Today is another National Pizza Day. It’s National Pizza with The Works Except Anchovies Day. Wow, that’s more than a mouthful. It’s also French Dip Day and Chicken Soup for the Soul Day. While French Dip is definitely a Food Holiday, Chicken Soup for the Soul has nothing to do with soup.
Chicken Soup is said to be healing. Chicken Soup for the Soul is a series of Self-Help books designed to inspire and heal a troubled soul. Each book has a different theme. The stories within the pages aren’t expert opinions and advice about what you should be doing to “heal” but rather stories about ordinary people written by ordinary people. The stories were compiled by two motivational speakers, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Many of the contributions came from members of their audiences at various inspirational talks. To date there are over 200 titles that cover everything from Adoption to the struggles of working women. The point of Chicken Soup for the Soul is to celebrate you. And while I understand that motivational speakers and self-help books are all about you, I struggle with the idea of putting myself ahead of others. But that has more to do with my belief that we are here for one reason and one reason only – to care for one another. And if everyone is caring for everyone else, than we will be cared for in the process without making overlying about us.
Interestingly enough, Chicken Soup for the Soul Day wasn’t established as a way to sell more self-help books. But it is a way of helping yourself by helping others. It was created in 2002 by Creative Forecasting, a publishing group that creates lists of activities for retirement facilities and other organizations. Chicken Soup for the Soul Day suggests that books offering inspiration, such as the Chicken Soup Series, be read to the residence at retirement or convalescent home. I like that idea, and it goes with my belief that we are here for one another. The only problem is, you can’t eat books unless you are a goat.
So how ‘bout this for a thought – celebrate Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies with a delicious home-baked pie. Then share your Pizza with the folks at a Senior Community Center. Let them share tales of inspiration, and walk away with a whole new take on life.
Pizza with the Works
1 cup Bread Flour
1-1/3 cups AP Flour
3/4 cups +1 tablespoon Warm Water
1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1/2 teaspoon Honey
1-1/2 teaspoon Olive Oil
3/4 teaspoon Salt
To prepare the dough, combine the flours. Place warm water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in bowl of standing mixer. Add 1/3 cup flour and mix on low speed until smooth. Cover with clean paper towel and let sit for 20 minutes, until mixture is foamy on top. Add remaining flour and salt and mix with dough hook for 4 minutes, until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth. Cover with clean paper towel and place in a warm spot to rise for 90 minutes, or until dough has almost doubled in size.
Lightly oil a rimmed rectangular baking pan (15-inches by 10-inches). Place dough in pan, and punch down once in the center. Using your hands, stretch out the dough from the center to the sides, taking care to distribute it evenly around the pan. Using toothpicks or small lightweight containers as supports in each corner, tent the dough with paper towels and return to warm spot for another 45 minutes.
While the dough rises, make the sauce.
2 Garlic Cloves
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 (28 oz) can Whole Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
To prepare the sauce, peel and mince the garlic. Heat oil in large heavy pan. Add garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes breaking them up into small chunks with wooden spoon.
Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and sauce has thickened.
Remove from heat. Add salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes to taste.
When the dough is ready, assemble the pizza.
8 oz Italian Sausage
8 oz. Button Mushrooms, sliced
1 large Green Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 large Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded Mozzarella
6 oz Pepperoni, thinly sliced
4 oz Canadian Bacon, thinly sliced
1 cup Black Olives, sliced
In a skillet, crumble Italian Sausage and brown, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain and set aside.
Clean and slice mushrooms, set aside. Core Bell Pepper, remove seeds. Thinly slice pepper, set aside. Cut red onion in half from tip to root. Peel half of the onion, reserve remaining half for another purpose. Slice onion into slivers and set aside.
Heat oven to 550. Spread sauce evenly over the pizza crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Place on bottom rack in oven and bake for 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and spread shredded mozzarella evenly over sauce. Arrange remaining topping over the cheese as desired, scattering evenly.
Return to oven and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes, until cheese has melted and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.
Slice into 12 squares and serve immediately.