Tuesday, May 29, 2012


      So if you haven’t guessed, my ultimate dream is to open a restaurant. I would love it if people came from miles around just to sample my fare. To be recommended by you to your friends and by them to their friends. Have a lazy Sunday breakfast at “Shep’s Place”. Grab a quick lunch bite at “Jim’s Diner”. Maybe even a dinner with the family at “The Shepherd Family Eatery”. But then I noticed that every time my family goes out to eat everybody wants something different. Or the menu is so varied that it takes 45 minutes for us to figure out what we want to eat. Obviously I would need a niche and a simplified menu that would also serve the masses.
     I was struck with inspiration one night while making pizza for dinner. I asked my son Sean what he wanted on his pizza and I think I insulted him. “Dad, I have the same thing on my pizza every time we have pizza.” Now, this is the kid who will take about three days to decide what flavor of Blizzard he wants yet he knows exactly what he wants on his pizza.
     Everyone has their pizza. Their “go-to” pie. Whether its ham and pineapple, pepperoni with extra cheese or the folks that like mushrooms and artichokes, you know what you are getting before you even walk in the door. And everyone likes pizza. Ever heard the expression "Pizza is like Sex. Even when it's bad...its still pizza."?  So with a simple menu and a focus, I just needed a name. And now it was my wife’s turn to inspire me. “Hey Babydoll, how do you want me to cook your pizza?”
     “Um…in the cast iron like always, ” she said with a roll of the eyes. Whenever I make a deep dish pizza, I use an 11 ¾” cast iron skillet that was handed down to me from my grandfather that used it when he was a cook for the rail road in the 1930’s. It’s well seasoned and gives a pizza crust a nice even bake with just the right balance of softness and crispness. Ding! Ding! Ding! "Shep’s Skillet Pizza" was born! So now I have a menu in mind, a niche and a name. All I need now is a rich, long lost uncle to pass away and leave me a fortune so I can buy a building, equipment, supplies, hire staff, and advertise. Don’t suppose you guys know anyone looking to adopt a very lovable me do you? No? Never hurts to ask.
     So until I have a restaurant to invite you to, I figured I’d give you a pizza recipe that you may see in the not too distant future at “Shep’s Skillet Pizza.” Enjoy.

Heidi's favorite: Canadian bacon, pineapple and bacon.

2 1/2 Cups All purpose flour
1 Tbs Olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
1 Cup Warm water ( about 110 deg)
1 Tbs Sugar
Corn Meal to prevent the dough from sticking to the pan
Olive Oil

Basic Pizza Sauce:
1 28oz can Crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp Salt
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
Adjust the seasoning as you see fit for your particular taste.

Desired toppings


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, now is the time to put it in the oven.

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Combine the flour, salt and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add water mixture to flour and knead for 6-8 minutes
Cover and let rest in a warm place for 20-30 minutes then divide. Roll each dough ball out on a lightly floured surface to the desired size of pizza.
The Madison Seal of Approval
Sprinkle your cooking vessel (cast iron skillet, pizza pan, pizza stone [CAUTION: pizza stone will be HOT!]) with corn meal and place your rolled dough in. Poke several holes with a fork to let moisture escape from the inside of the dough during cooking. Lightly spread some olive oil on the dough to prevent the sauce from penetrating the dough and making it soggy.

Combine all the sauce ingredients and adjust seasonings to taste. Spread about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sauce per pizza evenly over the dough. Top with one layer of cheese, then desired toppings and a bit more cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the crust.
Sean's favorite: Sausage, salami, bacon and pepperoni

 Note: With this recipe I can make a 12 inch deep dish, an 8 inch deep dish and a 14 inch thin crust.


  1. Ummmm, this pizza sounds incredible!! Do you ever grill your pizza?

    Also, I love how you start every post with a "So..." ;)

    Nice work. I love the blog.

    1. Thanks so much!! I haven't grilled it yet. I may try that this weekend, though.