I love working as a journalist. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough right now.
M hay and I are trying to save to buy our first house next spring or summer. I refuse to flounder professionally in the meantime. I have to contribute to savings.
The last straw to my ambitions of being full-time right off the bat was four projects flunking this month. Just when I thought I was doing so well.
The fails were due to sources not showing up for interviews and misinformation that I received from sources. Unfortunately, I spent way too much time researching them before realizing they were duds.
Really, I’ve never had such a bad month of journalism (even as student), but this is reality and must be observed.
So I have decided to branch out and do some other things in addition to journalism to help me meet my financial goals.
This doesn’t mean I’m not going to continue with my writing, just that I feel it needs to be supplemented at this time.
Thankfully all of my new jobs and projects revolve around food. I couldn’t be happier about that.
Lost in the flurry of establishing myself during the last few months was acknowledgement of a kind gift.
House of Q, a maker of homemade BBQ sauces, sent me no less than five concoctions in the mail this spring.
Sugar and Spice has the texture of apple butter. It’s sweet to start, with a heat that builds and features allspice, clove and chili prominently.
*****Full disclosure: House of Q sent me sauces with no obligation to use them or feature them on this blog.
BBQ Chicken Pizza
*makes 6 10-inch pizzas
For the Pizza Dough:
*from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton
22 ounces warm tap water
1 tsp dry active yeast
26 ounces unbleached bread flour, plus more as needed
1 tbsp dark rye flour or medium rye flour
1 1/2 tsp wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp barley malt or mild-flavoured honey
1 tbsp kosher salt
olive oil for greasing the bowl
To make the sponge, put 15 ounces of the water and the yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer and let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve the yeast. Add 13 ounces of the bread flour, the rye flour and the wheat germ. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients. Wrap the bowl tightly in plastic wrap and tightly wrap the perimeter of the bowl with kitchen twine or another piece of plastic wrap to further seal the bowl. Set the dough aside at room temperature for 1.5 hours.
Uncover the bowl and add the remaining 7 ounces of water, the remaining 13 ounces of bread flour and the barley malt. Fit the mixer with a dough hook, place the bowl on the mixer stand and mix the dough on low speed for 2 minutes. Add the salt and mix on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Note that the dough will not pull so much that it completely cleans the bowl, but if the dough is too sticky and is not pulling away from the sides at all, throw a small handful of flour into the bowl to make it less sticky. While the dough is mixing, lightly grease with olive oil a bowl large enough to hold the dough when it double sin size. Turn the dough out of the mixer into the oiled bowl. Wrap the bowl as before. Set the dough aside at room temperature for 45 minutes. Dust your work surface lightly with flour and turn the dough onto the floured surface. Acting as if the round has four sides, fold the edges of the dough toward the centre. Turn the dough over and return it, folded side down, to the bowl. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and set it aside for 45 minutes.
Dust your work surface again lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Divide the dough into six equal segments, each weighing approximately 7 ounces. Gently tuck the edges of each round of dough under itself. Cover the dough rounds with a clean dishtowel and let them rest for 5 minutes.
Lightly flour your hands and use both hands to gather each round of dough into a taught ball. Dust a baking sheet generously with flour and place the dough rounds on the baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with the dishtowel and set them again at room temperature for 1 hour to proof the dough.
Use immediately, or store in the fridge, covered with a moist towel, for up to 36 hours.
For the BBQ Chicken:
8 cups water
6.4 ounces salt
6.4 ounces sugar
2 chicken legs
Combine water, salt and sugar in a container big enough to only have the water come up halfway. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add chicken. Refrigerate chicken in brine for 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 300F. Roast chicken legs for 1 hour in skillet greased with olive oil.
When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken skin and bones and shred the meat. Toss the shredded meat with as much BBQ sauce as desired.
For the Pickled Red Onions:
1 large red onion, sliced into thin rounds
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1 bay leaf
Heat vinegar, sugar, cloves and bay leaf in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved.
Add onions. Gently turning, cook the onions until they just turn soft, about 1 or 2 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cool. Store onions in liquid in a jar in the fridge.
For the assembly:
*dough stretching method from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton
500 g smoked gouda, grated
pickled red onions
olive oil, for brushing
cilantro leaves, for garnish
Position the oven’s rack as low as it will go. Place a large, heavy cast iron pan upside down on the rack. Crank the oven to 500F and let it heat up fro at least 30 minutes.
Using your fingertips as if you are tapping on piano keys, gently tap on the centre of the dough to flatten it slightly, leaving a 1-inch rim untouched.
Carefully remove the cast iron pan from the oven.
Work quickly. Pick up the dough. Ball both your fists. With your fists facing your body, place the top edge of the dough on your fists so the round stretches downward against the backs of your hands, away from them. Move the circle of dough around your fists like the hands of a clock so the dough continues to stretch downward into a circle. When the dough has stretched to about 10 inches in diameter, lay it down on the upside-down cast iron pan.
Brush the rim of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle the dough with kosher salt.
Dress the pizza with the cheese, dots of BBQ chicken and pickled red onion.
Slide the pan back into the oven. Bake 8-12 minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves.