Baking Time and Temperature for a Yala’s Half-Baked Pizza

Yala’s Pizza, my favorite pizza joint where I grew up, sells half-baked frozen pizzas for you to take home and bake yourself. Whenever I go back home, my parents pick me up one (a double pepperoni), vacuum seal it, and stick it in my cooler right before I leave. They are the best.

I couldn’t find the recommended baking time and temperature online, so I had to call them. I figured I’d post the instructions here so that other Lorain County natives can search for it online instead of calling the grumpy guy at Yala’s. (And so that I’ll be able to find it next time…) Here it is:

šŸ•šŸ•šŸ• 450F for 15-20 minutes šŸ•šŸ•šŸ•

I used my pre-heated pizza steel and baked my pizza for 15 minutes on the middle rack and turned on the broiler for the last two minutes to brown the cheese. Steel conducts much better than a stone or pan, so aim for closer to 20 minutes if you use a regular pan or stone.

It came out great:

How to Make Almond Butter

One of the things I love about having a good food processor around is that we can make fresh almond butter whenever we want. We buy the almonds in bulk, so we can make fresh almond butter for cheaper than we can buy it in the store.Ā It takes just ten minutes and we customize it to our tastes.

We go through a pound of almond butter in about a week. We primarily eat it with apples or celery (this has helped us get through our Whole 30), but we’ll also throw it in the occasional smoothie. Here is how we make it:

Instructions

  1. Take 1lb of whole almonds and put them in the food processor. I like using 1/2 raw and 1/2 roasted almonds.
  2. Put the lid on the food processor and turn it on.
  3. Wait 9 minutes. Be patient. It will lookĀ almost like almond butter between the 5-9 minute marks, but it will disappoint you if you taste it. It will be mealy and dry instead of smooth and creamy.
  4. At the 9 minute mark, take the lid off and scrape down the sides. Put the lid back on.
  5. Process again for another full minute. This is when the transformation from “meh” to store-bought quality happens. This last minute is when it turns nice and creamy.
  6. Eat a few spoonfuls while it is still warm, then put it into a jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

 

Your times might vary with your food processor. With my 9-cup Cuisinart workhorse, here are roughly the stages the almonds go through:

Time Consistency
20-30 seconds Chunks for cobbler
1 minute Course meal
1-2 minutes Fine meal
2-3 minutes Almond flour
5-9 minutes Mealy mixture that will taste like almond butter but won’t be smooth enough
10 minutes Just like store-bought

 

Variations

  • Chocolate Almond Butter
    • Add in 1 bar of dark chocolate before processing.
  • Maple almond butter
    • Use maple-roasted almonds (make your own by tossing your almonds with maple syrup and roasting them at 350F for 20 minutes), or add 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Chunky Almond Butter
    • Pulse for 20-30 seconds and then take out a 1/2 cup of chunks and then put the lid back on and start processing again. Mix the chunks in at the end.
  • Honey Flax Almond Butter
    • Include 1/8 cup of toasted flax seeds and 1/8 cup of raw honey before processing.
  • Try other nuts.
    • Walnuts, cashews, and pecans are all great.
    • Macadamia butter is good, but very rich. I can’t eat much at one time. Macadamia nuts are best mixed in small amounts with almonds or pecans.
    • Pecans + Cashews or Walnuts + Cashews are particularly good combos.
  • If you like a lighter color (or want lighter almond flour), use blanched almonds.

 

Hyperlapse

I took a quick hyperlapse of making the almond butter to show the transformation. It is sped up by 12x. I know the video kind of sucks: It is vertical, the vibrations of the food processor moved it all around, and I had to freehand it for the last 5 minutes. I stopped this video at the 9 minute mark, just before we scraped it down and processed it for the final minute.

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Salsa Verde Revisited

I looked back at my salsa verde post from last year and decided I could improve it. I tend to only make it once a year because that is when I get a big bunch of tomatillos in my CSA share. ThatĀ doesn’t leave much room for rapid feedback loops, but let’s see what we can do.

IMG_5229.png

Last year’s version was all done on the stovetop. That is a fine method and gets the job done, but it relies heavily on the taste of the raw ingredients and doesn’t develop them very much. Surely we can do better.

If you don’t care about how something looks at the end, one of the best ways to develop a greater depth of flavor in veggies is to roast them. Salsa verde ends up getting pureed anyway, so the appearance of the tomatillos and peppers doesn’t matter.

I roasted this batch for an hour at 350F. Some of the juice from the tomatillos carmelized on the pan (which I scraped up, of course!) and both the tomatillos, onions, and peppers took on a sweeter, richer flavor. The garlic had the best transformation, though. Instead of the sharp, pungent flavor of raw garlic, roasted garlic has aĀ gentle nutty caramelĀ characteristic to it. There is nothing like it.

IMG_5233

I scraped all of this off the pan and then pureed it in the food processor with some fresh oregano out of one of the window pots.

IMG_5235

Last year’s recipe used fresh cilantro, but IĀ didn’t have any on-hand and I didn’t want to go to the store on Labor Day. Oregano definitely doesn’t have the same flavor as cilantro, but it is delicious of its own accord. Cilantro isn’t essential to salsa verde and I think organoĀ works well with onions, peppers, and lime juice, so I used it instead. I think it turned out wonderfully.

IMG_5240

Cutting Up Watermelon

Summer is watermelon time. Since cutting up watermelons can be a pain if you don’t know what you are doing, here is how to do it:

I just tried this method and went from having a whole watermelon to cleaning the juice off the countertop in under 5 minutes.

IMG_4291IMG_4294IMG_4297

 
I prefer gorging myself with watermelon for breakfast and dessert, but if you want something different, try adding feta, mint, lemon zest, and olive oil for a fantastic salad.

Salsa Verde

Note: I revisited this recipe a year later and made it even better. Check out the new version.

This is one of our favorite condiments for tacos and it makes a great snack with chips. It is very easy to make and keeps for at least a week in the fridge.

Salsa Verde

  • 1lb of tomatillos, husks and stems removed
  • 1-2 jalapeƱos
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tsp salt

Put the tomatillos, jalapeƱos, and onion in a medium saucepan, cover with water, the bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the water, combine the ingredients with cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a food processor, and process until smooth. Let cool before serving.

Remove the husk from tomatillosCover with water
Simmer the veggies for 10 minutesCombine everything in a blender

Salsa Verde