Today, I’m ready. Not yesterday, not last week, but today. Summer was a blast, all the way up until its last second. But today, I’m smiling at the mounds of pumpkins lining the market’s entryway. I’m dreaming of gingerbread everything. And I’m reorganizing my closet so my favorite flannels are front and center. The leaves are suppose to be putting on a spectacular show in the mountains this weekend, so we will be taking a little drive to take a peak at the orange, red, and yellow painted mountains.
This time last year we were selling everything we owned to pack up and move here to Colorado within a few short weeks. Our fall season last year was spent selling, packing, moving, and freaking out once we got here to Denver thinking holy heck what did we just do. This will be our first full season of fall in a state that experiences four seasons. We were suppose to be moving out of our tiny city apartment closer to the mountains in a few weeks, but our budget and lack of interesting discoveries lead us to renewing our current lease another six months. Tears were met by this decision a few short weeks ago. Longing to get out of the tiny apartment life in a neighborhood we are not fond of. The chance of maybe having a kitchen window, access to the outdoors, or not being several floors removed from the ground. Those dreams are gone for now, but there is so much to be grateful for still. For once, we aren’t moving. We’re staying. Things around me are familiar, as much as I may dislike them, I know the territory. All of the markets are in walking distance, I know which streets to walk down and which to avoid, and our friends are only a short drive away. Scott and I have yet to “nest” anywhere we have lived. Until we find a place to stay for good, I don’t think we will. But in effort to enjoy these next six months, we did a little apartment refresh. We cleaned, moved around the few pieces of furniture that we have, and made plans for hanging some pictures and shelves on the walls. This is big stuff for us two, and it was so fun. We even got a few new succulents to hopefully not kill. A little can go a long way. And although Scott won’t let me cover the inside of our apartment with pumpkins till October 1st (counting down the days) I can’t help but eye all the perfect Colorado grown squash crowding the storefronts. Orange, yellow, green, and white. I keep visually picking out my favorites and seeking out nooks I could hide them in until we’re ready to snatch them up. See? Life isn’t so bad.
Now onto this pizza. Today’s recipe post was just one more failed recipe test away from turning into a single photo of me pouring a bowl of cereal. After returning from our extended camping trip last week I was greeted with a rough transition back into the real world. Every recipe test was failing, every photoshoot was a bust. Scott came home from work last Thursday and we went for a walk. He let me vent about how the blazing sunlight was the most terrible lighting for my photoshoots, how I loath having a south facing window, the fact I forgot to season my cast iron between recipes and the dough glued itself to the pan, how I was behind on all of my emails and lists and projects, etc. Then I woke up Friday, put my big girl pants on, gave the recipe another go, and TA-DA. Persistence paid off this time. I give you the very well tested and beloved skillet pizza I’ve been slaving over this past month. The crust is crisp on the bottom, pillowy on the top, and has the perfect chew. Its topped with a simple tomato sauce, beluga lentils seasoned to taste something like pepperoni, my new favorite brazil nut parmesan, and yes – because I topped it off with fresh sage it counts as a fall pizza. Thank goodness for one extra day of recipe testing determination. You almost just got a bowl of apple jacks.
A SKILLET PIZZA | FOR FALL
Makes an 8 inch skillet pizza. Serves 1 hungry person, or 2 with a side.
(prepare the day before)
1 cup light spelt flour
1/8 teaspoon yeast
1/4 teaspoon unpasteurized honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons warm water
a few tablespoons pureed tomato sauce (organic & stored in BPA free container if store-bought)
salt & pepper
1/4 cup black beluga lentils
3/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon high heat, neutral tasting oil (ie. refined coconut or safflower)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
brazil nut parmesan
1 cup raw brazil nuts
zest of 1 organic lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
chopped fresh sage
THE DAY BEFORE:
The key to this dough is fermentation. Although you have to plan ahead for when you’d like to enjoy this pizza, it doesn’t take much effort! In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Create a well in the center and add the honey and warm water. Mix with a fork in the center of the dough, working your way outwards to incorporate all of the dry ingredients as you go. Once fully mixed, cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and set aside in an undisturbed area of your kitchen (preferable without a draft) and let it ferment for 24 hours.
THE DAY OF:
After the dough has completed its first rise of 24 hours, uncover the dough and scoop it out onto a well floured surface. It will be very sticky so sprinkle the dough with more flour as needed. Press the dough out into a square, and fold each corner into the center. Flip the dough over so the smooth side is facing up and place back into the rising bowl. Cover again and let rise for another hour.
During the second rise of the dough, prepare the toppings. Combine the lentils and water in a small saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Let cook until all of the water is absorbed by the lentils (about 15 minutes). Then remove the pot from the heat and let sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes to steam. Remove the lid and add the rest of the ingredients for the lentils. Mix well and set aside.
For the tomato sauce, simply whisk a few pinches of each of the seasonings listed into your sauce, tasting as you go until you approve. Set aside.
Combine the ingredients for the brazil nut parmesan in a food processor and process into a coarse meal. Transfer the parmesan to an airtight container and set aside until ready to use. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
When you are ready to bake the pizza, preheat the oven to 500F. After the oven has preheated, place a well-seasoned 8 inch skillet inside to heat for 10 minutes only (important). Have all of your toppings ready for when the skillet is removed from the oven (use a very thick oven mitt or a few kitchen towels to protect your hand when removing, it will be HOT). Place the heated skillet on a heatproof surface. Turn the dough out of the bowl and into the skillet. It will sizzle. Work quickly, pressing from the center of the dough ball to the outside, spreading the dough to cover the base of the skillet and slightly up its sides. Be sure to leave an inch perimeter around the edge of the dough where your fingers do not come into contact with – preserving the rise so that the edges puff up nicely. Spoon the tomato sauce on top of the pizza and sprinkle on the lentils. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (should have golden, crisp edges) then let the pizza sit in the skillet on the counter for an additional 5 minutes once removing it from the oven to ensure the dough is fully cooked through. Using a knife or spatula, pop the pizza out of the skillet and onto a large plate to slice. Top with a generous handful of brazil nut parmesan, and a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh sage to serve.
This post was done in collaboration with Finex. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I love my eight inch skillet!