Inn the Kitchen will bring you a drink and a meal to pair with some of the biggest wrestling events of the year. Check in before each show for some DIY delicious ideas.
A casino-themed AEW show!?
Welcome back to Inn the Kitchen, last seen at WrestleMania, where we apparently drank so much we saw a big jack-in-the-box on tv.
This time we are getting ready for AEW Double or Nothing and the card is massive so we aren’t messing around: we’re going to make bourbon brown sugar lemonade and pizza. We will be making our own dough and squeezing some lemons because it is messy and fun to pretend you are Anthony Ogogo when punching a crust.
You are going to need some things:
For the dough (about 2 pizzas or 4 calzones):
- About 4 cups of flour (all purpose is fine; use bread flour if you want the crust crispier)
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 envelope or 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- A couple of tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water (not hot)
For the brown sugar lemonade (per serving)
- 1 part bourbon (or whiskey if you don’t have bourbon)
- 1 part water
- 3/4 part lemon juice
- 3/4 part brown sugar syrup
Now let’s get moving: you want to be in your seat when it’s time to sing “Wild Thing.” If you’re making this the evening of the show you’re going to have to give yourself a couple of hours. You can make the dough in about 15 minutes but it will need to rise: this is very important! You don’t want to eat pizza that feels like Orange Cassidy’s denim jacket.
Normally, I advocate for making your drink first and enjoying it while you cook. However, this time around you are going to have some down time while you wait for you dough, so we should start there. There are two ways this is going to go: either in a stand mixer, or entirely on your counter. If you have a stand mixer then it is time to break out the bread hook (which is where Taz would be billed from if he were actually a gingerbread man and not merely shaped like one). If you don’t have a mixer, then get your resistance bands for a quick warmup backstage because you’re going to get a workout.
Start by mixing your dry ingredients (flour, salt, yeast, sugar) with a whisk or in your mixer on low. If you’re working in a mixer you can just start adding the warm water and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until everything begins to stick together and form a ball. This will happen pretty quickly. If you are working by hand, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the oil and water in there, then form it together. Your hands are going to look like Silly Putty by the end, but water will dissolve the dough pretty easily, and wet hands will stick less as you try to move the ingredients around. You will notice we still have about a half cup of flour left: if your dough is too wet, too mushy, or too sticky, add about a tablespoon at a time until it starts to look more like what Luigi Primo tosses around: something smooth that is only lightly sticky. The rest of the flour you’ll save for flouring whatever surface you’ll use to stretch out the dough when it is done.
Toss a bit more olive oil around in a bowl that is at least twice the size of the dough and set the dough inside, then cover with a kitchen towel. Leave it around at room temperature. You’re now going to wait for the yeast, the jobbers of the kitchen, to do their thing, resulting in a very light dough that is full of air and at least doubled in size after about an hour. This part is also important because you want the dough to be able to stretch out. If the dough is too cold or hasn’t risen then the dough will continue to contract back to the center when you work with it, not stretch to a nice length for a pizza.
It is time to make our drink! This is Memorial Day weekend and here in America that means it is summer, in spirit at least. Lemonade is a beautiful summer drink, and brown sugar a great addition that helps marry the lemonade and bourbon. Note: brown sugar syrup is made by bringing equal parts brown sugar and water to a light boil until the sugar dissolves. Syrup mixes so much better than granulated sugars, takes little work, and lasts forever. Make a bunch! Then, here is what you’re going to do: squeeze your lemon juice (about a lemon per serving, but this depends on lemon size); add the above described ratio of liquids to a shaker, add some ice, then go hard like you’re Kenny Omega running the ropes. If you don’t have a shaker you can use a lidded jar, thermos, or a spill proof bowl, but you really do want to shake this up rather than stir because the aeration makes the acidity of the citrus a bit more pleasant on the tongue. When it is done, pour it over a glass full of ice and start thinking about what you’re going to put on your pizza.
Finally, let’s put it all together! First, flour up the dough and split it in two. If you don’t want to use both you can seal it into an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze it. When you’re ready, fling that dough around like Wardlow giving it an F-10, then decide what kind of a pizza person you are. If you want a nice rustic thin crust then stretch it out as big and thin as you can on the biggest greased cookie sheet you have (without tearing it). If you want a thicker, chewier pizza then stuff one whole dough into a thoroughly oiled cast iron pan. Or, split one of the doughs in two and get ready to fold it over into calzones (hint: air fryers are top tier calzone machines). Pre-heat the oven as high as you can (475-500 degrees Fahrenheit for most of us), then decorate. Be the chef of 1004 pizza toppings: Go traditional with tomato sauce and cheese; You can mix it up with some hand crushed canned peeled tomatoes and grated parmesan; Cover it in Nutella and marshmallows; Garlic and butter; Pepperoni; Cinnamon, sugar, and butter; Bacon, eggs and cheese; Armbar.
When you’re ready, get it baking. You will probably want to precook the dough slightly before adding most toppings (you can put the sauce on first) because most of us don’t have a 700 degree stone bottom pizza oven at home and things like mushrooms and cheese will burn before the dough cooks through. You’ll know it is done when your edges have a deep golden color or your liking, but you’re going to look for 8-12 minutes with a thinner pizza and 20 minutes for a pan pizza as starting points. When finished, it should slide right off of your cookie sheet or out of your cast iron. Put it on a cutting board and blade it up like you’re Cody on Dynamite, or Cody in the build to a PPV, or Cody on a PPV, or…
Anyway, both of these things can be made ahead by a day or two, but remember to give the drink a real good shake before sipping, and give the pizza dough time on the counter to come to room temperature. Now go and figure out who the joker entry in the Casino Battle Royale is going to be and enjoy the show!