Like Via 313? How to make Detroit-style pizza in a brownie pan

An 8-inch-by-8-inch pan can do so much more than make brownies. That’s the idea behind Kathy Strahs’ new book “The 8×8 Cookbook: Square Meals for Weeknight Family Dinners, Desserts and More — In One Perfect 8×8-Inch Dish” (Burnt Cheese Press, $24.95), which advocates that this everyday baking pan is the perfect vessel for making food for a family. Instead of the 9-inch-by-13-inch pan, the smaller, so-called brownie pan is perfect for baking or roasting whole cuts of meat, casseroles, enchiladas, quiches, frittatas, pot pies, lasagnas and, yes, brownies, blondies, bread puddings, cakes, bars and even cookies.

One of the highlights of the book is this Detroit-style deep dish pizza, which Austinites might not have heard of if not for Via 313, the pizzeria that started as a food truck and now has a brick-and-mortar location near the “Y” in Oak Hill. Via 313 still has two trailers open near downtown, and it has a second fixed location planned for Guadalupe Street, just north of the UT campus.

Detroit-style pizza from a brownie pan. Photo by Kathy Strahs.
Detroit-style pizza from a brownie pan. Photo by Kathy Strahs.

Strahs’ take on this deep dish pizza requires a little foresight: You have to start the dough the night before, but the long, slow rise makes for an extra-flavorful crust. She purees a no-cook sauce in a food processor, but you could definitely use store-bought sauce if you’d like. As for the toppings, she goes with sausage and green bell pepper, but you could use whatever you and your fellow diners are in the mood for. One key to authentic Detroit-style pizza is that the sauce goes on top of the other toppings, usually with the pepperoni or other meat on the bottom, and the cheese is pushed all the way to the edge, to create a crispy top to the outer edge crust.

8x8-BookCover-comp-Final-091415_1024x1024One note about the baking vessel: The best of these regional pizzas are baked in steel pans, not aluminum. (Common lore has it that the first Detroit-style pizzas were baked in unused oil drip pans.) You can use a regular metal 8-inch-by-8-inch pan, but avoid glass or ceramic dishes or a nonstick metal pan, which can’t withstand such high heat. You could bake the pizza at a lower temperature, but it will take longer and the edges won’t be quite as crispy. For top-of-the-line square pizzas, you can buy what are called blue steel pans online through sites such as detroitstylepizza.com or lloydpans.com.

Detroit-Style Deep Dish Pizza

2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 cup water, at room temperature
For the sauce:
1 (14.5 oz.) can no-salt added canned diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the toppings:
2 cups (about 8 oz.) shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb. bulk Italian pork sausage
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced

The night before, combine the flour, salt, yeast and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Add in the water and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Knead the dough in the bowl for several minutes, until the dough comes together and becomes too sticky to handle. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature overnight (at least 8 hours, and up to 15 hours).

The next morning, add the remaining olive oil to an 8-inch-by-8-inch metal baking pan (without a nonstick coating) and spread it all over the bottom and sides with your hands. Punch down the dough and transfer it to the baking pan. Turn the dough over once in the pan to coat it with oil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

Ninety minutes before baking, take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it rise and spread at room temperature. Thirty minutes before baking, make sure an oven rack is in the middle position and heat the oven to 550, if it can go that high. If not, heat to its highest, non-broil setting.

Drain the tomatoes for the sauce in a colander. Give them a good 20 minutes to drain all the excess water,which will keep your pizza from getting soggy. While the oven is heating and the tomatoes are draining, brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until it’s cooked through and no longer pink. Once the tomatoes are drained, blend them with the garlic, salt, basil, thyme, oregano and pepper in a food processor. Set the sauce aside.

Gently push and stretch the pizza dough into the corners of the baking pan, as well as up the sides if the dough allows. Sprinkle a handful of cheese on top of the dough. Add sausage. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, all the way to the edges (you’ll be rewarded with irresistible crusty cheese on the sides). Add peppers and olives, then dollop the sauce on top — as much or as little as you’d like.

