The SO and I are rock climbing. Once a week, almost every week since last February, we head down an unsuspecting side street in Gowanus that is home to not one extreme sport venue but three* and walk through the sticker-ladened door of Brooklyn Boulders (BKB). We change out of our respectable day-clothes into grubby, don worn, beat up apparel and start ascending and descending the plethora of walls available at BKB. Rock climbing is the kind of thing you can’t really “phone in”. Climbing is the hardest, most slow-going physical activity I have ever done. Like running, the only person you are competing against is yourself, not to best a lap time but to make it to the next route level. At BKB routes are rated in difficulty V0-14. Just to give you an idea of how great I am doing, I have been climbing for almost a year and I am just breaking into V1 routes. It’s slow going to say the least. And hard. And by the time we’ve been climbing for 45 minutes my hands are red and raw, I am well beyond exhausted, and most importantly, I am UTTERLY FAMISHED!!
After a couple of trips to BKB, we found a pizza shop on our way home and a post-climbing pizza pig out routine quickly became a part of the c;imbing routine. But here’s the thing – I have become less enthused lately with take-out pizza. I am not talking about this pizza or this pizza. This is good pizza, and most definitely worth a special trip out to the bowels of Bushwick or the like to obtain, but not after I have been hoisting my body weight up a 12′ foot wall 15 times. I am talking about the run-of-the-mill pizza joint found on almost every street corner in New York. And to be fair, our post-BKB pizza joint is better than most slices in the city, but I can do better – cheaper, faster, healthier.
Here’s my only problem. If I have to wait a whole 20 minutes post-BKB session to get home, there is no no no way that I am going to a) make dough, b) let it rise, c) top it, bake it and let it cool. No way José. Luckily any kind of pizza, whether store-bought or homemade, reheats brilliantly and is even better than the day you bake it. So on a Sunday night I whip up two mini pizzas and we have pizza/football night, then refrigerate half of each pizza and reheat in a toaster oven for 5 minutes post-climbing session. I get to control the ingredients and added salt/sugar, so I feel better about eating it. Because I just did a serious workout to help keep in shape, no need to put the pounds back on. Enjoy!
* In addition to BKB, there is CrossFit South Brooklyn and an indoor skate park.
Blue Cheese and Potato Pizza / Brussel Sprout and Bacon Pizza
I went to the farmers market on a mission to make not one, but TWO different pizzas. And although both of these pizzas are amazing in their own rights, choosing to make just one would not make for a bad evening of eating. Up to you. Active time: 25 minutes, Inactive time: 1 hour; Makes two 8-inch pizzas. Crust from Eating Well.
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water (105-115°F)
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Tips)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
BCPP Toppings: BSBP Toppings:
4 small potatoes, red and purple 8 medium brussel sprouts
3 slices bacon 3 slices bacon
1/4 crumbled blue cheese 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper for serving
Stir water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl; let stand until the yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in whole-wheat flour, bread flour and salt until the dough begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel; set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Place pizza stone in over and pre-heat oven to 425º F. Cook bacon until crispy, drain. Set aside until cool, then break into pieces. Slice potatoes paper-thin and soak in cold water. Rinse brussel sprouts and pull leaves away from stem and thinly slice cores; set aside. Punch down pizza dough, turn out onto a floured surface, cut dough in half with a serrated knife and roll out each half until about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle a pizza peel or plate with cornmeal. Transfer rolled out dough over and brush lightly with olive oil. Top BSBP with fontina cheese, sprout leaves, bacon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Drain potatoes and top BCPP with potato slices (arranged in a circular pattern) bacon, blue cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, cut and serve.