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CLEAN PLATE: Recipe for Cornmeal Pizza Crust

  There are many ways to follow a day-to-day mapping of time. For example, the Gregorian calendar is our standard 12-month, January to December system of scheduling. With the lunar calendar the moon guides us with its many phases. Some religions start and end their year according to their holidays and businesses track their time with a fiscal calendar.

  My family follows a calendar that revolves around pizza. Plotting time with pizza is especially easy on a busy schedule. My oldest son celebrates Wednesday’s as “pizza day” because it’s what’s provided for lunch at school (which saves me from packing him something he’ll barely eat). Pizza is served for dinner on Friday night and is the perfect meal to welcome the weekend; there’s a very little wait for delivery, there are no dishes to clean and we very rarely have leftovers. We even have one flexible pizza dinner during the week, which my husband or I use as a crutch when the other is working late.

  The pizza calendar isn’t strict or formal. It’s just one small — and delicious — way we keep order in our household. Also, it doesn’t require you to always order out; we find it especially fun to make mini-pizzas at home with our own dough and customized toppings. Though it does entail a bit of cleanup and extra time to account for the dough’s rising, it’s our special way of honoring the pizza gods. The recipe for this cornmeal crust has a bit more texture than your standard dough and I love it topped with roasted tomatoes and spicy sausage.

Cornmeal Pizza Crust

From Martha Stewart

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Pinch of sugar

2/3 cups warm water

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

¼ cup cornmeal, plus more for pizza peel or baking sheet

1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl

  In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water. Let stand until the yeast is dissolved and mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes. Combine flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and add the yeast mixture and oil. Slowly stir ingredients with a wooden spoon just until dough starts to come together. Dump dough on a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, seven to 10 minutes.Divide the  dough into four 4-ounce balls. Place balls in a shallow oiled bowl, turning to coat with oil; cover with plastic wrap, and let rise one hour at room temperature.

  Preheat oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone on lowest rack. Stretch dough into 6- or 7-inch rounds. Sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel or inverted baking sheet. Place dough rounds on top, and cover with toppings, as desired. Slide rounds onto pizza stone, and bake until crust is crisp and golden and toppings are bubbling, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven; serve immediately.

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