Bake until the cheese is melted, browned and crusted around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Slide a thin knife around the edges of the pan to help release the crusty cheese, if needed, as you lift the pizza out of the pan. Serves 4 to 6.

— From “The 8×8 Cookbook: Square Meals for Weeknight Family Dinners, Desserts and More—In One Perfect 8×8-Inch Dish” by Kathy Strahs (Burnt Cheese Press, $24.95)

Celebrate National #ChocolateCakeDay with recipes & more

Hyde Park chocolate cake from Texas French Bread. (Mark Matson/For American-Statesman)
Hyde Park chocolate cake from Texas French Bread. (Mark Matson/For American-Statesman)

It’s National Chocolate Cake Day – among the best food-based holidays, we think – so here are a few recipes and tips to help you get in the spirit:

Gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake with chocolate ganache, courtesy of Holly Postler/@hollypostler.
Gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake with chocolate ganache, courtesy of Holly Postler/@hollypostler.

This recipe for chocolate chiffon cake has a simple ingredient list and is fit for your gluten-free friends. Get thee to a kitchen, stat.

For an alternative option, check out a video tutorial on how to make a molten lava chocolate cake.

These baking cookbooks have options ranging from chocolate coconut torte to cookies, brownies and more. (And if you’re looking to bake more in 2016, don’t miss Addie Broyles’ year of baking and tips for how to become a better baker.)

If cupcakes are more your style, consider a visit to one of the world’s best cupcake shops, conveniently located in Austin.

Do you have any favorite chocolate cakes around town or recipes to share? Let us know in the comments.

Taco cleansing with kale, caramelized onion enchiladas

These enchiladas verdes are filled with sauteed kale and onions and topped with a cilantro, feta cheese and avocado slices. Photo by Addie Broyles.
These enchiladas verdes are filled with sauteed kale and onions and topped with a cilantro, feta cheese and avocado slices. Photo by Addie Broyles.

During my enchilada kick for last week’s column, I made an almost-vegan contribution to the taco cleanse party.

What’s a taco cleanse? Only the biggest food trend of 2016. OK, the biggest food trend *so far*, but you can check out my story from today’s paper to find out why the Austin-based cleanse has gone big.

For these kale and caramelized onion enchiladas, I used a canned green sauce, which was a little thin for my liking, but the tacos were quick for a weeknight meal. I ended up sprinkling a little feta on top, which disqualifies them from a true Taco Cleanse taco, but I wanted a little salty cheese kick to offset the earthy filling.

I was only making one serving, but if you are making more, place the enchiladas in an oven-safe dish and heat briefly under a broiler before garnishing with cilantro and avocado and serving.

Kale and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 small white onion, sliced into thin strips
4 kale leaves, stems removed, leaves chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup green chili sauce
2 corn tortillas
Chopped cilantro, sliced avocado and feta cheese, for garnish

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until they start to soften, or until they are fully caramelized, whatever you have time for. Add kale and saute for another 5 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a small saute pan and place the green sauce in a small plate. Using tongs, cook one tortilla at a time for about 20 seconds on each side. Dry off excess oil with a paper towel, and coat the tortilla in sauce. Place on a plate and either fill or top with the sauteed vegetables. Spoon on more sauce, garnish with cilantro, avocado and feta and serve. Serves 1.

— Addie Broyles

Blind Cafe is back for more dining in the dark

Last fall’s Blind Cafe, the pop-up dining-in-the-dark experience, was so popular that the traveling series has already booked more Austin dates.

The event will take place Feb. 2-4 at the American Legion Travis Post 76, 404 Atlanta St., with a suggested ticket cost of $85, with the option to pay more to subsidize the cost for those who can’t pay the full ticket price.

Each night, there will be two seatings, one at 6 p.m. and another at 8:30 p.m., that will feature a vegetarian meal and live music. You can find tickets and more info at www.theblindcafe.com/austin.

