let it proof and ferment, the more sourdough flavor you're going to achieve. 

I also added in Vital Wheat Gluten to achieve a very chewy stretchy dough with lots of lift. Gluten is what gives any dough that stretchy/chewy quality. So adding it some additional gluten gives it some more of that desired texture. Then add in the fact that I used the Baking Steel, I got a really nice crispy exterior with a chewy interior. The flavor was awesome, I really like the yeasty/fermented tones in this crust. 

  • 3 1/3 Cup all-purpose Flour
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 Teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 375 mL Water 
  • Neutral tasting oil, as needed

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl until fully incorporated. Add in the water and mix to form a dough, it will be a sticky dough, don't add anymore flour. Cover the bowl with a clean, dry dish towel, and let dough rest in a warm place for 24 hours (at least 16 hours or up to 48 hours).

Scrape the dough onto a well-flowered work surface. Fold the dough in half, gently, several times without pressing or squeezing. Continue folding until it becomes springy and elastic, to the point where it become difficult to fold. Let rest for 1 minute and repeat this process for a total of 8 folds in 5 minutes. 

Cut the dough in half, roll each half into smooth, round balls. Coat with oil, wrap in plastic wrap and let them rest at room temp for an hour before using. 

Roll out dough into a 12-14" circle, transfer to a well floured pizza peel, give the dough a jerk so that it moves freely on the pizza peel, top and bake on the Baking Steel.

No-knead Pizza Crust (Pepperoni, Sausage & Red Pepper)

The McJagger

When trying to title this post, I was having some difficulty. I didn't want to call it what it actually is, because what it actually is a Granny Smith Apple, Gorgonzola Cheese, Bacon Lardons, Toasted Walnut Pizza topped with honey...That name just wasn't going to work. Since I cooked the pizza in a cast iron and in my previous post about cast iron care I featured the Rolling Stone song "Satisfaction." I thought BINGO! I'll call it The McJagger! Because this pizza brought me satisfaction on so many levels. Enjoy :)

  • 8 oz. pizza dough, homemade or store bought
  • 2 tablespoons garlic and herb infused EVOO*
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup bacon lardons**
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • Honey, for drizzling

Set oven rack to the highest position and turn broiler on.

Roll out pizza dough into a circle the same diameter as a 12" cast iron pan. Heat your cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and herb infused EVOO (or just use regular EVOO) to the pan, should shimmer if the pan is hot enough. Add the pizza dough to the pan and cook until gold brown on one side, about 5 min. 

Flip the crust over, while the other side is browning add the toppings. First the apple, then gorgonzola, walnuts and bacon lardons. Transfer pizza to oven and broil until the cheese has melted. If you feel like pizza dough needs to cook a little longer, remove pizza from cast iron, place it directly on the oven rack and turn the oven down to 350℉. Bake until cooked to desired doneness. Remove from oven, slice and drizzle with honey. 

*Garlic and Herb Infused EVOO can be substituted for regular EVOO
**Bacon Lardons can be substituted with regular crumbled bacon

Note: This recipe is just enough for a small 12" pizza (enough for 2 people). You can of course make this into a larger pizza on a regular pizza pan. 

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