In which I speak with a bad Italian accent and get covered in flour - Tactical Ninja
Nov. 17th, 2011
09:12 am - In which I speak with a bad Italian accent and get covered in flour
Disclaimer: I know other people do this sort of thing on a regular basis and it's really no big deal. But for me, who's spent a lifetime having an aversion to cooking and is only discovering for the first time that it can be fun, it's a Fantastic! Exciting! Adventure! That I have to share with the world. If you find my dabbling in the arcane world of food preparation boring*, just scroll on by. Otherwise, come enjoy with me!
* hehe, I was going to add a link for the bored to a site called Funology.com - The Science of Having Fun! But on the front page of Funology it says Let's Make Some Cupcakes - so you have a choice, cupcakes or pizza.
"WTF does that have to do with pizza?" I hear you say. Well, nothing. But last night was the first night this week I've been home straight after work and I wanted to make a second planter to nest inside and under the first, for plants that don't need quite as much sun. So I did. I'm hoping to retain deck space by having it fit partially under the other, while still catching the light when it comes in over the balustrade. It took about 15 minutes and I have enough offcut bits of wood to maybe make a corner shelf or something.
Anyway, pizza. The recipe didn't really have much stuff in it, it was mostly the yeast and stuff to make it come alive, the flour and some salt, and olive oil because well I don't actually know why but there it is. The yeasty sugary watery stuff went in the hot water cupboard for a few minutes till it went foamy (which apparently means it's doing its thing):
And then there was mixing!
And kneading! For five minutes! Because it's kind of fun and if I can shear a bloody sheep I can knead dough for five minutes, right?
Also, I'm not sure I want to think too hard about those hands having been cutting shit off sheeps' bums yesterday. Isn't skin awesome? SO WASHABLE. *cough* Anyway, then I bunged the ball of dough back in the cupboard for an hour to rise.
This bit was hard because I'm impatient and if I'd known I could have started earlier and done the planter while I was waiting for the rising but there you go, live and learn. Cooking and DIY seem to fit together quite well. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the risen dough but I assure you it got big! ;-) Then I squished it a bit to get the air out and divided into balls to 'let it rest' for half an hour.
I have no idea what ‘let it rest’ means in this context or why you do it, but I thought since people keep telling me this kind of baking is a science, I’d better follow the instructions. Anyway, while my dough was having a wee rest, I did toppings! Because it’s pizza and pizza is all about the toppings, right?
So we have tomato paste and mozzarella cheese, bacon, ham and pepperoni salami, salmon gravlax that I made a few weeks ago, onion, courgette, capsicum, broccoli, sweet grass and spring onion (stealth vegies yay!), and capers, with herbs from mah garden - all of the kinds because I was pinching them today to make them bush out, but the big pile is basil. I was making two meat lovers ones for the Youths of Today (of which there were two in my house last night) and a salmon and caper one for me. I should have added some feta but I didn’t have any and couldn’t be arsed going to get some.
After the wee rest I tried tossing the dough to make the bases, but got bored with it really quickly. I didn't drop them and the spinning worked fine but after four tosses my lumps of dough were slightly flattened lumps of dough, and I realised I'd be there a while if I wanted to do it that way so instead I used a rolling pin. After the application of toppings, they went in the oven. I have a fantastic oven even though it’s twelve years old and the most el cheapo one money could buy - it’s simple to use, cooks evenly and has three racks. It doesn’t matter where you put stuff in the oven, it cooks. It’s great for a noob like me because otherwise I’d be all OVENS HOW DO THEY WORK and probably give up.
Actually it was about 20 minutes. They were pretty good. I’ve decided that I’m not that keen on pepperoni but the Youths of Today scoffed those ones, and the salmon one was YUMMY. Gravlax is perhaps a bit salty for some folks’ tastes and I could have sliced it a bit thinner, but salmon pizza OMG NOM NOM NOM.
The crust was crusty on the outside and bready underneath, with enough structural integrity to hold a slice without stuff falling off (and there was a LOT of stuff on these pizzas). It was a little bit moist and tasted like pizza. I was kind of impressed with myself. A+, would do again**.
* Watch this video (only 9 seconds) for a slice of Kiwiana that nobody really understands why it turned into a meme but it did so even people’s Mums are using it:
** Much like Dr Wheel.
So this week I’ve made soft tortillas AND pizza bases as my new things. Thats two countem two kinds of fast food I can now make. Protip: making pizza this way is not fast. There’s a fair bit of waiting involved and about 45 minutes of actual prep time. In future I will start as soon as I get home and do my DIY while the dough is doing its thing in the cupboard (whatever it is, it must be strenuous because it needs a rest after), because last night we didn’t eat until 8pm and that’s a bit late for me.
Tonight, I will cook something easy, stare wistfully at my new planter that I can’t do anything with till payday, code some more interviews and maybe indulge in random acts of shaving.