Thin, Cracker Crust Pizza and the Snow Day

Snow days are a rarity for my boys. Partially because we live in Lexington, Kentucky~ not Detroit, Michigan and partially because their school just rarely shuts down for weather. At any was one of those rare days. A snow day.

the birdhouse Mike's dad made many years ago

I LOVED snow days as a kid, yet in all honestly can't recall what I did on one of them as I sit here writing about it. They say children who are raised as only children (me) have a hard time with childhood memories. They have no siblings to continually recount things to or play back over and over again. Makes total sense because I seriously come up empty on most of my childhood years...including snow days. But I do remember those giddy feelings nonetheless.

Now I am a mom of three boys and snow days are both exhilarating and exhausting. It literally takes 45 minutes to hunt down boots, gloves (never matching), coats, scarves....just to send them outside for 15 minutes before they are back at the door, red-cheeked and fuming that a brother has pelted another with a snowball to the face. ...that's the exhausting part.
The exhilarating part is definitely #1 sleeping in (me) #2 making a big breakfast #3 wearing pajamas all day #4 loads of cuddles on the couch, board games and endless snacking.

Today was no exception. Add to the mix packing boxes for a move (I'll save that for a later post...yes, we're moving!) there is little left sacred and serene in the house anymore. But I do hold tight to a few...

I can't bear to pack up the rock collection yet...

My recent painting of 'Goodnight Moon' along with memories from my 2013 trips

Loads of roaring fires in the fireplace, piles of quilts and our favorite antiques keep us warm and happy
Otto spent his snow day as he spends most days. Discovering music on Spotify. Both a fantastic and sometimes not so fantastic thing depending on the genre he discovers at the time. This boy was born with music in his soul.

And Jameson the bunny has new digs in an old antique record cabinet that is now his cozy home. He is litter trained so he is free to hop about, but loves his posh rabbit hole....especially on snow days.
Now onto the snacking part of our snow day. Pizza.

For those of you who call yourself a friend of mine, if asked in a trivia round what Megan Smith's favorite food is, you would Thick, thin, round square, spicy, sweet, loaded, naked, authentic, sub-par...I really just don't care. If it has the resemblance of pizza, I'm game.

With that said, I'm always on the hunt to perfect pizza. The most recent of which is the crispy, cracker-like pizza crust. Thankfully (or not so thankfully) it didn't take many experimental rounds to find the ultimate one. And to boot? Its so flipping easy you can pretty much do it with your eyes closed.

Two days ago my fridge was empty.  Empty to the point where you open it and close it three seconds later and declare, 'we have no food in this house.' Those times, my dears, are the absolute best times to create great food. This time was no exception. The pizza we created that night was pure, empty- fridge genius. The ingredients may freak you out a bit...don't let them.

The Best Damn Pizza With No Clever Name 

 Pizza Crust
*Preheat oven to 500 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, preheat that as well. Make sure the rack is on the lowest rung of your oven.

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer or in a large glass bowl. Add the water/yeast mixture. If using a standing mixer, attach the dough hook and turn on low to combine the ingredients into a dough ball. If doing by hand (my favorite way), use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients into a shaggy dough ball. Dump onto a floured surface and knead until smooth about 5 minutes. 

2. Once you have a uniform, smooth ball of dough, cut the dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Place both on a floured counter top, cover with a towel and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.

3. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper, approx. 15 by 15 inches (I'm loving the pre-cut parchment now widely available). Place one of the dough balls on the parchment and begin rolling it into some sort of shape....yes, circular would be ideal...this is not easily achievable. If yours looks more like the state of Oklahoma, don't beat yourself up. Embrace it and move on. This dough should be thin...I mean PAPER THIN. Use your hands if you prefer~ I like the weight I can apply with a rolling pin but its ultimately up to you. You shouldn't need flour to do this stage. You sort of want your dough to adhere to the parchment.

4. Once you have a flat pizza dough (just pinch together any holes that may biggie), take a flat cookie sheet and slide it under the paper. Use this to transfer the pizza dough to the preheated oven. If you have a pizza stone, slide it on the stone. If not, slide the paper/dough directly onto the oven rack. Set a timer for 2 more, no less.

5. After 2 minutes remove the pizza crust from the oven the same way you put it sliding a cookie sheet under it. See how it is puffing up? Creating those little air pockets that will become ultimate crunchiness?!  Now its time for toppings...

Toppings for the best damn pizza ever:

A little pool of olive oil. Use a pastry brush to spread this edge to edge.
Sea salt. Sprinkle over the olive oil
Julienne spinach leaves. Sprinkle on top of the salt.
Crumble goat cheese next.
And here's the magic....
Warm about 1/4 cup of Red Pepper Jelly (we use Trader Joe's brand) in the microwave for 20 seconds. Pour in a fancy zig zag pattern the warm (pourable) jelly over the pizza, edge to edge.
Sprinkle the finished pizza with basil, oregano...anything dried and green that looks like it could be on Italian food.

6. Sliding the cookie pan back under the finished pie, put the topped pizza back in the oven. Set a timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, check the progress. I like mine pretty darn crunchy so I look for some nice browning on the edges. Its totally up to you from the 5 minute mark on.

7. Once you have the pièce de résistance you're hoping for, remove it from the oven carefully and let it rest. LET IT REST for goodness sakes! You will burn the roof of your mouth off if you don't follow this step.

8. And! Seriously you can have a thin crust pizza together, start to finish, in about 30 minutes or less. This makes 2 pizzas so have fun experimenting. I also made the boys a cheese and summer sausage (leftover link from the holidays) pizza. Both pizza's were scarfed down in less than 6 minutes.

And for the record...this is the real Smith Homestead on a snow day. Nothing but absolute crazy, discombobulated goodness.