Saturday, September 25, 2010

Classic Marinara Pizza

OK, so I forgot to take pictures of my pizza creation yesterday.  :::sigh:::  Although there are no pictures, the pizza turned out great.  

I decided since I am making pizza each week, I should invest in a pizza stone.  I saw one at Big Lots! for $10 a couple of weeks ago when I was searching for canning jars.  Did I pick it up then?  Of course not.  And of course, when I went back to Big Lots! yesterday, they were all gone.  One of the clerks gave me a tip that I should check at another Big Lots! store about 10 minutes away.  So, I picked up my son from school and made him go with me.  Luck was with us and that store had about 6 to 8 pizza stones, so I bought one and brought it home to use that night.
I must have read a dozen websites about how to use a pizza stone, as I have never used one before.  I realized after I was home with the pizza stone that I should have looked for a pizza peel, too.  However, I have a couple of cookie sheets that have a lip on one end only.  They easily allowed me to hold onto the sheet and slide the pizza onto the stone in the oven.  As you can see, my pizza stone has been used.  I scraped all of the "bits" off of it, along with the excess cornmeal.  Most websites advise to just leave the rest on the stone versus rinsing it off as it flavors the next pizza.  Also, I have a dilemma about storing it.  It is rather big.  Many people just leave it in their oven and cook on top of it.  I'm not sure that I will do that.  I'll be trying to find a suitable storage spot for it.

I made the pizza dough in my bread maker.  It turned out pretty good, but I think because I'm such a novice at stretching dough, the dough was handled too much and became a little tough. I used ultragrain flour versus white flour to give the dough more fiber.  I've read in several recipes to make the dough a day or so ahead as the crust will have more flavor and be much better.  I will be making dough on Wednesday and then just storing it in the fridge until Friday for the pizza.  I will probably just make one big pizza with a little thicker crust next time, versus making two smaller (10" or 12") pizzas with thinner crusts.  I also think the more I cook on the pizza stone, the better I will become as the pizzas cooked SO QUICKLY that I was really surprised and probably should have taken them out a couple of minutes earlier than I did.  I'm sure this next Friday, my sons will want pizza from a pizzeria, so I'll only be cooking for myself.  It will be a good time for more experimenting.

I made my vegan pizza a half-and-half pizza.  The toppings on one side of my pizza were just sauce and cheese.  The toppings on the other side were sliced mushrooms and chopped black olives, and of course sauce and cheese.  I used Follow Your Heart mozzarella and cheddar flavored cheeses.  I used mostly mozzarella with just a sprinkling of the cheddar over the pizza.  I made my sons a traditional pizza using SAD cheese.  

The pizza was great. I really enjoyed it.  My sons' father tried a piece of cheese pizza from my pizza.  He does not eat vegan at all and actually turns his nose up at it.  He thought he was eating SAD cheese pizza.  Both of my sons had a piece of the vegan cheese pizza, and they both liked it.  My older son told me my pizza tasted better than his pizza, and he is a cheese pizza connoisseur, so that was high praise coming from him.  In fact, today he is STILL complaining that my pizza was better than his.  :::chuckle:::

I'll continue to try a different pizza recipe each Friday night.  I have to admit, I liked the Whole Foods whole grain pizza dough a LOT.  I haven't been able to find a recipe that mimics it yet.  I'll keep looking, but I may just end up buying more ready-made dough if I can't find something comparable.  Also, I'm going to chop the veggies in advance, too, so I'm ready to put the entire pizza together when I hit the door after work versus having a lot of work ahead of me before I can put it together.  This coming week is my late week, so I won't get home until 6 PM or 6:30 PM and I don't want to have to do an hour of preparation before I can bake the pie.  I'm going to have this down to a science before long.  Yeah, I'm into convenience.  heh! :)

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