After closing restaurant, Your Mom’s now ships, delivers stuffed burger kits

Your Mom's is selling its popular stuffed burger online for delivery, either in Austin or in the lower 48 states. Photo from Your Mom's.
Your Mom’s is selling its popular stuffed burger online for delivery, either in Austin or in the lower 48 states. Photo from Your Mom’s.

Remember Your Mom’s, the burger bar that opened on Cesar Chavez Street and then on Airport Boulevard? The eatery closed in 2014, but the owners have kept the stuffed burger dream alive by figuring out a way to deliver and ship their signature burgers to 48 states.

The basic stuffed burger kits include black Angus burger or vegetarian veggie patties stuffed with cheddar, Monterey jack, blue or mozzarella cheeses, as well as buns and instructions on cooking them so they’ll taste like Your Mom’s burgers. You can also buy kits that come with more elaborate toppings and ingredients to make side dishes, including french fries or seasonal vegetables. The kits start at $39 for six 1/2-lb burgers with free delivery to the greater Austin area, including ZIP codes that start with 787, 789, 786 and 765, and $15 shipping to the lower 48 states. To order, go to yourmoms.love.

Greenbelt Greens launches salad, grain bowl delivery service

Greenbelt Greens is a new Austin company that delivers jars of salads made with a large variety of ingredients, from greens and roasted vegetables to grains and grilled meats. Photo from Greenbelt Greens.
Greenbelt Greens is a new Austin company that delivers jars of salads made with a large variety of ingredients, from greens and roasted vegetables to grains and grilled meats. Photo from Greenbelt Greens.

If you’re craving salads but don’t want to make them, check out Greenbelt Greens, an Austin-based service that delivers highly customizeable salads and grain bowls once a week.

Through the website (greenbeltgreens.com), customers set up a profile of their preferences in a detailed survey, so if you don’t like cilantro, mushrooms or honey mustard, you won’t get them in your salads. Then you pick how many meals you’d like in a week, and they’ll deliver twice a week.

The initial delivery area is 78701, 78702, 78703, 78704, 78705, 78751 and 78756. Each week, you’ll get a preview of your upcoming delivery, so you can request any swaps, and the meals come with nutritional content, so you can keep track of your intake. The meals cost $10 per jar and include little containers of dressing so the ingredients don’t get soggy, and you can leave the empty jars on your doorstep, which they’ll pick up at the next delivery.

Sit Stay Day returns to benefit Emancipet

Emancipet's Sit Stay Day kit this year features local products from Love Puppies brownies, Shiner beer and Tito's Handmade Vodka. Photo from Emancipet.
Emancipet’s Sit Stay Day kit this year features local products from Love Puppies brownies, Shiner beer and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Photo from Emancipet.

For several years now, Emancipet has hosted a Sit Stay Day fundraiser to raise money for veterinary care for pets in need by selling kits of Austin treats for both pets and their humans.

These Valentine’s Day-inspired kits cost $175 and are delivered Feb. 12. They include samples, gift certificates and some full-size products from sponsors including LovePuppies brownies, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Buddha’s Brew kombucha, Hillside Farmacy, Saint Arnold Brewing, Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and World Peas. You can order online at emancipet.org/events/sit-stay-day through Feb. 5.

Texas Czech culture exhibit on display at state Capitol

Kolaches aren't the only sweet treat with Czech roots. You can learn about rosettes, beer and barbecue at "Texas Czechs: Rooted in Tradition," an exhibit that's on display at the Capitol through early June. Photo from PolkaWorks.
Kolaches aren’t the only sweet treat with Czech roots. You can learn about rosettes, beer and barbecue at “Texas Czechs: Rooted in Tradition,” an exhibit that’s on display at the Capitol through early June. Photo from PolkaWorks.

