“The last cookbook you’ll ever need,” was how the professional chef-turned Baptist pastor referred to the 60th anniversary edition of The Gourmet Cookbook during the cooking demonstration of our marriage prep course. He presented his theory on what he believed to be the relationship between a happy life built around the heart of the home, the kitchen.
The cooking demonstration was fun, lunch was yummy, and we walked away with tons of useful tidbits:
– Why it’s okay to cook with butter (my favorite)
– The best pieces and brands of cookware for a starter kitchen
– Understanding how large a role food plays in life, beyond “just” nutrition
There are a handful of “real” newlywed cookbooks out there but The Gourmet Cookbook immediately became our Kitchen Bible. The first time that we cooked together, Jason and I made Macaroni & Cheese (pg 223). The Basic Pizza Dough (pg 120, recipe below) has become our go-to recipe on pizza nights. Jason presses garlic, makes guacamole, shuts off annoying timers, and in general controls the chaos that I inherently bring to the kitchen.
Our Yellow Bible offers a wealth of information that goes far beyond recipes, from “How to throw a cocktail party” to a “who’s who” of items like salad greens and Asian noodles. It might not be the only cookbook that I’ll ever need, but it’s definitely in my top 5 that I’d never want to be without.
Basic Pizza Dough, adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
1 pkg dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 3/4 cups flour, divided plus more for dredging and dusting
3/4 cups warm water (110-120F), divided
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
Stir together yeast, sugar, 1 TBSP flour and 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Pour out and start over if your yeast doesn’t get frothy.
Add 1 1/2 cup flour and salt in a stand mixer. Add yeast mixture, oil, and remaining 1/2 cup warm water and mix until smooth. Add remaining flour and knead on medium-high for 8 minutes (the dough will be sticky and might not completely come off the bottom of the bowl).
Form into a ball, place on flour-dusted surface and cover. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.
Preheat oven to 450. Remove all racks and place pizza stone in the oven to heat (if you’re using one – we have one but don’t always use it).
Do not punch down dough. Carefully dredge ball in a bowl of flour to coat and transfer to a dry work surface. Hold one edge of the dough in the air with both hands and let the bottom edge touch the work surface. Carefully move hands around the edge of the dough (like turning a steering wheel) to stretch the dough to 10-12 inches. Lay dough on a lightly floured surface and gently stretch into a 14-inch round.
Lightly brush dough with oil and bake for 7 minutes. Remove pizza from the oven, top, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.
Yields: 1 lb pizza dough (or enough for 1 large pizza)