What’s Cooking, Neighbor? Teresa Velazquez
No matter what the occasion – a birthday, staff gathering or family reunion – Teresa Velazquez dusts the kitchen counter top with flour and makes her have-to-have pizza from scratch. The main course is most often a pie topped with assorted vegetables and pepperoni. But first in the oven goes an “appetizer pizza” covered with caramelized onion and goat cheese, everyone’s party-starting preference.
“It’s very rich, and you don’t want to eat five slices of it,” says Velazquez, co-owner of the Georgetown coffee bar and bakery destination Baked & Wired, which she opened with her husband Tony in 2001. (She traces her love of pizza-making to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, where her German-Irish parents ran a weekend-only pie shop called “Teresa’s Pizza.”) Anticipating the all-pizza menu, guests gather at the couple’s wood frame farmhouse on lower Foxhall Road.
Velazquez is better known for the hand-crafted small batch fruit pies, cupcakes, brownies and cookies, available at Baked & Wired and shipped nationwide. Our favorite (and her choice as well) is the buttery, sweet and salty “Bee Sting” shortbread bar with a honey almond topping. Just as exceptional is the shop’s addictive golden crisp “Hippie Crack” granola, loaded with bits of tart dried cherries and Turkish apricots.
Over the last decade, the family business, tucked away on Thomas Jefferson Street, has grown significantly and now has more than 40 employees. Teresa directs baking quality control, while Tony oversees what she calls “our evolving direction of business.” Son Zak, 26, is in charge of the coffee program and daughter Tessa, 24, handles social media and marketing. Their success has much to do with attention to detail, the high quality of the baked goods and the shop’s mellow atmosphere. “We are extremely neighborhood-focused and feel we are part of Georgetown,” she says. “That’s tremendously important to us.” More and more tourists are stopping in for a slice of quiche and a ice cream sandwich. Word has spread. In the August issue of Travel & Leisure magazine, B & W was named one of “America’s Best Bakeries.”
For home entertaining, chef Velazquez always presents the pizza pies on a classic John Boos & Company butcher block cutting board, sliced into 3-inch squares. Wedges don’t cut it. “It’s a regional thing,” says Velazquez. “That’s how we do it in Ohio.
CARAMELIZED ONION GOAT CHEESE PIZZA**
For the dough:
1 3/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
1 envelope (2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons mild olive oil, plus more for bowl, sheet pan and cooked pizza
4 cups bread flour, preferable King Arthur
2 teaspoons kosher salt
About 1 cup whole wheat flour, but depends on dough, you can use the bread flour but the whole wheat gives dough a hint of a nutty flavor)
For the topping:
3 large yellow onions about 1 1/2 pounds
5 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded fontina cheese
1 1/2 cups packaged shredded Italian mix cheese
4 ounces goat cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
Baby arugula (optional)
Prepare the dough: In a small bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let sit for about 15 minutes until a layer of foam has accumulated on the surface. Mix in 1 tablespoon of the oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour and salt. Slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour, stirring to combine. Once flour is incorporated, dust work surface with some of the whole wheat flour and transfer the dough mixture to the floured surface. Knead, adding more flour if necessary, until the dough comes together is a spongy ball that can hold its shape but is still is slightly sticky. Do not over knead.
Coat bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough over to thoroughly coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until double in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Prepare the topping: Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, sugar and salt and adjust the heat to medium. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the onions are soft and have turned a light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Assemble the pizza: Adjust the oven racks so one is in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to lightly grease a 12-by-16-inch rimmed silver baking sheet, or one of similar size, a dark sheet will cook the bottom of the pie too fast.
Dust the work surface with whole wheat flour as needed. Transfer the dough to the floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times to remove any air pockets. Let rest 5 minutes. Using your hands, spread the dough out in the pan, gently pushing it into place to form an even layer. If the dough resists, let it rest for a few minutes and try again. Let rest 15 minutes.
When the dough is ready, drizzle a thin coat of olive oil over the surface of the dough. Distribute the chopped garlic and red pepper flakes, sprinkle on fontina and Italian cheeses. Top with the caramelized onions. Place pieces of goat cheese on top and then sprinkle with the pine nuts.
Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes until the edges start to get golden and the crust is firm enough to be moved off the pan. Remove from the oven, loosen the pizza from pan with a large flat spatula and slide pizza directly back onto the oven rack. Bake for 10 minutes until crust is brown. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes. Lightly drizzle top with olive oil and, if desired, top with the baby arugula.Slide onto cutting board and cut into squares.