Pizza and a Jam

Last Friday night, I embarked on a “first.”  I hosted a jam session. You may say, “But Joy, you’re a musician!  Surely you have had jam sessions before!” Well, yes…but always in the awkward in-between moments at rehearsals for services.  That’s different.  We are talking about a stripped-down, no-plan, just-us-and-a-few-guitars type of jam session.

Before we get into all of that, let’s back up a few hours.

In order to have a good jam session, pizza is a must.  I’ve been perfecting a conglomeration of recipes that I found online…and this time, it all came together perfectly.  Here’s what I did:

Crust: Takes 2 hours to rise
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil (and some extra for later)
1 1/2 tsp salt (2 tsp also works well)
(string cheese for stuffed crust option)

Mix together yeast and salt
Add in 2 tbsp of honey
Add 1 cup warm water to it (warm, but still comfortable to the touch)
combine all the ingredients, let sit for 5 minutes to let the yeast activate
Add oil and 1 cup of flour.  Wait to add the last cup until the last cup is fully mixed in.  Add the next cup.  Then add the last 1/4 cup.  Mix until it is a “supple dough”
If desired, take the dough out of the mixing bowl and knead.
Lightly oil a big bowl, put the dough in it.  Spray a little oil on top, put plastic wrap over the bowl, and put it in a draft-free place for two hours
The dough should make 2 medium or 1 large pizza.
Punch it down and transfer it to a floured board. Make sure there’s flour on both sides of the dough and then only use more flour if the dough starts sticking to your hands.
Use the sides of your hands to create the border, push it down in the center and use your hand or finger tips to gently stretch the dough while turning it around.
For stuffed crust:
Stretch the crust larger than the pan.
Put in rolls of string cheese, fold crust over and spray with oil.
Pre-bake for 5 minutes on 475.
Put on toppings,
bake at 475 for around 15 minutes
Crushed tomatoes – one 28 Oz can
Olive oil – 1/4 cup (Extra virgin preferred)
Garlic – 4 cloves chopped fine
Dried oregano – 1 tsp
Dried Basil – 1 tsp (use fresh about 1 TBSP if available)
Salt – to taste
Black Pepper – crushed to taste
Lemon juice – about 3 TBSP from half of a big lemon or 3TBSP of vinegar
Cayenne – 1/2 tsp
In a sauce pan, heat olive oil. It need not get too hot. Add the chopped garlic. Don’t let it toast and get brown. Add the crushed tomatoes. Stir. Add salt, crushed pepper, cayanne if using, lemon juice and the dried herbs. Rub the herbs on your palm and then add it to the pot. Stir occasionally and bring it to a simmer. Adjust the seasonings and switch off the heat.This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Sounds delicious, right?  That’s because it is!  Usually I make two large pizzas, each of which have two sets of toppings – Pepperoni, sausage and onion, hawaiian, and an “everything” section that has all of the leftover toppings from the other parts all mixed together.  Trust me – this is a winning recipe!
So I set the stage for the epic jam session with pizza.  Then the party began.  Over dinner, we talked about odd family quirks, “therapy fund” moments, and we shared many laughs.  One of the biggest laughs came from one of my family’s favorite YouTube clips of Joe Cocker singing at Woodstock…and the translation of what it sounds like he is saying.  Just for you – “A Little Help From My [Fred]”
Inspired by this, and aching from uproarious laughter, we began the jamming…and it was AWESOME.  John pulled out his 12 string and banjo, I played my acoustic and a little bass. Our vocal section was strongly representing as Tom, Sharon, Kristen and Suzie rocked it out.
In conclusion, I think this concept of jam sessions may continue.  Stay posted.

Jammin’ like rockstars – Photo Credit: Kristen

  1. […] my last post, I mentioned the newfound love of playing music in small community.  I’d like to present […]


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