Friday, October 9, 2009

Bad Day Pizza

For those who love cooking, and even for many people who don't, pizza seems like a fairly easy thing to make. Mix up some dough in your stand mixer (or buy raw dough balls from your local pizzeria or well-stocked store), let it sit overnight, toss it around, slap on some toppings, bake for 10 minutes, eat. Right?


Ok, maybe I should rephrase that.

When you're having a good day, the dealing-with-the-pizza-dough-bit is easy. It relaxes in your hands, stretches out and bounces back just so, forms the perfect shape for your pan with just a bit of mindful effort, and doesn't rip into long, gaping holes in the middle... and on the sides... and everywhere in between.

When you're having a bad day... well, it's all about those damn holes.

Perhaps pizza dough is some sort of cruel stress barometer. A few days ago I was a crazy ball of stress, and it culminated in the most frustrating of pizza-dough-rolling experiences that went something like this:

1. Attempt to shape pizza dough. Fail.

2. Attempt to reshape pizza dough. Harumph.

3. Attempt to reshape pizza dough. Scream.

4. Attempt to reshape pizza dough. Cry.

5. Vaguely hear L say soothingly, "honey, it's fine, don't worry about it, we'll fry it up into doughboys instead."

6. Decide that one's cooking pride is at stake and that damn *%&^4#@!!! pizza dough is NOT going to win.

7. Wash hands. Take deep breath.

8. Beat pizza dough into submission- or rather, a perfect pizza shape- with a French rolling pin (given a nice rest after all this work, the dough is chewy, tender, and not too tough).

9. Declare win: petite gourmande 1, pizza dough 0.

10. Celebrate victory with a Harpoon Oktoberfest (and wonder why you didn't think of the rolling pin earlier).

If you would like to beat your very own pizza dough into submission on a bad day (or a good one), I suggest you start with purchased raw dough or Heidi's dough recipe (homemade dough freezes really well, and we keep it on hand for nights when we're not so tired that we get takeout, but we still want to do very little labour-intensive cooking) and Heidi's baking instructions.

Top with whatever sauce or ingredients you like, of course. We go for simple tomato sauce + mozzarella, or in this case, thinly sliced red potatoes + these caramelized onions + mozzarella + feta.

And the best part? Deliciously stress-melting comfort food leads me to #11: forget to be angry with that damn pizza dough.

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