Want to learn more about kolaches and Texas barbecue? Austinites Lori Najvar, founder of PolkaWorks, and Dawn Orsak spent several years working on a traveling Czech culture exhibit that is now on display in Austin. The exhibit, “Texas Czechs: Rooted in Tradition,” makes its Austin debut this month at the Capitol Visitor’s Center inside the Capitol, 112 E. 11th Street.

The exhibit will be on display through June 9, and you can find upcoming events associated with the exhibit at polkaworks.org. The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Recipe of the Week: A Louisville spin on Chicken Tinga

This chicken tinga recipe from “Southern Heat” by Anthony Lamas calls for airline chicken breasts, which still have part of the wing attached. Photo by Roger Pratesi.
This chicken tinga recipe from “Southern Heat” by Anthony Lamas calls for airline chicken breasts, which still have part of the wing attached. Photo by Roger Pratesi.

Southern California native Anthony Lamas didn’t leave his Mexican-American roots behind when he moved to Louisville, Ky., to open a restaurant. The chef/owner of Seviche has released his first cookbook, “Southern Heat: New Southern Cooking Latin Style” (Taunton Press, $35), which explains the many ways he combines cuisines.

Instead of using pulled or shredded chicken for this tinga, Lamas uses brined bone-in chicken topped with a sauce made with puréed chipotle chile in adobo and lots of garlic. This method is good for cooks serving a crowd of people with different tolerances for heat: For the spice-averse, just serve with less sauce.

The author recommends puréeing a whole can of chipotles in adobo and then freezing the purée in ice cube trays or small zip-top plastic bags. This way, you will have prepared purée in your freezer next time a recipe calls for the ingredient. The frozen chipotle purée will last for at least six months.

Chicken Tinga

For the brine:
8 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 Tbsp. black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
Peeled zest of 1 lime
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped celery
Four 10- to 12-ounce airline-cut chicken breasts, or regular bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, chilled
For the tinga:
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium Spanish onion, cut into julienne
7 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo purée
1 quart organic or homemade chicken stock
Juice of 1 1/2 limes, divided
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups whole crushed tomatoes
For serving:
Four 6-inch corn tostadas
2 cups hot, prepared long-grain white rice
3/4 cup grated Manchego cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Combine all the brine ingredients (through the celery) together in a nonreactive medium stockpot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat, let cool and then refrigerate until chilled. Add the chicken breasts, cover and refrigerate overnight. After 18-24 hours, remove the chicken from the brine (do not rinse) and pat dry with paper towels.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and sweat for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the garlic; stir and continue to cook for another minute. You don’t want to brown the vegetables, just soften them. Add the chipotle purée, chicken stock, juice of 1 lime, salt and tomatoes; stir to combine and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and thickened.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large ovenproof sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken breasts and cook, skin side down, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the skin has a nice sear. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then flip the chicken to the other side, return to the oven and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (use an instant-read thermometer to check). Remove the pan from the oven and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining lime juice to the sauce and rewarm if necessary. For each serving, place a corn tostada in the middle of a serving plate and top with 1/2 cup hot rice. Sprinkle with several tablespoons of the grated Manchego and then place a chicken breast on top of the rice and cheese. Drizzle about 1/4 cup of the sauce, or more to taste, over the chicken. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serves 4.

— From “Southern Heat: New Southern Cooking Latin Style” by Anthony Lamas and Gwen Pratesi (Taunton Press, $35)

Thom’s Market opens on Riverside Drive

Thom's Market opened its second location today on Riverside Drive. Photo from Thom's Market.
Thom’s Market opened its second location today on Riverside Drive. Photo from Thom’s Market.

Those of us who work near the intersection of South Congress and Riverside are thrilled to see that the second location of Thom’s Market has opened at 160 E. Riverside Drive.

Thom’s is technically a convenience store, but it’s one of the best places to find Austin food and drinks, as well as beer, wine and some prepared salads and sandwiches. The other location is at 1418 Barton Springs Road.