Tonight, I made pizza. From scratch. Almost entirely. And I am so excited about it, I am going to blog about it with some anecdotes sprinkled in. Enjoy the break from blocks of overly analytical text!
So I’m living in New York City for the summer, and I cook for myself. I’m not a particularly good cook, and I don’t like to work too hard at food most days, so in general I content myself with stir frying vegetables. Not to sound disappointed; I love stir-fried vegetables. But tonight I wanted to do something special, and I decided on pizza. I googled around for a pizza recipe and found a delightful one for Pizza Florentina along with a pizza dough recipe from the same site. But because I’m me, and I got distracted by the shiny-new shinyness of Google+, it was 8:30 by the time I actually got around to it, and I didn’t want to wait 2 and a half hours for the dough to rise. So I used this recipe instead.
One of the best parts of living with a foodie grandmother who pays for groceries is that random things I wouldn’t think to buy, like yeast, are just around. So here are the ingredients for the dough.
Then I mixed the yeast (little tiny facultatively anaerobic microorganisms…in a jar!) with the sugar (they need food, right?) and dissolved in water, then let stand for ten minutes. Then you get this sexy looking substance.
Then add the flour, salt and oil, mix a little, and you get this:
Fun fact: this stuff is delicious. I always figured raw cookie dough was so amazing was because it had, you know, sugar and butter and sometimes chocolate chips and you can’t really go wrong with those things, but this has none of those things (well, a tiny bit of sugar), and no raw eggs, but it is amazing. I promise I only know that because it gets stuck to your fingers and not because I take little pieces or play with it or anything. Anyway! We are off track. Back to the cooking.
The recipe promised to make a 12-inch pizza, which sounded like too much, so I thought about making half of it, but then I decided to throw caution to the winds and make all of it. That’s me, living on the edge. Of course, it turned out my initial caution was totally justified since all the dough rolled out looked like this.
It actually doesn’t look that big in the picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it that it was too big for just me, and more problematically, too big for my baking sheets (no pizza stone, I’m sorry to say). So I cut it in half and rolled it out again. Time for the toppings! The recipe called just for spinach, but I decided to add mushrooms as well. This part totally plays to my strength as an epic stir-fryer.
The tomato sauce is the only part of this I got from a can. I would have been happy to make my own, but to make the rich, creamy stuff, you have to let things simmer for upwards of an hour, and I didn’t have that kind of time. For a different, fresher styler of pizza, it’s a great idea to just throw together chopped tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onions and maybe some green peppers with yummy spices and let it sit in a hot frying pan for 10-20 or so minutes until the tomato juice and olive oil mix well, but that’s not what I was going for here. So I spread it out with expert knife skills, carefully leaving a perfect inch around the sauce.
Sheer perfection, no? I’m not sure how it’ll show up on your computer screen, but the sauce was a really nice, eye-catching red. Now toppings! I really have no eye for design or beauty, but I had some fun with the layout anyway. I was confused by the recipe calling for the vegetables to be placed on the sauce before the cheese, but this was actually sheer genius. They were like hidden treasures.
|Maybe your grandmother isn’t cool enough to have an actual pizza cutter just lying around.|